Fake marijuana helps Alzheimer's disease

Aug. 20, 2003 at 3:48 PM
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CHICAGO, Aug. 20 (UPI) -- Study results suggest dronabinol, a synthetic version of THC, the active ingredient of marijuana, may reduce agitation for Alzheimer's sufferers.

According to data presented Wednesday at the annual meeting of the International Psychogeriatric Association, dronabinol, marketed under the trade name Marinol, also improves appetite in Alzheimer's patients.

Dronabinol is the only cannabinoid approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and is indicated for the treatment of anorexia in patients with HIV/AIDS and for the treatment of nausea and vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy.

"Our research suggests dronabinol may reduce agitation and improve appetite in patients with Alzheimer's disease, when traditional therapies are not successful," said Joshua Shua-Haim, lead investigator in the study and medical director of the Meridian Institute for Aging, a continuum of senior health programs and services in New Jersey.

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