Safety and Efficacy of Medical Cannabis Oil for Behavioral and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia : An-Open Label, Add-On, Pilot Study, A. Shelef et al., 2016

Safety and Efficacy of Medical Cannabis Oil for Behavioral and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia : An-Open Label, Add-On, Pilot Study

Shelef A., Barak Y., Berger U., Paleacu D., Tadger S., Plopsky I., Baruch Y.

Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, 2016, 51, 1, 15-19.

DOI: 10.3233/JAD-150915


BACKGROUND : Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is a potential treatment for Alzheimer’s disease (AD).

OBJECTIVE : To measure efficacy and safety of medical cannabis oil (MCO) containing THC as an add-on to pharmacotherapy, in relieving behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD).

METHODS : Eleven AD patients were recruited to an open label, 4 weeks, prospective trial.

RESULTS : Ten patients completed the trial. Significant reduction in CGI severity score (6.5 to 5.7; p <  0.01) and NPI score were recorded (44.4 to 12.8; p <  0.01). NPI domains of significant decrease were: Delusions, agitation/aggression, irritability, apathy, sleep and caregiver distress.

CONCLUSION : Adding MCO to AD patients’ pharmacotherapy is safe and a promising treatment option.


CBD oils contain various amounts of cannabidiol, THC, and terpenes all of which are peroxynitrite scavengers.  They thus likely reduce and partially reverse the widespread damage done by peroxynitrite in Alzheimer’s disease.

The neuroprotection by THC and CBD was because of attenuation of peroxynitrite.

Findings suggest terpenes could also aid in Alzheimer’streatment with cannabidiol (CBD). Linalool, which is prominent in lavender, helps counter stress and anxiety. Limonene is commonly used in aromatherapy to improve mood, and pinene is known to promote alertness and memory retention. Combining these terpenoids with a CBD-rich extract is promising for treating the wide-ranging effects of Alzheimer’s disease.