Unleash American Ingenuity and Help People with Dementia
“In any civilized society, it is every citizen’s responsibility to obey just laws. But at the same time, it is every citizen’s responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr.
This is an exciting time in the world, to say the least. If we focus, it could be one where we begin to make meaningful progress in our fight to end the suffering of people living with Alzheimer’s and related dementias. It’s time to be bold. In addition to helping millions in relationship with dementia, what we’re proposing has the potential to revitalize the US economy by opening up a brand new industry and unleashing American ingenuity.
Cannabis medicine was the only medicine that ever helped ease the toughest behavioral symptoms of my mom’s (and our family’s) nearly decade-long journey through Alzheimer’s, but it was illegal for her to get it in the nursing facility she moved to because cannabis remains on the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) Schedule I of Drugs.
The most restrictive drug schedule in the US is reserved for drugs that are known to have:
- – no currently accepted medical treatment use in the U.S.
- – a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision
- – high potential for abuse
Cannabis does not fit this definition, yet it remains on the CSA:
- – cannabis is medically legal in 41 US states and territories.
- – cannabis therapeutics have never been proven to result in serious harm, nor death
- – a “high potential for abuse” is not a scientifically proven claim about cannabis
It’s time to simply remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act to allow patients to maintain access to this relatively harmless plant while science catches up with what is happening in practice in more than 2/3rds of states. The President has the power to do this by Executive Order.
In Northern California , Upstate NY and in Florida, there are care facilities currently using cannabis medicine for their residents. But most care facilities are too afraid to use a “Schedule I substance” because they risk losing funding and licensure. Additionally, cannabis science is only taught in ten medical schools and there are no legal requirements for medical professionals to learn about this valuable tool. Not even in California.
There are studies that show the potential benefits of medical cannabis, but due to the CSA, it is very, very difficult to research. Despite this, there are enough studies that show how beneficial cannabis is for people living with dementia for two review articles and a US Department of Health patent:
[FTA] “…Initial trials of herbal cannabis for AD have begun sporadically, with a more focused effort in a California nursing home (Hergenrather, 2017). Patients were treated with a variety of preparations: THC-predominant (2.5–30 mg/dose), CBD predominant, and THCA, mainly in tinctures and confections. Marked benefit was reported on neuroleptic drug sparing, decreased agitation, increased appetite, aggression, sleep quality, objective mood, nursing care demands, self-mutilation and pain control.
Based on its pharmacology (Russo and Marcu, 2017), cannabis components may provide myriad benefits on target symptoms in this complex disorder:
- Agitation: THC, CBD, linalool
- Anxiety: CBD, THC (low dose), linalool
- Psychosis: CBD
- Insomnia/Restlessness: THC, linalool
- Anorexia: THC
- Aggression: THC, CBD, linalool
- Depression: THC, limonene, CBD
- Pain: THC, CBD
- Memory: alpha-pinene (Russo, 2011; Russo and Marcu, 2017) + THC
- Neuroprotection: CBD, THC
- Reduced Aβ plaque formation: THC, CBD, THCA
Thus, an extract of a Type II chemovar of cannabis (THC/CBD) with a sufficient pinene fraction would seem to be an excellent candidate for clinical trials (Lewis et al., 2018).
[FTA] “…These results implied that the CBD components of cannabis might be useful to treat and prevent AD because CBD components could suppress the main causal factors of AD. Moreover, it was suggested that using CBD and THC together could be more useful than using CBD or THC alone…”
From the US Department of Health Patent: “…The cannabinoids are found to have particular application as neuroprotectants, for example in limiting neurological damage following ischemic insults, such as stroke and trauma, or in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and HIV dementia…”
The MORE Act + Social Justice
Passed in the House of Representatives in November 2020 and sponsored in the Senate by Vice President (elect) Harris, though not taken up by McConnell, The MORE Act would completely remove cannabis from the Federal Schedule I of Drugs. This would allow those who are currently benefiting from cannabis medicine in 35 States, to continue to do so while the relevant research studies and science can catch up with what’s happening in daily practice. By now, we all know that cannabis was not placed on the CSA Schedule I because of science, it was put there for racist, political reasons. It’s time to finally undo this generations-old wrong.
The clean, renewable cannabis-hemp plant can replace dirty fossil fuel petroleum to make plastics, oil and gas. Hemp can replace trees for paper and biomass. Hemp can be building materials. Hemp is also an excellent source of nutrition and it’s a bioaccumulator that can clean the soil. Hemp can literally save the world, but it must be completely removed from the CSA to allow development. We must be bold in ways we never have been before.
The question is: will President Biden be bold enough to cut through the red-tape and sign an Executive Order to remove cannabis from the CSA? Or is he going to let people suffer needlessly while the congress further argues over out-dated, racist, prohibitionist policy?
There is nothing like a new industry to inspire hope and deliver relief to millions of Americans in this exceptionally difficult time. There is nothing like cannabis medicine for people living with dementia. Let all dementia sufferers have access to this life-changing plant. De-schedule cannabis today.
Chela Fiorini-Coennen, Farmacann Education & Outreach
#BeBold #CannabisHelpsDementia #dementia #care #economy #hemp