Prompted by “Dementia researchers are leaving no stone unturned in the hunt for new treatments”: http://www.dementiablog.org/dementia-researchers-are-leaving-no-stone-unturned-in-the-hunt-for-new-treatments/
No stone unturned?
I added our Heads Up program description of our Mind Always Matters campaign to this post, so you can be the judge of whether or not there’s an obviously ‘unturned stone’ (that best offers hope for dementia sufferers today).
Before reading that description (and you definitely should, if you or your loved one has dementia, or is worried about being diagnosed with the deadly condition), importantly note the following information has been reasonably validated by demonstrated success using mildly vaporized cannabis to help someone diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease (showing awesome signs of improvement, but not necessarily a cure — though state-sanctioned cannabis use was only started a few months ago with continuously improving results throughout that duration).
This likely unfortunately controversial program is seriously critical, despite the counterintuitive nature from the sadly broadly continued public mainstream bias against the subject of this program. To ensure maximum credibility here, this program requires a respectably deep informational base, so please bear with my challenged efforts towards fitting brevity here.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’s “Alzheimer’s Disease Medications Fact Sheet”, the relatively small number of pharmaceuticals traditionally wielded against AD “may help delay or prevent symptoms from becoming worse for a limited time and may help control some behavioral symptoms” for some people. Additionally, “It is important to understand that none of these medications stops the disease itself.”
Primary examples include donepezil and memantine (other relevant traditional pharmaceuticals basically remain on par in terms of the points expressed here, but are withheld for brevity). Though I add some Wikipedia quotes regarding adverse effects, Drugs.com dominates the following lists of side effects, in strong part because the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves using that website.
According to the Wikipedia entry about donepezil, “most common adverse events leading to discontinuation were nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting.” Drugs.com offers “More common” side effects by adding “loss of appetite”, “muscle cramps”, “trouble in sleeping”, and “unusual tiredness or weakness”. “Less common” side effects are “abnormal dreams”, “constipation”, “dizziness”, “drowsiness”, “fainting”, “frequent urination”, “headache”, “joint pain, stiffness, or swelling”, “mental depression”, “pain”, “unusual bleeding or bruising”, and “weight loss”. “Rare” side effects include “Black, tarry stools”, “bloating”, “bloody or cloudy urine”, “blurred vision”, “burning, prickling, or tingling sensations”, “cataract”, “chills”, “clumsiness or unsteadiness”, “confusion”, “cough”, “decreased urination”, “difficult or painful urination”, “dryness of mouth”, “eye irritation”, “fever”, “flushing of skin”, “frequent urge to urinate”, “high or low blood pressure”, “hives”, “hot flashes”, “increase in sexual desire or performance”, “increased heart rate and breathing”, “increased sweating”, “increased urge to urinate during the night”, “irregular heartbeat”, “itching”, “loss of bladder control”, “loss of bowel control”, “mood or mental changes, including abnormal crying, aggression, agitation, delusions, irritability, nervousness, or restlessness”, “nasal congestion”, “pain in chest, upper stomach, or throat”, “problems with speech”, “runny nose”, “severe thirst”, “shortness of breath”, “sneezing”, “sore throat”, “sunken eyes”, “tightness in chest”, “tremor”, “toubled breathing”, “wheezing”, and “wrinkled skin”. I will simply add that overdose potential exists, but feel free to visit Drugs.com for more details.
In the Wikipedia entry about memantine (noting memantine was the only medication possibly prescribed to my “caregivee” due to minor inflammatory bowel disease), “Common adverse drug reactions … include confusion, dizziness, drowsiness, headache, insomnia, agitation, and/or hallucinations.” Drugs.com only includes “confusion” in their “More common” list, and their “Less common” side effects list includes “Anxiety”, “back pain”, “bladder pain”, “bloody or cloudy urine”, “change in walking and balance”, “chills”, “clumsiness or unsteadiness”, “cough producing mucus”, “coughing”, “diarrhea”, “difficult, burning, or painful urination”, “difficulty with breathing”, “difficulty with moving”, “discouragement”, “dry mouth”, “fear”, “feeling sad or empty”, “fever”, “frequent urge to urinate”, “general feeling of discomfort or illness”, “hyperventilation”, “insomnia”, “irritability”, “joint pain”, “loss of appetite”, “loss of bladder control”, “loss of interest or pleasure”, “lower back or side pain”, “muscle pain or stiffness”, “nausea”, “nervousness”, “pain”, “pain in the joints”, “restlessness”, “seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not there”, “shortness of breath”, “sleepiness or unusual drowsiness”, “sore throat”, “tightness in the chest”, “tiredness”, “trouble with concentrating”, “trouble with sleeping”, “unusual tiredness or weakness”, “vomiting”, and “wheezing”. Sufficient to importantly note that overdose potential exists here too with details also available at Drugs.com.
“These sets of data strongly suggest that THC could be a potential therapeutic treatment option for Alzheimer’s disease through multiple functions and pathways.” – U.S. National Library of Medicine (National Institutes of Health)
THC is the primary (and overwhelmingly dominant psychoactive) ingredient in cannabis (the scientific term for marijuana). Some early studies have publicly emerged showing proper cannabis use and/or sharply focused cannabinoid influence apparently prevents onset AD and may even work against the disease. In other words, cannabis is apparently a neuroprotector for some people, and apparently also repairs neurological function (neuroregenerator) for some people – while also apparently functioning at least as a pleasing antipsychotic, anxiolytic, antioxidant, antiinflammatory, sedative, and AChE inhibitor when used properly (i.e. offers similar medical value compared with those well-known aforementioned drugs).
The FDA questionably refuses to acknowledge the internationally large body of data confirming medical effectiveness from using cannabis by common delivery methods (smoking, vaporizing, eating, etc.), but our federal government does acknowledge such effectiveness from the chemical compounds in cannabis by securing patent US6630507 B1:
“Cannabinoids have been found to have antioxidant properties, unrelated to NMDA receptor antagonism. This new found property makes cannabinoids useful in the treatment and prophylaxis of wide variety of oxidation associated diseases, such as ischemic, age-related, inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. 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…”
Unfortunately, the cannabis page at Drugs.com does not offer a similar page of side effects for optimal comparison, but does say “Long term effects of heavy use can include” – critically note my emphasis on heavy use – “irritation to the lungs, risk of developing chronic bronchitis and an increased risk of developing cancer of the respiratory tract (more likely to do with smoking)”, “exacerbation of pre-existing cardiovascular disease, as cannabis use significantly raises the heart rate”, “decreased concentration levels, reduced short-term memory and difficulties with thinking and learning (resolved if cannabis use stops)”, “decreased sex drive in some people. Chronic use can lower sperm count in males and lead to irregular periods in females (resolved if cannabis use stops)”, and “dependence on cannabis – compulsive need to use the drug, coupled with problems associated with chronic drug use”. Further digging there reveals “Cannabis may cause dizziness, drowsiness, and impaired judgment”.
There is legitimate controversy over those suggested (emphasis on the words “can” or “may” in that list of) side effects, so it makes sense to add the balancing informational factors to be fair.
The first one regarding smoking can be avoided by simply vaporizing (THC and other cannabis compounds can be released from the material at a lower temperature avoiding carcinogens). Moreover, as sufficiently well-reported in a 2006 Washington Post article titled “Study Finds No Cancer-Marijuana Connection”, cannabis does not cause lung cancer (according to the largest study ever conducted on the subject), but apparently provides a positive impact against lung (and other forms of) cancer.
From the Cannabis (Drug) Wikipedia entry, “There is serious suspicion among cardiologists, spurring research but falling short of definitive proof, that cannabis use has the potential to contribute to cardiovascular disease.”
As temporary memory loss, learning, and other applicable cognitive challenges associated with cannabis use likely resonates against the sanity in supporting this program, important is increasing understanding that a valid hypothesis exists to the contrary.
The brain (by all scientific measures) is a physical system, and like any such system, has parts that wear down over time. If you access your memory excessively (i.e. abuse memory, perhaps by “living in the past”), for prime example, then you will excessively wear down the brain parts pertaining to memory (that same wearing down problem obviously applies to brain parts associated with other cognitive functioning), so increase the odds of breaking those parts (e.g. losing your memory).
Cannabis is a perception filter for worst through best (i.e. for best when used properly). Cannabis indeed temporarily causes certain cognitive challenges – but largely, if not completely, fails to affect survival (in large part due to cannabis having no impact against sound decisions – i.e. if you make smart decisions while sober, you will make smart decisions while using cannabis). In other words, cannabis dampens certain cognitive functioning somewhat (from essentially no dampening during very mild cannabis intake through barely being able to do anything but remain seated – sometimes called “couch lock” – during seriously high cannabis effects intensity), but even a minimally skilled cannabis user can function reasonably normally with minimal risk (even during comfortably heavily intense cannabis intake – i.e. the maximum intensity that still logically easily satisfies the overwhelming majority of users). The basic reason is skilled cannabis users can fairly easily adapt to cannabis’ effects (i.e. perception alteration), especially when using a strain (i.e. mental effects style) familiar to them – experience is an excellent teacher in this case.
Consumed cannabis temporarily prevents the user from accessing affected cognitive parts in full, so (at least helps in) preventing that excessive wear and tear against that cognition. Proper cannabis use produces a symphonic psychological sensation basically capable of functioning like a healthy mental lubricant and stress harbor (like metaphorical clothing protecting your mind from ‘within-skull’ stressors), so excellent for many mental applications during the healthy relaxation ethic when sharpest memory, learning, and other relevant congnitive processes are logically unhelpful (if not destructive) – not to critically mention an equally important ethic to the more commonly promoted healthy work ethic (i.e. people are too-often encouraged to work more than relax, which creates a powerfully stressful imbalance creating all sorts of stress-related, including violent and other forms of abusive, problems widely and deeply against public safety, but I somewhat digress).
To finalize this hypothesis, proper use of cannabis apparently protects the brain similar to how Earth’s magnetic field protects society from devastating solar radiation. Cannabis abuse ironically becomes that metaphorical solar radiation. In other words, the psychological symphony (i.e. sustained mental harmony influence) only occurs upon proper use, but cognitive dissonance (like musical dissonance) occurs otherwise.
Other people report cannabis functions as an aphrodisiac (so obviously sexual impact remains questionable), and since potential pregnancy issues hopefully do not apply in this dominantly dementia case (and pregnancy should probably be equated with avoiding cannabis for basically the same reason towards avoiding alcohol consumption), I have yet to properly research and update this paragraph with the likely existing contrary views regarding cannabis use during or otherwise potentially adversely impacting pregnancy.
With respect to dependency, according to the prestigious Institute of Medicine report titled “Marijuana and medicine: assessing the science base” commissioned by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, in addition to debunking the “Gateway Drug” theory by the way, cannabis dependency is “generally mild” and has a dependency rate of only 9% (the same report for comparison listed alcohol as 15%). To be clear, 91% of cannabis users (according to a report commissioned by an obviously prohibitionist organization) will not become dependent, and even within that overwhelming minority of users, such dependency is generally mild. Finally on this point, if you (like many people) need to drink coffee daily for positivity, you are dependent upon a drug called caffeine, so you understand that drug dependency does not always oppose optimal survival – i.e. certain drugs can be technological enhancements that become respectably depended upon to improve the odds of survival.
According to Leafly (a popular cannabis website and portable application), side effects commonly include dry eyes and mouth (“Clear Eyes®” apparently suffices as may be needed to deal with dry eyes, and obviously water works for dry mouth – a.k.a. cotton mouth). Paranoia and headaches are sometimes added, but this apparently largely depends upon strain selection and other relevant factors further addressed in this program description below.
While increased appetite (a.k.a. munchies) can be medically beneficial for some people, other cannabis users should understand there is a reasonable risk of forming or exacerbating unhealthy eating habits (though that risk is apparently mitigated by using certain cannabis strains – article titled “Four Strains of ‘Skinny Pot’…” – and always maximally ensuring a healthy diet as generally recommended anyways).
Moreover, cannabis’ complex set of compounds also provide other ways to work against unhealthy stress with reasonable (and pleasing when used properly) side effects. There is an image basically illustrating the positive health impacts of cannabis compounds.
While the application of science has a long way to go with respect to AD and the brain in general (including the area of cannabis impact for worst through best), considering the thousands of years that humanity has known about cannabis’ psychoactive effects (without even one known overdose death), the thousands of international studies leaving cannabis as one of the (if not the) most scientifically studied plant (compared to the apparently far-less impressive existence of studies pertaining to the aforementioned pharmaceuticals being popularly prescribed for AD sufferers), the millions (if not billions) of people spanning generations using cannabis medicinally and recreationally overwhelmingly without serious (if any) objectively proven harm (despite easily questionable, and still merely suggestive, science to the contrary), and the scientific hint that cannabis is the only currently known drug suggested to actually fight AD (not just at least equally well-manage symptoms of the disease), civilized reasoning effectively demands that carefully applied cannabis use (including meticulous strain selection, intake amount, and electronic vaporization with accurate temperature control) be put at the forefront of treating and preventing AD (nonetheless encourage much more funding for research on this leading front).
This program is not intended to condemn well-known pharmaceuticals remaining preferable for people truly satisfied by that traditional approach (including people allergic to cannabis). This program serves to raise medical cannabis awareness for those people preferring the apparently much smoother and pleasing (i.e. fitting), scientifically generally much safer, much less expensive (basically a small pinch of leafy material per dose mainly suffices), and unimaginably more flexible symphonic approach that comes from proper cannabis use.
That flexibility is due to the enormous variety of cannabis strains and growing techniques (such enormity essentially oddly never sufficiently reported as critically psychologically significant) with each strain effectively functioning like a mental sonic structure sustaining basically an easily identifiable (though not necessarily describable) pattern – stirring up positive mental tuning upon proper usage. Despite the odd absence (to terribly excessive public confusion) of sufficient information regarding the critical factor called strain differential, responsible application of that flexibility is key towards serious cannabis dominance to meet the likely unique needs of qualifying individuals within this mentality case.
While doctors apparently find sharply focused drugs addressing a highly specific area to be responsibly preferable, and consequently may even outright recklessly condemn medical cannabis’ relatively blanket approach, the demonstrably serious absence of the ample understanding of the human brain logically required for that responsibly sharp quality (nonetheless repeating for emphasis that cannabis is scientifically the only currently suggested potential solution against the disease itself, while also smoothly reliably dealing with symptoms at least on par with aforementioned pharmaceuticals) logically leaves the relatively well-proven symphonic cannabis approach as actually (perhaps even much) more responsible in medical terms of prescription (at least these days).
The greatest (and arguably excessive) risk from traditionally sharply focused pharmaceuticals with respect to the largely mysterious brain comes largely from unintended consequences. While any sane person obviously appreciates modern medical advancements (and the importance of encouraging the continuance of those advancements), not too long ago (relatively speaking), the best medical professionals often prescribed bloodletting (including by way of leeches), and it remains reasonable these days to conclude that professional medicine involving the apparently seriously limited understanding of the brain remains at least arguably at high risk of matching that deprecated prescription. Truly important is respectfully maintaining proper perspective regarding the strength and weakness of modern medical expertise to ensure best health for everyone.
There is logically a serious risk from solely relying upon a ‘one size fits all’ medicine to resolve mental problems, when considering the demonstrably complexly unique mental stress signatures among individuals. That includes relying upon 100% THC medications (e.g. Sativex) questionably promoted as an adequate alternative to vaporized cannabis – if Sativex works in your case, then great, but other people find it problematically contrasts against the medicinal value of vaporized cannabis that can flexibly, controllably, and smoothly (so comfortably) shape medical effects by way of the many other compounds absent in such extremely concentrated pharmaceuticals.
Unhealthy stress from the excessively misfitting nature of traditional relevant pharmaceuticals should no longer be solely publicly endorsed due essentially to the demonstrably unethical “reefer madness” stigma financially benefiting proponents of that stigma obviously against public safety for several decades. For that safety, the public needs to immediately understand that stigma remains largely (but thankfully decreasingly) sustained due largely to those proponents being unethically unchallenged by the mainstream media whom demonstrate serious bias on behalf of those proponents (generally law enforcement organizations consistently supplying newsworthy information for journalists to report about the tragedies they obviously broadcast daily). In other clarifying words, that unethically journalistically reinforced stigma remains a powerful obstacle against public safety, and must be publicly promptly addressed for this program to thrive properly. I welcome support by good journalists and members of law enforcement understanding their organizations’ credibility is on the line dangerously against public safety, and their righteous adaptation for societal benefit. Cannabis abuse is indeed worthy of addressing (as elaborated upon within this website), but demonizing use to (demonstrably pretend) to oppose abuse is obviously outrageous and publicly unacceptable by any honestly civilized reasoning.
Vaporized cannabis use is a skill, so indeed deviates from traditional pharmaceutical consumption. If the obviously failed Cannabis Prohibition (the one costing taxpayers billions of dollars annually, leaving cannabis usage rates comparable to places without prohibition, and failing to even create a “drug free” prison system) would end, then it would be reasonably easy to teach people the basics of that skill (without the fear of prosecution or black market inconsistencies against maximum strain availability, sometimes quality, and/or purity).
Critically note this program never serves to promote reckless cannabis intake. Meticulous strain selection is not just about Indica versus Sativa (the two main forms of cannabis), or THC versus CBD amounts (the two most popular medicinal compounds), but seriously careful attention being paid to the specific psychological styling and intensity of the lawfully administered cannabis product. Simple, smooth, and uplifting (or balanced) effects (with no illusion-enhancing textures – e.g. as may be recreationally enjoyably found in certain Purple Urkle strains) from an electronic vaporizor (e.g. set at approximately 359°F/181°C, though users never exposed to cannabis’ effects should comfortably work their way up from the lowest temperature setting to comfortably adjust to the new sensation of experiencing cannabis’ psychological effect at whatever higher temperature remains comfortable for that user) makes sense – reminding for emphasis that no advocating of illegal activity is expressed here.
Part of this program is called “Say Cheese”, because the strain “Cheese” (“Che” at Leafly) can be recommended (when excellently grown) as an excellent starter (and even solely used) strain. The bouquet includes a cheese aroma, and the effects can be described as simply smoothly balanced and gently uplifting (even Zen-like).
Assuming the currently righteously unstoppable momentum against Cannabis Prohibition continues, caregivers will lawfully be able to (and then should safely find the opportunity to) recreationally experience the specific effects of any strain provided by a specific grower for the sake of making much better suggestions regarding strain compatibiilty with the “caregivee”. Even if seeds come from the same strain, the psychological effects may noticeably differ between growers due to the complexity provided by the growing process (e.g. “Kush”, “Grandaddy Purple”, and the aforementioned “Cheese” strains can vary substantially between growers – basically similar to dog breeding). In other clarifying words, anyone prescribing (or simply properly recommending) a cannabis strain would need to be familiar with the psychological effects of that specific strain, the personality type of the user, and the mental status of the intended user at the time of usage (in part from the net-resulting impact of all relevant environmental factors). That means a civilized preference towards specialization in cannabis prescription/recommendation and attention during use to ensure a strain is (and remains) mentally fit for the user (especially for those people dealing with any mental illness partially or wholly alleviated by cannabis remedy).
For the uninitiated, electronic vaporization with temperature control (e.g. PUFFiT X) allows even the mildest cannabis effects (e.g. a seriously light cannabis “buzz” – buzz is a publicly familiar yet misfitting term due to the pure wonderful smoothness easily possibly achieved upon using cannabis). Logically speaking, experiencing those very mild effects is (perhaps even much) safer than even consuming a single alcohol beverage (e.g. one glass of wine as a nightcap). Serious control over the cannabis experience is now technologically possible (and easy to achieve), and that opens the door to consistent (so respectable) medical (and recreational) cannabis use, so at least all relevant medical professionals need to understand this (potentially, if not at least empirically validated, serious mass-harm-reducing) fact.
When cannabis use fits, the result is beneficial in stress management terms (the better the fit, the better the health benefit). Without that fit, cannabis abuse destructively results (the worse the fit, the worse the destruction) – that logically includes headaches, dizziness, and paranoia. The enormous number of psychological styles (basically on par with the enormous number of music options) provides the right cannabis choice for anyone in any appropriate cannabis-using situation. In terms of effect, cannabis is not just a single drug, but a vast class of possible perception-altering experiences (including strains that produce seriously dramatically differing experiences from each other – to a degree that the user experiences what effectively feels like a completely different drug). Choosing the right strain is similar to choosing the right tool for the job – exemplifying for clarity, obviously hammering a nail with a screw driver is going to be relatively discomforting, if not outright wrong. For solid example, “Platinum OG” (“Plt” at Leafly) can be very dense and heavy on the mind, so may work best as a relaxing night (if not insomnia-opposing) strain. Using that strain as a morning dose (especially at a heavy intensity) would likely be seriously misfitting due to that density and weight probably adversely affecting motivation and other healthy daytime needs – a simply textured and reasonably energetically uplifting strain at minimal-but-still-effective intensity logically makes medical sense in this case.
Scientists can learn a lot about the brain by way of perfectly isolating and focusing upon the effects of each popular cannabis strain by strictest application of the scientific method (e.g. not agenda-serving “science” for the sake of abusively securing grant money). When human understanding of the brain reaches a sufficient degree, the ability to then apply that righteous science to adapt perception-altering substances for optimal medical and even healthier living in general becomes respectably preferable. Cannabis naturally opens the door to better understanding the brain (nonetheless extends to cover the body’s natural endocannabinoid system). Future generations will likely be able to improvingly bring that understanding to include far better control of healthy-stress-boosting perception alteration by way of technological advancements. For prime example, instead of vaporizing cannabis for effects uncontrollably spanning a few hours at an initially set style and intensity that cannot be changed or prematurely ended (though this potential problem apparently is remedied by a product called “THC Buzzkill”), logically the likely computer-enhanced brain could leverage perception-altering brain filtration with thought-controlled (or perhaps optionally automatic) parameter shifts to comfortably adapt style and intensity, including no intensity, for optimal health. Functioning basically as clothing for the mind, that clothing (like current forms of clothing) will continue to advance for public safety and health.
Cannabis is not the final destination of relevant medical effectiveness, but an important logical step forwards on behalf of our species (one reducing ample harm for current generations upon proper cannabis use, and likely continuing to help future generations – i.e. actually sends the right message to children, at least to correct prohibitionists constantly proclaiming the contrary – during the lengthy time probably spanning at least a few generations towards safely integrating the common brain with preferably upgradeable computer technology).
As with any solution, there are pros and cons (and always unintended consequences). The idea is obviously to apply best efforts to apply the best solution matching maximal survival. Risks and rewards reasonably reveal that cannabis has earned its prominent place as that solution for some people.
Stress Health’s Respect Cannabis campaign offers more informational depth regarding this critical Mind Always Matters issue. That includes logically condemning all supposedly scientific cannabis research to date involving psychological impact as utterly premature to put it mildly, a reasonably detailed comparison between cannabis and alcohol, more important details about use versus abuse, and much more fundamental information to essentially complete the basics of cannabis education (not to mention justly exposing the abhorrent judicial foundation – that actually sends the wrong message to children and anyone else – necessary for expensively sustaining another demonstrably failed prohibition).