Medical cannabis for older patients—treatment protocol and initial results

Ran Abuhasira, Addie Ron, Inbal Sikorin, Victor Novack

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

Older adults may benefit from cannabis treatment for various symptoms such as chronic pain, sleep difficulties, and others, that are not adequately controlled with evidence-based therapies. However, currently, there is a dearth of evidence about the efficacy and safety of cannabis treatment for these patients. This article aims to present a pragmatic treatment protocol for medical cannabis in older adults. We followed consecutive patients above 65 years of age prospectively who were treated with medical cannabis from April 2017 to October 2018. The outcomes included treatment adherence, global assessment of efficacy and adverse events after six months of treatment. During the study period, 184 patients began cannabis treatment, 63.6% were female, and the mean age was 81.2 ± 7.5 years (median age-82). After six months of treatment, 58.1% were still using cannabis. Of these patients, 33.6% reported adverse events, the most common of which were dizziness (12.1%) and sleepiness and fatigue (11.2%). Of the respondents, 84.8% reported some degree of improvement in their general condition. Special caution is warranted in older adults due to polypharmacy, pharmacokinetic changes, nervous system impairment, and increased cardiovascular risk. Medical cannabis should still be considered carefully and individually for each patient after a risk-benefit analysis and followed by frequent monitoring for efficacy and adverse events.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1819
JournalJournal of Clinical Medicine
Volume8
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2019
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Marijuana
  • Medical cannabis
  • Older adults
  • Protocol

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