Plans have been announced in Canada for a research study on the effectiveness of medical cannabis in treating pain and improving cognitive function in seniors. The 6-month pilot program will be one of the largest of its kind, enrolling up to 500 nursing home residents.
The Ontario Long Term Care Association (OLTCA) is partnering with Canopy Growth Corporation, which makes a variety of cannabis products through its Spectrum Cannabis brand. The pilot study will focus on evaluating the impact of medical cannabis on residents’ health and quality of life, as well as caregiver stress and the economic benefits of cannabis use in nursing homes.
“There is clearly an interest in the long-term care space to explore medical cannabis as an alternative to traditional medications for pain and degenerative cognitive function,” said Mark Zekulin, President & Co-CEO of Canopy Growth. “The pilot study we’ve announced… is the first step in developing an evidence-based, best practice approach to medical cannabis that will result in consistent care for thousands of seniors and ultimately improve quality of life and outcomes in long-term care homes.
“A recent survey in Israel of over 2,700 elderly patients found that medical cannabis significantly reduced their chronic pain. About a third of the patients used CBD oil, about 24 percent smoked marijuana, and about six percent used a vaporizer.
Over half of the seniors who originally reported “bad” or “very bad” quality of life said their lives improved to “good” or “very good.”
“We found medical cannabis treatment significantly relieves pain and improves quality of life for seniors with minimal side effects reported,” said Victor Novack, MD, a professor of medicine at Ben-Gurion University and head of the Soroka Cannabis Clinical Research Institute.
A recent survey by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) found that most older Americans think marijuana is effective for pain relief, anxiety and nausea.