Alzheimer’s Patients Qualify for Medical Marijuana Access in Virginia

There is no known treatment or cure for Alzheimer’s, but alternative medicine is becoming popular as the impact of Alzheimer’s continues to rise.

With the comprehensive medical cannabis law enacted in Virginia, people with dementia can qualify for MMJ (medical marijuana) with a doctor’s certification.

Alzheimer’s in Virginia Diagnostic form with diagnosis Alzheimers Disease - Tele Leaf RX

Alzheimer’s disease is a growing public health crisis in Virginia. The most recent data on Alzheimer’s in the state are:

  • 150,000 people aged 65 and older are living with Alzheimer’s in Virginia.
  • 9.5% of people aged 45 and older have subjective cognitive decline
  • 349,000 family caregivers bear the burden of Alzheimer’s in Virginia

The state is considering a public health approach to lessen the burden and enhance the quality of life of patients and their loved ones.

What is Alzheimer’s?

Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that affects memory, thinking, and behavior. It is a brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills, and eventually, the ability to carry out the simplest tasks.

The most important known risk factor for Alzheimer’s is increasing age. Hence, studies are continuously being conducted for the effective treatment and prevention of the disease.

Basic Information About Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia, named after Dr. Alois Alzheimer who noticed the changes in the brain tissue of a woman who had died of an unusual mental illness.

The symptoms of the woman are similar to the symptoms that are being experienced by Alzheimer’s patients today: man has lost his memory - Tele Leaf RX

  • Difficulty remembering newly learned information
  • Disorientation
  • Mood changes
  • Behavior changes
  • Deepening confusion about events, time, and place
  • Unfounded suspicions about family, friends, and professional caregivers
  • More serious memory loss and behavior changes
  • Difficulty speaking, swallowing and walking

The main features of Alzheimer’s include abnormal clumps called amyloid plaques and tangled bundles of fibers called neurofibrillary or tau. Other features are the loss of connections between nerve cells or neurons in the brain, and from the brain to muscles and organs in the body.

Findings in studies show that compounds found in medical marijuana may reduce a hallmark characteristic of Alzheimer’s that is commonly thought to cause neurodegenerative disease.

Types of Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s patients have common symptoms—memory loss, confusion, trouble with once-familiar tasks, and making decisions.

  1. Early-onset Alzheimer’s

    People who experience the symptoms of the disease at an earlier age like in their 40s or 50s have early-onset Alzheimer’s. It’s a rare type happening to only 5% of all people diagnosed with the disease.

  2. Late-onset Alzheimer’s

    People age 65 and older who are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s are considered to have late-onset Alzheimer’s. This is the most common form which may or may not run in families. The cause is not known.

Causes of Alzheimer’s

There is no known specific cause of Alzheimer’s. But, scientists are learning more about the condition, and they are getting clues about where the symptoms are coming from. Alzheimer`s disease symptoms word cloud - Tele Leaf RX

A few things that may cause Alzheimer’s, according to research, include:

  • Age (risk increases after age 65)
  • Gender (more often in women)
  • Family history
  • Down syndrome
  • Head injury
  • Other factors like high cholesterol levels and high blood pressure

Impact on Lifestyle of Alzheimer’s

People suffering from Alzheimer’s have trouble doing everyday simple tasks like driving a car, cooking a meal, paying bills, and other everyday tasks. They would usually ask the same questions over and over, get lost easily, lose things or put them in odd places, and find very simple things very confusing. Some patients can even get anxious, angry, or violent as the disease progresses.

Types of Alzheimer’s Treatments

There are medications that can be administered and therapies that can be done to help manage the symptoms of the disease.

  • Therapies that can help include:
    • Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
    • Music therapy
    • Art therapy
    • Massage
    • Occupational therapy
    • Validation therapy
    • Therapy for depression
  • Medications being administered to patients with Alzheimer’s often target the fundamental pathophysiology of the disease that controls inflammation reduces nerve deterioration or enhances memory and learning.
  • Alternative treatments like using medical marijuana in relieving the symptoms of Alzheimer’s. Medical cannabis is thought to be a safe and promising treatment option for Alzheimer’s.

Accessing Medical Marijuana for Alzheimer’s

Virginia lists Alzheimer’s as one of the debilitating conditions that qualify for medical marijuana. If you’re seeking to get one for your condition, you need a medical marijuana card and a doctor’s recommendation.

TeleLeaf RX’s online platform can help you get started through our HIPAA-compliant application. For more information, visit our page.

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