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August 16, 2014


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Paul Flynn

Thanks. If cannabis has dangerous side-effects they would have become obvious in the 5,000 years it have been used as a medicine.
Your experience is a very sad one but not uncommon. Many of the drugs dispensed in residential homes create the symptoms of dementia. I have raised this many times.

Paul Flynn

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I've never tried it, but I guess it's the branding of cannabis as a 'recreational drug' in the popular imagination that made many people reluctant to grasp the idea of it as a 'bona fide' medication.

There are people who argue that some of the medications (which is after all just another word for 'drug') that are promoted by the big pharmaceutical companies can actually do more harm than good in many patients. I've been looking up the medications that are prescribed for Alzheimer's and other dementias for instance and many of the 'side effects' listed actually coincide with the behavioural symptoms by which dementia is diagnosed. Isn't there a possibility that in some cases once a patient is drugged up with such medications at least a certain percentage of people are misdiagnosed?

On the evening that my mother fell and went into hospital with a broken hip she had been doing her crosswords, participating in quiz shows on the TV and following the intricacies of the plot of soap operas such as Corrie, Emmerdale and Eastenders. Yet the very next day when I visited her in the hospital she was completely disoriented, had no idea who I was or where she was, enquired after the current health of her parents who'd died decades before and was diagnosed with suddenly being in late stage dementia.

Sadly, she never recovered from that state and died just over a year ago and as an only child I'm heartbroken and lost without her.

Ignorantly, I'd always assumed that dementia was about slow, gradual decline and the fact that it takes place over a long period is part of the torture integral to this horrible, cruel disease. So, how would you explain such a sudden 24 hour decline, Paul? Possibly my mum suffered a massive stroke, but the next day when I went in to see her she wasn't bedridden, but was sitting up alert, albeit totally confused and with no visible signs of 'droopiness' in her face.

Like most laypeople I'd unconditionally put my trust in the benefits of medications that I was too naïve to know anything about. However, I often wonder what would have happened if all (are they called 'psychoactive') medications had been stopped for a while. Perhaps she would have been better off if someone had given her cannabis than many of these other drugs with the high-falutin' names?

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