As senior citizens continue to embrace legal cannabis at unprecedented levels, segments of the health-care industry are scrambling to ensure that they approach it safely. Now one of the first partnerships to school the elderly about pot is taking its education campaign a step further, with a course focusing on how cannabis can treat dementia.
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In 2017, Balfour Senior Living began hosting Cannabis 101 courses with medical marijuana physician Dr. Joseph Cohen and pot-infused product company Stratos, teaching Balfour residents and their families how cannabis can be used to treat arthritis, chronic pain and sleeping disorders, focusing on general products and general age-related ailments. The next session, however, will incorporate Dr. Dale Bredesen's Reversing Cognitive Decline (ReCODE) program, which uses thirty years of research on human genetics, environmental factors and food triggers in an attempt to prevent and reverse early dementia.
Cohen, who trained under Bredesen, recently founded the Colorado Dementia Prevention and Treatment Center with health coach Kym Hansler and nutritionist Martha Hammel. On May 30, the group will lead a panel discussion on how to use the ReCODE program and cannabis to help treat Alzheimer's, dementia and other degenerative neurological conditions; the presentation will also focus on how cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive and anti-inflammatory component of cannabis, can be used as an adjunct therapy for dementia.
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A 2015 research trial described in the journal Nature Medicine last year showed that THC began regenerating CB1 receptors in the brains of mice that were at least one year old (that's old for mice), which "in old individuals could be an effective strategy to treat age-related cognitive impairments," according to the study results. "THC treatment restored hippocampal gene transcription patterns such that the expression profiles of THC-treated mice aged 12 months closely resembled those of THC-free animals aged 2 months."
The third in the series of senior-citizen education courses organized by Stratos is set for 5 p.m. on Wednesday, May 30, at Balfour Senior Living's location at 1331 Hecla Drive in Louisville. Admission is free; call 303-867-6400 to reserve a spot.