CBD oil is being heralded around the world for its healing and calming properties. The oil is extracted from cannabis plants and developed into a range of products including oils, capsules, sprays and vapours.
CBD is not a psychoactive substance, meaning it doesn’t affect the way you behave, think or feel. THC is the psychoactive component of marijuana, but since CBD oil must contain at least 98 per cent cannabidiol to be legal in Australia, it can only contain the most minuscule amount of THC. CBD is only available in Australia with a prescription
Catholic Homes have announced they will be collaborating with the Institute for Health Research and MGC Pharmaceuticals to trial the CBD spray, ‘Cognicann’, with 50 of their residents over 14 months.
Michelle Barrow, executive manager of residential care services at Catholic Homes states “we’re optimistic that the cannabis trials will help to reduce behavioural and neuropsychiatric symptoms ranging from anxiety, aggression, insomnia, and hallucinations. Medicinal cannabis may also increase appetite in those who have experienced a loss of appetite as a symptom of dementia.”
To be eligible for the trial, residents must be aged over 65 with a diagnosis of dementia and be able to comply with the trial requirements.
Alzheimers UK states there are no research studies that prove cannabis, or products such as CBD oil, can stop, slow, reverse or prevent the diseases that cause dementia.
Although some studies suggest cannabis could help to manage a few behavioural symptoms of dementia, such as agitation and aggression.
The current Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety has been highly critical of chemical restraints such as benzodiazepines and psychotropics in aged care facilities in Australia to calm behavioural symptoms. We will be looking on with interest to see if this trial demonstrates the viability of a natural alternative like CBD oil.