One company in Colorado is aiming to become the first to examine the effects of marijuana on Alzheimer’s disease.

The Denver Post reported that MedPharm Holdings intends to apply for a research and development license “to test delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD) and other cannabinoids’ effects on Alzheimer’s and dementia patients.” 

Albert Gutierrez, CEO of the Denver-based MedPharm, told the newspaper that research on cannabis’ ability to treat Alzheimer’s is a largely unexplored front.

“We haven’t yet tapped into what this plant can really do to help alleviate the symptoms,” Gutierrez told the Denver Post. “We hear a lot of anecdotal evidence as far as helping with epilepsy or helping with arthritic pain… now it’s time to put the cannabinoids to the test and really understand what cannabinoids and what doses and what delivery methods really help deliver that relief.”

According to the Post, Colorado lawmakers introduced research and development licensing “in 2017 with the passage of House Bill 1367, but left it up to municipalities to individually decide if they would offer it. So far only one company — MedPharm — has ever applied for an R&D license, according to the Marijuana Enforcement Division.”

Cannabis Use and Seniors

Cannabis research has been hamstrung by the fact that pot remains illegal on the federal level, but that hasn’t stopped many in the science and medical community from pursuing weed-related discoveries — particularly its effect on patients. Thorsten Rudroff, a professor in the department of neurology at the University of Iowa’s Carver College of Medicine, is currently looking for volunteers between the ages of 50 and 80 to participate in a study that will examine whether cannabis use creates a greater risk in them falling.

The study will feature two pools of individuals: those who do use marijuana, and those who do not. For Rudroff, it’s an opportunity to examine pot use among a group of people who may not be the best equipped to dabble.

“It’s self-medicated,” said Rudroff. “They don’t know how to use medical cannabis. There are no guidelines, no recommendations out there. We want to find out what is the best and safest product.”

A study published earlier this month in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine found that cannabis use among senior citizens jumped a dramatic 75 percent in just the last three years. 

Introduce Yourself: Name, Company, Goals