Safety and Efficacy of Medical Cannabis Oil for Behavioral and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia: An-Open Label, Add-On, Pilot Study

J Alzheimers Dis. 2016;51(1):15-9. doi: 10.3233/JAD-150915.


Background: Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is a potential treatment for Alzheimer's disease (AD).

Objective: To measure efficacy and safety of medical cannabis oil (MCO) containing THC as an add-on to pharmacotherapy, in relieving behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD).

Methods: Eleven AD patients were recruited to an open label, 4 weeks, prospective trial.

Results: Ten patients completed the trial. Significant reduction in CGI severity score (6.5 to 5.7; p < 0.01) and NPI score were recorded (44.4 to 12.8; p < 0.01). NPI domains of significant decrease were: Delusions, agitation/aggression, irritability, apathy, sleep and caregiver distress.

Conclusion: Adding MCO to AD patients' pharmacotherapy is safe and a promising treatment option.

Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia; cannabis; tetrahydrocannabinol.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antipsychotic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Behavioral Symptoms / drug therapy*
  • Behavioral Symptoms / etiology
  • Cognition Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology
  • Dementia / complications
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medical Marijuana / therapeutic use*
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Physical Examination
  • Pilot Projects
  • Prospective Studies
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales


  • Antipsychotic Agents
  • Medical Marijuana