Monday, November 23, 2015

Marijuana And Dementia

This subject comes up every now and then. Giving a dementia patient marijuana.

There are pros and cons to everything. And this topic is no different. Being a patient I can tell you that giving your loved one marijuana is one of those things that should have been talked about way before you think the need has arisen.

You will always have the marijuana proponents that say "Sure give it to them. It won't hurt and it will help with the pain".

Being a patient I can attest to this. First off, there is no pain with dementia. To believe this, one would have to believe that their brain hurts, beings it is indeed a disease of the brain. It doesn't and you have never heard someone say their brain hurts, sober that is.

Can there be pain associated with dementia? Of course, but it is rare at best. When a patient cannot swallow, there is no pain. When a patient cannot breathe, there is no pain. When a patient cannot remember who he/she is or anyone around them, there is no pain.

If a patient burned themselves on the stove, this obviously would cause pain, if they ran their hand under scalding hot water, again, there would be pain.

But this type of pain is caused from an action. An action the patient took because someone was not watching them. It is a fairy tale to believe that giving a patient marijuana helps with the pain.

What you are doing is giving your loved one a mind altering drug. You're giving a person with a brain disease, a drug that alters the brain. Now to some, that isn't a problem.

To me, it's a huge problem. But, like I said you will always have those who will say that marijuana is the best thing since coconut oil when it comes to dementia.

My thing is, if it is so good, why doesn't the Neurologists prescribe marijuana in the beginning? There can be just as much a chance for pain in a newly diagnosed patient, as there can be with one who has been diagnosed for years.

I have just as much pain today as I had when first diagnosed. But that pain is in my heart, not my head. And that is where your loved ones pain is as well, and no mind altering drug is going to lesson that. Pain is simply not a symptom of dementia.

This is like suggesting to someone who is severely depressed to go have a beer with you. Alcohol is a depressant. But the world is full of depressed people who use alcohol.

Being prior law enforcement, let me give you one more thing to think about. If you do indeed make a decision, be it yourself or as a family to give your loved one marijuana and something dreadfully goes wrong, they wig out or something, then whoever gave them this drug can and should be charged. with crime.

It's a misdemeanor to offer someone a small amount of marijuana, except in a few states. This is not one of those things that "if it feels good do it".  But, and there is always a but, if the patient is 65 years of age or older it is considered elder abuse, which is indeed a felony.

I am not trying to be debbie downer here, I am just stating my opinion on this subject. Some of it opinion, some of it fact.

I think there is a huge difference between a cancer patient and a dementia patient needing medical marijuana. First of all, the pain experienced with cancer is just that, pain.

Once you figure out your loved one may be in pain with dementia, they are usually to far along to communicate that to you, so in essence it is an educated guess.

There are literally hundreds of legal drugs you can get from a doctor that will take care of any pain that your loved one is or could be experiencing.

None of them are mind altering. Some can cause symptoms of suicide, depression, etc. but that goes with just about any drug that deals with the mind.

The bottom line is, for your protection, you better hope you are giving them medical marijuana through a doctors orders and prescription. If you are doing this just because you have a hunch they are in pain, like I said, in the State of Ohio, it's a felony if they are older than 65 years old.

That's not my opinion, that is the law. This is one of those hot button topics for sure. And there can be debate. There usually is, just so it is respectful debate.

If you truly think that you are helping your loved one by giving them marijuana, there is nothing I am going to say to change that. I get that.

But like I said, if you are doing this because you think its best for them, well that is indeed illegal. In every state. You are dealing with people who in the beginning of this journey can't make wise decisions, and you are going on the assumption that they said or you think this would be good for them?

The only pain I have, and have had for years is not in mind. It's in my heart. And there is no drug or prescription that is going to help with that. Period.

© Rick Phelps  2015