Catholic Homes in medicinal cannabis trials for dementia support

Researchers at Notre Dame University have selected Catholic Homes to be part of the ground-breaking study, which will be undertaken by the university’s Institute for Health Research in partnership with Israel-based company MGC Pharmaceuticals. 

The cannabis trials will involve 50 participants to assist those living with dementia in residential care. 

Over 400,000 Australians are living with dementia and more than 1.5 million Australians are involved in their care. “Catholic Homes has a long term commitment to this cutting edge treatment, which is a much softer approach to traditional treatments,” says Michelle Barrow, Executive Manager of Residential Care Services. 

The medical cannabis oil called Cognicann will be trialled over 18 weeks as an oral spray. Catholic Homes’ residents are invited to volunteer starting in November 2019. To be eligible for the trial they must have a diagnosis of dementia, live in a residential aged care facility, be aged 65 years or older and are compliable to taking medication. 

 “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,” says Ms Barrow. 

All participants will be randomly allocated into two treatment groups where they will be administered and alternated between the medical cannabis oil and a placebo trial. 

Comprehensive safety monitors will be in place to monitor side effects as well as withdrawal and exit strategies where appropriate.

For more information about Catholic Homes’ participation in the medicinal cannabis trials for dementia support, please contact Donna Kelly, Manager of Clinical Services or 0437 692 704.