Thesis defense Geke van den Elsen (Donders series 208)
4 March 2016
Promotor: prof. dr. M. Olde Rikkert, prof. dr. R. Verkes, copromotor: dr. ir. M. van der Marck, dr. C. Kramers
Tetrahydrocannabinol in the treatment of neuropsychiatric symptoms in dementia
Behavioral disturbances, such as aggression, restlessness and sleep disturbances are common in patients with dementia, but are often difficult to treat; currently available pharmacological treatments often lead to important side effects, such as falling, somnolence and an increased risk of stroke. This thesis describes the effects of a low dose tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the most important constituent of the Cannabis plant, on behavioral disturbances in dementia patients. Results show that low dose THC in tablet form can be safely administered to these vulnerable patients, as well as to healthy older persons. Nonetheless, the tablet does not lead to a reduction of behavioral disturbances, compared to a placebo tablet. This suggests that the studied dose is probably too low and it is therefore important to conduct further studies using higher doses in the treatment of behavioral disturbances in dementia.