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Agitation in Alzheimer Disease as a Qualifying Condition for Medical Marijuana in the United States

  • Donovan T. Maust
    Correspondence
    Send correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. Donovan T. Maust, Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan, NCRC 016-222W, 2800 Plymouth Road, Ann Arbor, MI 48109.
    Affiliations
    Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

    Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

    Center for Clinical Management Research, VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System, Ann Arbor, MI
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  • Erin E. Bonar
    Affiliations
    Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

    Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
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  • Mark A. Ilgen
    Affiliations
    Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

    Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

    Center for Clinical Management Research, VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System, Ann Arbor, MI
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  • Frederic C. Blow
    Affiliations
    Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

    Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

    Center for Clinical Management Research, VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System, Ann Arbor, MI
    Search for articles by this author
  • Helen C. Kales
    Affiliations
    Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

    Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

    Center for Clinical Management Research, VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System, Ann Arbor, MI
    Search for articles by this author
Published:April 11, 2016DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jagp.2016.03.006

      Objective

      To determine the extent to which states and localities include dementia as a qualifying condition for medical marijuana and how common this indication is.

      Methods

      The authors reviewed authorizing legislation and medical marijuana program websites and annual reports for the states and localities where medical marijuana is legal.

      Results

      Of the 24 states and localities where medical marijuana is legal, dementia is a qualifying condition in 10 (41.7%), primarily for agitation of Alzheimer disease. In the five states where information was available regarding qualifying conditions for certification, dementia was the indication for <0.5% of medical marijuana certifications.

      Conclusion

      Dementia is somewhat commonly listed as a potential qualifying condition for medical marijuana. Currently, few applicants for medical marijuana list dementia as the reason for seeking certification. However, given increasingly open attitudes toward recreational and medical marijuana use, providers should be aware that dementia is a potential indication for licensing, despite lack of evidence for its efficacy.

      Key Words

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