KIMT NEWS 3 - In December, the Minnesota Department of Health announced Alzheimer's will be added to the list of qualifying conditions for the state's medical cannabis program. As of July 1st, people with Alzheimer's are elligble to enroll with advance certification from a Minnesota health care provider.
Tara Thomas, R.N. is nursing supervisor at Visiting Angels in Rochester, a home care service. Some clients Visiting Angels serve have Alzheimer's. Thomas says she thinks there may be benefits, such as calming patients, but she also has concerns, including overmedicating patients. "Are we going to cause somebody to be what is termed as a chemical restraint? Even though it's with medical marijuana we have to be very careful. We can't give somebody other common sedatives to calm them down because it's a restraint. It's not a physical restraint, it's a chemical restraint and what we don't want to do is just have somebody so calm that they aren't able to do anything," she says.
Enrolled Alzheimer's patients can begin receiving medical cannabis August 1st.