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

Donovan T. Maust, Erin E. Bonar, Mark A. Ilgen, Frederic C. Blow, Helen C. Kales

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1000-1003
Number of pages4
JournalAmerican Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016
Externally publishedYes



  • agitation
  • dementia
  • healthcare policy
  • medical marijuana
  • neuropsychiatric symptoms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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