77-year-old using cannabis for Alzheimer’s is ‘much less fearful’
“On cannabis, she’s very, very different,” Leffler said, screwing the dropper-top back on the one-ounce bottle. The drug has drastically reduced Gillespie’s overall agitation and combativeness. It’s made it easier for her to eat and sleep, and easier for caregivers to tend to her many needs. And, far from making her sleepy or “out of it,” Leffler said, cannabis has restored a small bit of awareness and responsiveness to her dear one.
Although Gillespie can no longer express her own will, Leffler is confident that the woman she has known intimately since 1970 — they met as graduate students at the University of California at Berkeley and were married in Maine in 2015 — would be very open to pioneering cannabis as a promising medical treatment. And she would be quick to share her experience with others who are seeking relief from the aggression, anxiety, depression, insomnia, hallucinations and other distressing effects of the fatal disease of Alzheimer’s.
“If she were cognizant, she would be very proud to share her story,” Leffler said.
Gillespie, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s about three years ago, has been using cannabis tincture for about a year, after being certified through an area hospice agency. At the time, Leffler said, her spouse’s health had taken a sudden downturn, perhaps related to a series of smaller strokes that left her nearly comatose.