Cannabis May Help Treat Tourette Syndrome

Photo Credit: Marijuana Times

Photo Credit: Marijuana Times

Tourette Syndrome is known for producing involuntary and repetitive movements and vocal or phonic tics in patients. This could be anything from uncontrolled jaw movements, blinking, facial movements, shrugging, jerking about, stretching, hooting, throat clearing, or producing unrecognizable or inappropriate sounds. There is no cure available for Tourette Syndrome, but evidence suggests cannabis may be able to offer some relief. Because the CB1 receptor is densely present in layers of the cerebellum, basal ganglia and hippocampus, it could play an important role in relieving certain tics. In two separate studies from 2003 and 2013, delta-9-THC was viewed as an acceptable treatment of Tourette Syndrome when conventional therapies were ineffective or detrimental.

Cannabinoids also modulate brain neurotransmitter systems, making it possible to treat Tourette Syndrome or reduce symptoms of tics. In one double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized single-dose study, researchers sought to investigate the safety and efficacy of different doses of THC in 12 Tourettes Syndrome patients. They assessed tic severity using Tourette Syndrome Symptom List, cross-checking with different clinical examiners' rating scales and assessing other behavioral disorders. The maximum plasma concentrations of THC were correlated with the clinical improvements or changes. Researchers saw improvements in motor, vocal, and complex motor tics and obsessive compulsive behavior disorder. The severity score even dropped from 41 to 7 within two hours of delta-9-THC administration, with relief lasting several hours. The treatment did not cause adverse events aside from mild occurrences of psychoactive side effects. Followup studies confirmed these results.

This information has been provided by Marijuana Times and approved by our Chief Medical Officer.