Cannabinoids Found Beneficial in Treatment of Tourette Syndrome

Photo Credit: MassRoots

Photo Credit: MassRoots

Neuropsychological studies have found high concentrations of CB1 receptors in areas of the brain that are linked to cognitive functions, suggesting it could influence areas that are effected by neuropsychiatric disorders like Tourette syndrome, a condition characterized by involuntary and repetitive movement, and vocal and phonic tics. Two studies have found THC have validated that use of THC for the treatment of Tourette related symptoms when other treatment options have failed. The cannabinoids may be able to treat stimulant-induced exacerbation of tics and related co-morbidities through its enhancement of intra-cortical inhibition and its induction of neurotransmitter release. Cannabinoids can also treat the behavioral symptoms of tics by modulating the brain's neurotransmitter systems. One review led by German researchers found a 25 year old male patient suffering from Tourette syndrome successfully treated his symptoms using a single dose of 10 mg of THC. Unfortunately, this study was open-labeled and uncontrolled. 

One double-blind, randomized single-dose and placebo-controlled study found THC safely and effectively reduces tics and related behavioral disorders like obsessive compulsive behaviors (OCB). 12 patients with Tourette syndrome were treated with either 5.0, 7.5, or 10.0 mg of THC, and researchers and patients reported significant improvements in tics and OCB in comparison to the group receiving placebo. The severity score dropped from 41 to 7 within only two hours of administration, and the relief lasted several hours without producing adverse side effects other than what was considered minor psychoactive effects. Plasma analysis indicated a relationship between higher 11-OH-THC plasma concentration and tic improvement. One follow-up study involving 24 patients with Tourette syndrome found patients who received 10 mg THC for 6 weeks experienced clinically significant reductions in tics. The other follow-up and cross-over study, which involved 12 patients who received a single dose 10 mg THC, reported significant improvements in the treated group in comparison to the placebo group without producing side effects. 

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