Tourette and Cannabis

Posted on February 11th, 2020 to Medical Cannabis by

Tourette and Cannabis

Although it falls among a group of tic disorders, Tourette’s Syndrome (TS) is the most common neurodevelopmental condition. People with Tourette’s usually start experiencing motor and vocal tics at a young age. While most children grow out of the disorder in adolescence, some might still carry the symptoms to adulthood. A small portion of children in the US are affected by Tourette’s, and although this disease has a cure, current therapies still have side effects on patients.

The research on the positive effect of cannabis on TS began since the 1980s. Currently, the rise of medical marijuana into the political and legal mainstream has sparked the investigation, giving hope to many patients.

How Cannabis Interacts with Tourette’s

Tourette has many symptoms, including “simple” tics, like grunting or blinking, or more complex ones, like jumping, twirling, repeating what someone says, or continually saying a specific phrase. The tic linked with Tourette’s is coprolalia, a vocal tic that comes with a crude or an inappropriate expression. This tic usually affects 10-15 percent of those with the conditions.

Since there’s little information about the cause of Tourette’s, treating the condition is varied, and each form of treatment has adverse side effects. The standard type of treatment includes dopamine blockers and inhibitors. However, they can cause weight gain and repetitive movements in some sufferers. Botox can be injected into affected muscles to block motor tics, although this leads to stiffness, it’s still a reasonably invasive method for a chronic condition. Medications such as Ritalin are usually prescribed for treating the ADD that comes with Tourette’s, but this can also ignite exacerbate tics.

Many medicinal specialists believe that Tourette’s is linked with a dysfunction in the brain’s endocannabinoid system, which makes medical cannabis suitable for treating the condition.  This hypothesis is supported by clinical evidence suggesting that marijuana-infused treatments lessen Tourette’s symptoms without any adverse side effects.

Could Cannabis Help Tourette’s Patients?

Research on the effectiveness of several cannabis derivatives proves that the drug helps to relieve tics, premonitory urges, and comorbidities that come with Tourette. Despite several studies on TS and cannabis, there is still much to be learned about the relationship between cannabinoids and tic disorders like Tourette’s.

Studies need to be conducted on the specific cannabinoid responsible for providing relief for patients suffering from tourette. Some people believe that both THC and the non-psychoactive cannabinoid CBD play a role in lessening the occurrence and duration of tics experienced by patients. In contrast, others believe that CBD can solely treat the condition. This will facilitate the treatment of tic disorders with CBD oil or pills without having to experience the “high” that comes from smoking or eating cannabis in edible form.

There is little information linking Tourette’s and marijuana. However, anecdotal evidence and some scientific research both suggest that cannabis could help patients by reducing the rate of tics and alleviate comorbid conditions like ADD. Sufferers of Tourette’s should consider visiting a doctor to know whether they can use marijuana for the situation.

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