27/05/2022

Cannabis and Tourette syndrome – how can marijuana help people with the disease?

What is the connection between cannabis and Tourette syndrome? Can marijuana help against this disease? How far is the research so far?

Marijuana has long been known to be beneficial to health. The medicinal properties of this plant have helped many people with their health problems. Does cannabis help with Tourette’s syndrome? Can this plant perform another miracle here?

Although there is a lot of misinformation about Tourette’s syndrome, research studies conducted over the past 15 years have shown that those who suffer from the disorder respond positively when using medical marijuana.

Cannabis and Tourette Syndrome – does the plant stand as a cure?

According to available information, Tourette syndrome affects 1% of the population and its onset occurs at an early age, between five and ten years. Unfortunately, the cause of the disease is unknown and the number of cases of this disorder is increasing every year.

cannabis leaf in a lab

It is also very well known that treatment methods are not always sufficient and rarely have the desired effect. Kristen R. Muller-Vahl, research orthopaedic surgeon at the Medical School of Hannover, knows this. In 2003, she published an article that deals directly with this issue.

“Currently, the treatment of Tourette syndrome (TS) is insufficient. For this reason, interest in new therapeutic strategies is constantly increasing. Anecdotal reports suggest that the use of cannabis can improve not only tics but also behavioural problems in TS patients”, says Muller-Vahl.

Muller-Vahl also cites the results of two clinical trials, the first in 2002 and the second in 2003.

The first study involved 12 patients with Tourette syndrome who were given one dose of THC and two weeks later were given a placebo. 75% of the participants in this study reported positive effects from cannabis.

The second was a randomized trial of 24 participants, all of whom suffered from TS-related tics. This study reported that delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive chemical in marijuana, reduced tics in Tourette’s patients. No serious adverse effects were reported in either study. Muller-Vahl states that if commonly used medications to treat TS prove ineffective, cannabis should be considered.

Cannabis helps treat Tourette syndrome when conventional drugs fail

grinded cannabis and a person with joint

Further research was done in the 1980s by Reuven Sandyk M.D. (neurologist) and Gavin Awerbuch M.D. (pain management specialist). In 1988, they published a paper called Marijuana and Tourette’s Syndrome, which reported that they had recently encountered three TS patients who had inadequate responses to conventional drugs used in the treatment of TS, but who had experienced significant improvement in their symptoms when smoking cannabis.

An interesting report came in a 2017 study. In that year, scientits summarized their research and reported that 18 of the 19 study participants showed great improvement and tics were reduced by up to 60%. The participants tolerated the cannabis well, but for some there were side effects, unfortunately unspecified.

What about the verdict on cannabis and Tourette’s syndrome?

cannabis leaf and oil for tourette syndrome

According to the results of recent years, we can conclude that cannabis has been able to help people with this disorder. Despite the mild side effects, it is clear that marijuana may be able to “save the day” where conventional drug treatment does not work.

Published by Jan Veselý

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