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Cannabis Associated With Sustained Benefits In Tourette Syndrome Patients


International health experts estimate that roughly 0.5-1% of the world’s population is diagnosed with some level of Tourette Syndrome, although the true diagnosis rate of people suffering from the condition could be larger due to gaps in identification and treatment in some parts of the globe.

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, “Tourette Syndrome (TS) is a neurological disorder characterized by sudden, repetitive, rapid, and unwanted movements or vocal sounds called tics.” Currently, there is no cure for the condition.

Various treatments for Tourette Syndrome exist, with common ones being dopamine blockers, Botox injections, ADHD medications, anti-depressants, and anti-seizure medications. All of those treatments can yield possible undesirable side effects. Fortunately, a recent study in Israel found that cannabis may help. Below is more information about it via a news release from NORML:

Tel Aviv, Israel: Patients with Tourette syndrome (TS) report that cannabis inhalation is associated with sustained improvements in their symptoms, according to data published in the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research.

Israeli researchers assessed the long-term use of cannabis in 25 patients suffering from Gilles de la Tourette Syndrome. On average, patients in the study consumed cannabis for a period of four years, with some participants having used cannabis for up to nine years.

Patients reported sustained benefits in the management of TS and other comorbidities. Most subjects gradually increased their daily THC intake over time.

“Patients using MC [medical cannabis] reported an average 75 percent tic reduction compared with baseline,” authors determined. “A significant effect on comorbid conditions was [also] noted,” with 92 percent of subjects reporting reduced restlessness, 88 percent reporting improved mood, 84 percent reporting better sleep, and 75 percent reporting reduced anxiety.”

Authors concluded: “A subset of people with GTS report long-term significant benefit from continuous MC use with no disturbing side effects; however, they required escalating doses of THC over the years. Additional studies are required to test for objective improvement and for biological reasons that may explain dose escalation.”

Separate data published earlier this year reported that TS patients exhibit short-term improvements in their health-related quality of life as well as reductions in their use of prescription medications following cannabis treatment

Full text of the study, “Licensed medical cannabis use in Gilles de la Tourette syndrome: A retrospective long-term follow-up,” appears in Cannabis and Cannabinoid ResearchAdditional information on cannabinoids and TS is available from NORML’s publicationClinical Applications for Cannabis and Cannabinoids.