Tourette syndrome is an inherited neuropsychiatric disorder that manifests itself in childhood and is characterized by physical and vocal tics, such as repetitive jerking movements or the exclamation of obscene words or socially inappropriate comments. Cannabis can help with different symptoms of Tourette syndrome, such as reducing anxiety and the frequency of tics.
Decreases the frequency of tics
The German researchers conducted several more studies on cannabis and tics reduction, all of which showed that most patients experienced considerable relief after using cannabis, with very few patients experiencing side effects. Cannabis is believed to reduce TS tics by acting in a similar way as it does in other diseases that cause dystonia, such as Parkinson's.
Reduces the symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is the most common comorbid condition in TS patients. TS patients who also have OCD present recurrent compulsive behaviors, such as repeatedly counting and touching things and “ordering them according to certain rigid guidelines”, and they may also be more aggressive compared to patients who only suffer from OCD .
Most studies by researchers in Hanover, Germany, found that patients noted a decrease in obsessive compulsive symptoms, along with a reduction in tics with medical cannabis use.
Increases the effectiveness of conventional drugs for TS.
A study published in the journal Life Sciences in 1989 suggested that both cannabinoids and nicotine could "significantly improve" the effectiveness of "neuroleptics" (antipsychotics) in motor diseases, including TS. Furthermore, the only two randomized controlled trials that have been conducted on cannabis and TS compare the use of a cannabinoid as sole therapy and as adjunctive therapy versus placebo. Both were found to be used in conjunction with other medications to yield the most positive results. However, the sample sizes of the two studies were small, and further research is needed to confirm the results.
Interestingly, as early as 1988, cannabis has also been found to be effective in individuals who do not respond to conventional TS treatments at all.
Many Tourette patients also suffer from sleep disorders. Although there has been no specific research on the effect of cannabinoids on sleep disorders in TS patients, there is a wealth of anecdotal evidence to suggest that cannabis may have a positive effect on this aspect of TS as well. For example, TS is known to cause increased sleep latency (delayed sleep onset), while cannabis has been widely shown to reduce sleep latency and decrease difficulty in falling asleep for many people. .
Anxiety is a common feature in many TS sufferers. Although the valuable research carried out by Müller-Vahl et al (and the other research teams that have investigated the potential of cannabis to treat TS), in general, it revealed that cannabis use did not positively affect levels of anxiety, and in one study the incidence of phobic anxiety even increased, there have been abundant anecdotal reports from TS sufferers experiencing subjective improvement in anxiety.
Another common feature of TS is aggressiveness and outbursts, which are especially common in children (affecting up to 25% of children with TS), but are also present in a significant minority of adults. These outbursts typically manifest as unpredictable displays of aggressiveness that are largely disproportionate to the perceived provocation, and can often present the risk of self-harm or serious injury to others.
Again, the potential of cannabis for treating aggressive symptoms in TS patients has not been officially investigated, but there is substantial anecdotal evidence from TS sufferers that cannabis use has a positive effect. about aggressiveness. In addition to this, many people with ADHD (a closely related disorder, which is often comorbid with TS) report a subjectively positive effect on aggression.