Cannabis is one of the most versatile plant medicines on the planet. Countless patients suffering from a myriad of disorders and symptoms have been helped through consuming medical cannabis. Researchers in Australia recently announced that they seek to determine whether the neurological disorder known as Tourette syndrome can be added to the list.
The study will take place at the Wesley Medical Research Institute, with 24 adult patients participating in the study. Neuropsychiatrist Philip Mosley will be directing the team of researchers to see if medical marijuana could eventually be used as an alternative to the antipsychotic medications often prescribed to those with the tic disorder.
The researchers want to see if cannabis can help calm the involuntary actions of patients with Tourette syndrome. These involuntary actions are known as ‘tics’ and vary widely depending on the individual – from blinking to hand and jaw movements, etc. In about 10 to 15 percent of cases, those with Tourette syndrome might involuntarily shout offensive and crude words – known as coprolalia.
Patients with this disorder are usually prescribed antipsychotic medication to treat their Tourette syndrome. As is the case with many other pharmaceuticals, these antipsychotic meds can cause some awful side effects. Some patients with the disorder have opted to undergo brain surgery.
“The people with Tourette syndrome who’ve had deep brain stimulation are doing well, but not everyone wants to have brain surgery,” says Dr. Mosley.
This particular study will be focusing on the administration of both THC and CBD. Up until now, most similar studies paid closer attention to the effectiveness of CBD as treatment. Dr. Mosley believes that a specific combination of both compounds will be the most effective treatment. “It’s a combination of the two compounds that will hit the sweet spot,” he says.
Dr. Mosley believes that THC can help treat the involuntary tics experienced by patients with Tourette syndrome, but higher doses of THC can leave them feeling anxious, as the disorder itself is known for causing anxiety in those who have it. This is why Dr. Mosley and his team believe there is a ‘sweet spot’ of THC and CBD that could “beneficial for this condition.”
The study is being funded by a $100,000 grant and will begin in a few months. Studies like this are imperative for the further advancement and acceptance of marijuana as a medicine, as it gives doctors confidence in prescribing it and continues to normalize it.