In many states where medical marijuana is legal, one of the many listed qualifying conditions is Tourette Syndrome. The illness is a neurological disorder that causes tics, OCD, and ADD-like tendencies among other issues. While there is no cure for Tourette’s, there are some therapies that prove effective in minimizing symptoms – and one of the most effective treatments with the fewest side effects appears to be medical marijuana.
A recent study published in The Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences found that Tourette’s patients who used marijuana found a reduction in their symptoms – so the clinic started to make medical cannabis recommendations. After enough patients were using medical cannabis and finding it to be helpful, the clinic decided they should look further to see how effective the cannabis was in treating the disorder.
“Several of my patients with Tourette syndrome had noticed that if they used some marijuana, their tics decreased significantly,” Elia Abi-Jaoude said in a PsyPost report. “We began prescribing medical cannabis at our clinic and were struck by the improvements we saw in tics and related symptoms. We eventually decided that we should investigate this topic further.”
With the help of the University of Toronto, researcher Elia Abi-Jaoude did a retroactive study of the patients’ symptoms and found that 18 out of 19 patients saw a 60% reduction in tics. It also found that medical cannabis was, for the most part, well tolerated among all patients. The only side effects mentioned were sleepiness, decreased concentration and anxiety, though there was nothing accounting for patients using different strains from one another or during the course of treatment.
“We hope that with further research we can get a clearer picture of the potential benefits and risks with using cannabis for tics and related symptoms,” Abi-Jaoude said.
While this study lacked a control and a placebo, the hope is that this small study based on patient experience will lead into a larger study in the future – a study that could potentially help determine which cannabinoids are most beneficial to patients with Tourette Syndrome, which strains will work the best, and how it works to reduce symptoms in the first place. This would give more states reason to put Tourette’s on their list of conditions that qualify a patient for medical marijuana, giving more people safe access to an effective, natural alternative medicine.