Tourette’s syndrome (TS) is a neurological disorder that can begin early in life (often around the age of two), but in others, it may not manifest until they are around the age of 21. The disorder is far more prevalent in males than females. Once symptoms start, the disorder will last for life. Unfortunately, for many individuals with Tourette’s syndrome, conventional prescription medications do not relieve the symptoms, or they cause other unpleasant side effects. Many such sufferers are turning to medical marijuana as a natural way to manage life with TS.
Symptoms of Tourette’s Syndrome
There are numerous symptoms of Tourette’s syndrome, which are normally classified as either simple or complex ‘tics. Some sufferers can suppress their tics for a short amount of time, but such an action often leads to far worse tics later. Unfortunately, the tics often cause to bouts of anxiety and depression.
- Simple Tics: Simple tics often include shrugging of the shoulders, jerking of the head, grunting, sniffing, clicking the tongue, or throat clearing. Some individuals may also blink rapidly or twitch their nose.
- Complex Tics: Complex tics include involuntarily uttering inappropriate phrases, repeating sounds/words, jumping, biting, continuous movements of the arms or legs, twirling, or pulling on clothing.
The Cannabinoid THC to Treat Tourette’s
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the main cannabinoid found in the marijuana plant, appears to calm both the mind and the body to relieve or reduce the tics. Studies undertaken using THC for TS sufferers have shown great promise. Many treatment-resistant individuals respond to THC when all other prescription medications fail. In addition to calming the tics, the THC also relieves anxiety, OCD, depression, and ADHD which have all been associated with Tourette’s syndrome sufferers.
‘Medical Marijuana and TS
Unlike standard prescription medications used to treat TS, medical marijuana has exhibited no severe side effects. THC is the psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis and is frequently used to attain a high. However, when certain strains are used to treat TS, the individuals experienced no mind-altering side effects. TS sufferers can speak clearly focus, sustain memory, and have normal reaction times. Another benefit of medical marijuana in treating TS is that it is a natural treatment that poses no danger of addiction. There have been no severe side effects that have been shown with treatments using THC.
Other Disorders Treated with Cannabis
Tourette’s syndrome affects less than one percent of the population. However, many sufferers who cope with TS also must deal with other disorders:
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Anxiety (fear of social gatherings because of the inability to control the TS tics)
- Depression (often caused by the inability to control the TS tics)
The above disorders also show great promise in being treated with medical marijuana.
Undoubtedly, medical marijuana is offering great hope for Tourette’s syndrome sufferers. More research still must be taken, but for the many individuals with TS who have opted to use cannabis to relieve their tics, there has been exceptional success gained in living a life with no tics or with reduced frequency/severity by using cannabis.