Can Cannabis Help Manage Tourette Syndrome?

Can Cannabis Help Manage Tourette Syndrome

Owing to the legalization of cannabis in the state, the number of people applying for 420 evaluations in Los Angeles, CA has risen significantly in the past few years. People are turning to the plant to treat many different medical conditions. And the plant too, in turn, is helping these people in the best way possible. There are several conditions, including pain, inflammation, stress, anxiety, etc., against which the herb has shown its potential. 

But can cannabis help manage Tourette Syndrome too?

The recent studies are quite positive!

Tourette Syndrome today is affecting millions of people at the global level. And while a few treatment methods are available, they aren’t as effective as people need them to be. However, the research that has surfaced recently suggest that cannabis may help people alleviate the Tourette’s symptoms effectively.

Let’s gather some more information on this. 

Understanding Tourette Syndrome

You may already know what this condition consists of. However, there are a lot of misconceptions surrounding what Tourette Syndrome actually is. To keep it simple, Tourette Syndrome, or TS for short, is a nervous system disorder that involves unwanted muscle sensations, which often lead to unintentional and repetitive vocal as well as motor tics.

The scientists have not been able to define the exact reason for this. However, as per the primitive research, some genetic and environmental factors may have a role to play in this. Having said that, in the majority of cases until now, it is seen that the condition has been transferred to a person from his/her parents. The genes through which it passes, though, haven’t been confirmed yet.

Tourette Syndrome Symptoms

While talking about Tourette’s, a lot of you probably picture a person having random vocal outbursts, just like on TV. However, you should note that while this yelling behavior is definitely related to this condition, it is not very common. A majority of TS patients do not show this symptom.

Instead, most TS patients display a mix of vocal and motor tics. These often vary in intensity. And many are so subtle that patients display them on a regular basis without anyone even noticing. A few of such tics include eye-rolling, shoulder shrugging, throat clearing, tongue clicking, etc. All these actions can be performed very easily, without disturbing anyone.

There are some other tics too, however, that aren’t as subtle as the above-mentioned ones. Some patients may want to jerk their head or any other limb, some may want to jump, and others may have an urge to touch certain things or people. This list may also include some vocal tics, such as whistling, saying random things, making animal noises, etc. 

However, you should note that the latter affects only 1 out of 10 TS patients. Others display the former symptoms only.

Here is a common categorization of Tourette Syndrome Symptoms:

  • Attention Deficit
  • Memory Deficits
  • Learning Disabilities
  • OCD
  • Panic Disorder
  • Problem in Sensory Integration
  • Motor Disabilities
  • Mood Disorder
  • Social Skills Deficits
  • Executive Disfunction

Traditional Treatment Methods

There are a variety of treatment methods available nowadays to manage TS. However, the most common ones are behavioral therapies and HRT (Habit Reversal Training). These treatments are designed based on the fact that a tic is often preceded by an uncontrollable urge to perform it.

In response to this urge, the therapist trains the TS patients to act out some other response in order to suppress the tic. This strategy is what we call CBIT (Comprehensive Behavioral Intervention for Tics). And it is one of the most effective methods to manage the symptoms of TS. 

However, you should note that this method is used only at an initial stage. If the symptoms are more severe, there are some other ways of dealing with them. 

Furthermore, though there aren’t any specific medications for tics, doctors prescribe some to manage the symptoms. For instance, some antipsychotics, such as Pimozide, have been approved by the FDA to treat TS. Haloperidol, another antipsychotic drug, has also shown some potential as an effective anti-tic medicine. However, you should note that the main work of these is to block the dopamine receptors, and their side effects often lead to some new issues. But until we have a specific medication for tics, these are by far the best options we have. 

Tourette’s and Endocannabinoid System

You probably have understood until now that TS is the result of some fault in the brain processing. However, did you know the ECS may also be involved?

Let me explain.

As per the research, in most TS patients, the major fault is in basal ganglia, a group of structures responsible for the coordination of our body movements. And as there is a very significant presence of CB1 receptors in this part, it’s quite evident that ECS has a very major role to play in the functioning of basal ganglia.

Given this, researchers suspect that ESC dysfunction is a major cause of Tourette Syndrome.

Cannabis for Tourette Syndrome

If you are familiar with how cannabis works in general, you probably already have an idea of what I am about to explain here. Let’s understand it in detail.

The major question here is- if ECS dysfunction is the reason behind Tourette Syndrome, is it possible that cannabis may treat it? The research, as I said earlier, is quite positive. In fact, scientists have suspected that marijuana can help people with TS for the past several decades.

In a TS study conducted in 1998 on 64 participants, 14 out of 17 cannabis users saw either a complete or at least partial relief from tics. And these trends were consistent in the follow-up studies too.

Furthermore, for people who don’t know, some TS patients also suffer from sleep deprivation. And if you are a cannabis user, you already know how cannabis can help people sleep efficiently. Also, tics are more frequent during the REM sleep. And cannabis is quite well-known to cut down this part of the sleep.

Cannabis is also effective in helping people with OCD, anxiety, and aggression, which TS patients have to go through on a regular basis.

Final Thoughts on Cannabis for Tourette’s

The above things certainly point to the fact that cannabis may help manage Tourette Syndrome. However, you should note that the research on the subject is still primitive. And only the future knows what is up with cannabis for Tourette’s. Having said that, if you are thinking of applying for 420 evaluations in Los Angeles, CA for this or any other condition, we recommend you talk to a qualified doctor first. Despite cannabis being a safe substance, its effects may vary from person to person. And thus, if you are thinking you using it as a medicine, it’s better to seek professional advice first.