Patients suffering from Tourette’s Syndrome receive relief from inhaling marijuana, according to a team of researchers at the University of Toronto.
The study, published online ahead of print in the Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience, showed that cannabis was specifically effective in minimizing the frequency of tics in Tourette’s patients.
The study concluded that:
The authors retrospectively evaluated effectiveness and tolerability of cannabis in 19 adults with Tourette syndrome. Tics scores decreased by 60 percent, and 18 of the 19 participants were at least “much improved.” Cannabis was generally well tolerated, although most participants reported side effects.
About 200,000 Americans suffer from the most severe form of TS, and as many as one in 100 exhibit milder and less complex symptoms such as chronic motor or vocal tics.
The University of Toronto researchers retrospectively assessed the safety and efficacy of inhaled cannabis in 19 TS patients.
According to the study, “all study participants experienced clinically significant symptom relief,” including including reductions in obsessive-compulsive symptoms, impulsivity, anxiety, irritability, and rage outbursts.
The results surprised the researchers. “Overall, these study participants experienced substantial improvements in their symptoms. This is particularly striking given that almost all participants had failed at least one anti-tic medication trial. … In conclusion, cannabis seems to be a promising treatment option for tics and associated symptoms.”
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This is not the first study to suggest that cannabis might be an effective remedy for eliminating tics. In 1988, researchers studied three patients whose tics would subside after a smoking marijuana.
And a 2015 review of data concluded:
As in any condition influenced by anxiety, a nonspecific beneficial effect of cannabis might be expected, but given the presence of endocannibinoid receptors in the striatum, it is possible that a direct effect of cannabis is reducing the number of tics.