30 Mar 2018
Cannabinoids reduce Tourette Syndrome symptoms.

CBD as a Potential Treatment Method for Tourette Syndrome

There are numerous medical conditions, diseases, illnesses, and disorders that can severely affect an individual’s quality of life. One example is Tourette Syndrome (TS), and experts estimate that 100,000 Americans are diagnosed with this disorder, according to NORML.org findings. Tourette Syndrome can be defined as the following, “…a complex neuropsychiatric disorder of unknown etiology that’s often characterized by involuntary vocal tics”, according to the same source.

Currently, there’s no cure for this disorder. However, certain clinical trials and studies have revealed that cannabinoids including CBD can help with some Tourette Syndrome symptoms.

Cannabinoids Reduce Tourette Syndrome Symptoms

New research has found that cannabis and CBD can treat severe motor and vocal tics related to TS. Therefore, more and more TS patients are trying cannabinoids as an alternative treatment method. So far, various anecdotal stories and evidence have pointed to individuals’ success with CBD oil as a treatment for TS. Rather than CBD acting as a miracle drug that cures all types of ailments, it helps bring the body back to homeostasis by the endocannabinoid system. As a result, the human body can work more efficiently than before.

In addition, cannabinoid receptors are located on different areas of the brain such as the basal ganglia and hippocampus. These brain regions are both responsible for regulating behavior and movement. Overall, CBD and other cannabinoids interact with various cannabinoid receptors within our body and brain. From here, the cannabinoids stimulate chemical responses.

Due to the presence of cannabinoid receptors on specific regions of the brain, researchers believe that cannabinoids reduce Tourette Syndrome symptoms. These TS symptoms mostly include vocal and motor tics. In general, CBD and other cannabinoids could play a significant role in reducing these tics. Thus far, different studies suggest that cannabinoids like CBD and THC can deliver several benefits. The main benefits include safely reducing the frequency and intensity of tics.

Studies & Research Findings of Cannabinoids Reducing TS Symptoms

Over the years, numerous studies have been conducted, which demonstrate that cannabinoids could reduce TS symptoms. A handful of studies will be briefly discussed in this article starting with one study that took place in New Zealand. In the Department of Psychiatry at Tauranga Hospital in New Zealand, a study was conducted using the drug Sativex. Sativex is an extract from the whole cannabis plant, which was created by GW Pharmaceuticals. This particular drug was administered in a spray form twice daily for four weeks to a patient who had Tourette Syndrome. The content of Sativex contained around ten milligrams of CBD and close to eleven milligrams of THC.

After Sativex administration, the patient underwent a test to measure their perceived severity of the TS tics. The patient was also videotaped, and objective observers analyzed the patient’s actions, behavior, and severity of their tics. The patient and objective observers noted the following, “…a marked improvement in the frequency and severity of motor and vocal tics post-treatment.” The study’s results suggest that cannabinoids are both an effective and safe treatment for TS. The results also suggest that cannabinoids should be considered in treatment-resistant cases in the future. However, it’s crucial for additional studies to be conducted to validate this study’s findings.

Additional Studies & Research Findings of Cannabinoids Reducing TS Symptoms

Additionally, another study found that cannabinoids “…act as retrograde signal inhibitors and modulate neuronal excitability.” This finding points to the potential of cannabinoids being used as a treatment method for TS symptoms. It has also been discovered that cannabinoids possess the ability to modulate major neurotransmitter systems within the brain. Due to this particular finding, a hypothesis exists regarding cannabinoids’ ability to reduce TS tics.

Other clinical studies have been conducted as well, which have found that cannabis in general can be effective in relieving TS symptoms. In a 2017 study, a 50/50 CBD and THC medicine was given to a TS patient. This medicine resulted in significant improvements of tics and premonitory urges as well as health related quality of life minus adverse effects. In the same year, a case study focused on administering cannabinoids to two patients with TS. After administration, the cannabinoid treatments provided major vocal tic improvement.

Lastly, two additional case reports found and “…acknowledged that the daily administration of cannabis-based therapy ‘provided significant symptom improvement’ in patients with treatment-resistant TS.” Then, the University of Toronto Investigators focused on the potential of cannabinoids being used to treat TS symptoms. They concluded that cannabis appears to be a promising treatment method for various tics and related TS symptoms.

Background on Tourette Syndrome

As mentioned above, Tourette Syndrome is a neuropsychiatric disorder that causes involuntary vocal and motor tics. These tics can appear as unusual and involuntary repetitive bodily movements and/or involuntary sounds. Generally, involuntary motor and vocal tics are signs of those who have Tourette Syndrome. The condition normally improves with age, but so far, there’s no cure for TS.

Currently, the treatment methods that exist for TS focus on managing tics to reduce the possibility of injuries. Also, the current treatment TS methods work on minimizing the adverse effects on an individual’s quality of life. For example, an individual’s school, work, social, and/or personal life can be severely affected by having Tourette Syndrome.

In addition, Tourette Syndrome can run in different families, and boys are more likely to be affected by this disorder than girls. Also, if smoking and/or drug consumption occurs during a pregnancy, the effects of TS can worsen. In general, on average, children who have been diagnosed with TS are more severely affected as compared to adults with TS. However, each individual case is different. Thus far, there’s no concrete lead cause for this disorder. It has been found that stress can aggravate TS and/or bring it out. However, stress is not a cause, according to High Times findings. On the other hand, it has been found that cannabis and other cannabinoids are used to improve TS symptoms rather than curing the disorder.

Overview of Cannabinoids Reducing TS Symptoms

Overall, both CBD and THC can influence cannabinoid receptors within the body’s endocannabinoid system. There’s also a presence of cannabinoid receptors on the brain. Based on different studies and clinical trial findings, researchers and TS patients believe that cannabinoids reduce Tourette Syndrome symptoms.

In general, though, there are promising results from the cannabinoid studies mentioned above and other ones. This has resulted in researchers believing that CBD alone could provide benefits for treating TS symptoms as well. Moving forward, more research and studies on the treatment of CBD for TS patients is needed. In the meantime, Tourette Syndrome patients can give cannabinoid therapies a try to see if it helps reduce their tics.


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