Cannabis is all the rage these days. A significant chunk of the American population considers using cannabis as an alternative treatment to traditional medical treatments. More and more patients are turning towards medical cannabis to manage an assortment of medical conditions including chronic pain, inflammation, anxiety and tourette syndrome. Though detailed research is yet required to study the long-term effects of marijuana on the patients of Tourette syndrome, existing data suggests that the substance can help improve the symptoms of TS.
We will discuss medical cannabis and its relationship in regard with the treatment of Tourette Syndrome later but first let’s understand what exactly Tourette Syndrome is and how it affects the human brain and body.
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What is Tourette Syndrome?
Tourette Syndrome is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterised by multiple tics (movements) such as blinking, coughing, throat clearing, and facial movements. It is quite common and begins in childhood or adolescence. These are mostly initiated by the sensations in the affected muscles which can be suppressed temporarily resulting in change of their locations and strength. Random observers often unnoticed these tics.
Tourette syndrome has been given the name of the most bizarre medical condition as there are no typical tests for its diagnosis. Most of the cases are mild and the symptoms tend to decrease as the patients pass adolescence. One might have this syndrome and still can be unobservant about it. And that is why, many people might never take medical treatment as the symptoms decrease over time.
Though most of the cases if TS are mild, there are people who have taken marijuana to manage their symptoms.
What is Cannabis?
Well, cannabis is a complex plant that contains numerous layers to it. It basically refers to a group of plants namely Cannabis Sativa, Cannabis Indica and Cannabis Ruderalis. It is also known by the names of weed, pot, hash, marijuana, ganja, etc. The plant contains more than 480 chemical compounds including major and minor cannabinoids. Two of the most prevalent major cannabinoids are CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) which are known for their unique medicinal properties. While CBD is recognized as the most effective therapeutic agent, THC is the psychoactive component of plant cannabis that produces the euphoric feeling or ‘high’ that people commonly link with marijuana consumption. Owing to marijuana’s growing contribution in the medical field, more and more US states have legalized it’s medicinal and recreational use. People with a medical cannabis card can have access to legal medical cannabis for the treatment of a debilitating medical condition.
Medical Cannabis and Tourette Syndrome: What Does Research Say?
The study of medical marijuana for the treatment of tourette syndrome is quite new. Though there is no particular cure for TS yet, recent scientific developments suggest that marijuana may have the potential to reduce the symptoms of TS. A research by NCBI concludes that there’s no clear link between medical marijuana’s mechanism in the treatment of tourette syndrome. However, different case reports suggest that consuming marijuana for a specific period of time can reduce the urge to do frequent tics and can alleviate other behavioural symptoms related to the condition.
The scientific committee still believes that more detailed research is required to study the long-term effects of marijuana on the patients of tourette syndrome.
The Tourette Association of America (TAA) has also funded research into all the aspects of tourette syndrome including marijuana’s influence. TAA is a non-profit organisation in America that works for the betterment of patients suffering from TS and tic disorders. Even the association comments that there’s still insufficient research to state the actual effects of marijuana on the patients of TS.
Best Way to Consume Cannabis for Tourette Syndrome
There are different methods one can consume cannabis. Some of the popular ones are via inhalation, edibles, topicals, capsules, etc. Smoking and vaping, in general, is considered as the most effective way of cannabis consumption. In the case of Tourette Syndrome, studies suggest that inhalation is more effective and well-tolerated in patients. A study conducted on marijuana and Tourette syndrome resulted in following conclusions:
- Vaporizing cannabis showed immediate relief from headaches due to frequent tics.
- Oral THC consumption had an intensified effect on disturbed sleeping patterns.
- The effects of oral THC lasted longer than vaporised cannabis.
From the above discussion, it could be concluded that there’s not enough research to comment whether marijuana is effective in the long-run for patients of Tourette syndrome. Though the scientific community has limited data on this matter, there have been studies that suggest CBD and THC can help manage the symptoms of tourette syndrome up to a certain extent.