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Israeli Tourette Syndrome Patients Report Improvements Following Cannabis Therapy

cannabis plant flower

Global statisticians estimate that around 0.5-1% of the planet’s population has been diagnosed with some level of Tourette Syndrome, although the true diagnosis rate of people suffering from the condition could be larger due to gaps in identification and treatment in some parts of the globe.

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, “Tourette Syndrome (TS) is a neurological disorder characterized by sudden, repetitive, rapid, and unwanted movements or vocal sounds called tics.” Currently, there is no cure for the condition.

Various treatments for Tourette Syndrome exist, with common ones being dopamine blockers, Botox injections, ADHD medications, anti-depressants, and anti-seizure medications. All of those treatments can yield possible undesirable side effects. Fortunately, a recent study in Israel found that cannabis may help. Below is more information about it via a news release from NORML:

Tel Aviv, Israel: Tourette Syndrome (TS) patients report improvements in their quality of life and reductions in their use of prescription medications following cannabis therapy, according to data published in the journal Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research.

Israeli investigators surveyed patients prior to and six-months following cannabis treatment. Subjects in the study consumed products containing roughly twice as much THC as CBD.

Participants reported statistically significant improvements in their quality of life and employment status following cannabis treatment. Most subjects also reported reduced symptoms of anxiety and obsessive-compulsive tendencies. Patients reduced their use of prescription medicines.

By contrast, subjects did not report statistically significant improvements in their frequency of either vocal or motor tics during the study period.

Authors concluded: “Subjective reports from TS patients suggest that medical cannabis may improve their quality of life and comorbidities. More studies are needed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of medical cannabis.”

A limited number of clinical trials have shown both oral THC and inhaled cannabis to be associated with symptom improvements in TS patients, including decreased tic severity and reductions in obsessive-compulsive behaviors. The results of a randomized, placebo-controlled trial published last month in the journal Psychiatry Research reported that patients with more severe TS symptoms experienced symptomatic improvements following the consumption of a balanced formulation of oral THC and CBD.

Full text of the study, “Using medical cannabis in patients with Gilles de la Tourette’s Syndrome in a real-world setting” appears in Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research. Additional information on cannabinoids and TS is available from NORML’s publicationClinical Applications for Cannabis and Cannabinoids.