Medical marijuana is beneficial in the treatment of a number of neurological conditions, including Tourette syndrome. In recent years, researchers from all over the world have discovered that cannabis can calm the symptoms of this severe tic disorder. It is for this reason that the scientific minds of Australia are launching a study of medical marijuana and Tourette syndrome of their own. They believe cannabis could eventually replace the antipsychotic medications typically prescribed for these patients.
Earlier this week, Wesley Medical Research Institute announced a trial involving cannabis and Tourette syndrome. Neuropsychiatrist Philip Mosley will lead the study, which will consist of around 24 adult patients.
The goal of this limited exploration is to learn how marijuana, specifically the psychoactive and non-intoxicating compounds of the plant, can control the involuntary motor tics and verbalizations often experienced by those suffering from this affliction.
What Is Tourette Syndrome?
Tourette syndrome is a neurodevelopmental condition that develops in childhood. It is classified a tic disorder. People living with this condition experience many challenges. One of the hardest aspects of living with this disorder is that it can be difficult to maintain gainful employment and be socially active.
Of course, some cases are worse than others. The physical tics associated with Tourette syndrome can range from eye blinking to jaw movements.
But for some, phonic tics, such as hooting and shouting, can cause more problems. According to Tourette Association of America, 10-15 percent of the outbursts from vocal tics are obscene language.
This is called coprolalia. It is the most common portrayal of Tourette by the television and film industry.
Not Many Treatment Options for People With Tourette Syndrome
Tourette sufferers are traditionally prescribed antipsychotic medications. But these treatments are expensive and come with nasty side effects. The only other option is surgery. Medical experts claim that people with Tourette syndrome have had a great deal of success with this treatment.
But “not everyone wants to have brain surgery,” says Dr. Mosley.
Unlike similar studies, this one will focus on the application of THC and CBD. Although there has been a lot of focus recently on the medicinal value of CBD, which does not get patients high, Dr. Mosley suspects that “it’s a combination of the two [compounds] that will hit the sweet spot.”
He also believes that THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana, may be a secret weapon against this tic disorder. But the problem is that higher levels of this compound could bring on more anxiety in patients.
Many folks suffering from Tourette syndrome already have anxiety issues, so a more well-balanced combination of the two cannabinoids will likely work best.
Final Hit: Australia Launches Study of Medical Marijuana and Tourette Syndrome
The results of the study could show the medical community how cannabis can help people with Tourette syndrome. Dr. Mosley hopes the trial will be “beneficial for this condition,” and enable doctors to prescribe it with more confidence.
The study, which has been made possible through a $100,000 grant, is expected to get underway toward the middle of the year. Perhaps more studies involving medical marijuana and Tourette syndrome will follow.