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Tourette’s Syndrome and Medical Marijuana

Tourette’s Syndrome and Medical Marijuana

According to America’s Center for Disease Control, the number of people with Tourette’s Syndrome is unknown. At the moment, this rare disorder is believed to affect less than 1% of the US population – most of which are children.

Tourette’s Syndrome is one of few neurological disorders that affect the basal ganglia portion of the brain. There are few medications available to treat Tourette’s, and they include dangerous potential side effects.

Research is revealing that marijuana may be a safe alternative to the few options available to people with Tourette’s Syndrome. This article provides a general overview of Tourette’s Syndrome and explains THC and CBD can help people live normal lives.

What is Tourette Syndrome?

What is Tourette Syndrome

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Tourette Syndrome is a condition involving the nervous system, which produces sudden and uncontrollable movements, twitches, sounds, or compulsions in the body.

Symptoms of Tourette’s Syndrome can range from mild to severe, and usually show up in the form of motor or vocal “tics.” The Center for Disease Control estimates that 1 in 160 children between the ages of 5-17 are affected by Tourette Syndrome and that boys are three to five times more likely to be diagnosed wit the disorder than girls.

What Causes Tourette Syndrome?

Tourette Syndrome is believed to affect the part of the brain responsible for the control of body movements, known as the “basal ganglia.” Researchers are not yet sure of the specific cause of Tourette Syndrome. However, they believe that genes play a role.

Genetics

Because Tourette Syndrome is often hereditary, researchers believe that genes contribute heavily to the onset of this disorder. However, it is possible that an interaction of various factors, both genetic and environmental, leads to Tourette Syndrome.

Environment

Exposure to stressors such as smoking during pregnancy is one possible environmental risk for the inception of Tourette Syndrome. Additionally, complications during pregnancy, such as low birth weight or the use of forceps during delivery could contribute to this disorder as well. Newer studies are now looking at the effects of psychosocial stress on tic severity to understand how an individual affected by Tourette’s can be impacted by his/her environment.

Other Health Conditions

Other Health Conditions

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Tourette’s often does not occur on its own. There are a number of other health conditions related to Tourette Syndrome, including:

Symptoms of Tourette Syndrome

The number one symptom of Tourette Syndrome is tics, These are categorized into two types – motor and vocal tics.

Motor Tics involve movement, and examples include:

  • Blinking
  • Facial distortion
  • The jerking of the head or limbs
  • Shoulder shrugging
  • Mouth twitching

Vocal Tics involve sound, and examples include:

  • Shouting
  • Grunting
  • Throat Clearing
  • Sniffing
  • Swearing

These tics can range in severity, ranging from mild to severe and are affected by stress, sickness, or change in emotion. Tics are not controllable and usually, involve a repetitive action. These symptoms usually start during childhood and can fade or even disappear with age.

Current Treatments for Tourette Syndrome

Current Treatments for Tourette Syndrome

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Currently, there is no treatment that cures Tourette Syndrome. However, there are medications and therapies available to help manage the symptoms.

How tics are treated depends on their severity. If a tic is mild, treatment may not be necessary. Doctors may prescribe medication such as Haldol and Catapres to help control tics that interfere more directly with one’s life. Unfortunately, they can cause side effects such as trouble breathing, seizures, fainting and trouble breathing. Getting the right dosage is imperative to avoid these harsh side effects.

In addition to medication, doctors also recommend therapy for the management of tics. This is to help cope with some of the ways in which Tourette Syndrome can affect one’s life socially, as well as focus on specific behaviors in the hopes of reducing disabling habits.

While medication and therapy may play a role in helping manage Tourette Syndrome, these methods are not always effective, sustainable, or healthy.

CBD and Tourette Syndrome

CBD and Tourette Syndrome

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As researchers explore new ways to control the symptoms of Tourette Syndrome, some individuals are looking to marijuana as an alternative treatment for the management of tics. Cannabis has been effective in combatting the symptoms of various medical disorders involving the brain, and now may be a possible remedy for Tourette Syndrome.

Cannabis is said to have an effect on the severity of motor and vocal tics, reducing their intensity and providing greater relief for Tourette Syndrome patients. By administering the two cannabinoids, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol), it may be possible to decrease the frequency and severity of tics in Tourette Syndrome patients.

Medical Research on Medical Marijuana and Tourette Syndrome

For people who suffer from Tourette Syndrome, participating in daily activities, having social interactions, and completing otherwise seamless tasks can become very difficult, as well as frustrating. The possibility of using marijuana to provide some relief for tics has many researchers excited.

One study from the Department of Psychiatry at Tauranga Hospital in New Zealand administered ‘Sativex,’ to subjects for the treatment of their tics. ‘Sativex’ is a prescription drug that includes 10.8 mg of THC and 10 mg of CBD, and is meant to reduce the severity and frequency of both motor and vocal tics. The study concluded, “Our results support previous research suggesting that cannabinoids are a safe and effective treatment for TS [Tourette Syndrome] and should be considered in treatment-resistant cases.”

Medical Research on Medical Marijuana and Tourette Syndrome

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Another study published in Pharmacopsychiatry had similar findings. This study focused specifically on the properties of THC that are able to reduce tics and other associated behaviors such as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). The findings were as follows: “There was a significant correlation between tic improvement and maximum 11-OH-THC plasma concentration. Results obtained from this pilot study suggest that a single-dose treatment with Delta(9)-THC is effective and safe in treating tics and OCB in TS.”

If that weren’t enough, another study discussed the use of Nabiximols, which comes from Cannabis sativa L. composed of both THC and CBD. The presence of CBD ensures patients avoid the psychotropic effects of THC. When taken sublingually it enhanced the beneficial effects and had better absorption. The patient in this study showed a positive change in the harshness of their severe tic condition by 22.2%.

Medical Research on CBD and Tourette Syndrome

Medical Research on CBD and Tourette Syndrome

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While a lot of the research so far on the effects of medical marijuana on Tourette Syndrome focuses on the drug, Sativex, or THC, CBD (Cannabidiol), specifically may be useful as well. CBD oil combined with traditional forms of marijuana may provide relief for those with Tourette’s.

As we saw in the study above, ‘Sativex’ is promising given its equal dosage of both THC and CBD. Together the two cannabinoids are able to produce positive results. This suggests that CBD has an active role in the decrease in severability and frequency of tics associated with Tourette Syndrome.

Additionally, CBD has been shown to help with the reduction of anxiety, insomnia, aggression, and other triggers related to the increase in tic symptoms. Using CBD could reduce the factors that might exacerbate tics in Tourette Syndrome patients.

CBD vs. THC

CBD vs. THC

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To properly understand how CBD might be able to play a role in the reduction of symptoms associated with Tourette Syndrome, it will be helpful to understand the difference between CBD and THC, the two most famous cannabinoids found in marijuana. Cannabinoids are chemicals that interact with our immune system and brain.

THC is the psychoactive cannabinoid, known for its ability to create the feeling of being “high” for marijuana users. This cannabinoid has various medicinal effects, including the capacity to help with pain, appetite loss, and fatigue.

CBD is non-psychoactive, anti-inflammatory, and naturally medicinal. CBD may alleviate pain, contribute to elevated mood, and reduce neurological conditions, such as Tourette Syndrome.

How to take Medical Marijuana for Tourette Syndrome

There are various ways to take marijuana for the purpose of reducing symptoms of Tourette Syndrome. To administer the quickest results, one may smoke or vaporize the medicine. While smoking heats up the marijuana high enough to inhale the THC and CBD, the high heat has the potential to reduce some of the beneficial effects of the medicine.

Vaporizing is another popular way in to administer the medicinal properties of marijuana. Unlike smoking, the oil or flower is heated up only enough to release a vapor, which one can then inhale to receive the effects of the marijuana.

For patients who do not want to inhale smoke or vapor, edibles, pills, and tinctures are also options. This includes the ingestion of marijuana oils, such as CBD oil.

CBD Oil for Tourette Syndrome

CBD Oil for Tourette Syndrome

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Tourette Syndrome affects the nervous system, resulting in uncontrollable tics that can affect one’s quality of life. While methods to manage the symptoms of Tourette Syndrome exist, the drugs can have harsh side effects and can be difficult to get the dosage right. Therapies are only somewhat useful for coping with a lifestyle that includes Tourette’s.

Based on scientific research, CBD oil could possibly reduce the intensity and frequency of tics, creating more manageable lives for those who suffer from Tourette Syndrome.

Growing Your Own Tourette Syndrome Medication

Studies have now shown how CBD and THC are able to reduce both the severity of tics, as well as the triggers that contribute to the frequency and intensity of tics. Through cannabis, Tourette Syndrome patients may experience a higher quality of life, given the ability to function without the interruption of tics.

By growing their own marijuana, Tourette Syndrome patients can grow their own medicine. The best strains for Tourette Syndrome include: Order your seeds today, and grow some relief!

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