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Tourette Syndrome

April 13, 2020

Tourette Syndrome

Tourette Syndrome (TS) is a condition of the nervous system. TS causes people to have “tics”. Tics are sudden twitches, movements, or sounds that people do repeatedly. People who have tics cannot stop their bodies from doing these things. For example, a person might keep blinking over and over again. Or, a person might make a grunting sound unwillingly. Having tics is a little bit like having hiccups. Even though you might not want to hiccup, your body does it anyway. Sometimes people can stop themselves from doing a certain tic for a while, but it’s hard. Eventually, the person has to do the tic.

There are two types of tics, motor and vocal. Also, these types of tics are classified as either simple tics or complex tics. Motor tics are movements of the body. Examples of motor tics include blinking, shrugging the shoulders, or jerking an arm. Vocal tics are sounds that a person makes with his or her voice. Examples of vocal tics include humming, clearing the throat, or yelling out a word or phrase. Simple tics involve just a few parts of the body. Examples of simple tics include squinting the eyes or sniffing. Complex tics usually involve several different parts of the body and can have a pattern. An example of a complex tic is bobbing the head while jerking an arm and then jumping up.

The main symptoms of TS are tics. Symptoms usually begin when a child is 5 to 10 years of age. The first symptoms often are motor tics that occur in the head and neck area. Tics usually are worse during times that are stressful or exciting. They tend to improve when a person is calm or focused on an activity. The types of tics and how often a person has tics changes a lot over time. Even though the symptoms might appear, disappear, and reappear, these conditions are considered chronic. In most cases, tics decrease during adolescence and early adulthood and sometimes disappear entirely. However, many people with TS experience tics into adulthood and, in some cases, tics can become worse during adulthood. Although the media often portray people with TS as involuntarily shouting out swear words (called coprolalia) or constantly repeating the words of other people (called echolalia), these symptoms are rare and are not required for a diagnosis of TS.

There is no cure for Tourette’s and no single most effective medication. Education is an important part of any treatment plan, and explanation and reassurance alone are often sufficient. Recently, cannabis has shown to be an effective treatment option for those suffering from TS. A review of the scientific literature reveals several case reports and a small number of clinical trials specific to the use of cannabinoids for the treatment of TS. One of the first appears in the American Journal of Psychiatry in 1999. Investigators at Germany’s Medical School of Hanover, Department of Clinical Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, reported successful treatment of Tourette syndrome with a single dose of 10 mg of delta-9-THC in a 25-year-old male patient in an uncontrolled open clinical trial. Investigators reported that the subject’s total tic severity score fell from 41 to 7 within two hours following cannabinoid therapy and that improvement was observed for a total of seven hours. “For the first time, patients’ subjective experiences when smoking marijuana was confirmed by using a valid and reliable rating scale,” authors concluded.

The following information is presented for educational purposes only. Summit Releaf distributes this information to provide an understanding of the potential benefits of medical marijuana for patients living with one of the approved Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program qualifying conditions for an Ohio marijuana card. Links to third party websites do not constitute an endorsement of these organizations by Summit Releaf and none should be inferred.

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