Researchers are studying the effects of medical marijuana on the involuntary movements, or “tics,” associated with Tourette syndrome, a neurological disorder often affecting boys.
Dr. Michael Bloch found that some compounds in marijuana seem to help tame the tics, New Haven Register reports.
While additional research is needed, about 80% of those with Tourette syndrome that use marijuana say it reduces the severity of the tics.
Dronabinol, a synthetic THC pharmaceutical, is working for some Tourette patients participating in a Yale University study. Dr. Bloch said, “If you give patients with tics Dronabinol, they have significant reductions in their tics compared to placebo.”
Participating in the study for 36 weeks was Jackie, a woman with Tourette syndrome. She said, “My condition really started when I was 18, which is very abnormal and it started mostly with eye-blinking and throat-clearing. I tried multiple medications… and different kinds of therapy….and nothing worked.” Following the use of Dronabinol, she’s seen a 90% improvement in her symptoms.
ADHD and OCD are common accompanying factors for those with Tourette syndrome as they are seen in nearly half of all diagnosed patients. Marijuana may help to calm the mind and body which could diminish those behaviors.
Dr. Bloch said, “You have involuntary movements or vocalizations that typically change in character over time. Most times, since the tics are going to get better on their own…often the major treatment intervention would be just trying to minimize the impairment.”