Mar 31, 2016 5:36 AM

How can medical marijuana help with…Tourette syndrome?

Definition of Tourette syndrome.

Tourette syndrome, or Tourette's syndrome (commonly abbreviated as GTS) is a neurological disorder named after Gilles de la Tourette, a 19th century French physician who first professionally described its symptoms. It is characterized by one or more motor and vocal tics, which means that the person's articulation and speech are repeatedly interrupted. The common misconception about this disease is associated with exclamation of random obscene words in public, or making socially inappropriate remarks (coprolalia), but in fact this phenomenon is only present in a small percentage of cases. More common (and obvious) symptoms of Tourette syndrome are sudden, repetitive and nonrhythmic movements, which sometimes coincide with random off-topic speech patterns. These tics may vary in frequency and severity, but cannot be sanely controlled by the patient.

The condition may be transferred hereditarily or develop in a healthy person, but the onset comes typically in childhood. Acquired Tourette's syndrome often results from birth injury involving damage to the head or spine. Cases of adult onset are also documented, but are very rare, and usually don't have an explainable reason.

How can medical marijuana help?

There is still little evidence regarding effectiveness of medical marijuana in treatment of Tourette syndrome. Still, cannabis and its prominent component, the THC, are proved to have good potential in treating neurological disorders. Since Tourette sufferers cannot control their tics, treatment must be aimed to reducing their severity and frequency, and this is where medical marijuana appears to help. GTS patients who are recreational marijuana users have been reporting some improvement within time frames of marijuana effect. Soothing properties of cannabis bring relaxation to the group of muscles responsible for tics, leaving them in a calm state, which may reduce or minimize the visible effect of seizures. For the ones eager to try it, medical marijuana may be prescribed as supportive treatment for Tourette syndrome in any marijuana legal state.

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