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Israel Study Finds Favorable Results Regarding Cannabis And Tourette Syndrome

By Frank Schuler

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According to the Mayo Clinic, “Tourette (too-RET) syndrome is a disorder that involves repetitive movements or unwanted sounds (tics) that can’t be easily controlled.”

Symptoms typically involve eye blinking, head jerking, mouth movements, and audible sounds (including words and phrases). The onset of symptoms tends to begin when a patient is in their youth, and men are 3-4 times as likely to develop the condition compared to women.

A study in 2009 found that as much as 1% of the global population suffers from Tourette syndrome. For many years global health experts underestimated the number of patients that suffer from the condition. A study in 2001 found the rate of Tourette syndrome among student populations to be 50 to 75 times higher than had been traditionally thought by doctors in past decades.

Most of the traditional treatments for Tourette syndrome involve pharmaceutical drugs. A new study out of Israel found that medical cannabis may be a viable treatment option for suffering patients. Below is more information about it via a news release from NORML:

Tel Aviv, Israel: Patients with Tourette syndrome (TS) experience reductions in tic severity and improvements in their overall quality of life following cannabis treatment, according to trial results published in the journal Behavioral Neurology.

Israeli researchers assessed the use of medical cannabis products in 15 patients with Tourette syndrome over a 12-week period.

Subjects experienced, on average, a 38 percent reduction in their tic severity – as assessed by the Yale Global Tic Severity Scale. A significant percentage of study participants also reported improvements in mood, sleep, and sexual function.

Patients were most responsive to formulations high in THC and low in CBD and they favored inhaling cannabis flowers over consuming sublingual oil extracts.

The most commonly reported side-effects from cannabis were dry-mouth, fatigue, and dizziness.

Authors concluded: “From our data, it is suggested that MC [medical cannabis] might be a treatment option for resistant TS patients, and MC has a significant effect on tics, premonitory urges, and patients’ overall quality of life.”

Separate trials have similarly reported that the administration of either whole-plant cannabis or oral THC mitigate symptoms in patients with TS, including those with treatment-resistant forms of the disease.

Full text of the study, “Medical cannabis for Gilles de la Tourette syndrome: An open-label prospective study,” appears in Behavioral Neurology. Additional information on cannabis and TS is available from NORML.

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