Tourette syndrome is a developmental neuropsychiatric disorder that leads to repetitive and involuntary movements as well as unwanted vocal outbursts. Depending on the severity of the tics, Tourette can interfere with most aspects of life including communication, daily functioning, and overall quality of life.1
The symptoms of Tourette may involve movement (motor tics) and sounds (vocal tics) and can be divided into groups depending on their severity. Symptoms of Tourette vary in frequency and can occur during sleep and change over time. Often, the symptoms are the worst in the early teenage years and improve with age. Currently, a cure is not available for Tourette syndrome, though different treatments are available that can benefit patients to a different extent. However, not all patients suffering from Tourette benefit from present treatments.1
- Simple tics
Repetitive and brief tics involving fewer muscle groups
- Complex tics
Different and coordinated patterns of tics involving several muscle groups
Today, the exact cause of Tourette is unknown as the disorder is highly complex. However, several factors can be involved in the development of Tourette such as a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Neurotransmitters that are signaling molecules in the nervous system including dopamine. and serotonin. may be involved in the development of Tourette. In addition, men are up to four times more likely to develop the disorder.1
Up to this date, there are only two controlled trials available that aim to study whether THC can be effective in the treatment of Tourette syndrome.
To determine whether cannabinoids can be effective in the treatment of Tourette, longer trials with a larger number of patients are needed.
However, many experts stated that treatment with cannabinoids like THC can be taken into consideration when first-line medications do not produce significant effects e.g. did not improve the tics. 2
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