Tourette’s Syndrome

WHAT IS TOURETTE’S SYNDROME?

Tourette syndrome is a type of neurological disorder characterized by stereotyped, repetitive, involuntary vocalizations and movements known as tics. For example, you may repeatedly shrug your shoulders, blink your eyes or blurt out offensive words or unusual sounds when you have Tourette’s.

Your tics can be mild to severe. If you struggle with severe tics, they could interfere with daily functioning, communication and your quality of life significantly.

The types of tic include:

  • Simple tics: These brief, sudden and repetitive tics involve a minimal number of muscle groups.
  • Complex tics: These coordinated, distinct patterns of movements involve a few muscle groups.

Tics also include sounds, i.e. vocal tics, and movement, i.e. motor tics. However, motor tics typically start before vocal tics, but people experience the spectrum of tics differently.

SYMPTOMS OF TOURETTE’S SYNDROME

Tics represent the primary symptoms of TS, with numerous motor tics and a minimum of one vocal tic. Motor tics examples include:

  • Foot stomping
  • Head jerking
  • Grimacing
  • Shoulder shrugs
  • Eye blinking
  • Winking

Vocal tic examples include:

  • Making clicking sounds
  • Throat clearing
  • Yelping
  • Repeated sniffing
  • Shouting

Among the most disabling and dramatic tics include motor movements that result in self-harm activities, such as banging your head or punching yourself in the face.

HOW MEDICAL MARIJUANA HELPS WITH TOURETTE’S SYNDROME

Marijuana for Tourette syndrome can treat symptoms such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Obsessiveness
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Fits of rage
  • Tics

Because of the calming effects of certain strains of marijuana, medical cannabis can help people with obsessiveness, anger, irritability, sleeplessness and anxiety curtail these symptoms. Stigma surrounds both tics involved in Tourette syndrome and marijuana usage, including using cannabis for medical purposes. Medical marijuana may mildly relieve tics, but no evidence to date suggests cannabis will exacerbate them. Research also concludes there is no adverse effect for THC in TS patients.