THC Suppresses Symptoms of Tourette's Syndrome

Studies based on patient reports have suggested that cannabis, or marijuana, and its psychoactive component THC may be effective in suppressing symptoms of Tourette’s syndrome (TS).1-4 TS is a neurological disorder that can cause repetitive involuntary movements (tics), vocal sounds, and obsessive-compulsive behaviors.

Last month the journal Pharmacopsychiatry published the first double-blind placebo controlled trial examining the safety and efficacy of THC in the treatment of TS. Corroborating previous evidence, the trial found that a single dose of THC significantly suppressed TS symptoms and produced no serious adverse reactions.5 TS symptoms are currently treated with drugs such as neuroleptics, which can cause severe and permanently disabling adverse reactions.6

  1. Muller-Vahl, KR, et al. (1998). Cannabinoids possible role in patho-physiology and therapy of Gilles de la Tourette syndrome. Acta Psychiatr Scand, 98(6)502-6.
  2. Sandyk R, & Awerbuch G. (1988). Marijuana and Tourette’s syndrone. Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology, 8(6)444-5.
  3. Muller-Vahl KR, et al. (1997). Gilles de la Tourette syndrome. Effect of nicotine, alcohol and marihuana on clinical symptoms. Nervenarzt, 68(12)985-9.
  4. Hemming M, & Yellowlees PM. (1993). Effective treatment of Tourette’s syndrome with marijuana. J Clin Psychpharmacol, 7389-91.
  5. Muller-Vahl KR, et al. (2002). Treatment of Tourette’s Syndrome with Delta9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) A Randomized Crossover Trial. Pharmacopsychiatry, 35(2)57-61.
  6. Breggin P. (1994). Should the use of neuroleptics be severely limited? Controversial Issues in Mental Health. Allyn & Bacon.

May 18, 2002

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