JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

Cannabinoids reduce symptoms of Tourette's syndrome

Kirsten R Müller-Vahl
Expert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy 2003, 4 (10): 1717-25
14521482
Currently, the treatment of Tourette's syndrome (TS) is unsatisfactory. Therefore, there is expanding interest in new therapeutical strategies. Anecdotal reports suggested that the use of cannabis might improve not only tics, but also behavioural problems in patients with TS. A single-dose, cross-over study in 12 patients, as well as a 6-week, randomised trial in 24 patients, demonstrated that Delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the most psychoactive ingredient of cannabis, reduces tics in TS patients. No serious adverse effects occurred and no impairment on neuropsychological performance was observed. If well-established drugs either fail to improve tics or cause significant adverse effects, in adult patients, therapy with Delta9-THC should be tried. At present, it remains unclear whether herbal cannabis, different natural or synthetic cannabinoid CB1-receptor agonists or agents that interfere with the inactivation of endocannabinoids, may have the best adverse effect profile in TS.

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