It is estimated that roughly 1 out of every 162 children have Tourette Syndrome (TS). However, only about half of those affected are diagnosed. Additionally, nearly 83% of those diagnosed with the condition are also diagnosed with at least one other developmental or mental disorder. Tourette syndrome is a neurological disorder characterized by involuntary movements and sounds called tics. For those with TS, these tics may range from mild to severe and can interfere with day-to-day functioning.

TS is often treated with medications such as antipsychotics and antidepressants, but these drugs can have significant side effects, and some patients may not respond well to them. Recently, there has been growing interest in using medical marijuana to help manage symptoms of TS, particularly vocal tics. To help you better manage TS, Medical Marijuana Treatment Clinics of Florida is taking an in-depth look at how cannabis may help control vocal tics and other symptoms associated with TS.

Symptoms of Tourette Syndrome

Depending on the individual, the symptoms of Tourette Syndrome may vary. Although each individual with Tourette Syndrome may experience different types of tics, there are a few that are more common. The following are some of the more common tics:

  • Rapid blinking
  • Head shaking
  • Shoulder shrugging
  • Grunting
  • Coughing
  • Barking
  • Sniffing

Moreover, those with TS are often diagnosed with anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), learning disabilities, and ADHD. 61% of children with TS have anxiety problems, while more than one-third of those with TS also have obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Types of Tics

While tics may change and evolve, they generally fall into two categories: motor and vocal tics. Furthermore, these tics may be broken down into simple or complex tics. It is vital to know the types of tics you may be experiencing to assist in managing Tourette Syndrome. 

Motor Tics

Motor tics are rapid, repetitive movements of the body. These tics can involve the head, arms, legs, or any other part of the body. Simple motor tics include rapid movements, such as jerking your head, blinking frequently, and shrugging your shoulders. On the other hand, complex motor tics are more continuous and coordinated. These tics involve multiple muscle groups and are often more purposeful. Examples of a complex tic include touching objects, hopping, twirling around, or imitating another person’s movements.

Vocal Tics

Vocal tics are one of the defining characteristics of Tourette Syndrome. Much like motor tics, these tics can also be classified as either simple or complex. Simple vocal tics involve a brief and sudden sound, such as throat clearing, grunting, or coughing. Complex vocal tics, on the other hand, tend to be longer and more structured. These tics may include uttering words or phrases out of context, repeating one’s own words or the words of others, or making animal sounds.

Examples of simple vocal tics include clearing the throat, making a clicking sound, or making a quick gasping sound. Complex vocal tics may include repeating phrases or words, making barking sounds, or shouting out obscenities (coprolalia). Coprolalia affects about 10% of people with TS. These tics can be disruptive and embarrassing, causing those with Tourette Syndrome to feel self-conscious in public. However, with appropriate treatment and support, people with TS can lead fulfilling lives.

How Medical Marijuana May Help Vocal Tics

Medical marijuana has been found to have potential therapeutic benefits in managing the symptoms of Tourette Syndrome, including vocal tics. The active compounds in marijuana, known as cannabinoids, can affect the body’s endocannabinoid system, which plays a role in regulating several functions, including movement control, pain sensation, and mood regulation. Therefore, medical marijuana may help reduce the frequency and severity of vocal tics in people with Tourette Syndrome as well as ease motor tics. 

In addition to reducing vocal tics, medical marijuana may also help manage other symptoms of TS, such as anxiety, depression, and insomnia. These symptoms can be debilitating for individuals with Tourette Syndrome, and medical marijuana may provide relief from these co-occurring conditions. 

Treat Tourette Syndrome Symptoms with MMTCFL

Medical marijuana may offer a promising treatment option for individuals who are experiencing vocal tics and other symptoms of Tourette Syndrome. However, it is essential for individuals to consult with a medical marijuana physician and do thorough research before considering medical marijuana as a treatment option.

At Medical Marijuana Treatment Clinics of Florida (MMTCFL), we are dedicated to helping those suffering from Tourette Syndrome find relief with medical marijuana. Our experienced physicians can help you determine if you qualify for a medical marijuana card in Florida. Contact us today to schedule an appointment. Together, we can help you find a treatment plan that works for you.