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Marijuana Successfully Treats Tourette's Syndrome, Study Shows

Thursday, 11 March 1999

German researchers report that the consumption of the marijuana compound THC alleviates symptoms of Tourette's Syndrome. The researchers published their findings in this month's issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry.

"Earlier reports suggested beneficial effects in Tourette's syndrome when smoking marijuana," the German research team wrote. "We report a successful treatment of Tourette's syndrome with delta-9-tetrahydocannabinol, the major psychoactive ingredient of marijuana."

Tourette's syndrome is a complex neuropsychiatric disorder that is characterized by sudden spasms, so called "tics," that occur especially in the face, neck, and shoulders.

The researchers found that a 25-year-old patient treated with 10 mg of THC experienced marked improvement of both vocal and motor tics associated with behavioral disorders. "The improvement began 30 minutes after treatment and lasted for about seven hours," the researchers reported. "No adverse effects occurred."

Researchers stated, "This is the first report of a successful treatment of Tourette's syndrome with delta-9-THC." They said they are planning to confirm their preliminary results in an upcoming double-blind, placebo controlled, crossover study.

NORML board member Dr. Lester Grinspoon of Harvard Medical School called inhaled marijuana's effects on patients suffering from Tourette's "impressive," and said that the drug holds tremendous potential as a course of treatment for the disease.

For more information, please contact either Allen St. Pierre of The NORML Foundation @ (202) 483-8751 or NORML board member Dr. Lester Grinspoon of Harvard Medical School @ (617) 277-3621.