Delta-9- Tetrahydrocannabinol in the Treatment of Tourette Syndrome-A Double Blind-Placebo Controlled Cross-Over Study

Grant Type
Grant Year
Institution Location
Institution Organization Name
Medical School of Hannover Germany
Investigators Name
Muller-Vahl, Kirsten, MD

Cannabinoids and their receptors have recently been demonstrated to play an important role in regulating brain activity within dopamine and glutamate-containing brain systems, many of which are implicated in the pathophysiology of Tourette Syndrome (TS). Unsubstantiated, anecdotal reports have suggested that cannabinoid drugs—including delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient in marijuana—may have some beneficial effects on the symptoms of TS. Because of the controversial but potentially important health implications of cannabinoid use, a study was designed to systematically examine the safety and effectiveness of delta-9-THC in the treatment of tic symptomatology and behavioral disorders in TS. A total of 12 patients will participate in this randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled, crossover study. Subjects will be treated twice with a single dose of delta-9-THC (120µ/kg, up to a maximum of 10 mg) or placebo, separated by a 4-week washout phase. Tic severity will be assessed by the Yale Global Tic Severity Scale and the TSGS. A variety of neuropsychological experiments will also be performed to examine attention, alertness, memory, anxiety, depression, etc. A self-rating scale will be used to evaluate patients’ experiences. In addition, serum levels of delta-9-THC will be registered and related to clinical data. This study will be the first to provide prospective, controlled data of delta-9-THC treatment in TS, and will shed light on the role of cannabinoids in the pathophysiology and/or treatment of TS. Kirsten R. Müller-Vahl, M.D. Udo Schneider, M.D. Medical School Hannover Hannover, Germany Award: $15,240* * This study has been generously underwritten by the William F. Harnisch Foundation. Tourette Association of America Inc. – Research Grant Award 1998