Updated on January 30, 2019. Medical content reviewed by Dr. Richard Koffler, MD, Board Certified Physiatrist
A lot of information on Tourette’s syndrome focuses on the tics it causes. But, children and teens who have it also have a high chance of developing obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) — in fact, they have about a 50% chance of acquiring it. So, many doctors focus on relieving OCD symptoms in addition to reducing Tourette’s syndrome tics.
Regardless of its cause, doctors don’t have an OCD-specific medication to prescribe. They usually recommend antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications as a supplement to therapy. But, mental health medication can be unreliable, not to mention that it can lose effectiveness over time.
For mental health symptoms like OCD, some patients rely on medical marijuana. Certain strains can relieve anxiety symptoms without causing paranoia or other negative side effects — it’s all a matter of balance.
OCD causes mood symptoms that can be hard to deal with. Fortunately, medical cannabis can relieve many of them, letting you live your life to the fullest. Marijuana medicine can help you reduce:
Medical cannabis mainly treats anxiety and depression. Most patients want to focus on its anti-anxiety benefits since OCD is an anxiety disorder. However, it may work more effectively to address obsessive thoughts and compulsions when combined with therapy. Since it reduces anxiety, it can make it easier to develop coping mechanisms for your behaviors.
To understand how to create a treatment plan for Tourette’s syndrome symptoms and OCD symptoms, it helps to know how medical cannabis functions. Each kind of cannabis medicine has its own benefits, so you can combine them to suit your symptoms. You can even develop a treatment plan that addresses both your tics and your obsessive-compulsive symptoms with the right knowledge.
When we talk about using cannabis medically, we often focus on the two cannabinoids: tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). They’re the two marijuana components we know the most about, and each has a specific purpose for treating Tourette’s syndrome and OCD. While THC excels at relieving tics, CBD is more suited to reducing anxiety.
Since THC can cause anxiety for some folks, you want to take a multifaceted approach to your treatment. You can do this by taking certain medications at separate times of day or picking a strain that balances out THC’s edge. Patients with Tourette’s syndrome and OCD may want to use a hybrid strain. These strains come from both indica strains and sativa strains, meaning they have balanced amounts of CBD and THC. CBD reduces the anxiety-inducing effects of THC, and you can get all the benefits you need at once.
Due to differing regulations among states and the sheer number of strains out there, you won’t find the same menu at every dispensary. So, to find a strain with a balance of THC and CBD, you should know what questions to ask.
Many menus will list each strain’s cannabinoid percentages near its name. If you don’t see any indication of cannabinoid content, ask the dispensary staff. For your symptoms, request a strain with equal or near-equal amounts of CBD and THC. Explain that you need something with both cannabinoids in it that won’t make you too anxious or tired.
Getting medical marijuana for your Tourette’s syndrome starts with finding a marijuana-friendly doctor to evaluate you. Once you have a medical marijuana card, visit a local dispensary to find the perfect strain for your needs.