Conor Ryder, a man with Tourette syndrome from Dorset, UK, is appealing to the government to make medical cannabis more accessible through the NHS. BBC reported. He now spends thousands of dollars on prescriptions from private clinics because, in his experience, they are the only treatments that can effectively manage severe tics. The NHS is the UK’s publicly funded healthcare system.
Medical cannabis became legal in the UK in 2018. But the government insists further research is needed to ensure safety before it can be rolled out more widely.
Cannabis remains illegal at the federal level and for adult use.
Due to a shortage of NHS prescriptions, Ms Ryder is paying £300 a month and dipping into her savings to cover it.
“I talked to my doctor and he said… he didn’t want to refer me, so I went and introduced myself. I went to the clinic and looked into it,” Ryder told the BBC.
Ryder’s situation is not unique. Private cannabis clinics across the UK have grown significantly since legalization, with statistics showing they have issued more than 140,000 prescriptions in the past five years. The drugs they sell aren’t always affordable to patients like Ryder.
as Research results published in June A 2023 paper shows that THC and CBD can improve the side effect profile of Tourette syndrome, with evidence supporting Ryder’s statement, based on additional research showing cannabis’ effectiveness for this condition. These include repetitive movements and unwanted sounds (tics) that are not always under control and can be disruptive to your personal and professional life.
according to mayo clinic, Tics usually begin between the ages of 2 and 15, with an average age of about 6 years. Tourette syndrome is more common in men, who are about three to four times more likely to develop it than women.
The study was a double-blind, crossover study in people with severe Tourette syndrome. They used random assignment to give participants oral oil-based tinctures with increasing amounts of THC and CBD for 6 weeks, followed by 6 weeks of a placebo, or vice versa, with 4 weeks in between. We took a week-long break.
The researchers measured tic severity using the Yale Global Tic Severity Scale (YGTSS). They also used video assessment of tics to assess how tics affected daily life, anxiety, depression, and obsessive-compulsive symptoms.
It is worth noting that all these comorbid conditions are also often treated with medical cannabis.
Next, in addition to running cognitive tests at the beginning and end of each treatment, we checked whether the results were related to the levels of cannabis compounds in the blood.
The results suggest that people in the active treatment group reduced their tic scores to a greater extent than those in the placebo group. This means that treatment with THC and CBD helped reduce the severity of tics. However, some people in the active treatment group reported problems with thinking, memory, and concentration. This study shows that cannabinoids such as THC and CBD can help people with severe Tourette syndrome by reducing tics and improving quality of life.
Ryder isn’t surprised to learn that the private sector of the cannabis industry is booming. For him, medical marijuana has become an absolute necessity. Diagnosed with Tourette syndrome at the age of 13, he lives with a range of noticeable tics, from animal-like sounds and loud bangs to physical movements such as winks, blinks, and rolling his shoulders. .
These tics cause him significant distress and he is currently unable to hold a job, making him struggle even more to pay for his medication in a vicious cycle. However, he has been able to manage his symptoms with medical marijuana and a vaporizer.
“It was something I dreamed about when I was a kid, something that would go away as soon as I took a little pill, and now I basically have it. I can work right away. , I’m hoping that maybe I’ll be able to get by because that’s the only way if it’s not available on the NHS. Every drug they gave me basically turned me into a zombie. “Cannabis is the only thing that controls tics,” he told the BBC.
As reported by the BBC, the Department of Health and Social Care has said that medical cannabis could be paid for by the NHS if there is “clear evidence of quality, safety and effectiveness”. “It is important that we carefully consider the evidence on unlicensed cannabis-based treatments and ensure they are proven safe and effective before considering wider roll-out in the NHS.”
An NHS spokesperson continued: “While there is limited evidence regarding the safety of these unlicensed products, we continue to encourage manufacturers of these products to engage with the UK medicines regulator so that doctors can How to use other approved medicines. ”
the current, Over 300,000 Children and adults living with Tourette syndrome in the UK