Objective: To describe the clinical course of the Delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Delta 9-THC) treatment of a boy with Gilles de la Tourette Syndrome (TS) and comorbid attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in relation to Delta 9-THC plasma levels and intracortical inhibition measured by transcranial magnetic stimulation.
Methods: The clinical course and pharmacological and neurophysiological measures are reported in a 15-year-old boy with treatment refractory TS plus ADHD leading to severe physical and psychosocial impairment.
Results: Administration of Delta 9-THC improved tics considerably without adverse effects, allowing parallel stimulant treatment of comorbid ADHD. Along with the Delta 9-THC treatment, intracortical inhibition was increased, reflected in the enhanced short-interval intracortical inhibition and the prolongation of the cortical silent period.
Conclusions: Our observation suggests that Delta 9-THC might be a successful alternative in patients with severe TS refractory to classic treatment. Particularly in the case of stimulant-induced exacerbation of tics, Delta 9-THC might enable successful treatment of comorbid ADHD. The enhancement of intracortical inhibition might be mediated by modulating release of several neurotransmitters including dopamine and gamma-aminobutyric acid. Further studies are needed to substantiate our findings.