Long-Time Tourette's Sufferer Says Aussie-First Medical Cannabis Trial Changed His Life

Chris Wright has struggled with Tourette Syndrome most of his life, but he says taking part in Australia's first medicinal cannabis trial to treat the disorder has changed his life for the better.

At the age of 32, Chris Wright can finally enjoy doing the simple things in life ... like reading a book. 

He says it's all thanks to cannabis oil.

"It's nice to be able to feel like a normal human being again," he told 10 News First. 

A year ago Wright was battling uncontrollable physical and verbal tics.



A Family's Anguish Turns To Hope Thanks To Cannabis Trial

It hasn't been an easy road for the team running Australia's first medicinal cannabis trial to treat Tourette's Syndrome. 

Back then, as he struggled to keep his head from violently flinging around, he told 10 News First of his 20-year struggle with Tourette Syndrome.

"You wake up and you know that the day is going to be painful, it's going to be frustrating and it's going to be exhausting," he said.

But now, Wright can sit calmly as he talks about his remarkable transition.

"My tics have improved 80 to 90 per cent, so incredible relief yeah, the quality of life - it's awesome," he said. 

Wright credits his improvement to medicinal cannabis oil.

Chris Wright credits his improvement to medical cannabis oil.  Image: 10 News First

He said he's now on a regular dose, after taking part in Australia's first trial to treat Tourette Syndrome with medicinal cannabis.

The trial is run by Queensland based Wesley Medical Research in partnership with Sydney University's The Lambert Initiative.

"It's the little simple things ...  It's nice to actually sit down and read a book and not have watery red eyes at the end of it," Wright said. 

"It was hard because I was constantly rolling my eyes and it was really hard to focus on what I was doing. Or even holding down a conversation, actually talking to someone was really difficult because I had to suppress all my tics."

"If we can spread as much awareness as we can and try to get rid of the stigma around it because it is life-changing," he said of the trial.

"There are a lot of people who are struggling and if they could get the relief that I've got, why not?"

Chris Wright. Image: 10 News First

Neuropsychiatrist Dr Philip Mosley is leading the trial, which looks at how the active chemicals in marijuana are similar to those the human body makes, particularly those involved in appetite, memory, pain and movement.

"The chemicals, the phytocannabinoids derived from the cannabis plant, bind to these receptors or nerve cells in the brain and change the pattern of signalling that controls movement, which is the core problem in Tourette Syndrome," Mosley said. 

"Conventional treatments haven't helped him unfortunately but it's just fantastic he's had benefits from this."

Dr Philip Mosley. Image: 10 News First.

The ongoing study is looking for more participants to observe the effects of CBD on those with Tourette's.

Wright's parents, Glenda and Steve, told 10 News First it has given them hope after 20 years of navigating a very long, dark tunnel.

"We are right at the end with a nice bright light," Glenda said. 

"It's incredible, it's such a blessing to be given the opportunity with Chris, I get all teary about it."

Image: 10 News First.

His dad Steve added: "Now he's on a steady dose, it's just life as we couldn't believe it could be, it's amazing, yeah". 

People are still needed for the trial and can register here.