18 episodes

Doctors, patients, scientists, and families talk medical cannabis. Cutting through the smoke to have intelligent conversations about medical marijuana, the conditions it can treat, human stories behind that treatment, and the questions we’re all thinking about but never had anyone to ask.

Hosted by Elana Goldberg and Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man.

Brought to you by The Cannigma.

The Cannabis Enigma The Cannigma

    • Health & Fitness
    • 4.4, 9 Ratings

Doctors, patients, scientists, and families talk medical cannabis. Cutting through the smoke to have intelligent conversations about medical marijuana, the conditions it can treat, human stories behind that treatment, and the questions we’re all thinking about but never had anyone to ask.

Hosted by Elana Goldberg and Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man.

Brought to you by The Cannigma.

    Can Cannabis Treat ADHD?

    Can Cannabis Treat ADHD?

    Dr. Kirsten Muller-Vahl says her patients with Tourette's and ADHD told her they get relief from cannabis. She believed them, and started clinical trials.

    “We have to listen to our patients,” Dr. Kirsten Muller-Vahl repeats several times. It was hearing her patients with Tourette's, ADHD and other neurological conditions tell her how they got relief by self-medicating with cannabis, after all, that drove her to become one of the world’s premier cannabinoid researchers.

    But that type of anecdotal evidence isn’t enough. “In the end you always need controlled trials because otherwise you cannot differentiate between pharmacological effects and placebo effects,” she explains.

    Today, Dr. Muller-Vahl is conducting a broad clinical study on using cannabis to treat Tourette's in Germany.

    If those controlled clinical trials aren’t conducted, “in 10 years, [the skeptics will] ask us where are the studies? You are talking about cannabinoids and their potential in all these different diseases, but there's nothing.”

    Of course, conducting clinical trials on cannabis is not an easy task. In addition to the question of funding, more practical concerns can stand in the way — for instance, how do you create a placebo to stand in for inhaled cannabis flower? How do you create a placebo version of a joint?

    This episode was edited by Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man, and was produced by Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man, Elana Goldberg, and Matan Weil. Music by Desca.

    • 28 min
    More Than Just A Medical Card

    More Than Just A Medical Card

    For many patients — and if we’re being honest, for many doctors as well — getting a medical marijuana recommendation is a one-time affair. It’s a box to check and then you’re on your own. But it shouldn’t be that way — and doesn’t have to be.

    “People need more than just some guidance of ‘try some medical marijuana,’” says Dr. Steven Salzman, medical director for adult medicine at Leafwell, a network of online medical cannabis clinics.
    Getting that first appointment is easy, of course. For patients in 18 US states, the time it takes from logging onto the Leafwell website to actually speaking with a doctor specializing in cannabis is usually no more than five minutes.

    But that’s not why people come back.

    “We applied a medical model to medical cannabis, and, essentially, it's really more of integrative cannabis medicine because cannabis was the start of getting patients that solid base so that you could begin to implement lifestyle changes and other things that ultimately led to them being significantly improved,” Dr. Salzman explains, “but you had to improve certain things first so you could get people back on their feet.”

    "One of the things we discovered earlier on is that part of the cannabis conversation should be what are your goals of care," Dr. George Gavrilos, the company’s chief pharmacy officer, adds. "And so for every patient, that's different."

    “So, it's not just get a card, try something out,” Gavrilos continues. “It's come back, let's talk about it. What worked? What went well? What didn't go well? What are barriers to care, and what, what can we do to, to sort of overcome those barriers?”

    Use discount code “CANNBE10” for $10 off your first online appointment.

    Edited and produced by Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man. Music by Desca.

    This episode contains references to products from one or more of our affiliates or advertisers. This means that, at no cost to you, we may receive compensation when you click on links to or purchase those products.

    • 42 min
    Cannabis and...Human Rights?

    Cannabis and...Human Rights?

    With dozens of countries having legalized medical marijuana and full legalization gaining speed across the globe, it’s easy to forget how the war on drugs drove so much foreign policy for so long — and how ravaging it was for mostly impoverished communities in countless countries.

    That has been overwhelmingly positive — in some ways revolutionary, says Pien Metaal, a Senior Project Officer at the Transnational Institute’s Drugs and Democracy program.

    “[Those changes] have made it possible for patients who are ill to access cannabis as a medicine,” Metaal said on The Cannabis Enigma podcast. “What we still have not seen is these benefits also going to the communities that have been so affected by its prohibition.”

    Of course, that is not true across the board. Some Caribbean countries “have made a real effort to involve the traditional farmers — to give them licenses, to provide for amnesty that they can become legal producers for a medical market,” turning it into a development opportunity, Metaal explained.

    In Morocco, there are efforts to find ways for traditional growers and manufacturers of hash oil to gain access to medical marijuana or wellness markets in other countries.

    In Uruguay, cannabis legalization was framed by the government as a human rights issue — or at least as a clash between international drug treaties and human rights obligations.

    “The treaties on drugs have forced them to criminalize their citizens because they use a certain substance,” Metaal said. “They have forced [the government] to put them in jail and take some rights away from them because of the fact that they use these drugs. So the balance between drug treaties and human rights is a very delicate one, and has not been taken into account up until now. This is something that is now starting to change.”

    What is the prospect of change in the international system’s approach to the prohibition of cannabis? As of now, it is still listed as a Schedule I drug, which is usually categorized as having a high level of abuse and no accepted medical use.

    The problem with that is “there's never been a real scientific evidence-based research on why cannabis should be a prohibited substance. It has been based on a series of assumptions that cannabis would lead to other drugs, but also that it would have effects on the morality of the people who use it” — often with explicit racist motivations and undertones.

    Even now that global attitudes toward marijuana are changing, “this whole system is [still] based on these assumptions,” Metaal said.

    Edited, produced, and mixed by Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man with technical assistance from Elana Goldber. Music by Desca.

    • 20 min
    The First Puff Doesn't Always Work

    The First Puff Doesn't Always Work

    When Emily Earlenbaugh was diagnosed with anxiety and chronic pain from fibromyalgia, her doctors put her on prescription medications. A few years later, those medications were causing severe side effects. So she tried cannabis.

    “I would try some type of cannabis that wouldn't work for me. I would try it out and I get much more anxious or I would feel sicker,” Earlenbaugh recalled on The Cannabis Enigma Podcast. “But then other types of cannabis were life changing. I would just take a little puff and instantly my anxiety would melt away. My pain would be gone.”

    It took her over a year before she found the regimen — of strains, timing, dosing, and delivery methods — that has effectively managed her anxiety and pain for the past decade.

    Today, she puts that experience to work in order to help patients who are new to cannabis find their own personalized regimen and navigate their way through the rapidly expanding world of medical cannabis.

    “There's a lot of information out there but there's also a lot of incorrect information out there," said Earlenbaugh, who is also a writer in the field of medical cannabis.

    Earlenbaugh also talked about how her meditation and mindfulness practice became intertwined with cannabis, and an integral part of her treatment.

    [Read her article about meditation and cannabis: https://cannigma.com/treatment/cannabis-and-meditation-will-it-help-or-harm-your-practice/]

    “I was able to pay more attention to my emotions and with cannabis it wasn't so scary,” she explained. “It was something that I was then actually able to dive into.”

    You can learn more about Emily Earlenbaugh’s cannabis consulting at her website, mindfulcannabis.com and her meditation program at karunatraining.com. Follow her on Instagram: @emilyearlenbaugh.

    • 34 min
    Using Cannabis To Treat Autism

    Using Cannabis To Treat Autism

    Just four years ago, pediatrician Dr. Orit Stolar was dead set against using cannabis to treat the autistic children under her care. "I would say, 'you're off the wall — this is a dangerous drug, it's illegal.'"

    Today, she is running one of the only clinical trials in the world looking at how cannabis can help autistic children, and seeing results in her clinic.

    So what changed?

    "One kid," she explained on The Cannabis Enigma podcast. One of her patients came for a periodic visit vastly improved. "I was very sure it's not something I did, so I asked the mother, 'what did you do?' And she quietly said, 'you know, I'm giving him cannabis.'

    Dr. Stolar stayed up all night that night looking for medical research on cannabis and autism. She couldn't find any, so she set out to create it herself.

    One of the biggest problems she faces in using cannabis as a treatment, she explained, is that it's extremely difficult to know if the plant, or oil extract in her case, is staying consistent over time.

    "That's what's happening in my clinic. A family starts and says, wow, this really, really helping my child. And then the next month they say, oh my God, it's gotten really, really bad. And I don't know if it's gotten bad or if it’s the bottle that is changing," she said.

    Edited and mixed by Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man. Produced by Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man, Elana Goldberg, and Matan Weil. Music by Desca.

    • 29 min
    No Time For Clinical Trials

    No Time For Clinical Trials

    When Catherine Jacobson’s three-year-old son had exhausted all of the treatments available for his rare, life-threatening form of epilepsy, she wasn’t about to just give up.

    “I began hearing stories from families with children with severe epilepsy and that they were treating their kids with cannabis and they were reporting good outcomes,” Dr. Jacobson said on The Cannabis Enigma Podcast. “So of course, I was interested.”

    Those families, however, were making their own medicines from cannabis and there was no way to guarantee consistency. So she put her PhD in neuroscience to use and set up a laboratory in her garage to make her son a pure CBD extract.

    Today, Jacobson is the vice president of regulatory and medical affairs at Tilray, one of the world’s largest medical cannabis companies, after starting its clinical research division.

    “I was absolutely infuriated to find out that we knew CBD was an anticonvulsant but nobody had developed it for 30 years,” she explained, referencing a 1980 clinical study conducted by medical cannabis pioneer Raphael Mechoulam.

    “So I had a decision to make,” she said, of her decision to pursue a career in cannabis research. “I knew [...] that there are other patients out there living with other diseases besides epilepsy who deserve access to quality medical cannabis products now — and they don't have time to wait for clinical development.”

    Edited and mixed by Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man. Produced by Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man and Elana Goldberg. Music by Desca.

    • 27 min

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5
9 Ratings

9 Ratings

Fgreat2013 ,

Fun, causal and highly informative

Love the intro part between the two hosts

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