Can cannabis treat ADHD?
Play • 28 min

“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.

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