The Cannabis & Me project at King’s College London is looking for 6,000 Londoners between the ages of 18 and 45 who either use marijuana regularly, have done so less than three times, or have never tried it.
In spite of the fact that more than 200 million individuals use cannabis daily worldwide, researchers will examine how the drug affects their brains.
Understanding the science underlying the drug is “paramount,” according to the researchers, given the growth in usage and potential legalization of the substance in the future.
The study project is divided into two parts: a 40-minute online survey in which all participants will be entered to win prizes, and a face-to-face assessment in which those chosen to complete it will be paid £50.
One of the foremost experts on cannabis and psychosis and the study’s principal investigator, Dr. Marta Di Forti, stated: “Many people use cannabis every day, both recreationally and for therapeutic purposes.
However, prescribing of medicinal cannabis is still uncommon in the UK. Our research seeks to offer information and resources that can boost medical professionals’ confidence in prescribing cannabis safely in the UK and around the world when necessary.
Worldwide, cannabis is utilized for both recreational and therapeutic purposes. While some proponents claim it helps both, others report adverse effects like a worsening in their mental health.
A pioneering research project has been launched into the effects of cannabis on the human brain and you could get paid to take part
How does the research project work?
How do I take part?
By completing this form.
Who is eligible?
To take part you must:
-Be aged between 18 and 45
-Live in London
-Currently use cannabis, have never used it, or have used it no more than three times
-Be fluent in English
-Be willing to take part in the face-to-face assessment
-Be willing to donate a blood sample
-Be willing to take part in a virtual reality (VR) experience
-Have no previous or current diagnosis of psychotic disorders
-Not currently be receiving treatment for psychotic disorders
-How does the study work?
The study will be split into two parts:
A 40-minute online survey that can be completed using a computer, smartphone or tablet
A sub-group of all those who completed the survey will then be invited to the Institute of Psychiatry Psychology and neuroscience, King’s College, Denmark Hill, London, to meet the research team and complete a face-to-face assessment
To further understand how cannabis affects users and how it may lead to paranoia, the study will combine DNA genetic and epigenetic testing with psychological and cognitive analysis, virtual reality, and other techniques.
Participants in the first phase of the study will fill out a 40-minute online survey on their experiences with the substance and the circumstances under which they use it, such as trauma, diseases, or social events.
The questionnaire also seeks to determine how variations in mood, anxiety, and how we feel and think, particularly in social contexts, affect cannabis use.
A prize drawing for a chance to win a £100 Amazon gift card will be held for everyone who participates in the online survey.
A portion of people who responded to the survey will be contacted and invited to the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology, and Neuroscience at King’s College in Denmark Hill for a face-to-face evaluation.
A blood test, a virtual reality day-to-day scenario, and more in-depth questions make up this stage.
Volunteers will be questioned in-depth about their life experiences, including adversity and trauma, as well as whether their cannabis use has changed since completing the online survey.
THC and CBD, two compounds present in the plant, will be measured in the blood test.
Endocannabinoids, which are naturally created in the body and resemble those in the cannabis plant, will also be measured to see whether there are any differences between users and non-users.
Cannabis is used worldwide both recreationally and medicinally and while some report benefits in both areas, others experience negative side effects such as a decline in their mental health
In order to determine how these alterations with cannabis usage change, the blood test will also provide information on gene architecture and epigenetics, changes in how genes are expressed.
According to Dr. Di Forti’s research, cigarette smokers experience epigenetic alterations. However, it is not yet known whether cannabis users do.
The final component of the study will involve putting participants in a virtual reality scenario, such as at their neighborhood grocery store, and asking them questions before and after to see how people react in social situations.
The same data will be gathered in a separate trial from patients being treated for psychosis, which is thought to be caused by cannabis use.
According to Dr. Di Forti, the purpose of this component of the study is to determine whether there are any biological characteristics that increase a person’s risk of getting psychosis as a result of cannabis use.
It will also establish whether it is possible to develop screening tests to identify those who might be adversely affected by cannabis.
She cited the fact that although some people can benefit medically from the medicine, others may develop psychosis as justification.
According to Dr. Di Forti, this would help people who can use cannabis safely for either medical or recreational purposes.
According to experts, there are about 17,000 cannabis prescriptions in the UK, and some Crohn’s, epilepsy, Parkinson’s, and MS sufferers claim the medicine has helped them.