A groundbreaking study has been launched into the effects of cannabis on the human brain and you can get paid to participate.
King’s College London’s Cannabis & Me project is recruiting 6,000 people aged 18 to 45 who live in the English capital and are either currently using the drug, have used it less than three times or have never tried it before.
Researchers will investigate how the drug affects their brains because “shockingly” little is known about its effects – despite more than 200 million people worldwide using cannabis daily.
The researchers said it is “paramount” to understand the science behind the drug, with the number of users on the rise and the possibility that it will become legal in the future.
Divided into two parts, the research project starts with a 40-minute online survey – where all participants will enter a prize draw – followed by a face-to-face assessment, where those selected to complete it will be paid £50.
A groundbreaking research project has been launched into the effects of cannabis on the human brain and you can get paid to participate
Dr Marta Di Forti, one of the world’s leading cannabis and psychosis researchers and study leader, said: “Cannabis is consumed daily by many for recreational but also medical reasons.
“However, in the UK, prescribing medical cannabis is still rare. Our study aims to provide data and tools that can make doctors in the UK and around the world more confident, where appropriate, in prescribing cannabis safely.’
Cannabis is used globally for both recreational and medical use. While some proponents say it benefits both areas, others experience negative side effects such as a deterioration in their mental health.
How does the research project work?
How do I participate?
By filling out this form.
Who is eligible?
To participate you must:
- Be between 18 and 45 years old
- Live in London
- Currently using cannabis, have never used it or have used it no more than three times
- Fluency in English
- Be willing to participate in the face-to-face assessment
- Be willing to donate a blood sample
- Be willing to partake in a virtual reality (VR) experience
- Has no previous or current diagnosis of psychotic disorders
- Not currently being treated for psychotic disorders
How does the study work?
The study will be divided into two parts:
- A 40-minute online survey that can be completed using a computer, smartphone or tablet
- A subset of all those who completed the survey will then be invited to the Institute of Psychiatric Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College, Denmark Hill, London, to meet the research team and carry out a face-to-face assessment
Source: King’s College London
The study will use a combination of DNA genetic and epigenetic testing, psychological and cognitive analysis and virtual reality to understand the effect of cannabis on users and how it may contribute to paranoia.
In the first part of the study, participants will complete a 40-minute online survey that will ask them about their experience with the drug and why it is taken – for example, because of trauma, illness or social situations.
The survey also aims to see how mood, anxiety and changes in the way we think and feel, especially in social situations, affect the use of cannabis.
Everyone who takes the online survey will be entered into a prize draw to win a £100 Amazon gift voucher.
Following the survey, a subset of those who completed it will be invited to the Institute of Psychiatric Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College, Denmark Hill, for a face-to-face assessment.
This step consists of three parts – more in-depth questions, a blood test and a daily virtual reality scenario.
This questionnaire will ask volunteers in-depth questions about their experiences – such as with adversity and trauma – as well as whether there has been a change in their cannabis consumption since completing the online survey.
The blood sample will be used to measure the levels of THC and CBD – two chemicals found in the plant.
It will also measure endocannabinoids — molecules produced naturally in the body that are similar to those in the cannabis plant — to determine whether these are different between users and non-users.
The blood test will also provide data on gene structures and epigenetics – changes in how genes are expressed – to see how this changes with cannabis use.
Dr Di Forti said research suggests that those who smoke tobacco have epigenetic changes. But there is currently no research on whether cannabis users do.
The final part of the study will be a virtual reality experience where participants will be placed in an everyday scenario – for example in their local supermarket – and will answer questions before and after to see how they react to social situations.
In a separate study, the same information will be collected from people receiving treatment for psychosis, where the cause is believed to be cannabis use.
Cannabis is used worldwide for both recreational and medicinal use and while some report benefits in both areas, others experience negative side effects such as a deterioration in their mental health
Dr. Di Forti said the purpose of this part of the study is to see if there are biological factors that make a person more susceptible to developing psychosis from cannabis use.
It will also determine whether a screening test could be developed to pinpoint those who may be adversely affected by cannabis.
She said the drug is known to help some people medically but can cause psychosis in others.
This would identify those who can safely take cannabis for medicinal or recreational purposes, Dr Di Forti said.
Experts say there are around 17,000 people with cannabis prescriptions in the UK, and some patients with Crohn’s, epilepsy, Parkinson’s and MS report benefits from using the drug.
#Smoke #cannabis. #PAID #British #researchers #groundbreaking #trials