U.K. Researchers Launch Study Exploring Weed’s Effects on the Brain

British researchers are now recruiting volunteers for a study designed to investigate the effects of cannabis on the human brain. Paid for participation in research conducted as part of the Cannabis & Me Project.

The researchers conducting the study say the study is “most important” in understanding the science behind cannabis, which is used daily by about 200 million people worldwide. and is the subject of legalization efforts in countries around the world. “Cannabis is consumed daily by many people not only for recreational reasons, but also for medical reasons,” said Marta Di Forti, a leading researcher on cannabis and psychosis and leader of the new study. says.

“But medical cannabis prescriptions remain rare in the UK,” added Di Forti. As quoted by daily mail“Our research aims to provide data and tools that will give doctors in the UK and around the world the confidence to safely prescribe cannabis when needed.”

to carry out Two-part studyresearchers are recruiting 6,000 volunteers aged 18 to 45 living in London. You must have no or have used cannabis less than 3 times.

The first part of the survey will be a 40 minute online survey. A lottery will be held for those who have answered the first questionnaire. Researchers then select participants to complete face-to-face assessments. Those who complete the in-person assessment will be paid £50 (approximately $60).

Preliminary questionnaires ask participants about their experience with cannabis and their reasons for using cannabis, including use due to trauma, medical conditions, or social situations. The study will also explore how mood and anxiety change the way participants think and feel, and influence cannabis use, especially in social situations.

Face-to-face evaluation for selected participants

From study participants, researchers will select a subgroup of volunteers to complete face-to-face assessments at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College London. This part of the study consists of three parts, including a more detailed investigation, a blood test, and a virtual reality daily scenario. A second questionnaire delves into participants’ experiences in situations involving trauma and adversity. Volunteers will also be asked if their cannabis consumption has changed since completing the initial survey.

Blood tests will be used to determine participants’ THC and CBD levels. Blood tests quantify similar compounds naturally produced in the body known as endocannabinoids, and are also used to determine if levels of these substances differ between cannabis users and non-users. increase. Additionally, blood analysis provides researchers with data on gene structure and epigenetics. These are changes in the way genes are expressed. Di Forti noted that while other research suggests there are epigenetic changes in cigarette smokers, there are no studies investigating whether cannabis can cause similar changes. did.

The final part of the study utilizes virtual reality technology to engage participants in common everyday scenarios such as a visit to a supermarket. Subjects answer questions before and after the virtual girlfriend reality experience to determine how they respond to social interactions.

Another study collects the same information from people being treated for psychosis that cannabis is thought to cause. Di Forti said the goal of this part of the study is to determine whether there are biological factors that predispose people to psychosis with cannabis use that have been observed in some patients. It is hoped that this information will help identify those who can safely use cannabis.

London residents interested in participating in the study should: Complete the primary screening survey online.

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