Cannabis has two faces. On the one hand, more and more countries are legalising cannabis and the belief in its medical benefits is growing. On the other hand, there is a worrying increase in use in vulnerable groups. Cognitive Neuroscientist Janna Cousijn of Erasmus University Rotterdam will receive a NWO-VIDI grant of 800,000 for her research on these two faces of cannabis.
Currently, the scientific, public, and political debate between the benefits and harms of cannabis use is heated. On the one hand, there is a growing belief in cannabis as a medicine for mental problems, but on the other hand, there are concerns about increased use among vulnerable groups. For these groups, the health consequences, including addiction, are becoming increasingly apparent. The VIDI project "Blowing minds; detangling the highs and lows of cannabis for brain health" embraces the two faces of cannabis and will map the positive and negative interactions between cannabis use and mental functioning in both medicinal and recreational users. A further unique feature of the project is that it will follow users from different countries, allowing the role of cultural context to be examined alongside that of method and product of use.
Researcher Janna Cousijn "I see the project as a milestone: scientifically, because I am tackling several knowledge gaps in one fell swoop, and socially because we are finally able to provide the correct answers to questions from users, healthcare professionals, and politicians."
The NWO talent programme Vidi is a funding instrument for experienced researchers. It enables researchers who have been doing research at the postdoc level for several years to develop their innovative research line and appoint one or more researchers for this purpose.
About Janna Cousijn
Dr. Janna Cousijn received her PhD from the University of Amsterdam in 2012 and has been a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Psychology, Education & Child Studies, Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences since 2021. In addition, since 2017, she has been a visiting research fellow at the Center for BrainHealth, School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences, University of Texas at Dallas, USA.
Janna Cousijn is a world-leading scientist in the field of cannabis research. She has received several prestigious awards and grants, including an ERC Starting grant "Aging Brain Matter; a developmental key to addiction risk and resilience" (2020), and a NIDA-NIH RO1 grant. She is Deputy Regional manager of the journal Addiction and founder of the Neuroscience of Addiction LabOpent externally based at the EUR and UvA