Tom P Freeman

Tom P Freeman
King's College London | KCL · National Addiction Centre

BSc, PhD

About

147
Publications
31,266
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3,579
Citations
Additional affiliations
October 2008 - present
University College London
Position
  • Research Associate

Publications

Publications (147)
Article
Background and Aims There is little information on consumption patterns across the diverse range of cannabis product types. This paper examines trends in consumption patterns in Canada and the United States (US) between 2018-2020. Design Repeat cross-sectional surveys were conducted as part of the International Cannabis Policy Study online survey...
Article
Cannabis potency, defined as the concentration of Δ⁹-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), has increased internationally, which could increase the risk of adverse health outcomes for cannabis users. We present, to our knowledge, the first systematic review of the association of cannabis potency with mental health and addiction (PROSPERO, CRD42021226447). We...
Article
Full-text available
Background Adolescence is characterised by psychological and neural development. Cannabis harms may be accentuated during adolescence. We hypothesised that adolescents would be more vulnerable to the associations between cannabis use and mental health and addiction problems than adults. Method As part of the ‘CannTeen’ study, we conducted a cross-...
Article
Full-text available
Background Adolescence is a period of psychological and neural development in which harms associated with cannabis use may be heightened. We hypothesised that adolescent who use cannabis (adolescentsWUC) would have steeper delay discounting (preference for immediate over future rewards) and greater demand (relative valuation) for cannabis than adul...
Article
Full-text available
Background Cannabidiol (CBD) and Δ ⁹ -tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are the two major constituents of cannabis with contrasting mechanisms of action. THC is the major psychoactive, addiction-promoting, and psychotomimetic compound, while CBD may have opposite effects. The brain effects of these drugs alone and in combination are poorly understood. In...
Article
Full-text available
Synthetic cannabinoid receptor agonists (SCRAs) may be used as an alternative to natural cannabis; however, they may carry a greater risk of problematic use and withdrawal. This study aimed to characterise the withdrawal symptom profile of SCRAs and compare their profile of effect with high-potency herbal cannabis. Global Drug Survey data (2015 and...
Article
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Rationale There is growing interest in the therapeutic potential of cannabidiol (CBD) across a range of psychiatric disorders. CBD has been found to reduce anxiety during experimentally induced stress in anxious individuals and healthy controls. However, the mechanisms underlying the putative anxiolytic effects of CBD are unknown. Objectives We so...
Article
Full-text available
Background Preclinical and human studies suggest that adolescent cannabis use may be associated with worse cognitive outcomes than adult cannabis use. We investigated the associations between chronic cannabis use and cognitive function in adolescent and adult cannabis users and controls. We hypothesised user-status would be negatively associated wi...
Article
Background Esketamine was licensed for use in treatment resistant depression by the European Medicines Agency in December 2019. It is unclear whether this new approval has lowered the risk perception of recreational ketamine use. This is important given a recent increase in recreational ketamine use. Methods This study expanded on an existing long...
Article
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Chronic use of drugs may alter the brain’s reward system, though the extant literature concerning long-term cannabis use and neural correlates of reward processing has shown mixed results. Adolescents may be more vulnerable to the adverse effects of cannabis than adults; however, this has not been investigated for reward processing. As part of the...
Preprint
Background Adolescence is characterised by psychological and neural development. Cannabis harms may be accentuated during adolescence. We hypothesised adolescents would be more vulnerable to cannabis-related mental health and addiction problems than adults.Method As part of the ‘CannTeen’ study, we conducted a cross-sectional analysis. There were 2...
Preprint
Background: Preclinical and human studies suggest that adolescent cannabis use may be associated with worse cognitive outcomes than adult cannabis use. We investigated the associations between chronic cannabis use and cognitive function in adolescent and adult cannabis users and controls. We hypothesised user-status would be negatively associated w...
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Full-text available
Diagnostic categories do not completely reflect the heterogeneous expression of psychosis. Using data from the EU-GEI study, we evaluated the impact of schizophrenia polygenic risk score (SZ-PRS) and patterns of cannabis use on the transdiagnostic expression of psychosis. We analysed first-episode psychosis patients (FEP) and controls, generating t...
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Objectives To assess whether autistic and non-autistic adults differ in their cannabis and cannabidiol (CBD) use, their perceptions of cannabinoid products and their cannabinoid-related support-seeking behaviours. Design Cross-sectional survey. Participants Respondents to an online survey, who self-reported an autism-spectrum disorder diagnosis (...
Article
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Background: Monitoring emerging trends in the increasingly dynamic European drug market is vital; however, information on change at the individual level is scarce. In the current study, we investigated changes in drug use over 12 months in European nightlife attendees. Method: In this longitudinal online survey, changes in substances used, use f...
Article
Cannabis use peaks during adolescence and emerging adulthood, and cannabis use disorder (CUD) is associated with a wide range of adverse outcomes. This is particularly pertinent in youth, because the developing brain may be more vulnerable to adverse effects of frequent cannabis use. Combining evidence-based psychosocial interventions with safe and...
Article
Full-text available
Background The lack of an agreed international minimum approach to measuring cannabis use hinders the integration of multidisciplinary evidence on the psychosocial, neurocognitive, clinical and public health consequences of cannabis use. Methods A group of 25 international expert cannabis researchers convened to discuss a multidisciplinary framewo...
Article
Full-text available
Background Cannabis is one of the most widely used substances worldwide. Heavy use is associated with an increased risk of cannabis use disorders, psychotic disorders, acute cognitive impairment, traffic injuries, respiratory problems, worse pregnancy outcomes, and there are indications for genotoxic and epigenotoxic adverse effects. International...
Article
Full-text available
Diagnostic categories do not completely reflect the heterogeneous expression of psychosis. Using data from the EU-GEI study, we evaluated the impact of schizophrenia polygenic risk score (SZ-PRS) and patterns of cannabis use on the transdiagnostic expression of psychosis. We analysed first-episode psychosis patients (FEP) and controls, generating t...
Article
Full-text available
Background and Aims The idea that cannabis is a ‘gateway drug’ to more harmful substances such as opioids is highly controversial, yet has substantially impacted policy, education and how we conceptualize substance use. Given a rise in access to cannabis products and opioid-related harm, the current study aimed to conduct the first systematic revie...
Article
Background Cannabis and its main psychoactive component, Δ⁹-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), can elicit transient psychotic symptoms. A key candidate biological mechanism of how THC induces psychotic symptoms is the modulation of glutamate in the brain. We sought to investigate the effects of acute THC administration on striatal glutamate levels and its...
Article
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The standardization of cannabis doses is a priority for research, policy-making, clinical and harm-reduction interventions and consumer security. Scientists have called for standard units of dosing for cannabis, similar to those used for alcohol. A Standard Joint Unit (SJU) would facilitate preventive and intervention models in ways similar to the...
Article
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Illicit drug use is prevalent in the nightlife scene, especially at electronic dance music (EDM) events. The aim of the present study was to investigate illicit drug use patterns and consequences of drug use among frequent visitors of EDM events. Young adults (18–34 years old) who had visited at least six EDM events in Sweden during the past year p...
Article
Background: Mindfulness-meditation has a variety of benefits on well-being. However, individuals with primary attentional impairments (e.g. attention deficit disorder) or attentional symptoms secondary to anxiety, depression or addiction, may be less likely to benefit, and require additional mindfulness-augmenting strategies. / Aims: To determine w...
Article
Cannabis is the most widely used illicit drug worldwide, and it is estimated that up to 30% of people who use cannabis will develop a cannabis use disorder (CUD). Demand for treatment of CUD is increasing in almost every region of the world and cannabis use is highly comorbid with mental disorders, where sustained use can reduce treatment complianc...
Article
Adolescents have access to a wide range of cannabis products with patterns of use becoming increasingly diverse. This study aimed to identify subgroups of adolescents in the general population who use similar types of cannabis and their association with psychotic experiences. Data on cannabis use were obtained from 467 adolescents aged between 16-1...
Article
Background While the acute effects of cannabis are relatively benign for most users, some individuals experience significant adverse effects. This study aimed to identify whether variation in schizotypal personality traits and frequency of cannabis use influence the acute effects of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Methods Individual participan...
Article
Heavy cannabis use is associated with an increased risk of psychosis. However, the psychological mechanisms involved, and interactions with established risk factors for cannabis-related psychosis, remain unclear. This study examined the role of cognitive fusion, a candidate vulnerability factor for psychosis, during acute THC intoxication, and the...
Preprint
Full-text available
Background There is growing interest in the therapeutic potential of cannabidiol (CBD) across a range of psychiatric disorders. CBD has been found to reduce anxiety during experimentally-induced stress in anxious individuals and healthy controls. However, the mechanisms underlying the putative anxiolytic effects of CBD are unknown. We therefore sou...
Preprint
Full-text available
Cannabidiol (CBD) and Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are two major constituents of cannabis with contrasting mechanisms of action. THC is the major psychoactive, addiction-promoting, and psychotomimetic compound, while CBD may have somewhat opposite effects. The brain effects of these drugs alone and in combination are poorly understood. In particul...
Article
Full-text available
Background and aims Cannabis products with high delta‐9‐tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentrations carry an increased risk of addiction and mental health disorders, while it has been suggested that cannabidiol (CBD) may moderate the effects of THC. This study aimed to systematically review and meta‐analyse changes in THC and CBD concentrations in ca...
Article
Full-text available
Over the past 5 years, public interest in the potential health benefits of cannabidiol (CBD) has increased exponentially, and a wide range of over-the-counter (OTC) preparations of CBD are now available. A substantial proportion of the population appears to have used these products, yet the extent to which they are effective or safe is unclear. We...
Article
Full-text available
Background Cannabidiol (CBD) is being investigated as a potential treatment for several medical indications, many of which are characterised by altered memory processing. However, the mechanisms underlying these effects are unclear. Aims Our primary aim was to investigate how CBD influences cerebral blood flow (CBF) in regions involved in memory p...
Article
Full-text available
Background Cannabidiol has potential therapeutic benefits for people with psychiatric disorders characterised by reward function impairment. There is existing evidence that cannabidiol may influence some aspects of reward processing. However, it is unknown whether cannabidiol acutely affects brain function underpinning reward anticipation and feedb...
Article
Background Online sampling is widely used to recruit hard to reach samples such as drug users at nightlife events. We conducted the first study comparing differences in demographics, drug use and nightlife behaviour between an online sample of young adults engaging with the European nightlife scene, and an offline sample recruited at nightclubs and...
Article
Background A substantial and unmet clinical need exists for pharmacological treatment of cannabis use disorders. Cannabidiol could offer a novel treatment, but it is unclear which doses might be efficacious or safe. Therefore, we aimed to identify efficacious doses and eliminate inefficacious doses in a phase 2a trial using an adaptive Bayesian des...
Article
Background Acute cannabis administration can produce transient psychotic-like effects in healthy individuals. However, the mechanisms through which this occurs and which factors predict vulnerability remain unclear. We investigate whether cannabis inhalation leads to psychotic-like symptoms and speech illusion; and whether cannabidiol (CBD) blunts...
Article
Background First episode psychosis (FEP) patients who use cannabis experience more frequent psychotic and euphoric intoxication experiences compared to controls. It is not clear whether this is consequent to patients being more vulnerable to the effects of cannabis use or to their heavier pattern of use. We aimed to determine whether extent of use...
Article
Full-text available
Cannabidiol (CBD) is being investigated as a treatment for several medical disorders but there is uncertainty about its safety. We conducted the first systematic review and meta-analysis of the adverse effects of CBD across all medical indications. Double-blind randomized placebo-controlled clinical trials lasting ≥7 days were included. Twelve tria...
Article
Acute and chronic exposure to cannabis and its main psychoactive component, ⁹-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is associated with changes in brain function and cerebral blood flow (CBF). We therefore sought to systematically review the literature on the effects of THC on CBF following PRISMA guidelines. Studies assessing the acute and chronic effects of...
Article
Background As new cannabis products and administration methods proliferate, patterns of use are becoming increasingly heterogeneous. However, few studies have explored different profiles of cannabis use and their association with problematic use. Methods Latent class analysis (LCA) was used to identify subgroups of past-year cannabis users endorsi...
Article
The recent liberalisation of cannabis regulation has increased public and scientific debate about its potential benefits and risks. A key focus has been the extent to which cannabidiol (CBD) might influence the acute effects of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), but this has never been reviewed systematically. In this systematic review of how CBD...
Article
Full-text available
Little is known about the neural functioning that underpins drug valuation and choice in addiction, including nicotine dependence. Following ad libitum smoking, 19 dependent smokers (smoked≥10/day) and 19 occasional smokers (smoked 0.5-5/week) completed a decision-making task. First, participants stated how much they were willing-to-pay for various...
Article
Globally, recent studies report increases in Δ-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) concentration in seized samples of cannabis for human consumption. This is important, because use of cannabis with a high concentration of THC has been linked to a number of adverse health outcomes. The objective of this study was to assess recent changes in the composition...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
This presentation summarises results from 3 studies of psychological mechanisms involved in the relationship between cannabis use and psychosis.
Article
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Background: Two major constituents of cannabis are Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). THC is the main psychoactive component; CBD may buffer the user against the harmful effects of THC. Aims: We examined the effects of two strains of cannabis and placebo on the human brain's resting-state networks using fMRI. Methods: Sevente...
Article
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Reply to Vadhan et al. – Correspondence on Curran et al. (2018) ‘Which biological and self-report measures of cannabis use predict cannabis dependency and acute psychotic-like response’ - Volume 49 Issue 10 - H. Valerie Curran, Chandni Hindocha, Celia Morgan, Natacha D. C. Shaban, Ravi Das, Tom P. Freeman
Article
Full-text available
The laws governing cannabis are evolving worldwide and associated with changing patterns of use. The main psychoactive drug in cannabis is Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a partial agonist at the endocannabinoid CB1 receptor. Acutely, cannabis and THC produce a range of effects on several neurocognitive and pharmacological systems. These include eff...
Article
Full-text available
The main active ingredient in cannabis, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), can acutely induce psychotic symptoms and impair episodic and working memory. Another major constituent, cannabidiol (CBD), may attenuate these effects. This study aimed to determine the effects of THC and CBD, both alone and in combination on psychotic symptoms and memory...
Article
Full-text available
Background Changes in cannabis regulation globally make it increasingly important to determine what predicts an individual's risk of experiencing adverse drug effects. Relevant studies have used diverse self-report measures of cannabis use, and few include multiple biological measures. Here we aimed to determine which biological and self-report mea...