Professor Val Curran

Professor Val Curran

Professor of Psychopharmacology

Address: 1-19 Torrington Place Research Department of Clinical, Educational and Health Psychology, University College London WC1E 7HB

Telephone: 020 7679 1898

E-mail: v.curran@ucl.ac.uk


  • Enhancing our understanding of the neurochemistry of memory, cognition and emotional processing.
  • Differentiating the actions of different cannabinoids on schizotypal symptoms, cognition and addiction-related processes.
  • Exploring pharmacological models of psychotic symptoms such as delusions using ketamine and cannabinoids in both challenge studies (acute administration to healthy volunteers) and natural populations of chronic users of these substances.
  • Determining the short- and long-term effects of 'recreational' drugs such as MDMA (ecstasy), cannabis, stimulants & ketamine on cognition, emotion and the brain.
  • Understanding how opiates prescribed for pain affect patients’ cognition and emotional processing, including the perception of pain-related stimuli.
  • Elucidating the processes involved in the transition from drug use to drug addiction.

Recent and current grants

  • Nutt D & Curran HV Medical Research Council, (co-PI)

Psilocybin infusion as a treatment for major depression. April 2012-December 2015.

  • Curran HV Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs (PI)

A pharmacological fMRI study of the differential neuropsychological effects of high THC/low CBD cannabis (‘skunk’) and high THC/high CBD (‘resin’, ‘herb’) cannabis in humans. September 2013 – September 2015.  

Internal Collaborators External Collaborators
Dr Celia Morgan Prof Paul Grasby
Dr Brigitta Brandner Dr Paul Fletcher
Prof Eileen Joyce Dr Peter Rendell
Dr Jon Roiser Dr Brian Levine
Dr Sunjeev Kamboj Dr Alyson Bond
Dr Oliver Mason Dr Peter Ulhaas
Prof Chris Brewin Dr Paula Piccini

Selected publications

  1. Roberts RE, Curran HV, Friston KJ, Morgan CJA (2014) Abnormalities in white matter microstructure associated with chronic ketamine use. Neuropsychopharmacology, 39: 329-38.
  2. Terrett J, McLennan, Henry, Biernacki, Mercuri, Curran HV, & Rendell P (2014) Prospective memory impairment in long-term opiate users. Psychopharmacology, 231:2623-32. doi: 10.1007/s00213-014-3432-6.
  3. Wilson L, Tookman A, Curran HV, Carroll E, Kamboj SK (2014) Effects of immediate-release opioid on memory functioning: a mechanistic randomised controlled study in patients receiving sustained release opioids. European Journal of Pain, in press.
  4. Carhart-Harris RL, Wall M, Erritzoe D, Kaelen M, Ferguson B, De Meer I, Tanner M, Bloomfield M, Williams TM, Bolstridge M, Stewart L, Morgan C, Newbold R, Feilding A, Curran HV & Nutt DJ (2014) The effect of MDMA on recollecting emotionally-potent autobiographical memories: an fMRI study with implications for MDMA-assisted psychotherapy. International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, 17:1-14. doi: 10.1017/S1461145713001405.
  5. Hindocha C, Freeman TP, Morgan CJA, Gardiner C, Schaefer, G & Curran HV (2014) Acute THC produces global impairment in the recognition of human facial expressions: a 4-way cross over study of THC and CBD, alone and combined. In press, Journal of Psychopharmacology
  6. Nutt DN, Phillips LD, Balfour D, Curran HV, Dockrell M, Foulds J, Fagerstrom K, Letlape K, Milton A, Polosa R, Ramsey J, Sweanor D (2014) Estimating the harms of nicotine-containing products using the MCDA approach. European Addiction Research, in press.
  7. Carhart-Harris RL, Murphy K,…..Curran HV, Nutt DJ (2014) The effects of acutely administered MDMA on spontaneous brain function measured with arterial spin labelling and BOLD resting-state functional connectivity. Biological Psychiatry Jan 10. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2013.12.015.
  8. Bloomfield MAP, Morgan CJA, Kapur S, Curran HV, Howes OD (2014) The link between dopamine function and apathy in cannabis users: an [18F]-DOPA PET imaging study”. Psychopharmacology, 231: 2251-2259.
  9. Kamboj, SK, Conroy L, Tookman A, Carroll E, Jones L, Curran HV (2014) Effects of immediate-release opioid on memory functioning: a randomized-controlled study in patients receiving sustained-release opioids. In press, European Journal of Pain.
  10. Stewart LH, Ferguson B, Morgan CJA, Swaboda N, Jones L, Fenton R, Wall M, Curran HV (2014). Effects of ecstasy on cooperative behavior and perception of trustworthiness: a naturalistic study. Journal of Psychopharmacology, in press. doi: 10.1177/0269881114544775
  11. Freeman TP, Das RK, Kamboj SK, Curran HV (2014) Dopamine, urges to smoke, and the relative salience of drug versus non-drug reward. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, in press.ISSN: 1749-5024 doi:10.1093/scan/nsu026
  12. Freeman TP, Morgan CJ, Hindocha C, Schafer G, Das RK, Curran HV. (2014) Just say 'know': how do cannabinoid concentrations influence users' estimates of cannabis potency and the amount they roll in joints? Addiction, in press doi: 10.1111/add.12634.
  13. Hindocha C, Wollenberg O, Carter-Leno V, Alvarez BO, Curran HV, Freeman TP (2014) Emotional processing deficits in chronic cannabis use: a replication and extension. Journal of Psychopharmacology, 28(5):466-471.
  14. Krol K, Kamboj SK, Curran HV, Grossmann T (2014) Breastfeeding experience differentially impacts recognition of happiness and anger in mothers. Scientific Reports, in press.
  15. Charles, M, Wellington C, Freeman TP, O’Ryan D and Curran HV (2014) Attentional bias predicts compliance with opiate substitution treatment. Substance Use Disorders, in press
  16. Bloomfield MAP, Morgan CJA, Egerton A, Kapur S, Curran HV & Howes OD (2014) Dopaminergic Function in Cannabis Users: An [18F]-DOPA Positron Emission Tomography study of dopamine synthesis capacity and its relationship to cannabis-induced psychotic symptoms. Biological Psychiatry, 75, 470-8.
  17. Mercuri K, Terrett G, Henry JD, Bailey PE, Curran HV, Rendell PG (2014) Episodic foresight deficits in long-term opiate users. Psychopharmacology
  18. Freeman TP, Mokrysz C & Curran HV (2014) – Lancet Psychiatry letter

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