UCL Psychology and Language Sciences


Health and Wellbeing

The Health and Wellbeing theme covers the study, teaching and training of the psychological processes of health, illness and health care, and their application to the promotion and maintenance of health, the analysis and improvement of the health care system and health policy formation, and the prevention of illness and disability and the enhancement of outcomes of those who are ill or disabled.

Areas of expertise include the health psychology, and the study of health-related behaviour change (e.g. smoking cessation), pain, psychometrics, dementia, eating disorders and intellectual disabilities. For more details, see the links to the Health psychology research group, the Centre for health service research in intellectual disabilities and the Psychometric laboratory.

Teaching includes the Health Psychology unit within the department’s clinical psychology doctorate, the Clinical and Health Psychology undergraduate second year option and contributions to the Health Psychology MSc (hosted by the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health). Training includes UCL Partner’s course, Behaviour Change for Health Professionals: An introductory course. 

A novel treatment for cannabis dependence?

PI: Professor Val Curran & Dr. Celia Morgan

Research Associates: Dr Tom Freeman & Chandni Hindocha

Collaborator: Dr. Paul Morrison, IoP

£1.3million Medical Research Council 

More people are dependent on cannabis than any other illicit drug – at least  18 million worldwide. In Europe, 1% of all adults and nearly 2% of 14-17 year olds are addicted to cannabis. Rates of cannabis dependence have increased markedly over recent years alongside changes in the ingredients of cannabis available on the. Among UK first-time drug treatment clients, cannabis is now the primary addiction in 28% of those entering drug treatment, second only to heroin (41%). 

The demand for cannabis treatment has more than doubled since 2001 (UNODC World Drug Report 2010). At present, clinicians rely on psychological treatments which have very limited effectiveness. If we found a safe, effective medicine this could improve treatment in a similar way that various medicines have improved rates of stopping tobacco use. It would also impact on educational/vocational achievement and illegal behaviour, and reduce young people’s risks of cannabis-associated mental health problems (e.g. schizophrenia, depression).   

This project will first determine which dose of a novel pharmacological treatment is best in treating cannabis dependence before fully evaluating its efficacy.

We are inviting participants to take part who are at least 16 years old, meet clinical criteria for cannabis dependence and would like to stop using the drug. 

Adkins, L. and Michie, S. (2015) Designing interventions to change eating behaviours. Proceedings of the Nutrition Society. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0029665115000075

Michie, S. F., & Wood, C. E. (2015). Reporting Behaviour Change Interventions and TechniquesAssessment in Health Psychology.