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Cannabis addiction expert joins the IoP

King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry (IoP) is pleased to announce the appointment of Professor Michael Lynskey to the IoP Addictions Department.

Professor Lynskey is a renowned international research scientist who has published extensively on a range of drug studies including on cannabis use and cannabis use disorders. By using large, complex datasets, his research has focused on understanding the development of use and dependence on drugs and the links with common mental health problems. Professor Lynskey has worked on several longitudinal studies with a particular interest in the interactive effects of genes and environments on drug use and related outcomes.

His research includes investigating what leads individuals to start using drugs such as cannabis during childhood and adolescence, the links between cannabis and mental health, and the links between early onset cannabis use and the use of other drugs.

Professor John Strang, Head of the Addictions Department at King’s IoP says: “The recruitment of Professor Michael Lynskey to our team greatly strengthens and broadens our ability to explore, understand and respond to factors associated with initiation and progression of drug problems. We’ll also be able to study the manner in which these are related to resulting personal, health and social consequences. With Professor Lynskey’s arrival at the Institute, we will now be able to explore these areas more comprehensively and will be better positioned to guide tomorrow’s more evidence-based strategies.”

The Addictions Department is one of the most productive addictions research groups in Europe, and focuses on developing and promoting treatments, policies and prevention measures for drug use disorders. In partnership with the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, the Department is also known as the National Addictions Centre, and represents one of the key areas of clinical research in King’s Health Partners Academic Health Sciences Centre.

Professor Lynskey graduated in Psychology from the University of Otago, and has since held positions in New Zealand, Australia and the USA. He joins King’s Institute of Psychiatry from the Department of Psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis (USA).

Professor Lynskey says: "Although use of cannabis is common, there is little consensus regarding appropriate policy responses to its use. Furthermore, compared to our knowledge about the health effects of tobacco and alcohol, we know relatively little about the potential consequences of cannabis use. The Addictions Department and the broader intellectual resources of the Institute of Psychiatry, offer exciting collaborative opportunities both to further our understanding of the onset and development of cannabis related problems, as well as the contexts in which they occur – the first step towards  to developing rational approaches to reducing harms associated with cannabis use."

Professor Lynskey began his post from November 2012.

For further information, please contact Seil Collins, Press Officer, King’s College London, Institute of Psychiatry. Email: or tel: 0207 848 5377