Dr Marta Di Forti, MD, PhD
BRC Senior Clinical Lecturer
I am a Senior Lecturer at the Dept of Social, Developmental and Genetic Research, Institute of Psychiatry, and Honorary Consultant Adult Psychiatrist, Lambeth Community team, South London and Maudsley NHS foundation Trust. The clinical population I care for comprises young individuals suffering their first episode of psychotic disorders. Two thirds of our patient group has used cannabis before their psychotic onset. Therefore, my current clinical position plays a crucial role in inspiring my ongoing research. I run the first and only Cannabis Clinic for Patients with Psychosis in UK, which started in June 2019 I developed thanks to a) the collaborative effort of a team of world leading expert in psychosis and b) a grant from the Maudsley Charitable fund.
I was recently awarded an MRC Senior Clinical Fellowship that will allow me to expand my research in the role of cannabis use in psychosis and its underlying biology. We showed for the first time that use of high potency types of cannabis e.g. “skunk” carries a higher risk of psychosis than use of traditional types and that it affects rates of Psychotic disorders across Europe. Though it still remains unclear who are those cannabis use most at risk. My future work aims to investigate the interaction between cannabis use and genes predisposing to schizophrenia, and how cannabis changes the epigenome.