06/11/2013 13:54 GMT | Updated 06/11/2013 14:07 GMT

Drugs Live: Cannabis - Channel 4 To Show Volunteers High On Skunk

(FILES) This file picture taken on October 8, 2007 in London shows a cannabis plant. Britain is to raise the legal classification of cannabis due to the growing prevalence of the potent skunk form of the drug, despite expert advice against doing so, the interior minister said Wednesday May 7, 2008. Home Secretary Jacqui Smith told parliament she would press for cannabis to be re-classified in law as a Class B drug compared with its current, less serious Class C classification. AFP PHOTO/Leon Nea

Volunteers are to try strong skunk cannabis, which has been the focus of a number of media scare stories, live on TV for a one-off programme.

Drugs Live: Cannabis, is the latest in a controversial Channel 4 series that has so far seen a number of people, including a priest and author Lionel Shriver, take pure MDMA.

Users on the latest show, which will examine the potential harms done by the drug, will also take cannabis resin and a placebo.


The 90-minute programme is being done in conjunction with a study at University College London (UCL) "under laboratory conditions".

The show will test theories that skunk is more addictive than other forms of the drug and can cause paranoia and lead to memory loss.

The volunteers, who have all taken the drug before, will undergo a series of tests examining the effect of both types on their brain, memory and general psychological well being.

Professor Val Curran from UCL said: "This is a hugely exciting and important research project which will show how skunk and resin produce different effects on the human brain, mind and behaviour.

"Channel 4's Drugs Live: The Ecstasy Trial was watched by around two million young people in the UK last year and many more across the internet.

"My hope is that this new programme will scientifically inform those who use, have used or are thinking of using this drug about the effects of different types of cannabis."

The Daily Mail has previously run stories about the number of skunk cannabis smokers being admitted to hospital soaring in recent years for "mental health disorders".

However researchers have pointed out the difficulty in proving any direct causal link between skunk cannabis and psychosis.