Dr Janna Cousijn of the University of Amsterdam reports the findings from her research into the neuroanatomical effects heavy, long-term cannabis use has. The results may surprise you.
Dr Janna Cousijn is a researcher in the Department of Developmental Psychology at the University of Amsterdam in The Netherlands. She has an interdisciplinary background in neurobiology, medicine and psychology. An intriguing question central to all her studies is why only some individuals develop an addiction after heavy substance use. She thereby studied the interaction between motivational processes (reward, emotions) and cognitive control in the brain. Dr Cousijn received her Doctorate Cum Laude (awarded <5%) for identifying predictors of cannabis dependence with a novel combination of neuroimaging techniques (structural MRI, functional MRI, connectivity analyses) and neuropsychological tasks applied to a large group of difficult to find cannabis users and closely matched controls. After finishing her PhD, Dr Cousijn became a postdoc at Leiden University where she extended her knowledge on the study of atypical brain development in the context of mental disorders. In 2014 she moved to Utrecht University to work as an Associate Research Scientist responsible for theory development, study design and supervision of PhD students in a prestigious large-scale (6000 children) 10-year longitudinal neuroimaging study on atypical brain development (NWO Zwaartekracht). Recently, she was invited back at the University of Amsterdam as an assistant professor (Tenure) in Clinical Developmental Neuroscience.