Primum non nocere: Ethical and clinical dilemmas in the private marketplace

First published: 13 March 2019 | Last updated: 28 March 2019

Dr Musa Sami

Clinical Research Training Fellow

I have been interested in both an academic career and addiction studies from an early stage. After having obtained prizes during my university career including the Royal College of Psychiatrists Prize in Addiction (2007) and the Medical Council of Alcohol 2nd prize (2006), I obtained an Academic Foundation Post in nuclear medicine. I was strongly urged by my supervisors (Professor Kenneth Miles, Dr Sabina Dizdarevic) towards an academic career. I continued to have an academic interest throughout psychiatric clinical training. As a result of this my Director of Medical Education agreed to have one day a week for research interest in my Core Trainee 3 year, which I have continued as a Higher Specialist Trainee under the supervision of Dr Bhattacharyya. At this stage in my clinical career I have developed a strong clinical background, as evidenced in being a finalist for the Royal College of Psychiatrist’s Core Psychiatry Trainee of the Year (2014). I have mantained special interest sessions in addiction studies in both research and clinical capacities.

I have worked with Dr Sagnik Bhattacharyya, my supervisor since 2013. Initially I worked on a meta-analysis of whether cannabis worsens relapse of psychosis; now published in Lancet Psychiatry (Schoeler et al, 2016). Having identified that cannabis does appear to worsen psychotic illness the question is how this mechanistically occurs. I undertook the first systematic review across human studies of the effect of cannabis on dopamine signaling (Sami et al, 2015). I have also obtained Ethics approval and set-up an Online Cannabis Experiences Questionnaire (, to determine if there are differences between hashish, skunk and synthetic cannabis users in reported experiences, which will also help build a cohort for recruitment to future studies. This survey involves both qualitative and quantitative data analysis. I have further had experience of thematic analysis of qualitative data in research projects for my Postgraduate Diploma of Medical Education which I passed with merit.

I am mentored by Professor Anne Lingford-Hughes and have been asked to join the MRC Addiction Research Clinical trainees in the mentoring scheme.

In the longer term I wish to establish myself as a translational academic psychiatrist. Subsequent to my current fellowship I will look to apply to early career fellowships and maintain a clinical interest. The longer term aim to become a clinical academic and independent researcher in the area of addiction studies and mental health.


Dr Musa Sami