Anna Ross

Lecturer; Research Ethics and Integrity Committee CPASS Lead; DRNS Co-convener; SPRG Lead


Anna Ross is a Lecturer in Health and Social Sciences at the University of Edinburgh, and an Honorary Research Assistant at Drug Science. Dr. Ross completed her graduate studies in Law at the University of Edinburgh, followed by a Masters in Alcohol and Drugs Studies, and a PhD in Sociology and drug policy at the University of Edinburgh. She has worked for the Scottish Government on developing safeguarding protocols for charities, and the UK Government as the Special Advisor to the Scottish Affairs Committee Inquiry into Problem Drug Use in Scotland. In addition she has been on a range of advisory committees in Scotland, set up the Scottish Drug Policy Conversations: a multi-stakeholder deliberative group exploring drug policy issues in Scotland, is co-founder of the Scottish Psychedelic Research Group and the Scottish Cannabis Consortium.

Anna Ross has over 20 years experiences of practitioner work with substance use, and identifies as a lived and living experienced researcher. She is passionate about the human rights based approaches to drug regulation, and the developing research around cannabis, psychadelics and other drugs for  use for therapeutic and medicinal application.



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LLB (Hons), Dip. LP, MSc, PhD

Responsibilities & affiliations

Deputy Convener of the Drugs Research Network Scotland (DRNS)

Co-Lead of the CPASS Research Ethics and Integrity Committee

Course Organiser of Drug Policy and the Public Good

Course Organiser of Trauma in Society

PGR Deputy Director for HiSS

Founder of the Scottish Psychedelic Research Group

Founder and Chair of the Scottish Cannabis Consortium

Secretary to the Scottish Cross Party on Medicinal Cannabis



Undergraduate teaching

I teach on the MA Health in Social Sciences, and in 2021/22 I will be the course organiser for my own course 'Drug Policy and the Public Good' in semester 1, and course organiser for a core course 'Identity and Eperience'.

I am available for dissertation supervision and am interested in anything to do with drugs, recovery, engagement, alternative heatlh, critical health policy, as well as interesting concepts not written here.

Open to PhD supervision enquiries?


Current research interests

I am heavily involved in the medical cannabis research and activist based community and would welcome any interest - PhD or otherwise in this area. I have set up the Scottish Cannabis Consortium as a stakeholder led organisation to feed into Scottish Government cannabis policy. I also chair the Scottish Governments Cross Party Parliamentary Group on Medicinal Cannabis in Scotland. I am the co-founder of the Scottish Psychedelic Research Group, and welcome all interest in that area. I have been collaborating with Recovering Justice exploring the impact of criminal justice and social work interventions on women who use drugs, and exploring the the impact of Compassionate Inquiry therapy on women who use drugs. I would welcome any interest in this area.x I am also passionate about stakeholder engaement, with my PhD focussing on participation within drug policy deliberation.

Research activities

View all 2 activities on Research Explorer

Project activity

I am involved in three projects at the moment:

Medicinal Cannabis in Scotland - I am currently working with medicinal cannabis parents and patients to develop clear guidlines on the prescritpion of medical cannabis. In this we are seeking engagement from a range of stakeaholders with a view to helping the Scottish Government develop a comprehnsive cannabis policy going forward. I am keen to hear from people who are interested in being part of this movement.

Scottish Psychedelic Research - I am the co-founder of the recently established Scottish Psychedelic Research Group. We meet monthly and are in the process of developing research in Scotland. we have several project ongoing: an Oral Histories Project on psychedelic experience and well-being; an Indiginous Apothocary project exploring Scotlands indiginous psychdedlic plant use; and a clinical trial exploring teh use of Psychedelic Assisted Therapy for 'problem' poly substance users.

Compasionate Inquiry: The effectiveness and narratives of engagement in Compassionate Inquiry therapy by women who are in recovery from drug dependency, or who continue to use drugs.

Current project grants

iTPA Welcome Trust Grant - An evaluation of policy on Ketmaine therapy in Scotland

Past project grants

Edinburgh University SEED Fund
Open Society Foundations Global Drug Policy Programme

View all 3 publications on Research Explorer

Conference details

New Directions – The University of Edinburgh

Conference paper – ‘Developing a Critical Drug Theory: the role of narrative in challenging institutional barriers to reform.’

The International Society for the Study of Drug Policy

Conference paper (co-author):’ Coming Out: Discretion, Disclosure and Identity in Drug Policy Research’.

The European Society for Social Drug Research

Conference paper: ‘Blurring the Lines Between Participant Observation and Action Research: The case of the Scottish Drug Policy Conversations.’

The International Society for the Study of Drugs Policy

Conference paper: ‘Developing a Critical Drug Theory: the role of narrative, knowledge and participation.’

Knowledge, Organisation and Policy Seminar. Hosted by the Academy of Government, The University of Edinburgh. Seminar paper: ‘Broadening the Landscape: the challenges of creating civic-led policy networks’.

The International Society for the Study of Drugs Policy

Conference Paper: Getting Voices to the Policy Table: the role of drug consumers and experiential knowledge in measurements of drug related harm. 

New Directions. The University of Edinburgh.

Conference paper: ‘Scottish Drug Policy: epistemologies of harm in knowledge and policy communities.’

Invited speaker



Drugs Research Network Scotland (DRNS) Conference 2024

Law Enforcement and Public Health (LEPH) 2019

Law Enforcement and HIV Network Satellite meeting – part of the steering committee for the pre-conference consultation. International exploration of drug policing and policing.

The International Society for the Study of Drugs Policy 2018

Workshop: ‘Discretion, disclosure, identity and the drug-policy researcher’s drug use’.

The Scottish Drugs Policy Conversations

Workshop: Roger Howard from the UKDPC – Governance in Scottish Drug Policy.