By / May 30, 2023

The Same Genetics May Influence Cannabis Use and Psychiatric Disorders

A genetics study conducted by the University of Oslo, published in the renowned journal Lancet Psychiatry, reports a shared genetic basis for cannabis use and mental disorders, including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

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Genetics Link Dispells Age-Old Myth

Such a discovery may suggest that a certain portion of the population has an increased risk of both cannabis use and the development of mental disorders, which is linked to their genetic predisposition.

Over the years, we have witnessed many debates about the association between cannabis use and mental disorders. In the latest research, it has been found that the frequency of cannabis use is high among patients suffering from mental disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, but cannabis is not a factor influencing the development of these disorders. Rather, it now appears to be their genetic predisposition rather than a causal link with cannabis.

Genetics and Predisposition to Cannabis Use and Psychiatric Disorders

Genetics plays a significant role in determining an individual’s susceptibility to developing mental disorders or the likelihood of cannabis use. Some genetic variants associated with them are also linked to psychiatric disorders.

A new study conducted at the University of Oslo, published in Lancet Psychiatry, has shown that there is a genetic basis for both cannabis use and psychiatric conditions such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

The study shows that the majority of shared genetic variants increase the risk of both cannabis use and the development of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. However, there are certain genetic variants with opposing effects that increase the risk of cannabis use while decreasing the risk of developing these two psychiatric disorders, suggesting a complex relationship.

Significant Findings About Cannabis Use

“These findings are significant because they demonstrate that the intricate connections between cannabis use and these disorders may not be solely caused by cannabis use itself but may also be driven by shared genetic predispositions,” says researcher Nadine Parker.

A study published in Nature Neuroscience in 2018 revealed a similar association. Scientists identified approximately 35 genes that may indicate a person’s increased susceptibility to “lifetime cannabis use.”

Clinical Implications of the New Findings

The new results have several important clinical implications:

  1. This information can lead to a better understanding of genetic predispositions, including preventive and intervention measures for high-risk individuals. These interventions may involve limiting cannabis use among individuals with a high genetic risk of developing schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
  2. Future research on the biological effects of shared genetic variants can contribute to developing more targeted therapeutic interventions.
  3. Improving knowledge about the influence of genes on the propensity for cannabis use and the development of various psychiatric disorders can be used to categorize patients better and direct them toward more individualized treatment plans.

(Featured image by Pavel Danilyuk via Pexels)

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