Genetic link found between marijuana use and schizophrenia

Individuals who have genetic risk for developing schizophrenia are also more likely to use marijuana, according to a new study from King's College London.

While previous studies have shown an association between marijuana use and schizophrenia, it was unclear whether or not this is a cause-and-effect relationship - or if the genes that predispose a person to marijuana use are also the genes that predispose a person to schizophrenia, lead author Robert Power explained in a press release.

Shedding light on the association

The study included data on 2,082 healthy individuals, 1,011 of whom had used marijuana. Looking at the genetic profiles of each individual, the researchers determined how many and which genes each person carried that might predispose them to schizophrenia.

Results showed that people who were most genetically primed to develop schizophrenia were more likely to have been marijuana users. Moreover, these people reported using marijuana in larger amounts than others.

"We know that cannabis increases the risk of schizophrenia," Power said. "Our study certainly does not rule this out, but it suggests that there is likely to be an association in the other direction as well - that a predisposition to schizophrenia also increases your likelihood of cannabis use."

The research is published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.

Source: Medical Daily

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