Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Schizophrenia and cannabis use may share common genes

Date:
June 24, 2014
Source:
King's College London
Summary:
Genes that increase the risk of developing schizophrenia may also increase the likelihood of using cannabis, according to a new study. Previous studies have identified a link between cannabis use and schizophrenia, but it has remained unclear whether this association is due to cannabis directly increasing the risk of the disorder. The new results suggest that part of this association is due to common genes.

Marijuana plants (stock image). Genes that increase the risk of developing schizophrenia may also increase the likelihood of using cannabis, according to a new study.
Credit: Ondrej Hajek / Fotolia

Genes that increase the risk of developing schizophrenia may also increase the likelihood of using cannabis, according to a new study led by King's College London, published today in Molecular Psychiatry.

Previous studies have identified a link between cannabis use and schizophrenia, but it has remained unclear whether this association is due to cannabis directly increasing the risk of the disorder.

The new results suggest that part of this association is due to common genes, but do not rule out a causal relationship between cannabis use and schizophrenia risk.

Mr Robert Power, lead author from the MRC Social, Genetic and Developmental Psychiatry (SGDP) Centre at the Institute of Psychiatry at King's, says: "Studies have consistently shown a link between cannabis use and schizophrenia. We wanted to explore whether this is because of a direct cause and effect, or whether there may be shared genes which predispose individuals to both cannabis use and schizophrenia."

Cannabis is the most widely used illicit drug in the world, and its use is higher amongst people with schizophrenia than in the general population. Schizophrenia affects approximately 1 in 100 people and people who use cannabis are about twice as likely to develop the disorder. The most common symptoms of schizophrenia are delusions (false beliefs) and auditory hallucinations (hearing voices). Whilst the exact cause is unknown, a combination of physical, genetic, psychological and environmental factors can make people more likely to develop the disorder.

Previous studies have identified a number of genetic risk variants associated with schizophrenia, each of these slightly increasing an individual's risk of developing the disorder.

The new study included 2,082 healthy individuals of whom 1,011 had used cannabis. Each individual's 'genetic risk profile' was measured -- that is, the number of genes related to schizophrenia each individual carried.

The researchers found that people genetically pre-disposed to schizophrenia were more likely to use cannabis, and use it in greater quantities than those who did not possess schizophrenia risk genes.

Power says: "We know that cannabis increases the risk of schizophrenia. 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 pre-disposition to schizophrenia also increases your likelihood of cannabis use."

"Our study highlights the complex interactions between genes and environments when we talk about cannabis as a risk factor for schizophrenia. Certain environmental risks, such as cannabis use, may be more likely given an individual's innate behaviour and personality, itself influenced by their genetic make-up. This is an important finding to consider when calculating the economic and health impact of cannabis."

The study is a collaboration between King's and the Queensland Institute of Medical Research in Australia, partly funded by the UK Medical Research Council (MRC). Additional funding was provided by the National Institutes of Health, Australian National health and Medical Research Council, Australian Research Council, GenomEUtwin Project, Centre for Research Excellence on Suicide Prevention in Australia, the National Institute for Health Research Biomedical Research Centre (NIHR BRC) at the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and King's College London and the Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by King's College London. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. R A Power, K J H Verweij, M Zuhair, G W Montgomery, A K Henders, A C Heath, P A F Madden, S E Medland, N R Wray, N G Martin. Genetic predisposition to schizophrenia associated with increased use of cannabis. Molecular Psychiatry, 2014; DOI: 10.1038/mp.2014.51

Cite This Page:

King's College London. "Schizophrenia and cannabis use may share common genes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 June 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140624093320.htm>.
King's College London. (2014, June 24). Schizophrenia and cannabis use may share common genes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140624093320.htm
King's College London. "Schizophrenia and cannabis use may share common genes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140624093320.htm (accessed September 21, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Food Addiction Might Be Caused By PTSD

Food Addiction Might Be Caused By PTSD

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) New research shows that women who suffer from PTSD are three times more likely to develop a food addiction. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Corporal punishment in the United States is on the decline, but there is renewed debate over its use after Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was charged with child abuse. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

AP (Sep. 15, 2014) The FDA is considering whether to ban devices used by the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts, the only place in the country known to use electrical skin shocks as aversive conditioning for aggressive patients. (Sept. 15) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins