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Reverse reefer madness? Schizophrenia genes predict heavy pot use

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Does marijuana smoking cause psychosis? Or could psychosis drive pot smoking?

If you believe the panned and parodied 1936 film “Reefer Madness,” smoking weed will make one crazy and drive you to a life of crime.

Medical science has taken the question seriously, however, and found a strong link between schizophrenia symptoms and cannabis use in many large-scale, peer-reviewed studies. Data from four such studies suggest that cannabis use doubles the likelihood of developing a psychotic illness later in life.

But a few small studies have flipped the direction of causation, suggesting that a genetic predisposition to schizophrenia (a disease marked by psychotic episodes such as hallucination) is itself a risk factor for smoking pot. That might explain why pot use is perennially high (pardon the pun) among those diagnosed with schizophrenia.

A European research team led by Kings College, London, suggests that at least part of the reason why schizophrenic symptoms and pot smoking overlap may lie in shared genetic markers. Their study was published online Tuesday in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.

Read the full, original story: Schizophrenia-marijuana study flips the reefer madness equation

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