There’s evidence of a connection between cannabis use and schizophrenia, but it’s unclear whether the drug leads to the disorder, or vice versa. A new study … which relies partly on genetic data from 23andMe volunteers might offer a little clarity on that link. It found that people genetically at risk of schizophrenia are also more likely to start smoking pot, suggesting the disorder itself might cause cannabis use in some people.
[Researchers found eight] SNPs that were associated with lifetime cannabis use. Taken as a whole, they calculated, these variations accounted for 11 percent of the difference in whether someone reported smoking pot or not.
Using different tests, they also found 35 genes in 16 different sections across the genome that were associated with cannabis use. Many of these genes seemed to be associated with other habits, personality traits, and mental health conditions, particularly the gene CADM2. Variations in CADM2, the authors noted, have already been linked to taking more risks, greater alcohol use, and personality traits such as extraversion. They also found a genetic overlap with schizophrenia.
[B]eing genetically vulnerable to schizophrenia made people more likely to use pot, possibly as a way to cope with their condition, according to the authors.
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