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Study finds genetic links between schizophrenia and cannabis use

By ZenobiaSky, Jun 24, 2014 | Updated: Jun 24, 2014 | | |
  1. ZenobiaSky
    LONDON (Reuters) - Genes that increase the risk of a person developing schizophrenia may also increase the chance they will use cannabis, researchers said on Tuesday after studying more than 1,000 users of the drug.

    The results chime with previous studies linking schizophrenia and cannabis, but suggest the association may be due to common genes and might not be a causal relationship where cannabis use leads to increased schizophrenia risk.

    Cannabis is the most widely used illicit drug in the world, and its use is higher among people with schizophrenia than in the general population.

    "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," said Robert Power, who led the study at the Institute of Psychiatry at King's College London.

    Schizophrenia is a common and severe psychiatric disorder that affects around one in 100 people. People who use cannabis are about twice as likely as those who do not to develop it.

    The disorder typically begins in late adolescence or early adulthood and its most common symptoms are disruptions in thinking, language and perception. It often includes psychotic experiences, such as hearing voices or delusions.

    While the exact cause is unknown, research to date suggests a combination of physical, genetic, psychological and environmental factors can make people more likely to develop it.

    Previous studies have found a number of genetic risk variants associated with schizophrenia, each of which slightly increases a person's risk of developing the condition.

    Cannabis use has frequently been associated with it, but there is much debate about whether this is because of a direct cause, or whether there may be shared genes which predispose people to both cannabis use and schizophrenia.

    A study published in March 2011 found that people who use cannabis in their youth dramatically increase their risk of psychotic symptoms, and that continued use of the drug can raise the risk of developing a psychotic disorder in later life.

    And earlier research found that young people who smoke cannabis for six years or more are twice as likely to have psychotic episodes, hallucinations or delusions.

    This latest study, published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry on Tuesday, included 2,082 healthy people of whom 1,011 had used cannabis. Each participant's genetic risk profile - the number of genes related to schizophrenia each of them carried - was measured.

    The researchers found that people genetically predisposed to schizophrenia were more likely to use cannabis, and to use it in greater amounts than those who had no schizophrenia risk genes.

    Power said the result "highlights the complex interactions between genes and environments" when it comes to cannabis as a risk factor for schizophrenia.

    "Certain environmental risks, such as cannabis use, may be more likely given an individual's innate behavior and personality, itself influenced by their genetic make-up," he said, adding that this finding was important to consider when calculating the economic and health impact of cannabis.

    By Kate Kelland
    4:06 a.m. EDT, June 24, 2014
    Orlando Sentinel

    The Newhawks Crew


  1. ZenobiaSky
    [IMGL=WHITE]https://www.drugs-forum.com/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=39274&stc=1&d=1403605646[/IMGL] According to a recent investigations whose findings were published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry this June 24, schizophrenia and cannabis use share a genetic link.

    Researchers have reasons to believe that there is a genetic link between schizophrenia and cannabis habit Enlarge picture - Researchers have reasons to believe that there is a genetic link between schizophrenia and cannabis habit

    According to a recent investigations whose findings were published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry this June 24, schizophrenia and cannabis use share a genetic link.

    Thus, researchers with King's College London in the United Kingdom say that, according to evidence at hand, the same genes that up schizophrenia risk make an individual more likely to become a cannabis user.

    Simply put, it is likely that being genetically predisposed to schizophrenia also means that a person has higher chances to become a regular cannabis user in later life.

    As detailed by EurekAlert, this claim is based on information obtained while looking at the genetic profile of as many as 2,082 people. Of these people, 1,011 admitted to having used cannabis, or to having an active cannabis habit.

    In their paper, the King's College London specialists detail that, of the individuals' whose genetic profile they analyzed, those who had a genetic predisposition to schizophrenia were more likely to be cannabis users.

    Besides, those who carried genes associated with an increased schizophrenia risk were found to have a sweeter tooth for cannabis, meaning that they consumed more of this drug than individuals who did not possess said genes.

    Interestingly enough, this discovery follows a series of studies showing that cannabis consumption can in itself make a person more vulnerable to schizophrenia.

    Commenting on these findings, researcher Robert 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.”

    Furthermore, “Our study highlights the complex interactions between genes and environments when we talk about cannabis as a risk factor for schizophrenia. This is an important finding to consider when calculating the economic and health impact of cannabis.”

    June 24th, 2014, 09:33 GMT •
    By Laura Sinpetru

    The Newhawks Crew
  2. TheBigBadWolf
    So there's another myth being busted:

    It's not cannabis making schizophrenia break out - there is a coincidence with cannabis use - maybe that it could be benefical - a few weeks ago I posted an article about cannabidiol (CBD) being helpful in treatment of schiozophrenia. Cannabidiol gegen schizophrene Psychosen
    I am awfully sorry, but it's in German (I dont promise, but I'll try to make a translation if my language is not too poor for that)

    Can this be the reason these people tend more to consume cannabis - that it's not at all about the cannabis high but about the CBDs effects?

    For years and years the anti-cannabis-league tought us that cannabis makes schizophrenia predisposed people have break-outs of the illness.
    Sadly we will never know - it's not possible to say whether the patients would have developed the symptoms earlier or later if they wouldnt have had smoked it.

    But the above ^^ results make me think that for decades we have been conned willingly.

  3. polio vaccine
    if the alarmist media were forced to write "correlation =/= causation" ten thousand times on a blackboard somewhere, this might have never needed to be news. something pot smokers have intuited for a long time but of course took forever to be substantiated because anyone with firsthand experience with a drug is immediately disqualified from credibility in any discussion about that drug... because they use drugs.

    i used to get so sick of seeing that "link" cited on forums a few years ago... potheads developed this theory about the link a long time ago, because they innately knew that cannabis wasn't driving them towards schizophrenia, and at the same time most all of us have met someone who's simply unhinged when they use cannabis... "exacerbating pre-existing mental illnesses" was the defense that pot smokers came up with back then. at the time, professing that viewpoint (instead of just copping to the "grown up" viewpoint that pot makes you go keraaazy pops!) meant you "need to lay off the weed bro." now it's science. who knew firsthand, primary experience would turn out to be right after all??

    glad to have a link to cite now, in case it ever crops up again.

    correlation =/= causation
    correlation =/= causation
    correlation =/= causation
    ralph will not "morph" if you squeeze him hard enough
  4. rednana
    I cant spruke quantifyable statistic, but believe this is a chicken & egg subject.
    I've learned over almost 40 years of cannabis smoking, I do it as a form of self medication for anxiety & depression.

    If you met me, across a table in a meeting, you'd never guess my dirty little secret.

    I think as Scizophrenia manifests in the adolescent (usually) the desire to counteract, albeit subconsciously, the subtle...and not so subtle changes leads to an interest in a number of illicit substances.

    I question the riggors of clinical assessments - there is a school if thought that proposes individuals, particularly previously undiagnosed adults suffering with ADHD with corresponding behavour issues which have become entrenched as "normal behaviour" have been misdiagnosed as suffering Scizophrenia purely due to how they presented on the day, (obviously not well, otherwise why would you)...to be treated to a highly qualified 20 minute "knee-jerk"consultation.

    Next thing you know...you have Scizophrenia....and why...cause you smoked pot last year. Science needs an explanation for everything. This doesn't explain why 1 in 100 people develop this disorder who have never touched weed.

    Nevertheless the Psychiatric fraternity will pump you full of anything they damn well choose...why...cause they can.

    I dont mean to devalue the above research..merely question the underlying purpose of the research....who conducted it...who funded it...the demographics employed.

    AFOAF has client with psychotic Depression, her condition also referred to as Schizophrenia.
    She is so fucked up through medical interventions & the practitioner's apparent licence to administer anything he chooses...."okay we're going to try parnate haldol and up your valium to 60 mg".... She now has permanently fused dislocation of the jaw due to effects of Haldol...so its believed

    AFOAF has another client who had one episode...he had a f'ing spak-attack...& now carries the lable Scizophrenia around with him for the rest of his life...neither have touched weed...ever.

    I think the biggest issue with weed & psychosis is the introduction of using tobacco in the mix...aka spin. This is practised in Australia mostly by the young dudes, believing it will make it go further and that the stimulant action of tobacco actually enhances the effect, which it probably does, but its not the pure effect of weed they're getting.
    I'd like to see more research done on this point. Tobacco is extremely addictive & makes weed more addictive by proxy.
    I've seen the effects this can have on young men when they run out of weed...you wanna see psycho.... ?
  5. kumar420
    As somebody who has lived in a semi rural area, I can verify that alot of troubled young men smoke cannabis, often with tobacco- BUT I sincerely doubt that weed+nicotine withdrawal would cause a 'psycho' reaction. These guys have fucked up lives, and they deal BY smoking cannabis. Its not so much WD than lack of access to a preferred coping mechanism which triggers rage/violent episodes. I've seen far more alcohol induced psychosis that inevitably escalates to extreme violence than I have guys 'flipping out' because they have no weed for a morning bong hit.

    I have a friend who puffs all day, smokes 20 bongs a day before going to work as a karate instructor. Nicest guy in the world, so long as you don't piss him off. But when he does get mad, he flips out and can damn near beat someone to death. And I've seen it happen, weed or no weed. A violent temper is a violent temper, regardless of self medication or perceived withdrawal.
  6. Mindless
    A genetic link or 'shared genetic aetiology' does not necessarily imply a causal link between cannabis and schizophrenia.

    The authors of this study state:
    The authors add:
    A shared genetic aetiology is not indicative of a causal relationship, one possible inference might be that cannabis use may be of little or no significance as an environmental risk factor. To paraphrase Robert Power, does cannabis raise the risk of schizophrenia or does schizophrenia increase the likelihood of cannabis use?

    Genetic predisposition to schizophrenia associated .with increased use of cannabis
    . Power et al., 2014.
  7. Reclaimer
    My best friend is skitzo and he smokes weed... has been for 20+ years before his symptoms started to show, So if there is any LINK then its an awfully weak link or lays dormant for 20+ years...

    Hes also a huge alcoholic and theres been studys that suggest alcohol use can cause skito episodes..

    So im kinda torn between agreeing with this article and calling it total bullshit...

    What i do know is when he showed up at my house drunk and i got him high he went into full blown skito episode hearing voices talking to himself acting fuckin weird.. scared the shit outta me tbh...
  8. Alien Sex Fiend

    Surprise, surprise. Actually I'm not surprised at all, I was expecting this. I think it all depends on schizophrenia being in your family history before cannabis. And a daily habit that could speed up the transformation in you. Chances are you are going to end up with schizophrenia anyway, with cannabis or not, if schizophrenia is deep in your genes, sooner or later
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