Marijuana, also known as cannabis, is one of the most widely used drugs around the world. A new study has found genetic relationship between marijuana dependence and genes, according to the article published in Live Science. There were many biochemical research of marijuana dependence, but this is first time to link marijuana dependence with genetics. Interesting fact is that the study showed some overlap between genetic risk of marijuana dependence and that of depression, which might explain why two symptoms often occur together.
In the experiment, the researchers looked at about 14,000 Americans’ genetic information. Between 18 and 36 percent of the people had marijuana dependence, and major goal for the study was to find the genetic variant known as single-nucleotide polymorphisms, or SNPs, which are related to the symptoms of marijuana dependence.
In the study, the researchers found three genetic variants that are related to the symptoms of marijuana dependence. One of them was placed on the gene that is related to regulating the concentration of calcium in blood. According to the previous studies, the calcium signaling is related to the substance-using disorder of our body.
Another substance was found in the gene called CSMD1, which is related to the growth of our central nervous system. A thing that intrigues scientists in this result is that CSMD1 was also related to schizophrenia risk, said study co-author Dr. Joel Gelernter, a professor of psychiatry, genetics and neuroscience at Yale University School of Medicine in Connecticut.
Previous researches have shown that about 9 percent of the patient who used marijuana for medical purpose was addicted to it. However, by this research, scientists and doctors not only can develop the treatment for the patients with marijuana dependence, but also can prevent certain people with the genetic variants from having marijuana in medical purpose.
However, further researches are required in order to confirm the exact relationship between those three genetic variants and marijuana dependence, said the researchers involved in the study.