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Mol Psychiatry. 2014 Nov;19(11):1201-4. doi: 10.1038/mp.2014.51. Epub 2014 Jun 24.

Genetic predisposition to schizophrenia associated with increased use of cannabis.

Author information

1
1] MRC Social, Genetic & Developmental Psychiatry Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, London, UK [2] Queensland Brain Institute, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, QLD, Australia.
2
Department of Developmental Psychology and EMGO Institute for Health and Care Research, VU University, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
3
MRC Social, Genetic & Developmental Psychiatry Centre, Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London, London, UK.
4
QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Brisbane, QLD, Australia.
5
Department of Psychiatry, Washington University School of Medicine, St Louis, MO, USA.
6
Queensland Brain Institute, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, QLD, Australia.

Abstract

Cannabis is the most commonly used illicit drug worldwide. With debate surrounding the legalization and control of use, investigating its health risks has become a pressing area of research. One established association is that between cannabis use and schizophrenia, a debilitating psychiatric disorder affecting ~1% of the population over their lifetime. Although considerable evidence implicates cannabis use as a component cause of schizophrenia, it remains unclear whether this is entirely due to cannabis directly raising risk of psychosis, or whether the same genes that increases psychosis risk may also increase risk of cannabis use. In a sample of 2082 healthy individuals, we show an association between an individual's burden of schizophrenia risk alleles and use of cannabis. This was significant both for comparing those who have ever versus never used cannabis (P=2.6 × 10(-4)), and for quantity of use within users (P=3.0 × 10(-3)). Although directly predicting only a small amount of the variance in cannabis use, these findings suggest that part of the association between schizophrenia and cannabis is due to a shared genetic aetiology. This form of gene-environment correlation is an important consideration when calculating the impact of environmental risk factors, including cannabis use.

PMID:
24957864
PMCID:
PMC4382963
DOI:
10.1038/mp.2014.51
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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