Research Finds That A Gene Is Linked To Cannabis Abuse

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Research shows that cannabis can reduce anxiety, improve sleep, and better one’s mood. However, FDA has still not legalized cannabis use from its side even though most state governments have. One of the reasons behind this is the tendency of cannabis abuse. While the marijuana plant contains cannabidiol which can help health in many ways, it also contains THC or tetrahydrocannabinol.

This THC can cause euphoria as it has psychoactive properties. Overdosing and abusing cannabis can result in paranoia, anxiety, grogginess, and other such symptoms. It can damage health in the long-term rather than improve it. This is why cannabis abuse and addiction is such a major issue. Why do people abuse cannabis though?

A latest research that was published in the Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging journal concluded that people become dependent on cannabis because it triggers two regions of the brain, one of which is of habitual use. Now a new report has dug into what is it that makes people into cannabis abusers.

What Did This Study Reveal?

A new research by the Aarhus University has found that a particular gene is linked to cannabis abuse. As per this report, people who lack the nicotine receptor are at a higher risk of cannabis abuse. Researchers involved in this study have found that a genetic variant affects how much nicotine receptor is formed in the brain.

The complete gnome of 2,000 cannabis abusers and that of 50,000 control subjects was analyzed. The same analysis was further conducted on 5,500 abusers and on above 30,000 control subjects. Moreover, scientists also included the genetic data from studies regarding cognitive abilities. Through this, they found that people who have a higher count of genetic variants that were linked to impaired cognition also had a higher risk of cannabis abuse.

A researcher behind this study, Ditte Demontis said, “People who abuse cannabis often do worse in the education system, and our results show that this can be partly explained by genetics. That is to say that people with an abuse problem have more genetic variations in the genome which increase the risk of cannabis abuse, while at the same time negatively affecting their ability to get an education.”

This study is the first which looks at the biological mechanisms that are behind abuse of cannabis. More research needs to be conducted in this area. The goal is to find better treatment options as well as even be able to prevent cannabis abuse in the long run. This work has been published in the Nature Neuroscience journal.

Key Takeaway

A new research has found that it is a gene that is associated to cannabis abuse. Accordingly, people who have a lower level of nicotine receptor in the brain are more likely to abuse cannabis. A gene variant is responsible for how much nicotine receptor can be formed in the body. This research is the first of its kind. It can help craft better treatment and prevention plans for cannabis abuse.

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