New research from the Danish psychiatric project, iPSYCH, shows that a specific gene is associated with an increased risk of cannabis abuse. The gene is the source of a so-called nicotine receptor in the brain, and people with low amounts of this receptor have an increased risk of cannabis abuse.
Cannabis is the most commonly used illegal drug in both Denmark and internationally, and around one in ten users becomes addicted to the drug. Researchers from iPSYCH have discovered a gene that they associate with the abuse of cannabis.
“We discovered that the disorder was associated with a genetic variant. This variant affects how much of a certain nicotine receptor is formed in the brain,” explains Associate Professor Ditte Demontis from Aarhus University, who is behind the study.
The genetic variant discovered by the researchers affects how much of a specific nicotine receptor is formed. People who have less of this receptor in the brain are at greater risk of becoming cannabis abusers.
Ditte Demontis and her colleagues used a nationwide Danish cohort to analyse the complete genome of more than 2,000 cannabis abusers and the genome of 50,000 control subjects. The researchers subsequently repeated these findings in an analysis of a further 5,500 cannabis abusers and more than 300,000 control subjects. [Read More @ Science Daily]