Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Marijuana Addiction Linked to Genetics

Researchers are finding a possible link between certain genes and marijuana dependence. These three genes are also said to have an affect on risk factors for depression, which may mean that the two are linked together. In one study, 14,000 Americans provided information on marijuana use and 18-36% of people reported to be marijuana dependent. Given this information, researchers also looked for genetics variations that were linked to this. One genetic variant was located in a gene that regulates calcium concentrations in blood. Calcium has also been shown to have an affect on opioid dependence. Another one was located in the CSMD1 gene which has also been linked to schizophrenia. While these studies suggest that these genetic variants can lead to marijuana dependence, it is not proven. Further research is needed in order to have a better understanding of the addiction so that drugs can be made to help treat people who are dependent.

I found it interesting that the CSMD1 gene was also associated with schizophrenia, because I have heard that smoking a lot of marijuana can lead to psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia. It is important to be cautious about these drugs because no one knows whether or not becoming marijuana dependent is in their genes, so trying it one time can lead to a lifetime of addiction and complications. I also find it interesting that calcium signaling can lead to substance-abuse disorders, because it is not what I would expect. I would like to get genetic testing done so I can see what my risk levels are for these types of disorders as well as other health problems, because a lot can be determined simply from examining your DNA.

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