A team of scientists have discovered a weed addiction gene, which no longer makes it fun to poke fun at your stoner friends.
A recent study from Yale took a close look at people who have specific, in common genes that may give them their cannabis dependence (CAD). Dr. Joel Gelernter, a psychiatrist at work, also a senior author of the study, told The Daily Beast, “We showed that risk for cannabis dependence is affected specifically by certain risk alleles and these risk alleles fit biologically with some of our existing ideas of the nature of cannabis dependence.”
A group of 15,000 individuals, all with different dependence issues, were sampled to see if there were correlations between certain addictions and genes. 18 percent to 36 percent of them suffered from weed addiction. The number is 10% higher than the real world population with CAD. In addition to sharing a gene linking to this kind of dependence, the scientists also found something a little nerve-racking.
“We also showed that genetic predisposition for cannabis dependence overlaps with genetic predisposition for major depression and schizophrenia,” Dr Gelernter said. In addition, Dr Gelernter also stated that this finding supports a previous one, from way back in 2002 that shows a relationship between people who suffer from weed addiction and had some sort of psychiatric disorder. 90% of people, actually.
As pointed out in the article, all of this data should still be taken with a grain of salt. “Substance use and other psychiatric illnesses may share common genetic risk factors,” but it’s important to note that the Yale authors agree that “self-medication, or confounding by other factors may explain their co-occurrence.”
Despite these findings, Dr. Gelernter and his team also want to make it known that their research shouldn’t have too much of an influence on future legislation. “These results don’t really bear directly on arguments about the harm caused by marijuana or the advisability of legalization.” Our study is more related to a different kind of idea – that some people, if they use marijuana, are biologically at higher risk of eventually becoming dependent, than other people.
Regardless, it’s good to know there are some breakthroughs that explain why some people are more inclined to smoke marijuana and develop an attachment to the substance. If anything, for those is favor of legalization, this should allow for more responsible, thoughtful action.