A recent study conducted by Yale University has discovered that certain genetic variations can increase the risk of developing cannabis use disorder. The study, which analyzed the genomic data of over one million individuals in the US, revealed that these genetic variants are also associated with other behavioral and health issues, including an increased likelihood of developing lung cancer.
Cannabis use disorder is defined as a problematic pattern of cannabis use that leads to significant health impairment or distress. Previous research has indicated that approximately one-third of cannabis users experience this disorder. Cannabis, also known as marijuana, is made from the dried leaves of the hemp plant and is typically smoked or chewed for its euphoric effects.
Published in the journal Nature Genetics, this study provides valuable insights into the genetic factors underlying cannabis use disorder and its potential health risks. As more states in the US legalize or decriminalize marijuana, understanding these risks becomes crucial for public health.
"This is the largest genome-wide study of cannabis use disorder ever conducted, and it can help us comprehend the public health risks associated with increased marijuana use," stated Joel Gelernter, a professor of psychiatry, genetics, and neuroscience.
The researchers analyzed the genomics data of individuals from diverse ancestry groups enrolled in the US Department of Veterans Affairs' Million Veteran Program, one of the world's largest genetic databases. They also incorporated additional information from various other genomic databases to enhance their study.
Daniel Levey, the lead author of the study and an assistant professor of psychiatry, emphasized the importance of understanding the biology of cannabis use disorder. By doing so, researchers can gain insights into associated disorders and inform the public about the risks associated with marijuana use.