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Cannabis and schizophrenia: the link is now a bit clearer

WHICH RELATIONSHIP? The study seems to suggest that those who are genetically closer to developing schizophrenia are also more prone to cannabis use, but the possibility of a relationship of the opposite and causal sense can not be ruled out, namely that regular marijuana consumption may degenerate into who is predisposed the manifestation of psychiatric conditions.

THE CONTRIBUTION OF GENES. Researchers at Radboud University (The Netherlands) studied data on 180 thousand people in different genetic databases (such as the UK Biobank ) and collective studies, to identify 35 genetic variants associated with regular cannabis use. The most obvious association was seen with the CADM2 gene, already known to be linked to the tendency to risk behaviors and alcohol consumption.

In addition to these elements, the research conducted on over one million genetic variants found 8 single alterations in the sequences of the basic bricks that make up the DNA (the nucleotides ) associated with the consumption of continuous cannabis. Taken together, the variations found give reason for 11% of the difference in the predisposition to smoke marijuana.

COMPLICATED RELATIONSHIP. The study highlighted genetic overlaps between cannabis use and: alcohol and tobacco intake, a tendency to risky behavior, an extroverted personality and a risk of schizophrenia. The latter association also emerged in a 2014 study , but this time the sample from which the data was extracted is much broader.

A causal relationship was found between schizophrenia and increased consumption of cannabis: perhaps, the researchers assume, in the early stages of the disease marijuana is used as a form of self-medication, but even in this case, it is for now only of a hypothesis.

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