Would You Believe: A Particular Gene Is Linked With Cannabis Abuse

Some people are excessive with their cannabis use, while others can keep more moderate, balanced habits. What gives?

Over the last decade, cannabis policies in the U.S. are relaxing—with legalization becoming more commonplace in various states beyond California. Still, marijuana remains the most commonly used illegal drug in the United States. While the benefits of legalization are broadly socialized in popular culture, there are still some implications that need to be worked through—one being the tendency to abuse. In a study conducted by Aarhus University in Denmark, researchers found that a specific gene is associated with an increased risk of cannabis abuse.

Cannabis & The Brain

Researchers found that a particular genetic variant leads to lower nicotine receptors produced in the brain, which influences the likelihood of an individual abusing cannabis. As individuals who abuse often underperform in the education system. Not only do learned behaviors and environmental factors play into the addiction and abuse of cannabis—but also individuals could be predisposed due to their genetics as demonstrated in the study.

Marijuana advocates argue for the drug’s range of medical and wellness uses, whether it be for treating seizures, PTSD, autism spectrum disorders or glaucoma, aiding sleep or decreasing stress and anxiety. It’s important to remember that recreational use affects each of us differently. Rather than promoting the possible benefits of it collectively, be aware that each of us is genetically unique, therefore we carry with us our own set of advantages and risks when consuming a substance like cannabis. 

Is Cannabis Safe For You?

With the emergence of at-home vitals and genetic testing kits, the accessibility to information around our distinctive health risks such as overuse is closer than we think. The benefits of these tests will allow us to move through the world with greater awareness of how their decisions may impact their lives in the short- and long-term.