Stats suggest that around 9% of people who use marijuana develop Cannabis Use Disorders (CUDs) at some point in their life.
A recent study headed by Dr. Chandni Hindocha of the University College London (Clinical Psychopharmacology Unit) has deduced that some individuals are genetically more prone to cannabis addiction than others.
For the study, published in the journal Addiction Biology, researchers investigated three different markers of genetic variation — in the genes encoding CB1R and FAAH — which have previously been implicated in cannabis addiction but have not all been considered in a single study so far. The variants are involved in the body’s endocannabinoid system.
48 marijuana users were given the drug via vaping in four sessions:
- Only CBD
- Only THC
Participants were then tested for not only the three genetic markers, but also a satiety measure, which determined whether or not users craved more marijuana after their initial consumption and a drug cue salience test, in which images depicting cannabis or cannabis use were placed next to the ones with more neutral, non-drug-related pictures.
Researchers found that participants who carried one of the single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) variants in the CB1R gene were craving more cannabis as compared to others. Furthermore, the same volunteers continued to show an inclination towards the cannabis-related images while under the influence of their inhaled dose.
Thus, people with this genetic marker could be more prone to CUDs.
Although the findings can lead to the development of a test, researchers believe that there’s still a lot of work to be done to confirm how these genetic variants impact drug effects, and to identify what other parameters should be considered to determine how vulnerable an individual is to CUDs.
As the drug is setting its foot in many countries across the globe, the fear of cannabis addiction is at an all-time high, especially at places where all forms of cannabis have been illegal for decades.