A new study conducted by Danish researchers found that people could have genetic predisposition to pot addiction.
Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit psychoactive substance worldwide. While millions of people are using the herb without issues at all, around one person out of ten becomes dependent on the substance. So what makes some people addicted to the substance while others can use it without the issue of addiction?
A study conducted by the Aarhus University researchers states that your genes can increase the risk for cannabis use disorder (CUD). They have found a single variant of the gene called CHNRA2 (Cholinergic receptor nicotinic α2 subunit), which increases the risk of Marijuana addiction. The variable was identified by comparing the genome of 2387 with the addiction (CUD) against over 50,000 people who do not have the condition.
The genes don’t make a person addicted to cannabis but it can increase the risk of addiction among the pot smokers, says Ditte Demontis, associate professor at Aarhus University in Denmark, who led the research. Demontis says she hopes these findings will eventually lead to a better understanding of the biological mechanism behind the addiction as well as the treatment for it. In people with other addictions, genes have been identified in relation with biological response to the substance. “I’m quite convinced that what we found is the genetic risk that affects how you react to the drug,” She says.
Interestingly, cannabis dependency is mild when compared to addiction to alcohol and other drugs, says Harvard medical professor J. Wesley Boyd. Those who quit cannabis experience fairly subtle physiological signs of withdrawal, such as irritability, mildly elevated pulse, and cravings. These symptoms are less severe than what is noticed in people who are addicted to alcohol and other drugs.