Some people may be more genetically prone to cannabis addiction, finds a new UCL-led study.
The researchers say their investigation of three genetic markers, published in Addiction Biology, could inform why some people become dependent on cannabis.
“We were interested in asking whether these genetic markers could predict addiction-related responses after inhaling doses of cannabis, such as how much our attention is drawn to cannabis-related pictures,” said lead researcher Dr. Chandni Hindocha (UCL Clinical Psychopharmacology Unit).
The researchers were investigating three different markers of genetic variation which have previously been implicated in cannabis addiction but have not all been considered in the same study before. The variants are involved in the body’s endocannabinoid system.
For the study, 48 cannabis users took cannabis using a vaporizer and conducted tests related to addiction predisposition: a test for drug cue salience (which means how attention-grabbing cannabis-related images were versus neutral images, such as side-by-side images of a woman smoking cannabis and a woman holding a pen near her mouth); a satiety measure (testing whether they still want more cannabis after they’ve already had some) and a craving measure. They were also tested for the three genetic markers.