Gene Variant May Predict Cannabis Users At Risk of Psychosis

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Prof. Celia Morgan PhD Professor of Psychopharmacology University of Exeter

Prof. Celiai Morgan

Prof. Celia Morgan PhD
Professor of Psychopharmacology
University of Exeter 

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Morgan: We know cannabis increases the risk of psychosis but it is unclear how we can predict who is vulnerable to these negative effects.

This study suggested that cannabis may have stronger effects in people carrying a particular genetic variant. This might be related to their risk of developing psychosis.

We also found that women are more susceptible to the short term memory impairing effects of cannabis.

A dried Cannabis bud, typical of what is sold for drug use- Wikipedia image

A dried Cannabis bud, typical of what is sold for drug use- Wikipedia image

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Morgan: This research is at an early stage but we hope that this may help to detect who might be vulnerable to the psychosis inducing effects of cannabis, which may be important giving its growing medicinal use. It may also inform drug development.


Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Morgan: Future research should look prospectively to see whether this polymorphism predicts transition to psychosis but also expand out to look at the whole genome in a much larger sample. 

Medical Research: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Dr. Morgan: The majority of people who smoke cannabis will not go on to develop psychosis, and the drug has important medical uses so it is key to keep trying to find ways of predicting who will experience negative effects from its use.

Citation:

C J A Morgan, T P Freeman, J Powell, H V Curran. AKT1 genotype moderates the acute psychotomimetic effects of naturalistically smoked cannabis in young cannabis smokers. Translational Psychiatry, 2016; 6 (2): e738 DOI: 10.1038/tp.2015.219

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Prof. Celia Morgan PhD (0). Gene Variant May Predict Cannabis Users At Risk of Psychosis

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