Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Genotyping & Gene Expression
Scientific Community
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article

A Risk Gene for Cannabis Psychosis

Published: Friday, November 16, 2012
Last Updated: Friday, November 16, 2012
Bookmark and Share
The ability of cannabis to produce psychosis has long been an important public health concern. This concern is growing in importance as there is emerging data that cannabis exposure during adolescence may increase the risk of developing schizophrenia.

Further, with the advent of medical marijuana, a new group of people with uncertain psychosis risk may be exposed to cannabis.

For these reasons, it would be valuable if a biological test could be developed that predicted the risk for developing cannabis psychosis. This test could be used to advise people who abuse cannabis or to inform marijuana-prescribing decisions by physicians.

Recent research has implicated a variation in the gene that codes for a protein called RAC-alpha serine/threonine-protein kinase (Akt1) in the risk for cannabis psychosis. However, independent verification of these findings is critical for genetic associations with complex genetic traits, like cannabis-related psychosis, because these findings are notoriously difficult to replicate.

Led by first author Dr. Marta Di Forti at King’s College London’s Institute of Psychiatry, genetic researchers carried out a case control study to investigate variation in the AKT1 gene and cannabis use in increasing the risk of psychosis.

Di Forti said, “We studied the AKT1 gene as this is involved in dopamine signaling which is known to be abnormal in psychosis. Our sample comprised 489 patients with their first episode of psychosis and 278 healthy controls.”

They performed genotyping on all volunteers, and assessed their use of cannabis. They found that AKT1 genotype influences the risk of psychotic disorders in cannabis users, which confirmed the prior report.

“We found that cannabis users who carry a particular variant in the AKT1 gene had a two-fold increased probability of a psychotic disorder and this increased up to seven-fold if they used cannabis daily,” explained the authors. “Our findings help to explain why one cannabis user develops psychosis while his friends continue smoking without problems.”

“While the AKT1 genotype does not rise to the level of a clinically useful test of the risk for cannabis psychosis, it does show that this source of psychosis risk has a genetic underpinning,” commented Dr. John Krystal, Editor of Biological Psychiatry. “This advance also points to cellular signaling mechanisms mediated by Akt1 as being relevant to the biology of cannabis psychosis. This may suggest research directions for novel therapeutics for cannabis psychosis.”

Di Forti agreed, adding that “such findings could also help to design health educational campaigns tailored to reach those young people at particular risk.”

Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 3,500+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 5,200+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters

Sign In

Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Scientific News
Unravelling the Role of Key Genes and DNA Methylation in Blood Cell Malignancies
Researchers from the University of Nebraska Medical Center have demonstrated the role of Dnmt3a in safeguarding normal haematopoiesis.
Rare Immunodeficiency Yields Unexpected Insights
Scientists uncover previously unknown gene mutation revealing the role of a key molecule involved in immune cell development.
Tumor Markers Reveal Lethality Of Bladder Cancers
Researchers found that detection of certain tumor cells in early stage cancers helps identify high-risk cancers.
Precision Medicine Guiding Cancer Patients’ Chemotherapy Decision
New study finds doctors use genetic test to measure breast cancer recurrence risk, make tailored treatment recommendations.
Smartphone Laboratory Detects Cancer
Researchers develop low-cost, portable laboratory on a smartphonecapable of analysing multiple samples simultaneously.
Signaling Pathway Could Be Key to Improved Osteoporosis Treatment
Inhibition of SIK2 enzyme both stimulates bone formation and reduces bone breakdown in animal model.
Cocoa Compound Linked to Some Cardiovascular Biomarker Improvements
The study highlights the urgent need for large, long-term RCTs that improve understanding of how the short-term benefits of cocoa flavanol intake on cardiometabolic biomarkers may be translated into clinical outcomes.
New Pathway for COPD Biomarker Development
A study from Philip Morris International has highlighted multi-lipid profiling as a potential new pathway for COPD biomarker development.
Anti-Cancer Drug Uses Tumour mRNA to Identify Responders
Phase I study of novel anti-cancer drug uses tumour mRNA expression to identify patients who will respond to the drug.
Genetic Signature Linked to Cancer Prognosis Identified
The results of the analysis of 8,161 tissue samples could in the future help clinicians decide how best to treat a patient as well as aid the development of new targeted treatments.
Skyscraper Banner

SELECTBIO Market Reports
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
3,500+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
5,200+ scientific videos