Navigation Links
Marijuana, Alcohol Addiction May Share Genes
Date:12/18/2009

But that doesn't predestine anyone to abuse either, researchers say,,

FRIDAY, Dec. 18 (HealthDay News) -- The genes that make people susceptible to alcoholism also make them prone to becoming addicted to marijuana, a new study suggests.

Researchers interviewed almost 6,300 men and women aged 24 to 36, including almost 2,800 sets of twins who were part of the Australian Twin Registry, about their use of alcohol and marijuana over their lifetime.

Twins are valuable to researchers in determining the role of genetics in various diseases or conditions because identical twins share 100 percent of their genes, while fraternal twins share 50 percent of their genes, the same as other siblings.

About 60 percent of the likelihood of becoming a heavy drinker, a frequent marijuana user or of becoming dependent on marijuana can be attributed to genes, according to the study, while about half of the likelihood of being an alcoholic can be traced to genetics.

"We know there is a high likelihood of alcohol addiction-related problems among people who smoke marijuana heavily and vice versa," said study author Carolyn E. Sartor, a research instructor at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. "What we found is that some of the same genetic influences that impact alcohol use and dependent symptoms also impact marijuana use and dependent symptoms."

Still, that means between 40 percent and 50 percent of the cause of alcohol or marijuana dependence may be due to environmental influences. Despite a genetic tendency, no one is predestined to abuse either substance, Sartor noted.

And even though a common set of genes appear to influence marijuana and alcohol addiction, there are also likely specific genes that influence addiction susceptibility to individual substances, Sartor added.

The study will be published in the upcoming March issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research.

Marijuana is the most commonly used illegal drug, according to the study, citing a 2008 survey that found about 42 percent of high school seniors reported having tried marijuana. About 5 percent said they had used it daily during the previous month.

Though generally believed to be less addictive than nicotine in tobacco products, about 12 percent of marijuana users meet the criteria for dependency, according to the study. Symptoms of marijuana or alcohol dependency include using more heavily or more frequently than intended, giving up important activities to smoke or drink and building a tolerance or needing to use more to get the same effect.

Marijuana's active ingredient, THC, acts on the brain's cannabinoid system, which is involved in learning, memory, appetite and pain perception, explained Dr. Christian Hopfer, an associate professor at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Medical uses for marijuana including alleviating pain and boosting appetite in people with cancer and other serious illnesses.

But marijuana has its downsides. Other research has shown marijuana use increases the risk of developing mental illnesses, Hopfer added.

Far less research has been done about marijuana than on tobacco or alcohol products, Hopfer said. That needs to change. Not only is marijuana use widespread, but THC levels in pot have increased in recent years, making the drug's effects more potent.

"We are quasi-legalizing it due to medical marijuana, yet we really don't know that much about it except a lot of people are self-administering it," Hopfer said. "Marijuana addiction is a subtler addition than with some other drugs, but it can be a big focus of their life and interfere with their functioning."

In the past, researchers have often studied the addictive properties of drugs such as tobacco, cocaine, marijuana, heroin and alcohol separately, Hopfer said. But studies such as this suggest there can be similar genes underlying a propensity toward many types of substance abuse.

"There is a lot of evidence that if you have trouble with one substance you will have trouble with others," Hopfer said. "Twin data shows that the genetic effects may be across substances."

While there are legal drugs available to help treat nicotine and alcohol addiction, there are no drugs to treat marijuana addiction. For marijuana dependency, behavioral modification, family therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy and 12-step programs are among the programs that may help, Hopfer said.

More information

There's more on marijuana addiction at the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse.



SOURCES: Carolyn Sartor, Ph.D., research instructor, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis; Christian Hopfer, M.D., associate professor, University of Colorado School of Medicine, Denver; March 2010 Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research


'/>"/>
Copyright©2009 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Children Who Have Frequent Family Dinners Less Likely to Use Marijuana, Tobacco, and Drink Alcohol
2. Some moms quit cigarettes, marijuana, alcohol during pregnancy, but dads dont
3. Alcoholics May Never Fully Regain Balance
4. Alcohol Countermeasure Systems Penetrates New Markets Through Acquisition of Seres Ethylometre of France
5. Alcohol consumption may increase breast cancer recurrence risk
6. Caffeine doesnt reverse the negative cognitive impact of alcohol, study shows
7. Alcohol companies target youths with magazine ads, new study shows
8. Harm Reduction for Alcohol: An Idea Whose Time Has Arrived
9. Metobolomics uncovers key indicators of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
10. Linwood Group Reveal How to Decide whether Alcohol Rehab Centres are a Success or Not
11. Older problem drinkers use more alcohol than do their younger counterparts
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/11/2016)... ... February 12, 2016 , ... The Journal of ... from 0.416 in 2013. The SJR uses data taken from the Scopus database (Elsevier ... the number of citations received by the journal over a three year period and ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... ... 2016 , ... The president released a FY 2017 budget request on Tuesday ... of the cost burden to military beneficiaries. , MOAA’s president, retired Air Force ... as including limited quantifiable benefit fixes mixed with numerous beneficiary fee hikes. , “We ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... ... 11, 2016 , ... Hall Integrative Health and Chiropractic, PC ... simultaneous grand openings in March. All seven practices are set to start accepting ... reversing diabetes possible? According to this 2011 CNN article it is possible: ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... ... February 11, 2016 , ... ... women’s health, is pleased to announce the promotions of Allison Kelly to executive ... Steve Catone to executive vice president of North American capital sales, and Wendy ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Atlantic Information Services, Inc. (AIS) is pleased ... Study for Plans and Purchasers.” Executives from Intel Corp. and Providence Health & ... health benefits program Connected Care, will discuss the challenges they faced (and how ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/11/2016)... Feb. 11, 2016 PRO-DEX, INC. (NasdaqCM: PDEX) today ... December 31, 2015. The Company also filed its Quarterly Report ... 2016 with the Securities and Exchange Commission today. ... 2015 --> --> Net ... $2.6 million, or 95%, to $5.4 million from $2.8 million ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... , Feb. 11, 2016 Laboratory ... used in laboratories. These may range from microscope slides ... glassware is made from borosilicate glass because of its ... on the other hand, started gaining popularity over the ... easier to replace glass with plastic in several applications ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... SAN FRANCISCO , Feb. 11, 2016  Kindred ... focused on saving and improving the lives of pets, ... Technical Section of the New Animal Drug Application (NADA) ... the pivotal field study (KB0120) of Zimeta for the ... by the Company. --> ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: