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Pot, schizophrenia linked genetically: Study gives new insight into connection

Pot and schizophrenia are linked genetically, but a new study released on Tuesday shows a new link between the two items. The results are the opposite of what scientists have already believed about the connection between the two items. Spread It reported on this new study on June 25.

Since the 1960s, scientists have believed that smoking pot had a connection to whether or not a person would develop psychotic illnesses like schizophrenia later during their adult life. That connection may still have validity, but this new study released on Thursday revealed that mental illnesses like schizophrenia might cause a person to take drugs as well. The connection appears to be a two way street. A person may not have the illness at the time, but there are genes connected to these illnesses, and if someone has this gene the connection is there.

Robert Power, from the Institute of Psychiatry at King’s College London, had his study appear in the journal of Molecular Psychiatry on Tuesday. The study involved 2,082 subjects. Out of those subjects, 1,011 admitted to smoking pot regularly. Power studied the genes of all the subjects, and he discovered that more of the pot smokers had the genes for schizophrenia inside them.

Robert Power did speak out about the results. He said the following, according to The Spreadit: "The result highlights the complex interactions between genes and environments when it comes to cannabis as a risk factor for schizophrenia. Certain environmental risks, such as cannabis use, may be more likely given an individual’s innate behavior and personality, itself influenced by their genetic make-up."

The doctor did make it clear that his study did not make the earlier research connecting pot and schizophrenia invalid. Both theories may be true. This study is making buzz today, and other doctors and scientists are sharing their thoughts on the study out of England.

One of those scientists is out of Harvard University. Eden Evins is a psychiatry professor at the university, and she said the following, according to The Verge: "These findings are very valuable, and suggest that increased genetic risk for schizophrenia increases the chance that someone will use cannabis, and use it heavily. Both [theories on the connection] may be true."

The doctor went on to say that patients that are schizophrenic should be told to stop smoking cannibis. The drug will make their symptoms worse. It is clear that there is still much to learn about the connection between mental illness and use of drugs like marijuana. With the drug now legal in some states, the usage of it is increasing. If it is connected to the development of mental illness, people need to be aware of the connection. This is the only way to prevent problems from developing.

Matthew Hill, a cell biologist at the University of Canada, spoke even further about the connection, and he actually said there is little evidence connecting the two: "The relationship is an ongoing debate in the scientific world — at least what the nature of the association is. There is little evidence that, at a population level, cannabis use during adolescence is a primary contributing factor in the development of psychiatric illness."

The research does seem to show a two way relationship between the two, but it is clear that the connection will need further study.