Gene-environment interactions underlying the effect of cannabis in first episode psychosis

Curr Pharm Des. 2012;18(32):5024-35. doi: 10.2174/138161212802884609.


Cannabis use may be considered as an additional risk factor in a diathesis-stress model of schizophrenia where the risk of developing the illness would be higher in genetic vulnerable people. In this regard, much of the research on cannabis and psychosis is currently focusing on gene-environment interactions. The present review will focus on the interaction between genes and cannabis exposure in the development of psychotic symptoms and schizophrenia and the biological mechanisms of cannabis. Cannabis use has been shown to act together with other environmental factors such as childhood trauma or urbanicity producing synergistic dopamine sensitization effects. Studies on gene-environment interaction have mainly included genetic variants involved in the regulation of the dopaminergic system. The most promising genetic variants in this field are COMT, CNR1, BDNF, AKT1 and NRG1. Additionally, the interaction with other environmental factors and possible gene-gene interactions are considered in the etiological model.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Gene-Environment Interaction*
  • Humans
  • Marijuana Abuse / complications*
  • Marijuana Abuse / genetics
  • Psychoses, Substance-Induced / etiology*
  • Psychoses, Substance-Induced / genetics