Genetic Aspects of Cannabis Use Disorder

  • Lisa Blecha
  • Geneviève Lafaye
  • Amine BenyaminaEmail author


The demand for treatment of cannabis use disorder (CUD) is steadily rising and with this comes a need to improve current screening methods and medical management. The areas of genetics and epigenetics represent promising avenues of research to help respond to this demand. Twin studies have shown that CUD has 50–70% heritability rate, likely involving multiple genes whose expression varies according to an individual’s environment. Initial hypothesis-driven studies have attempted to associate certain candidate genes and families of genes. Among the most widely studied are those implicated in dopamine regulation, as well as cannabinoid genes, transporter genes, and clock genes. Unfortunately, the results from these studies offer no definitive conclusions. More advanced techniques such as genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified other candidate genes, but these also remain to be confirmed in further studies. Thus, the genetics of cannabis use and CUD is in its infancy. For these reasons, it may be time to reflect on current methods and revise our models to integrate other approaches to phenotyping, leading to more precise gene candidate identification and an understanding of their role in the pathophysiology of CUD.


Cannabis use disorder GWAS Dopamine CNR1 ABCB1 Genetics 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lisa Blecha
    • 1
    • 2
  • Geneviève Lafaye
    • 1
    • 2
  • Amine Benyamina
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and AddictologiePaul Brousse HospitalVillejuifFrance
  2. 2.Université de Paris Sud, INSERM 1178ParisFrance

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