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NST: Scientists discover 'stoner gene' that may predict pot psychosis


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Scientists discover 'stoner gene' that may predict pot psychosis


Researchers say they’ve discovered a gene that might predict susceptibility to negative mental health consequences of smoking marijuana.

Scientists say they’ve identified a gene that can predict how susceptible a person is to negative mind-altering effects of smoking marijuana, according to a news release from researchers at the University of Exeter and reported by The Mirror.


Researchers say the findings help identify which cannabis users are at highest risk of developing mental illness or psychosis from cannabis, which can be a rare effect of marijuana consumption.


The study, which was published Feb. 16 in “Translational Psychiatry”, tested 442 young cannabis users while under the influence of marijuana and while sober.


Findings show that young people with variation in the ‘AKT1′ gene experienced “visual distortions, paranoia and other psychotic-like symptoms” more strongly when under the influence of marijuana than people without the gene variation.


Previous studies have pointed to a possible association between marijuana use and psychosis, but this is the first study to pinpoint a potential reason.


“The current study is the largest ever to be conducted on the acute response to cannabis,” one of the study’s leading researchers, Val Curran, said in a news release.


“Our finding that psychotic-like symptoms when young people are ‘stoned’ are predicted by AKT1 variants is an exciting breakthrough as this acute reaction is thought to be a marker of a person’s risk of developing psychosis from smoking the drug,” she said.


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