Genetic predisposition and marijuana

Are some people predisposed to marijuana addiction than others? Are they more susceptible to its effects? What do we mean by a ‘genetic predisposition?’

Addiction is discussed in detail in our addiction and marijuana section.

In this case a genetic predisposition means that a person experiences positive or negative sensations from using marijuana which can be attributed to heredity.

One example of this is where a pair of identical twins report similar experiences from using marijuana. One twin may enjoy the experience which is echoed by their twin; or both twins may have a negative experience after using marijuana.

There are other factors to take into account which include their environment, the type of marijuana, how often they used it and when, and influence of friends. All of these have an important role in their experience but the genetic factor cannot be ignored.

Genetic factors: mental illness and marijuana

In regard to genetic factors: if someone has a mental illness or there is a history of mental illness in their family then they may be at risk of developing a psychotic disorder. This also applies to people with a tendency to anxiety or panic attacks.

So, if you find that you become nervous, agitated and panicky when using marijuana then this may be exaggerating these feelings especially if you have a tendency to anxiety. If you suffer from an anxiety disorder or are a new user then this is a risk.

This is also a risk for someone who uses large doses of marijuana or strong forms such as skunk or sinsemilla.

Some people have a pleasant experience of using marijuana but there are others who for a variety of reasons, do not.

This may be due to the fact that they have a mental illness such as anxiety or are a nervous/anxious person. If they are then using marijuana may not be a sensible option.

Find out more in our psychological effects of marijuana section.

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