Genome-wide association study of lifetime cannabis use based on a large meta-analytic sample of 32 330 subjects from the International Cannabis Consortium

Cannabis Consortium, G. W. Montgomery, M. G. Nivard, I. M. Nolte, A. J. Oldehinkel, Z. Pausova, B. Qaiser, L. Quaye, J. A. Ramos-Quiroga, V. Richarte, R. J. Rose, J. Shin, M. C. Stallings, A. I. Stiby, T. L. Wall, M. J. Wright, H. M. Koot, T. Paus, J. K. Hewitt, M. RibasésJ. Kaprio, H. Snieder, T. Spector, M. R. Munafò, A. Metspalu, J. Gelernter, D. I. Boomsma, W. G. Iacono, N. G. Martin, N. A. Gillespie, E. M. Derks

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110 Citations (Scopus)


Cannabis is the most widely produced and consumed illicit psychoactive substance worldwide. Occasional cannabis use can progress to frequent use, abuse and dependence with all known adverse physical, psychological and social consequences. Individual differences in cannabis initiation are heritable (40-48%). The International Cannabis Consortium was established with the aim to identify genetic risk variants of cannabis use. We conducted a meta-analysis of genome-wide association data of 13 cohorts (N=32 330) and four replication samples (N=5627). In addition, we performed a gene-based test of association, estimated single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP)-based heritability and explored the genetic correlation between lifetime cannabis use and cigarette use using LD score regression. No individual SNPs reached genome-wide significance. Nonetheless, gene-based tests identified four genes significantly associated with lifetime cannabis use: NCAM1, CADM2, SCOC and KCNT2. Previous studies reported associations of NCAM1 with cigarette smoking and other substance use, and those of CADM2 with body mass index, processing speed and autism disorders, which are phenotypes previously reported to be associated with cannabis use. Furthermore, we showed that, combined across the genome, all common SNPs explained 13-20% (P
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e769
JournalTranslational Psychiatry
Publication statusPublished - 29 Mar 2016


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Antigens, CD56
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules
  • Female
  • Genome-Wide Association Study
  • Humans
  • Journal Article
  • Male
  • Marijuana Abuse
  • Marijuana Smoking
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Meta-Analysis
  • Middle Aged
  • Potassium Channels
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Young Adult

Cohort Studies

  • Netherlands Twin Register (NTR)

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