Genetic vulnerability to schizophrenia is associated with cannabis use patterns during adolescence

J.M. Hiemstra, S.A. Nelemans, S.J.T. Branje, K. van Eijk, J.J. Hottenga, CH Vinkers, Pol Van Lier, W.H.J. Meeus, M. Boks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background Previously reported comorbidity between schizophrenia and substance use may be explained by shared underlying risk factors, such as genetic background. The aim of the present longitudinal study was to investigate how a genetic predisposition to schizophrenia was associated with patterns of substance use (cannabis use, smoking, alcohol use) during adolescence (comparing ages 13-16 with 16-20 years). Method Using piecewise latent growth curve modelling in a longitudinal adolescent cohort (RADAR-Y study, N = 372), we analyzed the association of polygenic risk scores for schizophrenia (PRS; p-value thresholds (pt) < 5e-8 to pt < 0.5) with increase in substance use over the years, including stratified analyses for gender. Significance thresholds were set to adjust for multiple testing using Bonferroni at p ≤  0.001. Results High schizophrenia vulnerability was associated with a stronger increase in cannabis use at age 16-20 (PRS thresholds pt < 5e-5 and pt < 5e-4; pt < 5e-6 was marginally significant), whereas more lenient PRS thresholds (PRS thresholds pt < 5e-3 to pt < 0.5) showed the reverse association. For smoking and alcohol, no clear relations were found. Conclusions In conclusion, our findings support a relation between genetic risk to schizophrenia and prospective cannabis use patterns during adolescence. In contrast, no relation between alcohol and smoking was established.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-150
JournalDrug and Alcohol Dependence
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2018


  • Adolescence
  • Schizophrenia
  • Polygenic Risk Score
  • Cannabis Use
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol Use
  • Substance Use
  • Genetic


Dive into the research topics of 'Genetic vulnerability to schizophrenia is associated with cannabis use patterns during adolescence'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this