Developmentally specific associations between CNR1 genotype and cannabis use across emerging adulthood

James R. Ashenhurst, K. Paige Harden, Travis T. Mallard, William Corbin, Kim Fromme

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Objective: Previous studies have found preliminary evidence for associations between common single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the cannabinoid receptor gene CNR1 and cannabis use and dependence. The present study examined a set of eight independent SNPs in or near CNR1 in relation to cannabis use measured longitudinally across emerging adulthood. Method: Using latent growth curve modeling of 10 waves of longitudinal data spanning mean ages 18.4- 23.8 years in a sample of non-Hispanic White individuals (n = 334), we tested if genotype at each CNR1 SNP was associated with both level and growth of cannabis use over time. Peer group drug use, a known correlate of individual use, was evaluated as a time-varying predictor of cannabis use and as a moderator of the relationship between SNPs and individual use. Results: After correction for multiple comparisons, one SNP, rs806374, was significantly associated with individual differences in level-but not growth-of cannabis use over time, such that C carriers were more likely to use cannabis more frequently at study onset (around age 18). Peer drug use was a predictor of individual cannabis use that grew in terms of effect size with time, but did not significantly moderate the effect of rs806374 genotype. Conclusions: C carriers at rs806374 may be at specific risk for increased odds of use during the transition out of high school (around age 18). Future studies should investigate potential mechanisms at this developmental stage, including individual differences in subjective response, innate tolerance, reinforcement mechanisms, or general liability for substance misuse.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)686-695
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of studies on alcohol and drugs
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Toxicology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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