Adolescent Cannabis Use, Psychosis and Catechol-O-
Methyltransferase Genotype in African Americans
Joshua T. Kantrowitz Æ Karen A. Nolan Æ Srijan Sen Æ Arthur A. Simen Æ
Herbert M. Lachman Æ Malcolm B. Bowers Jr.
Published online: 25 July 2009
Ó Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009
Abstract Cannabis has been reported as a likely risk factor for the development of
psychosis, and a gene 9 environment interaction with the catechol-O-methyltransferase
(COMT) gene has been proposed. Moreover, COMT has been separately linked to affective
symptoms in psychosis. Despite a high rate of cannabis abuse and affective symptoms in
African Americans, no studies exploring a relationship between COMT and psychosis in
this group have been reported. An existing database of psychotic patients with and without
adolescent cannabis use/affective symptoms was examined, and chi-square analyses for
independence were applied separately for both Caucasians and African-Americans to
examine genotype associations with adolescent cannabis use and affective symptoms (past
or present). The two subject groups did not differ with respect to the prevalence of ado-
lescent cannabis abuse or presence of affective symptoms. Further study is needed, with
non-psychotic controls and larger samples.
Keywords Schizophrenia Á Cannabis Á Gene–environment interaction Á
COMT Á Affective symptoms
Although the risk may be modiﬁable by atypical antipsychotics , cannabis consumption
is often associated with a worse course of schizophrenia in African Americans .
Moreover, cannabis has been reported as a likely risk factor for the development of
psychosis , and a proposed etiology for this is a potential gene 9 environment
J. T. Kantrowitz (&) Á K. A. Nolan
Schizophrenia Research Center, Nathan S Kline Institute for Psychiatric Research,
140 Old Orangeburg Road, Orangeburg, NY 10962, USA
S. Sen Á A. A. Simen Á M. B. Bowers Jr.
Department of Psychiatry, Yale University, New Haven, USA
H. M. Lachman
Department of Psychiatry, Albert Einstein University School of Medicine, New York, USA
Psychiatr Q (2009) 80:213–218