Methylomic Investigation of Problematic Adolescent Cannabis Use and Its Negative Mental Health Consequences.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

OBJECTIVE: The impact of adolescent cannabis use is a pressing public health question owing to the high rates of use and links to negative outcomes. This study considered the association between problematic adolescent cannabis use and methylation. METHOD: Using an enrichment-based sequencing approach, a methylome-wide association study (MWAS) was performed of problematic adolescent cannabis use in 703 adolescent samples from the Great Smoky Mountain Study. Using epigenomic deconvolution, MWASs were performed for the main cell types in blood: granulocytes, T cells, B cells, and monocytes. Enrichment testing was conducted to establish overlap between cannabis-associated methylation differences and variants associated with negative mental health effects of adolescent cannabis use. RESULTS: Whole-blood analyses identified 45 significant CpGs, and cell type-specific analyses yielded 32 additional CpGs not identified in the whole-blood MWAS. Significant overlap was observed between the B-cell MWAS and genetic studies of education attainment and intelligence. Furthermore, the results from both T cells and monocytes overlapped with findings from an MWAS of psychosis conducted in brain tissue. CONCLUSION: In one of the first methylome-wide association studies of adolescent cannabis use, several methylation sites located in genes of importance for potentially relevant brain functions were identified. These findings resulted in several testable hypotheses by which cannabis-associated methylation can impact neurological development and inflammation response as well as potential mechanisms linking cannabis-associated methylation to potential downstream mental health effects.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Clark, SL; Chan, R; Zhao, M; Xie, LY; Copeland, WE; Aberg, KA; van den Oord, EJCG

Published Date

  • December 2021

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 60 / 12

Start / End Page

  • 1524 - 1532

PubMed ID

  • 33631312

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC8380262

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1527-5418

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.jaac.2021.02.008


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States