Positive associations between cannabis and alcohol use polygenic risk scores and phenotypic opioid misuse among African-Americans
journal contributionposted on 09.05.2022, 06:50 by JA Rabinowitz, J Jin, SIC Kuo, AI Campos, ME Rentería, AS Huhn, Johannes ThrulJohannes Thrul, BA Reboussin, K Benke, B Domingue, NS Ialongo, BS Maher, D Kertes, V Troiani, G Uhl
Background This study examined whether polygenic risk scores (PRS) for lifetime cannabis and alcohol use were associated with misusing opioids, and whether sex differences existed in these relations in an urban, African-American sample. Methods Data were drawn from three cohorts of participants (N = 1,103; 45% male) who were recruited in first grade as part of a series of elementary school-based, universal preventive intervention trials conducted in a Mid-Atlantic region of the U.S. In young adulthood, participants provided a DNA sample and reported on whether they had used heroin or misused prescription opioids in their lifetime. Three substance use PRS were computed based on prior GWAS: lifetime cannabis use from Pasman et al. (2018), heavy drinking indexed via maximum number of drinks from Gelernter et al. (2019), and alcohol consumption from Kranzler et al. (2019). Results Higher PRS for lifetime cannabis use, greater heavy drinking, and greater alcohol consumption were associated with heightened risk for misusing opioids among the whole sample. Significant sex by PRS interactions were also observed such that higher PRS for heavy drinking and alcohol consumption were associated with a greater likelihood of opioid misuse among males, but not females. Conclusion Our findings further elucidate the genetic contributions to misusing opioids by showing that the genetics of cannabis and alcohol consumption are associated with lifetime opioid misuse among young adults, though replication of our findings is needed.