Skip to Main Content


D'Souza, Gelernter Awarded Grant to Study Genetic Risk Factors in Cannabis Use Disorder

September 25, 2023

Two Yale Department of Psychiatry researchers have been awarded a federal grant to study genetic risk factors in cannabis use disorder in humans.

Deepak Cyril D’Souza, MD, Albert E. Kent Professor of Psychiatry; and Joel Gelernter, MD, Foundations Fund Professor of Psychiatry and Professor of Genetics and of Neuroscience, are the co-principal investigators on the five-year, $2.75 million grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

As cannabis becomes more widely available in the United States and internationally, the researchers say it is important to understand how genetics influence a person’s vulnerability for cannabis use disorder; their response to cannabinoids; and their response to novel treatments for cannabis use disorder.

They will study the biology of a person’s response to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active constituent of cannabis. They will identify genetic risk factors to cannabis use disorder and study how cannabis risk variants influence THC response in a laboratory setting.

They say the study will increase understanding of the biology of cannabis use and response, and how genetic factors influence that response.

D’Souza is director of the Yale Center for the Science of Cannabis and Cannabinoids.

Submitted by Christopher Gardner on September 25, 2023