Associations between personality disorders and cannabis use and cannabis use disorder: a population-based twin study

Nathan A. Gillespie, Steven H. Aggen, Michael C. Neale, Gun Peggy Knudsen, Robert F. Krueger, Susan C. South, Nikolai Czajkowski, Ragnar Nesvåg, Eivind Ystrom, Kenneth S. Kendler, Ted Reichborn-Kjennerud

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Background and Aims: Individual differences in DSM-IV personality disorders (PDs) are associated with increased prevalence of substance use disorders. Our aims were to determine which combination of PDs trait scores best predict cannabis use (CU) and cannabis use disorder (CUD), and to estimate the size and significance of genetic and environmental risks in PD traits shared with CU and CUD. Design: Linear mixed-effects models were used to identify PD traits for inclusion in twin analyses to explore the genetic and environmental associations between the traits and cannabis use. Setting: Cross-sectional data were obtained from Norwegian adult twins in a face-to-face interview in 1999–2004 as part of a population-based study of mental health. Participants: Subjects were 1419 twins (μage = 28.2 years, range = 19–36) from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health Twin Panel with complete PD and cannabis data. Measurements: PD traits were assessed using DSM-IV criteria. Life-time CU and CUD were based on DSM-IV abuse and dependence criteria, including withdrawal and craving. Findings: After adjusting for age and sex, antisocial [β = 0.23, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 0.19–0.28] and borderline PDs (β = 0.20, 95% CI = 0.14–0.26) were associated strongly with CU. Antisocial (β = 0.26, 95% CI = 0.21–0.31) and borderline PDs (β = 0.12, 95% CI = 0.06–0.18) were also linked strongly to CUD. Genetic risks in antisocial and borderline PD traits explained 32–60% of the total variance in CU and CUD. Dependent and avoidant PDs explained 11 and 16% of the total variance in CU and CUD, respectively. Conclusions: Individual differences in the liability to cannabis use and cannabis use disorder appear to be linked to genetic risks correlated with antisocial and borderline personality disorder traits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1488-1498
Number of pages11
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Society for the Study of Addiction


  • Cannabis use
  • cannabis use disorder
  • environment
  • genes
  • personality disorder traits
  • twin


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