DNA Test Can Now Tell If You're Fit for Pot or Not

Stephen Andrews
05 Oct 2021

DNA tests are mighty tools to uncover a person's ancestry or reveal genetic weakness towards contracting certain diseases. Swabs can now also indicate whether you are fit for weed or not. This is the latest addition to the booming global DNA diagnostics market.

Genetic data has become an increasingly valuable resource for drugmakers. The game is on to create a DNA marketplace for psychedelics as well. 

Millions of people purchase home tests to drill into their ancestry or health risks, and now they can also specifically test to see what cannabis strains work best for them and which to avoid. One such test enters the DNA marketplace after geneticists and cannabinoid researchers at Endocanna Health sequenced 57 genetic marks that may influence someone's responses to cannabis. 

Paranoid thinking, drowsiness, nausea, headache and dizziness are some of the common side effects a significant fraction of cannabis users worldwide experience after they inhale or ingest pot. The presentation of side effects varies depending on how each person reacts to weed and the strain of weed itself. A lot of people don't want to use marijuana just because they have had a terrible first-time experience. Which is understandable. A green out or an anxiety attack in the middle of a party is something that nobody wants to happen to them on a weekend night out. 

Endocanna Health says that with its test, it can give users precisely the information they need. Which strains to use and which to avoid because it might make them experience conditions like paranoia. The company can make certain recommendations on cannabis doses and formulas once the analysis of genes is carried out, and may particularly benefit those with specific medical needs. Anyone interested in finding out the better way to get high will cost them $199. The test can be done at home and then sent to the company to process the data.

Multiple research efforts have surveyed the scope of adverse cannabis reactions in general populations. One such study that included nearly 1000 participants revealed that over half of the respondents reported coughing bouts, anxiety, and paranoia. However, infrequent cannabis users or new users were more likely to report common acute reactions. 

According to Endocanna research, roughly 31% of the general population has reported an adverse reaction to THC, the intoxicating compound found in cannabis. A genetic test analyzes the individual response to THC and other cannabinoids contained in cannabis. A test can, in some cases, suggest the person should entirely avoid certain cannabinoids, such as psychedelic THC. Or recommend using more CBD-based strains, which will not cause mind-altering. Endocanna tests also consider terpenes, the aromatic compounds in cannabis flowers that have a share in the effects a user gets to experience.

Elderly man lighting up a joint.
Elderly man lighting up a joint.

There's a genetic basis for how people respond to drugs, according to research. A pool of genes can determine if a person is more prone to develop anxiety and psychosis or more easily become addicted to a substance. While it's difficult to tell which exact genes can predict a nose dive trip, some genes are of interest. A variant of the gene known as AKT1 has been associated with potentially carrying a higher risk of psychosis among marijuana users. The CHRNA2 gene is suspected of potentially causing users to abuse cannabis products. There are few other genetic codes associated with unhealthy cannabis use habits, and scientists continue to research focusing on those pieces.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, roughly 30% of all users have a problematic relationship with marijuana, and in some cases, they're developing an addiction. Knowing all genes that are associated with developing overbaking habits may help address the addiction issue and potentially lower the number of people abusing pot.

Endocanna markets itself as "the future of personalized cannabinoid therapeutics," founded with precision medicine in mind. While they are introducing a novelty in the cannabis sphere, similar tests from companies such as HaluGen have already been created to screen for sensitivity to ketamine, mushrooms, and other mind-altering substances that have therapeutic potential.

The rising incidences of genetic, infectious, and chronic diseases, the drop in prices of gene sequencing, the convenience of a do-it-at-home test, and the growing adoption of precision medicine diagnostic techniques are major factors contributing to the growth of the DNA marketplace. 

The common goal of any DNA profiling is to obtain in-depth details about a person's predisposition for developing disorders or contracting certain diseases. People have shown the keenest interest in cancer genetic testing, for instance. 

The number of people who have had their DNA analyzed with major testing companies like Ancestry and 23andMe is estimated to have reached over 17 million people in 2018. This figure is projected to surpass more than 100 million people in 2021. DNA testing is forecast to reach a market size of $1,095.5794 million in 2026, a rise from $487.909 million in 2019. 

Stephen Andrews