We all are different, our DNA proves it. That is why our body processes everything its own way, including cannabis. Would you like to know what your DNA says about how your body will react when you use cannabis? Soon, the world’s first cannabis genetic test will help you know what your body’s response will be. Keep reading.
Our DNA reveals our uniqueness at the genetic level, which means that we are all different and that our bodies process everything differently, including cannabis. Thanks to the advances made in genetics and the so-called “personalized medicine or genomics”, today we are able to identify our genetic traits and the causes of the diseases we suffer – or may suffer – to provide patients with the best possible treatment based on their specific biological markers. And the same can now be applied to cannabis use. Soon, the world’s first cannabis genetic test will be on the market to let us know how our bodies will react to this substance.
Genetic Analysis Applied to Cannabis
Regular or occasional cannabis users – whether for recreational or medical purposes – may wonder how useful a cannabis genetic test may be when they can learn their reaction to cannabis by simply trying it. It should be noted, however, that although this genetic analysis reveals to those who have never tried marijuana if they will react negatively to its use, it can also determine whether there is any likelihood of developing a problem derived from habitual consumption.
The world’s first cannabis genetic test, which determines the response of our body to cannabis, will go on sale next October. For the moment, it will only be available through dispensaries and medical cannabis clinics in the US and Canada, and it seems that, for now, it will not be covered by insurance companies. The cost of the test, which will be between $699 and $900, will not be suitable for all pockets.
This tool has been developed by a Canadian biotechnology company called AnantLife, which specializes in counselling and genetic testing to detect a wide range of disorders and diseases – including cancer, autoimmune disorders and dietary problems. Dr. Rahul Kushwah, scientific director and co-founder of AnantLife, explained this in a statement to the press: “What the test gives is a complete profile of the individual in terms of how their body is going to react to cannabis”.
Taking the test is very easy and convenient, since it can be done right at home, as in the case of the known paternity test. Just ask for the kit to send a saliva sample to the company, which will be analyzed using the latest technologies of DNA sequencing.
Our DNA Sequence is Unique and Unrepeatable
Using the latest advances in molecular biology and bioinformatics, we can identify the “polymorphisms” or “genetic markers” that may indicate a type of response to cannabis, if one is likely to respond negatively to it, being able to suffer complications, such as mental disorders or dependency problems.
Each one of us has a unique DNA sequence. Polymorphisms are a variation in the sequence of a particular area of the DNA among the individuals of a population; that is, they occur in particular genes, and vary from person to person. The AnantLife test looks for gene variations that could affect our reaction to weed, and identifies markers that indicate a genetic predisposition to cannabis dependence, cognitive predispositions and cardiovascular diseases.
However, it should be noted that such genetic variations are rare. According to the latest research, only about 10 percent of cannabis users end up developing a psychologic dependence to cannabis.
Medical Cannabis to End the Opiate Crisis
According to Dr. Rahul Kushwah, what the company wants with the test, after having detected a need in the market of the medical community concerning medical cannabis, is “to help the medical cannabis community to further advance medical cannabis”.
In the specific case of pain treatment, for years in North America, medical patients have been prescribed opioid drugs massively, which has led to a tremendous health crisis. In 2016 in the United States, more people died due to opiate overdose than to incidents involving firearms or traffic accidents. According to the latest government figures, it is estimated that more than two million Americans deal with opiate dependence.
It has been demonstrated that medical cannabis can be a great option to replace opiates in the treatment of pain, as well as replacing other drugs such as antiepileptics and antipsychotics. Dr. Rahul Kushwah believes that for medical professionals not to have qualms about prescribing medical cannabis, they need to know what the patient’s response will be. And that’s where the cannabis genetic test comes in, in identifying “who are the best and who are the worst candidates to move from opioids to medical cannabis”.
As genetics is moving ahead at staggering speed and the knowledge in this field improves at a fast rate, according to Dr. Kushwah, the cannabis genetic test will be reviewed and updated every two weeks as more markers associated with the development of phenotypes related to cannabis use are identified.
Cannabis as Personalized Medicine
At a time like this, where advances in cannabis legalization, and especially in what concerns medical cannabis, science has its eyes on the study of the endocannabinoid system. Thanks to the development of DNA sequencing techniques and personalized medicine, we are at the best point so far to better understand the genetics and regulation of such a system.
Currently, it is possible to treat patients by administering the most adequate medication, or group of medications, in a dose that is suitable for each specific patient and based on their chemical and genetic individuality. Personalized medicine is based both on the knowledge of the molecular nature of the diseases and on the chemical individuality of each patient. The molecular diagnosis allows a precise use, in terms of doses and duration of treatment, of each drug to each patient. And all this also applies to medical cannabis.
Decoding the DNA sequence of an individual is no longer a technique exclusively intended for scientific research. Although not so many years ago this technique was extremely costly in terms of money and time, nowadays, it has become a routine technique that is used in genetic diagnostic laboratories and is affordable for many people. We hope that this first cannabis genetic test will not be the last, and that soon this type of analysis will be within reach and available to all consumers of medical and recreational cannabis in the world.