Find the right strain for your DNA

Chemist hands holding DNA test tubes, DNA helix model background

Everyone reacts to cannabis in different ways. But even more interesting, everyone can have more or less strong sensations depending on the strain.

The plant and the consumer are like two pieces of a puzzle: you have to know how to find the right match. Strain Genie claims to find the cannabis that's right for you. Their slogan is simple: “Cannabis is complex. You too. But what is it really?

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The way you choose your cannabis has long been like a restaurant menu written in an unknown language.

You find yourself choosing a dish without knowing if it was spicy or not, if it contained products that you digest well, if it was free of allergens to which you would be sensitive, etc.

Too often, a strain could be suitable for one person while being totally unsuitable for another. In short, it was a real game of Russian roulette.

Naturally, certain aspects of your lifestyle, like the amount of exercise you do, your sleep patterns, and your diet, all play a role in how you will respond to a cannabis product on any given day. However, the most critical factor is the makeup of your endocannabinoid system: the chemicals and neurons in your brain and body that respond to cannabinoids.

DNA contains specific instructions on how your endocannabinoid system is 'wired' relative to other people.

A quick introduction to DNA

DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) is a long molecule that contains instructions for building every part of an organism. DNA is made up of four mating compounds: (A) Adenine, (T) Thymine, (C) Cytosine and (G) Guanine. 99,5% of the base pair combinations that make up humans are the same from person to person. The 0,5% difference is what makes you unique. Variants are the genetic differences that make up this 0,5%.

Many readers may be familiar with the term "gene," which is simply a section of DNA that carries the code for making and organizing specific molecules that eventually serve as building blocks for different parts and functions of a. organization. Variants in specific genes have been identified as the determinants of thousands of different traits, ranging from the presence or absence of blue or green eyes to the presence or absence of muscular dystrophy. As more research is done on cannabis and the body, more and more genetic links that can predict your reaction to cannabis are starting to emerge.

Cannabis and your DNA

With genes that contain the instructions for making the enzymes and proteins that make up all of the building blocks of your brain and body, it's easy to see how this might affect your endocannabinoid system and ultimately your experience with cannabis. . An extreme example of this is clinical endocannabinoid deficiency (CECD) - a genetic condition where the body of the carrier produces far fewer cannabinoids and endogenous receptors than that of a healthy person. CECD has a clear link between DNA and cannabis use: If you carry a CECD gene, you will need a lot more cannabis to get the same effects as someone without it. Other genetic links that predict your response to cannabis can be a bit more insidious.

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Take the genes CYP2C9 and CYP2C19 for example ; they encode an enzyme that breaks down THC and CBD respectively. Variants in these genes can make the enzymes they create up to 30% less efficient. This means that consumers with these variants would be less effective in breaking down THC and CBD. This decomposition process is a critical variable to take into account when ingesting chemicals. In fact, some pharmaceuticals specifically target this breakdown system by creating drugs that inhibit the breakdown of endogenous chemicals so that they can remain effective longer and produce "more" of the intended result.

For example, SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, the main pharmaceutical antidepressant) delay the breakdown of serotonin (a positive mood-regulating neurotransmitter) in the synapse (the small space that allows the transmission of neurotransmitters by neurons) so that serotonin (which is usually less present in depressed populations) can continue to work and make a person "happier". Likewise, the slow breakdown of THC will make the user feel "higher" for longer. Unfortunately, it can also lead to drowsiness in users of the variant for up to three days after the initial consumption.

Naturally, an overview of the CYPC9 and CYP2C19 variants that a person possesses can help guide dosage models as well as which product categories to choose (for example, choosing a vaporizer over an edible product if degradation is under- optimal, since most damage is due to the liver). This information on drug metabolism has fueled the burgeoning field of pharmacogenetics, where physicians are taking a personalized approach to pharmaceutical drugs based on patient DNA.

DNA analysis for personalized consumption

Given the effectiveness of cannabis as a therapeutic option for a wide variety of disorders and diseases and the reliability of DNA in determining the likelihood of an individual developing a particular disease, it stands to reason that taking into account predispositions genetic, users can optimize their choice of cannabis products. Considering the tens of thousands of cannabis products and strains available on the legal market, consumers are faced with a plethora of options with different ratios of cannabinoids and terpenes - the most critical variables in determining different effects and benefits. medical cannabis.

Such a range of products, combined with the understanding of its DNA, allows a personalized selection of products by connecting the dots between the different search results. For example, a host of genes can predispose a person to developing Alzheimer's disease and dementia. On the other side of the equation, studies have shown that pinene (a terpene found in cannabis and other plants like pine) has a neuroprotective effect that specifically improves memory. Cannabis users with such predispositions would be advised to take preventive health measures by systematically choosing products with a high content of pinene. There are similar associations among users who tend to develop schizophrenia or have psychotic episodes, whereas products low in THC and high in MCI may have antipsychotic effects. A similar reasoning applies to people at high risk of cancer who are able to benefit from anti-cancer products high in THC.

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As regulations begin to allow scientists to access cannabis for research purposes, more knowledge that can help determine the effectiveness of cannabis use at the individual level is certainly on the horizon. Other avenues could also provide insight into other aspects of cannabis use. For example, new research from 2018 even uncovered 35 genes that make you 11% more likely to be a cannabis user, and found an interesting overlap in cannabis use with one gene (CADM2) that has historically been associated with risk taking. Such information, combined with genes that predispose individuals to abuse, could be used to guide programmed breaks in tolerance.

Whatever the application, additional research into DNA, cannabinoids, and terpenes promises to refine the personalized approach to cannabis that all consumers should consider taking.

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Knowing how to find the right strain in one's DNA

The human body has millions of cells reacting to cannabis. The endocannabinoid system works in very different ways depending on the person.

Knowing how one's own system interacts with cannabis molecules is essential. We had already pointed out how it exists 3 kinds genetic profiles transforming THC differently.

This is to go one step further.

So the goal is not simply to determine how your body metabolizes cannabis molecules. Strain Genie analyzes DNA and selects cannabis products that perfectly match each genome.

Realize that everyone is different

Those with a particular type of genes (or "allele variants"), for example, do not respond well to edible cannabis (" edibles").

"Individuals with this variant allele have demonstrated hepatic enzymatic metabolism that affects the ability of THC to break down properly in food." precisely does one at Strain Genie.

Therefore, if you have this type of genes, it is recommended to avoid "edibles".

And if Strain Genie finds that you have an increased risk of developing diseases like Alzheimer's disease, you will be paired with memory-enhancing cannabis strains.

It all starts with a DNA test

In order to determine the level of compatibility with this or that strain, a DNA test must be performed. Many companies, such as 23andme or offer this type of service.

Once the results are received, simply transfer them to Strain Genie for analysis. However, the exam is not free and costs $ 30.

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More subtly still, this service is actually associated with WhoahStork, which functions as an online marketplace and partner of dispensaries throughout California, but also Colorado, Nevada and Oregon. The goal is, after determining the genetic profile, to sell and deliver the cannabis directly to the home.

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The author Weed-master

Weed media broadcaster and communications manager specializing in legal cannabis. Do you know what they say? knowledge is power. Understand the science behind cannabis medicine, while staying up to date with the latest health related research, treatments and products. Stay up to date with the latest news and ideas on legalization, laws, political movements. Discover tips, tricks and how-to guides from the most seasoned growers on the planet as well as the latest research and findings from the scientific community on the medical qualities of cannabis.