Cannabis has been known to affect people differently, with some experiencing extreme reactions while others remain unaffected. This phenomenon has long been observed anecdotally, and recent scientific studies have confirmed that genetics play a significant role in how people react to cannabis.
A 2013 study found that users with the COMT val/met genotype made more errors than those with the COMT met/met genotype. However, there is still a lack of research into which specific genetic markers influence users’ reactions to cannabis, and environmental factors are also likely to play a role.
Despite this, the idea of a genetics-led cannabis industry is gaining traction, with companies like Navigator Genomics Testing offering personalized genetic testing for cannabis users. By providing information on an individual’s genetic predispositions to the drug, users can tailor their cannabis habits to best fit their genotype.
Navigator Genomics Testing’s tests involve a simple cheek swab that examines 13 genes related to drug metabolism and interaction. The company then color codes its reports to indicate whether a drug is likely to be accepted by the body, requires caution due to potential side effects, or should be avoided altogether.
While Navigator Genomics Testing’s tests may be easy to understand, the accuracy of its genetic analyses remains a concern. Similar cannabis genetic platforms like Lobo Genetics have faced criticism for lacking sufficient research and testing.
Navigator Genomics Testing founder Travis Parr acknowledges that further evidence-based human trials are needed in the field of cannabis genetics. However, he believes that his company’s tests can help medical cannabis users avoid the trial and error period that often accompanies finding the right product for them.
The tests can also identify potential drug interactions between cannabis and other medications that patients may be taking. Medical cannabis science director Dr Jahan Marcu notes that certain combinations of drugs could lead to harmful complications, highlighting the importance of using real genetic information to choose one’s cannabis products.
Overall, while there is still much research needed in the field of cannabis genetics, companies like Navigator Genomics Testing offer a promising step towards a more personalized and informed cannabis industry.