Cannabis Genetic Tests: What They Are and How They Help
Posted by Marijuana Doctors on 01/23/2018 in Medical Marijuana
Medical content reviewed by Dr. Richard Koffler, MD, Board Certified Physiatrist
Everybody reacts differently to medical marijuana. Some people’s bodies easily process the chemicals in the medicine, while others react negatively to them. Ten percent of all cannabis users develop a dependence that impacts a user’s ability to hold down a job, affects their cognitive abilities and even changes their eating habits.
Wouldn’t it be great if there was a test that could predict your body’s reaction to the usage of cannabis?
Now, there is.
Launched by a Canadian company called AnantLife, cannabis genetic tests were designed to help doctors and individuals determine whether a targeted treatment is right for you.
Why Were These Tests Developed?
AnantLife specializes in genetic testing for a broad range of medical conditions. Its chief scientific officer, Dr. Rahul Kushwah, developed the cannabis genetic test for physicians. Doctors prescribing medical cannabis realize the potential for adverse effects on their patients. They needed the resources to assess the possible side effects of a prescription before recommending cannabis with confidence.
Since September 2017, these tests have been available in the United States. You can find them at dispensaries or schedule an appointment to have one performed by a medical marijuana certified doctor. The test collects DNA from your saliva or a cheek swab to determine:
- How much marijuana the doctor should prescribe you
- Which cannabis-based products the doctor should recommend
Often, without the data to answer these questions, even marijuana-friendly doctors were uncomfortable prescribing it as a medication to patients in need.
How Do Cannabis Genetic Tests Predict My Reaction?
After taking a sample of your saliva, a genetic testing company will:
- Analyze your sample using the latest DNA sequencing technologies
- Identify genetic markers involved in the metabolism of cannabis, which the test finds during sequencing
- Evaluate the patient’s genetic information and health conditions, which doctors then can use to recommend a cannabis strain or dosage
In addition to looking for genetic markers associated with metabolism, a cannabis genetic test also scans for markers that point toward other adverse reactions, including:
- Eating disorders potentially triggered by marijuana use
- A genetic predisposition to weed dependence
- Cardiovascular disease, which have associated risks linked to cannabis
- The probability of experiencing negative cognitive effects
When the test is complete, doctors and individuals have a complete genetic profile of a body’s potential reaction to cannabis. Physicians can then use patient-specific data to minimize the risk of any adverse side effects.
How Do Cannabis Genetic Tests Help the Medical Marijuana Industry?
These tests are the first step toward assisting the medical cannabis community in advancing the usage of medical marijuana. By using proven and accredited scientific methods, cannabis genetic tests result in:
- Increased Confidence: Before this test, the medical community lacked the scientific evidence required to embrace cannabis for medicinal use. One of the major concerns was an uncertainty when prescribing dosages or recommending products. Genetic tests give doctors evidence-based guides that empower the medical marijuana industry to determine a treatment program that’s both safe and effective.
- Personalized Medicine: Every patient is different. Until recently, treatment plans didn’t take that into consideration. The standard of care revolved around the best treatment for the average person, until patients and physicians alike called for a more personalized approach. Personalized medicine emphasizes the individual patient and tailors healthcare decisions to those differences. Cannabis genetic tests are part of this trend, providing the medical marijuana industry with information that leads to more informed, patient-centric decisions.
- A Potential Solution to the Opioid Crisis: In the United States alone, roughly two million people are addicted to opioids, and many of them use these drugs to manage chronic pain. Medical marijuana could potentially wean patients off opioids as a replacement pain medication. Genetic cannabis tests allow the medical marijuana industry to understand how a patient’s body will react to cannabis. As a result, these tests identify which of their patients are the best and worst candidates to transition from opioids to medical marijuana.
Science is legitimizing the use of cannabis products in the treatment of medical conditions. With cannabis genetic tests, the medical community now has the personalized evidence they need to embrace the medical marijuana industry.
Marijuana Genetic Testing Services
The primary responsibility for understanding how your body will react to cannabis use falls on you, the user. It’s important to work closely with your doctor to find the correct strain and dosage for your lifestyle. Cannabis genetic tests offer you and your physician an easier, faster and more reliable way to find the right information.
If you have any other questions about cannabis genetic tests, MarijuanaDoctors.com can help. To make the best decision regarding medical weed, use our resources find a marijuana-certified doctor in your area. Individuals looking for a dispensary that offers cannabis genetic tests can find that information in our database, as well.