An at-home DNA test promises to tell you what strain of weed is best for you, and what kind will make you paranoid.
Many people swear off weed after taking too much of an edible on one occasion. Ending up anxiously couch-locked is no one’s idea of a good time, but what if there was a test to tell you a better way to get high?
Endocanna Health is offering a DNA test that claims to do just that for $199. Its team of scientists have identified 57 genetic signatures that may influence someone’s response to cannabis. From there, the company can recommend certain doses or formulations of cannabis for a customer’s specific needs.
Users can swab themselves at home with an Endo·dna test kit or send in data from another service like 23andMe for a smaller fee.
The company markets itself as “the future of personalized cannabinoid therapeutics,” founded with precision medicine in mind. Other companies such as HaluGen have created similar tests that screen for sensitivity to ketamine, mushrooms, and other psychedelics that are now being used for therapeutic purposes.
Your genetics affect how you respond to drugs
The Endocanna test considers a person’s response to THC, the compound in cannabis that’s associated with the high, along with the other parts of the plant. While some people feel relaxed or giddy after consuming THC, approximately 31% of the general population has reported an adverse reaction to the drug, according to Endocanna.
Studies have hinted at a genetic basis for how people respond to drugs: whether they’re predisposed towards anxiety and psychosis, or if they might have a greater tendency to become addicted.
Scientists haven’t identified a specific piece of genetic code that predicts a bad trip, but they have named some genes of interest. The AKT1 gene, for one, has a variant that’s been potentially linked to a higher risk of psychosis in people who use cannabis.
Other genes may be connected to unhealthy use of cannabis and other drugs. The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that 30% of people who use cannabis do so problematically, with some cases qualified as addiction. The gene CHRNA2 has also caught scientists’ interest as a potential factor in cannabis use disorder.
The test might tell you to avoid THC completely, or opt for a cannabis strain with higher levels of CBD, another cannabinoid that won’t get you high. Someone who tends to get anxious when using weed might opt for a high CBD to THC ratio for pain relief without the psychoactive risks.
Endocanna also says it considers terpenes, another type of cannabis compound that may affect the brain, when creating a personalized cannabis profile based on genetic information.