By now, we’re all familiar with DNA test kits. You know, the ones that will inform you that you’re a descendant of Joan of Arc or have a half-sister living in Tibet. These testing kits can also provide valuable information about your health. They can alert you to conditions you may be susceptible to so you can make important lifestyle changes to minimize your chances of illness.
DNA test kits can also help you understand how your body responds to various compounds like alcohol, caffeine, or sugar. This type of actionable information can be great to have from a health and wellness standpoint.
Now, several companies have emerged over the past year that claim to use your DNA to come up with personalized recommendations on the best cannabis strains for you. If you’ve ever had a poor reaction to a high-THC strain of weed, you’ll recognize the value of ending the guessing game about which strain will mellow you out, and which will make you believe the CIA is watching you.
Everyone’s endocannabinoid system is unique, and it’s no secret that people respond differently to various cannabis products. So, this could be an idea whose time has come. But does it work?
Cannabis DNA Compatibility
Much research is underway about the genetics of the hemp and marijuana plants, but less studied is how human genes react to the plants themselves. However, researchers are beginning to analyze how various enzymes in our bodies metabolize cannabis.
For example, a clinical research study conducted in 2008 showed that participants with certain variants of a gene called CYP2C9 had different outcomes when using cannabis edibles than those without the variation. Specifically, it took longer for THC to metabolize, and there were significant differences in the effects and how long they lasted.
Not surprisingly, many scientists have concluded there may be a wide range of results for every individual that uses cannabinoids. Of course, casual users have known this for years, many of them enduring a lengthy (and costly) trial and error process to find out what works and what doesn’t.
Which Companies Offer the Tests?
Several companies have introduced cannabis-specific at-home DNA testing kits. Their purpose is to discover which strains are compatible with the individual. But because there are some slight differences in the technology used, not all of them use the same process. Here are some of the more popular options on the market:
If you have already looked into a cannabis DNA test kit, you’ve probably come across Strain Genie. They claim they can help users choose the best strains and the most suitable terpenes, edible, and smokable flower for them. By analyzing over 150 separate DNA biomarkers, they develop recommendations for specific types of cannabis along with proper dosages for the individual.
Some customers have already taken DNA tests from one of the bigger providers (Ancestry, 23andMe, etc.). In that case, users can pay a smaller fee for a cannabinoid analysis by uploading the previous results of those tests.
MelixGX focuses less on specific strains and more on how various genetic markers indicate how a person should use cannabis. They claim to help users identify if cannabis can help them with their specific condition (pain, insomnia, anxiety, etc.). Then they work on tailoring the right plan for the individual.
The analysis is said to show how cannabis affects you—including side effects and drug interactions—and the best delivery methods and product types for your specific genetic makeup. This test might be ideal if you want to learn the right CBD to THC ratios for you.
EndoCanna Health states that their “revolutionary ECS DNA array uncovers genetic variations which can then be matched with specific cannabinoid ratios and terpene profiles.” They focus on the endocannabinoid system, claiming that their tests can pinpoint your unique endocannabinoid genotype.
One thing that stands out with the EndoCanna test is that results will include personalized recommendations for commercially available CBD and THC products. The products are selected based on available certificates of analysis for brands that closely match the results you need.
Are Cannabis DNA Tests Effective?
There is no doubt that genetic testing itself works. But research on cannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system is still relatively new, so drawing conclusive results is difficult. For the most part, these tests can only offer clues as to which products might be the most effective, and why.
However, the link between cannabis and genetics is an emerging field of research that will only grow with each passing year. As technology develops and new discoveries are made, tests like this will get more definitive and reliable, allowing people to pinpoint with laser accuracy the products that will be most beneficial for them.