To understand whether genes can influence how you respond to cannabis, you must first understand how cannabis impacts your body. Chemicals within cannabis interact with various receptors in the body and brain. CB1 or CB2 cannabinoid receptors are among the best known, with CB1 receptors existing more densely in the brain than CB2 receptors. The active ingredient in cannabis, THC, binds to these receptors.
What the Research Says About Genes and Cannabis
But some people have mutated receptors. So far, researchers have found 15 different variations of CB1, while CB2 has at least seven variations itself. Some variations make you more likely to develop diseases such as Crohn’s or anorexia. Of course, differences in these receptors can also change how your body responds to cannabis, making you more or less sensitive to cannabis than the next person.
These aren’t the only receptors that can change how your body reacts to cannabis. For example, one 2019 study found that a variation of the gene CHRNA2, which also plays a role in nicotine response, could make people more likely to become addicted. If they stop using the drug, they may be more likely to experience withdrawal symptoms such as depression, faster heart rate, and irritability, among others.
More Questions Need Answers
But we know much less about other genes and their role in the process. For example, FAAH is a related gene that’s responsible for breaking down the cannabinoids your body naturally creates. Researchers know of 11 mutations. Yet, they’re not sure what this means when it comes to how the body responds to cannabis.
Some genes that don’t interact with cannabinoids can affect what cannabis does to your body. If you’ve heard of the Akt gene, you’re more likely to associate it with cancer, cell death, or tissue growth. That’s why it comes as a surprise that people with certain mutations of this gene have impaired judgment and motor skills after using cannabis.
This doesn’t mean that anyone with certain mutations is guaranteed to become addicted to cannabis or become unable to make a decision while under the influence. Some people will just have an increased risk of addiction, poor motor skills, or impaired judgment. Gene mutations can also potentially make someone less sensitive to cannabis.
What it comes down to is this: your genes can absolutely influence your response to cannabis. But even if researchers knew every gene that played a role, and identified all of your personal gene mutations, there’s no way to predict how you will respond. Plus, factors such as the cannabis strain also play a role, which is why All Greens Dispensary is happy to help customers to find the perfect product for them.