When I first heard that there was a service out there that would map your DNA to reveal what kind of cannabis I should be using, I was a bit skeptical. There are DNA testing kits to match you with all kinds of things: including the best wines, the right diet, the optimal exercise routine, and the ideal vitamins and supplements.
But can my DNA really tell me how to have the best cannabis experience possible? It turns out it can! And in much more detail that you’d expect.
I spoke with Len May the CEO and Founder of Endocanna Health, makers of Endo-DNA, to learn more about how everyone’s genetic differences affect how their body interacts with the compounds in the cannabis plant.
The company uses DNA collected from customers to provide personalized insights about their individual endocannabinoid system, genetic predispositions, and precise formulations (“strains” as some would call it) that match their endocannabinoid systems and genetic makeup. I was eager to learn how it works.
The Research Behind Endo-DNA
When two people use the same cannabis product like a certain plant cultivar for the same desired outcome, why do some people react differently?
It was assumed that it was variations in the plant’s genetics. But what if it is also our own genetics that play a role? That was the driving question behind early efforts by the company’s founders.
The Endocanna Health team conducted thorough research to create Endo-DNA, including sequencing DNA samples from patients, to understand how certain genetic markers influence our experience with cannabis. The team closely examined nearly 100 genetic markers with ties to the endocannabinoid system to create the basis for the Endo-DNA system.
The data generated by Endo-DNA offers useful information that can be applied in the real world. This includes matching cannabinoid and terpene profiles to your health plan, identifying risks and benefits of cannabinoids and terpenes for your unique genetic profile, and understanding potential drug interactions.
All this is done in an effort to ideally match each patient with specific product formulations available in their area. This science based approach to the therapeutic use of cannabis reduces adverse reactions while promoting optimal benefits.
Understanding Medical Marijuana
This type of understanding is critical for medical marijuana patients who rely on cannabis products as part of their treatment. Too many patients, including myself, have discovered our ideal cannabis routine only through years of trial and error experimentation. Even then, there is no guarantee we are doing it right.
Your personalized Endo-DNA report looks at your own genetic markers to see if you are predisposed to certain conditions like stress or negative reactions to cannabis and how to mitigate this with a certain combination of cannabinoids and terpenes. Your report can also look at how quickly your body metabolizes the compounds in cannabis like THC and whether or not cannabis will interfere with certain prescription medications.
Now, beginners and experienced users alike can get data driven recommendations to increase effectiveness and minimize adverse effects. Lifestyle choices are also factored into your report to help understand how your genetic markers are turned on to further fine tune any recommendations.
Finding the Right Products
All this data is ultimately leveraged to help you find the right cannabis products, or formulations, for your individual genes, allowing for incredibly personalized cannabis therapeutics and a more optimized experience with cannabis.
Endo-DNA’s report can guide cannabis consumers to ideal dosing and ratios of THC and CBD, the two prime cannabinoids found in cannabis. However, it isn’t just the cannabinoids like THC and CBD. Lesser cannabinoids like CBG and CBN and terpenes like linalool and myrcene also affect the body differently depending on certain genetic markers.
Of course, Endo-DNA isn’t strictly for medical marijuana patients. Recreational patients can also benefit. The generated report is able to zero in on what to look for and what to avoid when planning recreational cannabis use as well.
How It Works
Endo-DNA is accessible to anyone who is curious about how their genetics might affect their cannabis experience. There are two ways to get started.
If you have existing data from another DNA service, like 23andMe or AncestryDNA, you can simply upload this data to the Endo-DNA system for near instant results. Don’t worry if you don’t already have this information. Endo-DNA also offers a home testing kit that you can use to send your sample to be examined.
Once your sample is received and examined, your report is generated for you to review. This report will reveal risk potential for categories including anxiety and stress, working memory, schizophrenia, THC dependence, and much more. The report will also feature a customized wellness plan that suggests ideal cannabinoid ratios and terpenes to focus on for an optimized experience. All this information also contains a detailed description of the report’s data to help you make sense of it all. You can learn more about Endo-DNA and how it uses your DNA to recommend a personalized cannabis routine here.