How Genes Affect Your Cannabis Experience

November 1, 2023
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How genes affect your cannabis experience

As more people consume cannabis, researchers have started to explore how genetic factors may influence your cannabis experience. Central to this exploration is the Endocannabinoid System (ECS), a complex network of receptors, enzymes, and signaling molecules called endocannabinoids that is critical for maintaining homeostasis in the body. The interaction between cannabis compounds and the ECS is well documented; however, the genetic variance among individuals’ ECS adds a nuanced layer to this topic.

Purposeful cannabis consumption seeks to guide individuals to optimize their cannabis experiences based on personal goals. But the variance in ECS genes among individuals can significantly impact the effects of cannabis, and learning about these variances paves the way for more personalized consumption journeys. Let’s dive into the genetic underpinnings that may influence your cannabis experience. 

Understanding the Endocannabinoid System (ECS)

The Endocannabinoid System (ECS) is an intricate network of receptors, enzymes, and endocannabinoids that permeates the body. This system plays a critical role in maintaining a stable internal environment, a process known as homeostasis, despite external fluctuations. The ECS is the body's natural balancing mechanism, ensuring internal stability amidst changing external conditions.

The ECS regulates a plethora of physiological processes crucial for our well-being. These include mood regulation, appetite control, sleep patterns, immune response modulation, and pain perception. By influencing these processes, the ECS helps to maintain the body's overall stability and harmony.

At the heart of the ECS are two primary cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2. These receptors are dispersed throughout various tissues and organs, with CB1 predominantly found in the central nervous system, affecting brain function and perception, while CB2 receptors are more commonly found in the peripheral nervous system and immune cells, impacting immune response and inflammation.

Cannabinoids can be endogenously produced by the body, known as endocannabinoids, or can be introduced exogenously through cannabis consumption. The binding of cannabinoids to the CB1 and CB2 receptors triggers a cascade of biological responses, modulating physiological processes to maintain homeostasis. So where do genes come into play?

The role of genetics in determining ECS functionality

Genetics play a major role in how the ECS works. The genes encoding for the cannabinoid receptors and other crucial components of the ECS exhibit variance among individuals. 

Genes determine the expression and function of cannabinoid receptors, enzymes, and endocannabinoids that constitute the ECS. 

Specific genes are responsible for encoding the cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2, as well as the enzymes that synthesize and degrade endocannabinoids. Variants in these genes can alter the receptors' structure, the enzymes' efficiency, and consequently, the overall functionality of the ECS. 

Genetic variances play a major role in the wide range of responses people may have to cannabis, such as individuals who do not feel the effects of an edible product.

For instance, certain genetic variants may lead to higher expression of CB1 receptors, potentially modifying an individual's sensitivity to THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis.

As we discussed in Your Unique Endocannabinoid System:

Studies have shown that two people can have completely different levels of THC metabolites if one of them produces a certain form of a liver enzyme. The enzyme is called CYP2C9 and it comes in different forms depending on which variant of the CYP2C9 gene one has. A rare subtype of this gene produces a variant of the enzyme that metabolizes THC faster than normal, making it exceedingly difficult for these individuals to feel the effects of edibles.”

Exploring the academic findings, a plethora of studies have shed light on the correlation between genetic variants and ECS functionality. For example, research has elucidated how genetic polymorphisms within the ECS can influence an individual's propensity towards certain cannabis-induced effects, including whether cannabis is likely to make you anxious.

Purposeful cannabis consumption emphasizes the importance of aligning your cannabis journey with personal goals. With awareness of the genetic factors that influence ECS functionality, individuals are better equipped to select cannabis products and consumption methods that align with their goals.

Cannabis as a tool to impact the ECS

The relationship between cannabis and the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) is a captivating dance of molecular interactions. Cannabinoids like THC and CBD mimic the action of endocannabinoids produced naturally within the body. These cannabinoids engage with the ECS by binding to or influencing the cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2, thereby modulating myriad physiological processes.

Cannabis provides an avenue for individuals to modulate their ECS and, by extension, their physiological and psychological states. The cannabinoids found in cannabis interact with cannabinoid receptors, rendering a wide array of effects ranging from euphoria to relaxation, and from pain relief to appetite stimulation.

Genetic variance among individuals can dictate your sensitivity and response to cannabinoids, making your cannabis experience heavily influenced by your genetic background.

How genetic differences impact cannabis sensitivity

We have established that your sensitivity to cannabis is closely related to your genes. Individual genetics play a pivotal role in determining how one reacts to cannabis, and understanding this interplay is central to achieving a more personalized and fulfilling cannabis experience.

Genetic differences can influence the density and functionality of cannabinoid receptors, the efficiency of enzymes involved in the synthesis and degradation of cannabinoids, and even the metabolic pathways that process cannabinoids. For instance, a person with a genetic profile that leads to higher CB1 receptor density might experience more pronounced effects from THC.

The future of cannabis consumption: tailored to your ECS

As we venture into the future of cannabis consumption, the emphasis is shifting towards a more personalized, informed, and purposeful approach. The burgeoning body of research is beginning to unravel the genetic intricacies that underpin the ECS. This knowledge paves the way for a more personalized approach to cannabis consumption, where individuals can tailor their cannabis regimen to their unique genetic makeup.

Jointly stands at the forefront of this paradigm shift, championing the concept of purposeful cannabis consumption. The process of finding the best products for you, reflecting on your experiences, and refining your habits based on insights gained through using the Jointly app — is a great way to tailor your cannabis consumption to your ECS.

Moreover, advancements in technology and genetics are on the horizon to further enable personalized cannabis experiences. The prospect of genetic testing to unravel one's ECS blueprint, coupled with platforms like Jointly that guide individuals on a path of informed cannabis consumption, heralds a new era. An era where the cannabis experience is not a one-size-fits-all, but a tailored journey aligned with one's genetic predispositions and personal goals.

Find top-rated products for your goals 

Jointly is the cannabis discovery app that makes it easy to find and shop the best cannabis and CBD products for your goals. Your matches are calculated from the real product ratings and experiences from hundreds of thousands of people using the Jointly app.

If you're ready to discover new products and reach your goals, download the Jointly app today on the App Store or Google Play, or shop your matches on the Jointly website.   

Are you curious about Jointly?

Whether you want to improve sleeprelieve daily stress, or just relax and refresh, Jointly can help you reach your goals with cannabis.  

With Jointly, you can shop your top-rated products, and save lists of your favorites to share and bring to your local dispensary to help guide your shopping experience.  

The Jointly app also helps you improve your cannabis experiences by uncovering what’s working and what’s not with reflections and personalized insights. In fact, the quality of your diet, how much you slept, who you’re with, and the time of day are just some of the factors that can impact your cannabis experience.  

So if you're ready to find your best products and enjoy your perfect cannabis experience, download the Jointly app today on the App Store or Google Play, or shop your matches on the Jointly website. Discovery awaits.

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