Learn how your DNA can alert you to your genetic predispositions and help you mitigate adverse reactions with cannabis.

Can you relate to this? You’re considering a cannabis product to regain your appetite while you’re going through chemotherapy. You’ve tried other therapies, but nothing works. After losing fifteen pounds, you’re tired of feeling weak and exhausted all the time. 

Your most trusted friend swears by a THC-infused cookie. He says it’s the only thing that helped him through his cancer treatments. You decide to give it a try. You spend nearly twenty minutes talking to the budtender at your local dispensary to make sure you’re buying the right product. 

After a few bites, you begin to experience brain fog and have trouble helping your son with his second grade math homework. Later, when your son asks you to do a puzzle with him, you can’t figure out where any of the pieces should go. The experience is enough to make you nervous, so you put your son to bed early and stay in your room for the rest of the night. 

The next morning you feel better and figure you must have gotten a bad batch. You blame the budtender, toss the rest of the cookies in the garbage, and buy a vape pen and some cartridges instead. 

After only a few pulls, you have trouble following the recipe to finish dinner. You can’t seem to remember which steps to do in what order. You throw the ingredients in the garbage, ask your partner to take care of dinner, and spend another night hiding in your room. 

You rule out cannabis therapy and assume all cannabis products will prevent you from thinking clearly. Your cancer treatments continue to affect your appetite and you’re left more discouraged than ever. 

 

THC adverse events quiz

In the process of trial and error, though, you’ve overlooked an important component that determines your therapeutic experience with cannabis. Your DNA. 

As much as 70% of the general population is genetically predisposed to executive functioning impairment and may experience fuzzy thinking with THC.[1*] In other words, under certain conditions, nearly three-quarters of the population might experience symptoms like brain fog, difficulty solving familiar problems, or difficulty completing regular cognitive tasks.

If you’ve experienced these symptoms as an adverse event with THC, it’s likely because your cannabis therapy is misaligned with your unique genetic profile. 

Experiencing adverse events with cannabis is manageable. Think of it like this: the cannabis formulations you’re currently using aren’t optimally compatible with your DNA. To mitigate adverse reactions, you’ll want to use cannabis formulations that don’t trigger your unique genetic predisposition to executive functioning impairment. 

Below, you’ll learn more about executive function, how cannabis interacts with your genetics, and how you can manage THC adverse events with the right science-backed knowledge and wellness plan. 

What is executive function? 

Executive function refers to a set of important cognitive processes responsible for decision making and problem-solving. Executive function is commonly referred to as “the management system” of the brain since it helps troubleshoot and execute important decision-making processes. 

Although many parts of the brain are necessary to support executive functioning, the prefrontal cortex is closely associated with executive functioning abilities and skills.[2]

Common executive functioning skills are paying attention, staying focused, managing time, prioritizing tasks, and considering multiple solutions to a given problem. 

Impairment in executive functioning can lead to difficulty with:[3]

  • Planning for future events,
  • Stringing together actions to meet long-term goals,
  • Organizing materials,
  • Multitasking,
  • Considering multiple solutions, or
  • Controlling emotions. 

Executive function impairment is not a standalone condition. It typically occurs after acquired traumatic brain injury or other neurologic hardship. It can also occur after use of psychoactive substances, like THC and cannabis.

Key takeaway:

Impairment in executive functioning is an inability to complete complex cognitive tasks like decision making and problem solving. Symptoms include having trouble planning for future events, organizing materials, and/or having difficulty multitasking. Executive function impairment typically occurs after acquired traumatic brain injury, though it can also occur after use of psychoactive substances, like THC and cannabis.

Fuzzy thinking as an adverse side effect of THC.

Like all chemical compounds, including prescription medications and other substances, cannabis can lead to side effects. 

Some cannabis side effects are therapeutic. They allow you to relax and provide relief from disorders, diseases, or discomfort. 

Other cannabis side effects, however, cause distress to the body and result in adverse events. Approximately 31% of the general population has reported experiencing an adverse event with THC, which means adverse reactions are fairly common.[4†] 

Adverse events with THC can leave you confused, afraid, or wondering if cannabis therapy is right for you—especially if you experience trouble thinking clearly with cannabis. 

If you’re considering using cannabis for any reason, you should know your risks of experiencing adverse events with THC. With the right knowledge, precautions, and cannabinoid and terpene formulations, you can achieve the optimal experience for your therapeutic needs and mitigate impairment in executive functioning as an adverse event with THC. 

Knowing your risks starts with understanding your genetic predisposition to adverse events.

You should always consult your healthcare provider when making decisions regarding your wellness routine and cannabis therapy.

Key takeaway:

Like prescription medications and other chemical compounds, cannabis can lead to side effects. If you’re genetically predisposed to impairment in executive functioning, you may be at risk of experiencing fuzzy thinking or have difficulty managing your time and multitasking as a side effect of THC. The first step to mitigating these events with cannabis is understanding your genetic predispositions so you can determine if you’re at risk for adverse events. 

THC adverse events quiz

Which DNA variants are especially important to immune health?

There isn’t one immune system gene, though there are many genetic variants that have a profound effect on your predisposition to experience or develop health complications. 

Scientists keep track of genes by abbreviating their long, complex names. Genetic names are usually abbreviated with letters and, sometimes, numbers. For example, a gene that has been associated with cystic fibrosis is called the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator. Its abbreviated name is CFTR. 

To safeguard your immune system, it’s important to know your genetic predispositions and risks for a variety of biological processes. For a holistic picture of your immune system, you should consider genetic variants that determine your risk for experiencing: 

  • Anxiety (FAAH gene),
  • Nasal inflammation (BDNF gene)
  • Asthma (TNF gene)
  • Influenza (CD55, TNF, and IL17 genes)
  • Severity of influenza symptoms (TNF gene)
  • Respiratory Tract Infections (CNR2 gene)
  • Immune Thrombocytopenic Purpura, an autoimmune disease (CNR2 gene)
  • Pain Sensitivity (FAAH gene), and
  • Vitamin deficiencies (RBP4, FUT2, ALPL genes).

If you have genetic variants that determine you’re at risk for experiencing any of these events, you’ll want to support your immune system accordingly. 

It’s important to note that having a genetic predisposition does not mean that you will develop a certain illness. It means that you have an increased risk of experiencing an illness, disease, or biological event in your lifetime when compared to someone who does not have that genetic variant or predisposition. 

Key takeaway:

When cannabinoids enter your body, they disrupt the normal functioning of your endocannabinoid system. This can trigger symptoms of unclear thinking in populations who are genetically predisposed to impairment in executive functioning.

Executive function, THC, and your endocannabinoid system. 

Your endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a system of messengers found throughout your body. Like most of your biological systems, your ECS is as unique as your thumbprint. It’s functioning is determined by genetic, epigenetic, developmental, and environmental factors. 

Along with a host of critical functions, your ECS is responsible for regulating important systems like your mood, appetite, and immune function. 

When you use a particular cannabis varietal, strain, or product, the unique cannabinoid and terpene profiles interact with your endocannabinoid system. The external cannabinoids (exogenous cannabinoids) are added to your system’s internal cannabinoids (endocannabinoids), which can disrupt or augment your ECS messaging. 

Psychoactive effects from cannabis, like fuzzy thinking or executive function impairment, are caused by cannabinoids binding to the cannabinoid receptors within your body. Depending on the cannabinoid and terpene ratios of your cannabis product and your own unique genetic coding, the resulting effects are either therapeutic or lead to an adverse reaction.[5]

If you’re predisposed to impairment in executive functioning based on your genotype, you may be at risk for experiencing fuzzy thinking and diminished cognitive abilities a

Key takeaway:

When cannabinoids enter your body, they disrupt the normal functioning of your endocannabinoid system. This can trigger symptoms of unclear thinking in populations who are genetically predisposed to impairment in executive functioning.

4.How to mitigate fuzzy thinking when you’re using cannabis. 

If you’ve experienced adverse events with THC, or if the risk of experiencing adverse events with THC is preventing you from trying cannabis therapy, you should know that adverse side effects are completely manageable. 

The key to mitigating fuzzy thinking and impaired cognition when you’re using cannabis is to decode your genetics, discover your unique endocompatibility, and use cannabis strains, varietal, and products with cannabinoid and terpene profiles that are aligned with your genotype. 

With the right science-backed knowledge and wellness plan, you can find reliable products to optimize your cannabis therapy outcomes.

To learn more, take this 10 question quiz and discover if you may be genetically predisposed to adverse events with THC. 

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References

1. *Endocanna Health used specific allele frequencies and genotype heterozygosity to determine general population percentages for genetic predispositions. 

†Endocanna Health determined the potential predisposition of THC adverse events in the general population.

 

Endocanna Health is a biotechnology company committed to helping consumers find the right cannabinoid products to enhance their health and wellness. Using our breakthrough DNA test, Endo·dna, we empower you to take control of your health with access to over 55 different health reports that include suggestions for the best CBD and cannabis products that match your unique genetic code. Visit us here to find out more!