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

Can you relate to this experience?

You’re considering a cannabis product to help you fall asleep at night. You’ve struggled with falling asleep for years. You’ve tried all sorts of remedies, like over-the-counter products and prescription medicine, but they make you feel groggy in the morning. You want a therapy routine that will help you sleep so you can be present throughout the day. 

Your best friend swears that taking THC-infused gummies before bed lets her sleep the whole night through. You decide to talk with your local budtender about your specific needs. He sells you a bag of gummies and promises you’ll sleep like a baby. You leave the dispensary excited to try your new cannabis therapy products and you’re hopeful that your sleep problems will be solved. 

After you take the gummies at night, you lie in bed tossing and turning. You keep waiting to feel sleepy, but you really just feel thirsty and hot and restless. You don’t fall asleep until 4:00 am. 

You call the dispensary and tell them what happened. Your budtender thinks you didn’t take enough gummies, and he gives you particular instructions for a bedtime routine. Before bed, you follow his directions exactly. 

But it doesn’t help. Your insomnia is worse than ever. You call off work the next morning because you haven’t slept at all. 

The next day, you rule out cannabis therapy and assume all cannabinoid products will make your insomnia worse. You’re left feeling discouraged and go back to the drawing board. 

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

Approximately 34% of the general population is genetically predisposed to insomnia and may experience restlessness or have trouble falling or staying asleep with cannabis or THC.[1*] 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 insomnia. 

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

THC adverse events quiz

What is insomnia? 

Insomnia is a type of sleep disorder characterized by persistent trouble falling and/or staying asleep. People who suffer from insomnia may also have difficulty feeling energized after sleep. 

They often report feeling fatigued and tired throughout the day. 

Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder, according to the American Psychiatric Association (APA). Approximately one in three adults report insomnia symptoms, though about one in ten adults will be diagnosed with insomnia disorder.[2]

Insomnia can be caused by a variety of factors, including genetic, epigenetic, and environmental stressors. Factors that contribute to insomnia can include:[3] 

  • Medical illness, 
  • Psychiatric illness, 
  • Medication or substance use, 
  • Poor sleep habits, or
  • Situational factors such as stress. 

Chronic insomnia can accompany other sleep disorders including sleep anxiety and nightmare disorders. If you experience persistent trouble falling or staying asleep, or if you never truly feel rested after sleep, be sure to check in with your healthcare provider.

Key takeaway:

  • Insomnia is a type of sleep disorder characterized by persistent trouble falling and/or staying asleep.
  • It is the most common type of sleep disorder, and is often affected by factors like medical illness, psychiatric illness, poor sleep habits, or medication and/or substance use.
Cannabis on Table

Insomnia 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 difficulty sleeping or restlessness at night 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 symptoms of insomnia 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 symptoms of insomnia, you may be at risk of experiencing restlessness or difficulty falling and/or staying asleep 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. 

Insomnia, 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 experiencing difficulty sleeping, 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 insomnia based on your genotype, you may be at risk for experiencing difficulty falling or staying asleep as an adverse event with THC. 

Key takeaway:

  • When cannabinoids enter your body, they disrupt the normal functioning of your endocannabinoid system. This can lead to difficulty sleeping in populations who are genetically predisposed to insomnia.

How to mitigate symptoms of insomnia when you’re using cannabis. 

If you’ve experienced insomnia as an adverse event 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 with cannabis are completely manageable. 

The key to mitigating symptoms of insomnia 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.

 

References

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

4. †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!