OPINION: DNA offers insights to help identify personal cannabis use

If you’ve ever consumed cannabis in a social setting, no doubt you’ve witnessed how differently people react: one person laughs uncontrollably, another effuses that the current track is “the best song ever”, and yet another sits quietly and contentedly, eyes closed. The same collection of chemicals found in cannabis interacts with everyone’s internal biochemistry differently.

Apart from lifestyle impact—how much coffee a person consumed, how much he or she slept the night before or what he or she has been eating—the makeup of an individual’s endocannabinoid system, the system of chemicals and neurons in the brain and body that responds to cannabinoids, will explain the majority of variance in the person’s response to cannabis. And the differences in endocannabinoid systems can be traced back to a person’s DNA.

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