Yo, what’s good fam? You ever been at a party where someone passes around a bong like it’s hot potato and everyone is getting lit? But then there’s always that one person who can’t handle their herb and starts trippin’, thinking they’re having an out of body experience. We’ve all been there, cracking jokes and laughing at their expense. But the truth is, they might not be able to help it – cannabis affects everyone differently. Yeah, your tolerance and physical fitness play a part, but there’s something deeper going on – it’s in your DNA.
You see, our DNA makes us who we are – our hair color, height, and a bunch of other stuff. And while most of our genetic makeup is copies of our parents’, sometimes there are mutations that make us unique. Not the kind of mutation that gives you superpowers (although that would be dope), but the kind that makes you feel the effects of weed more intensely.
Research has shown that these mutations can affect a specific gene called COMT Val that influences cognitive ability when THC is present. People with a “functional polymorphism” in this gene experience greater memory impairment from THC, while those with the COMT Met gene are unaffected. Basically, if you have the Val gene and smoke some dank bud, you might forget where you put your keys or start talking nonsense. But if you have the Met gene, you’ll be chillin’ like a villain.
So why does cannabis affect us all differently? It has to do with our endocannabinoid system – a network of cannabinoid receptors located throughout our immune system, digestive organs, central nervous system, and brain. Endocannabinoids (which are cannabinoids produced naturally by our own body) can produce similar effects to phytocannabinoids (like THC and CBD). Depending on the genetic structure of the cannabinoid and the location or type of receptor, biological effects can vary. That’s why THC gets you high but CBD doesn’t – they interact with different receptors.
Think of the endocannabinoid system like a switchboard. If the switch is only activated by THC when you smoke weed, you’ll get high. But now imagine multiple switches all over the board that only activate depending on certain cannabinoids being present. When you consume marijuana this way, it becomes clear why people react so differently – flicking different switches leads to different effects. Plus, variations in our DNA can affect how these switches respond – like with the COMT Val gene we talked about earlier.
A study from 2016 found that rare genetic mutations also impact the endocannabinoid system. These mutations cause some people to produce higher levels of endocannabinoids, which could lead to better coping mechanisms for anxiety and depression. So yeah, your DNA plays a big role in how cannabis affects you.
Now let’s talk about the effects of cannabis themselves. While there are some generalizations (like increased appetite, euphoria, bloodshot eyes, and lethargy), everyone reacts differently based on their genes, tolerance, state of mind, etc. Some research suggests that gene variation could increase the risk of psychosis in cannabis users. And many people report feeling heightened paranoia or anxiety when they smoke weed.
The reality is that with so many variables at play, it’s impossible to predict how someone will react to cannabis. It doesn’t matter if it’s your first time smoking or if you’re trying a new strain after a stressful day at work – your reaction could be different every time. That’s why it’s important to start slow and test the waters before diving in headfirst.
So next time you’re at a party and someone starts trippin’ after a few hits off the bong, don’t judge them too harshly – it might just be their genetics! But remember to always consume responsibly and know your limits.