Marijuana and the Human Genome

2015-02-05 08:33:45 | Posted by szanna M
Seventies

Marijuana memory lane… When I was young I used to get high with friends and sit around for hours and hours;  laughing, munching, listening to music, getting lost in a maze of deep yet incomprehensible thoughts.  You know, the usual.

I’m a loud person.  I have something to say about everything and I usually say it.  But when I’m high, my mouth just shuts.  I used to sit around on those high school afternoons watching my friends chat and just wonder, “how can they possibly talk when they are this high?  How do words even make it from their brains to their mouths?”  It was like I couldn’t even formulate words, while my friends were more poetic and articulate than ever.

Turns out that researchers worldwide have wondered why marijuana affects different people in different ways.  The answer, it turns out, is written in our DNA.

One study which compared the behaviors and genotypes of nearly 90 pot smokers with that of nearly 60 individuals who don’t get high.  What they were looking for was the effect of daily marijuana use on executive function, or cognitive control.  This is the ability of a person to function like a normal person while doing day to day cognitive tasks such as paying attention, planning and decision making.  The researchers hypothesized that marijuana would negatively affect cognitive control to some degree.  It was found, as most cannabis lovers know, that daily use does not significantly decrease cognitive control.  How do they know?  They compare puffers and non puffers with similar genomes.  The average persons executive functionality is usually based on their genetic makeup, and not on their marijuana use.

One study looked at marijuana users and non marijuana users who carry genes associated with psychiatric disorders.  It seems that marijuana use can exacerbate psychiatric dysfunction in people who are genetically predisposed.

Whether marijuana makes you feel silly, paranoid, hungry, quiet, chatty, meditative or totally spaced is probably due to an interplay between the type of weed you are smoking and the type of genes written in your DNA.  This places a large responsibility on the individual consumer to be conscious of their own psychological needs.  Does smoking weed make you feel weird, paranoid or otherwise uncomfortable in your own skin?  Then it might not be your drug of choice.  Marijuana is not exactly to blame, it’s just amplifying low lying genetic tendencies.

by Suzanna Mountain

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