Study Links Genetic Variation to Effects of THC on Cognitivie Function

Photo Credit: Whaxy

Photo Credit: Whaxy

A new study conducted by researchers in the UK and published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology has discovered the link between specific genetic variation and the differences in cognitive and psychoactive effects on an individual after the ingestion of THC. That is to say this new study backs up the claims that cannabis may have a different effect on each individual consumer based on their genetic makeup. The study analyzes previous studies on cannabis, psychosis, and schizophrenia, and focuses on the gene catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT), which is well-studied when it comes to THC, genetics, and individual vulnerabilities.

Variations in genes like COMT affect the way the body processes different chemicals, and according to this new paper, THC impacts the working memory performance differently for those who possess the COMT variation Val158Met polymorphism and those who do not. COMT is an enzyme that degrades dopamine in the brain, so because the genetic variation Val158Met makes COMT less effective, those who possess this variation have higher levels of dopamine, and therefore a better working memory. After study volunteers received THC or placebo intravenously, researchers evaluated the performance of the participants' working memory. The study suggests the difference in working memory performance for Met carriers after THC administration was insignificant, meaning those who possessed the Val158Met polymorphism were less likely to experience an altered effect under the influence of THC. Those who were Val/Val carriers experienced dramatically impaired cognitive function and memory performance after the administration of THC.

It is important to take notice of the varying effects medical marijuana can have on people of different genetic makeup. The fact that medical marijuana affects everyone differently is what makes journaling your dosing regimen in our app on a daily basis so important. Journaling in our app allows you to keep track of your individual regimen so that you can discover your optimal dose without relying solely on the regimens that work for others. This information has been brought to you by Whaxy and approved by our Chief Medical Officer. You can also find the study abstract here