Article by Dan Skilleter, Vancouver Sun
In the lead-up to Canada’s near-historic legalization of cannabis—it was second, worldwide—the national conversation around so-called Weed Wednesday was dominated by speculation about the stock market and reports of an uncertain retail environment. To be fair, some of that talk remains, particularly around availability and delivery times, but a new legalized regime is beginning to stabilize.
As this foundation sets, there is a real opportunity for all concerned to shift the dialogue back toward safety—ensuring that Canadians are consuming cannabis responsibly and that everyone, especially youth, are protected from potential risks.
Can DNA identify risk factors for cannabis users?
The recent increase in direct-to-consumer (DTC) genetic testing—a method of discovering genetic variations that can determine vulnerability to inherited diseases—is already beginning to energize that discussion. For example, the number of people who have had their DNA analyzed with DTC genetics genealogy tests more than doubled in 2017 and now exceeds 12 million. Additionally, market research from Technavio indicates the growing awareness about DTC genetic is one of the key factors triggering growth of the market.
The idea is that genetics could help empower doctors to tailor their recommended treatments based on relevant genetic data that informs how a patient is likely to respond to certain drugs or experience adverse effects. It may also be possible to predict whether or not an individual is at greater risk of developing a certain disease, thereby allowing time for proactive steps to be taken.