PGX & Medical Marijuana: Genetic Testing Primer

Genetic Testing Medical Marijuana & Preventing ADRS

Prescription Drugs, Medical Marijuana Use and How Genetic Testing Can Decipher Adverse Drug Reactions

In a world of free-flowing prescription drugs, adverse reactions are bound to happen. There is a multitude of ways to discover how to curb or completely eliminate adverse reactions to medications. The guinea pig phase of testing medications can begin again, but many people are turning to a more natural approach and utilizing medical marijuana instead of, or alongside prescription drugs to treat their conditions. Many people who turn to medical marijuana suffer from chronic conditions, such as epilepsy, Chron’s disease, and Multiple Sclerosis, as medical marijuana can be used to treat these conditions.

What many people who suffer from these chronic conditions don’t know is that medical marijuana can cause adverse reactions because of the pharmaceuticals that they’re already on. Genetic testing can identify medications that an individual may have adverse reactions based on data and research. A unique company, Navigator Genomics is combining medicinal cannabis, personalized medicine and awareness to adverse drug reactions. Navigator Genomics has now partnered with The Canna Unicorns, a cannabis-focused banking firm. The goal for these two companies is to provide patients with a new spin on mitigating adverse drug reactions, medical marijuana, and how personalized medicine is the solution in this instance. Especially those who suffer from chronic conditions.

What are Adverse Drug Reactions, and Why are They Dangerous

Adverse drug reactions are when two or more medications are combined that produce a harmful effect, or can negate each other. An adverse drug reaction can also be an unforeseen complication that can lead to hospitalizations and even death. Many individuals also take other supplements, vitamins, over the counter medication, or herbal remedies on top of their prescription medications that can cause further reactions. 

Adverse drug reactions are dangerous, and potentially life-threatening. Those with chronic conditions often see different doctors, for different things. A neurologist may give a prescription fora medication that will negate an important medication prescribed by a rheumatologist. 

The chances of an adverse drug reaction increase with the more conditions that a patient has. Someone who suffers from COPD, may also suffer from asthma and have to take additional medications to treat both conditions simultaneously. Many patients rely on their medications to get them through the day and keep them functioning, but a cocktail of different prescription drugs has gotten increasingly taxing on patients, especially those with chronic illnesses. 

One-fifth of our country takes five or more medications per day, these numbers are only counting prescription drugs. Of that twenty percent, and even those who take less, some are gearing towards different solutions and supplements to the medications that they take every day. Many patients are turning to medical marijuana to help with managing their conditions. 

Medical Marijuana and Its Role in Adverse Drug Reactions

While medical marijuana has an impressive list of benefits, there are 416 commonly prescribed medications that medicinal marijuana can cause adverse drug reactions in patients. When ingesting both medical marijuana and prescription drugs can have negative effects on some patients, it can help others immensely. Medical marijuana is used to treat a varying range of illnesses and side effects from other medications, but the adverse reactions can be extremely detrimental to an individuals’ already fragile health. 

The question then becomes how can doctors and patients combat these negative experiences before they happen, while allowing patients to try alternative routes to treat their illnesses?

Navigator Genomics, a cutting edge genetic testing company that has a medicinal cannabis-friendly approach, has partnered with The Canna Unicorns, a cannabis-focused investment banking firm to bring medical marijuana, doctors, and patients together. 

In a study done by Navigator Genomics, they discovered that medical marijuana can cause adverse reactions in patients taking any of 416 commonly prescribed medications. Navigator Genomics can also provide the testing and results to patients to discuss with their doctors before they decide to opt for medicinal marijuana in their personalized treatment plans. Personalized medicine is just as important when it comes to medicinal marijuana as it is to every day prescribing practices that doctors currently use.

Personalized Medicine is the New Medicine

Personalized medicine is more than individualized treatment plans, medication, and each person. Personalized medicine is getting to the core of each person and figuring out any underlying factors, such as genetics, any hidden illnesses in blood panels, and allows for a deeper understanding and treatment of each patient. With the advancements in genomics, physicians now have a vast wealth of information and can now understand their patients, and their illnesses on a cellular level. 

Pharmacogenomics has also sparked a new rise in the depth in which a patient can be treated. The newfound swells of data can provide a deeper insight into each patient and their needs. Do no harm is a creed that doctors and physicians live by. Pharmacogenomics can take that foundation to a new level. The advancement and practice of genetic testing combined with pharmacogenomics have made room to eradicate a one-size-fits-all approach to medicine. 

Certain genetic changes or markers are associated with the predisposition to certain diseases and illnesses. The same can be said for the medications that are used to treat those diseases. There are genetic markers that can show that there are higher chances of a drug having a negative effect, or being less effective, on a patient that has specific traits in their genetic make-up. In 1956, doctors found that the antimalaria drug, Primaquine, caused African-Americans to develop anemia due to G6PDD – a deficiency that predisposes to red blood cell breakdown. G6PDD is a deficiency that can only be diagnosed through blood, and genetic testing. 

The use of genetic testing before there are adverse drug reactions is a step into the future of patient care. More companies are now including genetic testing in their insurance plans for their employees, and life insurance companies can no longer discriminate against those who have had genetic testing done. 

Personalized medicine through pharmacogenomics is more available than ever. The reach of accessibility to those who most benefit from genetic testing is steadily expanding. Through these new technologies and continued acceptance, and realization of benefits there are only possibilities to improve. These advancements allow for the most important people to be informed; patients, and their doctors. Individualized care for those who want to include medications and medicinal marijuana in their treatment plan can now do so safely by identifying risk factors with genetic testing.