Top 5 genes that may affect your reaction to psychedelic drugs

Top 5 genes that may affect your reaction to psychedelic drugs

Top 5 genes that may affect your reaction to psychedelic drugs_

As clinical trials have illuminated the therapeutic potential of some psychedelic drugs, new opportunities to try them legally have emerged. However, this psychedelic renaissance has sparked a conversation about how to take drugs like magicmushrooms, MDMA and LSD safely. 


So, basically MDMA is known as “3,4- methylenedioxy-methamphetamine (MDMA) commonly known as ecstasy, E, or molly is a psychoactive drug primarily used for recreational purposes. In other words, it is a synthetic drug that alters mood and perception (awareness of surrounding objects and conditions)Also, “Lysergic acid diethylamide” (LSD)  also known colloquially as acid, is a psychedelic drug. Effects typically include intensified thoughts, emotions, and sensory perception which can be taken like “magic” mushrooms. 


In fact, people can now take “Ketamine” which is a medication primarily used for induction and maintenance of anesthesia at spa-like clinics, or on a trip on Psilocybin’ also called  magic mushrooms as they are naturally occurring and are consumed for their hallucinogenic effects which can be taken in a doctor’s office with a specially- curated playlist to guide them. 


While you shouldn't use a single genetic marker as the be-all end-all, your genetic profile is one of many factors to consider when embarking (starting) on a ‘psychedelic journey’.


Here's what to know about how your genes could affect your next excursion. 

HTR2A Serotonin Gene 

Many psychedelic drugs mimic the effects of serotonin. However, serotonin is a mood-boosting neurotransmitter. In other words, serotonin is a chemical messenger that’s believed to act as a mood stabilizer. But problems with serotonin absorption have been implicated in mood disorders like depression. 

Classical psychedelics like DMT, LSD and psilocybin activate those serotonin receptors in the brain, causing neurons to fire a “noisy” fashion that may trigger the psychedelic experience. Hence, scientists have theorized that the HTR2A receptor is directly involved in the hallucinogenic effects that are often associated with such a trip. 


However, it is seen that about 20% of people have an alternative of the HTR2A serotonin gene that gives them extra receptors. Thus, more receptors for serotonin means they may be extra sensitive to it and more susceptible as well as vulnerable to the hallucinogenic effects of psychedelic drugs.


CYP2B6 Metabolism Gene


Ketamine is a fast-acting anesthetic (sedative) that has recently been repurposed for its potential therapeutic effects. However, the drug creates a sense of disassociation that can be beneficial for individuals with depression. 


The CYP2B6 gene affects how you metabolize ketamine through the liver. Between 10 and 20% of individuals have a variant that causes them to clear the medication from their system half as fast as others.


However, these “slow metabolizers” should be extra mindful and cautious about taking ketamine since they are more likely to have a long or intense excursion. They, likewisehave higher risk for adverse reactions to the drug or medication such as drowsinessconfusion, and unpleasant hallucinations especially if they inject it rather than taking it orally or nasally. 


C4A Risk Gene CNV

Several mind-altering medications have the potential to trigger psychosis. A few different genes may regulate that risk or danger. 


The C4A gene is involved in synaptic pruning, an important process that helps and matures the brain from adolescence to adulthood. The gene’s protein trims down extra neural connections to make room for more complex pathways in the brain. 


Some people have a larger number of copies (duplicates) of the gene than others, and those at the high end of that range may encounter more disorderly pruning, which is believed to be a contributing factor to mental health risk.


Individuals with a greater risk of developing psychosis, schizophrenia, and furthermore bipolar disorder should avoid taking psychedelic drugs.


NRG1 Risk Gene

Over expression of the neuregulin 1 (NRG1) gene has also been linked to psychosis in at risk-populations. 


While the C4A proteins prune superfluous (unnecessary) connections, NRG1 proteins assist with advancing and promoting new neuron growth and developmentThis is essential to the “use it or lose it” process involved in short-term learning and long-term memory.


The T/T genotype, seen in about 15% of the populacedisrupts that process by expressing too many NRG1 proteins. This may increase someone's likelihood of developing psychosis, making psychedelics a risky and dangerous choice.


DISC1 Risk Gene 

Finally, the disrupted in schizophrenia (DISC1) gene has been linked to an increased risk for psychosis, bipolar disorder and possibly schizophrenia. The gene expresses proteins vital(necessary) to brain development.


DISC1 was one of the first well-established genes for anticipating genetic risk for mental health disorders across populations and ethnicities. Recent research has both supported and challenged this association.


To be safe, individuals with the T/T genotype, which indicates a higher risk, should not take psychedelic drugs.


In conclusion, here are some key highlights: 


• Your DNA influences how you react to psychedelic drugs, along with other factors


• Certain genes affect how you absorb serotonin (a mood booster) and metabolize drugs like ketamine 


• Other markers can indicate a higher risk of developing psychosis and schizophrenia, which can be triggered by drugs.



Image Source: Google 

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