Strain Genie Overview: DNA Test for Specific Genetics Traits to Treat with Cannabinoids
Motivated by a curiosity to understand how cannabis could affect my body, whether for medical or recreational purposes, I set out on a journey to explore how different strains might interact with specific genetic conditions and susceptibilities. What intrigued me about Strain Genie was its establishment by a PhD neuroscientist. The founder’s mission is to leverage the capabilities of the endocannabinoid system and specific genetic factors to optimize the therapeutic potential of cannabis. Intrigued by this forward-thinking approach, I decided to try out Strain Genie’s testing kit for myself.
Although the reports I received were informative, the cost of a single analysis was relatively high. Additionally, free shipping is not available for international orders outside the U.S. and Canada. To see if the service is worth its price, continue reading.
A Quick and Easy Cheek Swab, Followed by Fast Results
I ordered the test kit from the website, and it arrived at my apartment three days later. It came with easy-to-follow directions on how to obtain my DNA sample and send it back for processing. It even included a prepaid return package for my sample, so I wouldn’t have to pay anything extra (note: return postage is only valid for the US and Canada).
Strain Genie offers two ways of getting a cannabis report:
- Ordering a DNA testing kit from the website.
- Uploading raw DNA data into Strain Genie’s system.
A much better way of getting your full cannabis report from Strain Genie is by ordering a DNA testing kit from one of these cheaper ancestry companies and uploading the raw DNA data into Strain Genie’s system. This is much more cost-effective and gives you way more value. Even if you don’t care about an ancestry report, your full cannabis report will be significantly cheaper than if you just order the cannabis DNA testing kit from Strain Genie.
Detailed and Useful, but a Little Confusing
I received my results a little over a week after returning my sample (on April 20th!).
The report was extremely detailed – colorful, easy-to-read, and included lots of helpful recommendations and insights into my genetics. It listed how at-risk I was for a wide range of genetic disorders from 13 different categories – from musculoskeletal health to heart health to eye health. It also gave me a list of recommended terpenes as well as a recommended THC:CBD ratio.
I found the layout and language of the information to be a little confusing. And there was no information on how to make sense of the report. For example, is my THC/CBD metabolism “slow” or “normal” or “ultra-fast”? What does a “normal” risk for “CBD metabolism (slow)” mean?
I was uncertain whether the genetic markers listed in the report indicated risk factors or if they were simply the genes tested by Strain Genie, with a “normal” result implying nothing unusual.
To clarify this, I reached out through the customer support form on their website. They explained that a “normal” result suggests a low genetic risk for the disease, but it doesn’t guarantee you won’t develop it. Understanding the report is clearer to me now, but I would have preferred if this explanation had been more explicitly stated in the “How to Read this Report” section.
There were instances where the report provided limited information. For instance, in the “Cardiovascular Health” and “Cannabis-Induced Impairments” sections, where my results indicated a risk, the most valuable part – the terpene recommendations – was absent.
Some other results were just perplexing. I’m very anxious, highly empathetic, and immensely introverted. I know that this is only a genetic risk assessment, but receiving “normal” results here leads me to question the usefulness of these assessments. And how exactly are these terpenes going to make me more empathetic and less susceptible to PTSD?
While there are detailed write-ups about how these specific diseases/disorders affect humans and how cannabis can help, there’s no information around what these results actually mean. I found it fascinating to learn about my body in this way, but I was also left feeling a little confused.
I’m still a bit unsure about how actionable this information is. For starters, Strain Genie told me that my DNA will respond best to products found in the “Medicate” category, which is mostly CBD-based products. But I know that I don’t respond well to CBD products, and I’ve already tried many of Strain Genie’s “personalized” top recommended products.
(Note: Strain Genie makes you pay an additional fee to “unlock” the CBD report.)
I brought these results into several local dispensaries, and most of those stores didn’t have the strains or products listed on my report. The dispensaries I went to were able to “get close” with similar terpenes and THC:CBD ratios, but I was unable to find almost all of the strains listed.
Strain Genie advertises on its website that it will help locate local stores and organize pickup and delivery based on your product recommendations (if cannabis is legal in your jurisdiction, which it is in mine). However, I have clicked every button on this report, and I can’t find that information anywhere.
Since the report listed a lot of different recommendations for a lot of different purposes, it seemed like Strain Genie was trying to get away with saying, “you just have to try them all out until you find the right one.” This is the exact reason why I thought getting a DNA report for cannabis would be useful! I wanted something actionable to help me narrow down the 20,000+ cannabis strains out there and tell me specifically what’s going to work best for my body.
While there aren’t 20,000 products listed in the report, Strain Genie recommended 183 cannabis strains and 189 cannabis products. I’m a pretty casual recreational user, so there’s no way I’m ever going to try 372 products to find “the right one.” Around 20 recommended strains and 20 recommended products would have been nice, but having almost 400 recommendations is overwhelming and doesn’t give me a lot of helpful insight.
That said, I did find the report useful. Sure, it helped me understand my body’s genetics a little more, and it gave me a great starting point to help locate the best strain of cannabis for me and my DNA. While I’m still searching for “the right one,” Strain Genie’s report did indeed offer some much-welcomed clarity.
5 Standout Features of Strain Genie
1. Analysis of Over 50 Medical Traits Across Ten Categories
Strain Genie tests DNA for common diseases and disorders in more than ten health and wellness categories. Examples include “Sleep” (which tests for things like poor sleep quality and restless legs syndrome), “Skin Health” (which tests for things like psoriasis and eczema), and “Musculoskeletal Health” (which tests for things like arthritis and osteoporosis).
2. Cannabis-Related Warnings
The Strain Genie report tells you specific marijuana and cannabis-related warnings, like how slow or fast you metabolize THC and CBD, how susceptible you are to cannabis-induced psychosis, and how at-risk you are of developing a cannabis dependence. This helps you optimize your cannabis usage and safeguard against the potential pitfalls associated with cannabis use.
3. Strain and Product Recommendations for Desired Uses
The report lists out specific marijuana strains and cannabis products depending on what you want to do. There are six “activity groups”: Energize, Medicate, Chill, Create, Sleep, and Elevate. The report tells you which strains and products you could benefit the most from.
4. Terpene + Cannabinoid Recommendations
Terpenes and cannabinoids are compounds found in cannabis, and can have dramatic effects on how your body and mind processes and reacts to cannabis. Strain Genie analyzes your body’s unique DNA and recommends which terpenes and cannabinoids are best for you and your genetic code for each category.
5. THC/CBD Dosage Calculator
Strain Genie knows that getting the right dosage is crucial to having a good cannabis experience. The DNA report includes a dosage calculator that asks you a few questions, like your weight and your frequency of use, to help identify how much THC and CBD you should be dosing with.
Similar Tests to Consider
- GreenWay DNA: This is a similar cannabis DNA test that looks at 20 genes and 40 genetic variants with regards to cannabis. Strain Genie is better because it looks at more genetic markers (over 450) and tests for more conditions (over 50 vs. three). Plus, your results come more quickly, and you can upload raw data to Strain Genie and save a lot of money on the testing kit (something GreenWay doesn’t offer).
- 23andMe: This popular ancestry DNA testing company offers a health and wellness test that analyzes your risk status for 40+ genetic diseases (like Cystic Fibrosis and Bloom Syndrome) and genetic relationships to food, alcohol, and caffeine. While this is great added information to have, it doesn’t tell you how your body relates to cannabis, nor does it offer cannabis strain/product recommendations based on your genetics.
Good Price for the Report, Too Expensive for the Testing Kit
Strain Genie’s DNA testing kit is pretty expensive. If you purchase the at-home DNA kit, you’ll be spending a couple hundred dollars ($199.99) – plus extra, if you choose to unlock extra reports like the one that focuses specifically on CBD.
There really aren’t too many direct competitors in the market for this particular niche, which is probably how the company can justify its higher prices. GreenWay, for example, offers its report at a cheaper price ($159.99), but you get far less information.
In my opinion, you’d be much better off getting one of the top recommended ancestry tests (like MyHeritage or AncestryDNA) and then uploading the raw data into Strain Genie to get your cannabis report.
Regardless of what you decide, there’s a simple payment processing option on the website, just fill in your credit or debit card details and that’s it! If you do order an at-home test kit, shipping is free if you’re in the US, otherwise pricing varies by location. Return postage is included for the US and Canada, but is an added expense for those in other countries.
Very Helpful, but Not a Lot of Options
While most DNA testing companies have a range of support options, Strain Genie only has two: an FAQ and an email address/website form. The FAQ is okay, but both times I had questions, I needed to fill out the form on the website to speak to a customer service representative.
Both times my questions were answered in under 24 hours – and by the CEO himself!
Nicco was extremely friendly, helpful, responsive, and made sure that I was satisfied with the answers I received.
It’s clear that Nicco and Strain Genie care about customer satisfaction, though I would like to see some more options – like phone and live chat – in the future.
Probably the Best Cannabis DNA Test Out There, But Could Use Some Improvement
Overall, finding the right kind of cannabis for your specific body chemistry is a long journey, and it’s nice that Strain Genie exists to help demystify the cannabis selection process.
The reports and insights I received from Strain Genie were indeed helpful and gave me valuable insights into my body’s reaction to certain terpenes and cannabinoids. While I think it would be better if the report were clearer and recommended fewer products, the report was definitely valuable to me.
But again, it’s much more cost-effective to get a DNA testing kit from an ancestry DNA company like MyHeritage or AncestryDNA and simply upload the raw DNA data into Strain Genie to get your personalized cannabis report. Plus, by doing so, you’ll also get some interesting information about your ancestors and family heritage!
What makes Strain Genie unique?
As the at-home DNA testing market continues to gain popularity, more and more niche tests are popping up. Strain Genie focuses specifically on how your unique genetic code affects your response to cannabinoid products. You’ll learn if you are genetically predisposed to develop a number of common medical conditions, which could be treated with cannabis. You’ll also discover how slow or fast you metabolize THC and CBD, and what strains and dosages are right for you.
How does a Strain Genie test work?
The process of taking an at-home DNA test is incredibly easy. Once you order the kit online, it will arrive at your doorstep within just a few days. Inside the kit, you’ll find everything you need to submit a saliva sample via cheek swab. You can also fill out an optional questionnaire about products you’ve already tried, which will help the company make better and more personalized recommendations. After you send back your DNA sample, you’ll receive your report online within one to three weeks. Alternatively, if you’ve had your DNA tested by another company, you can upload your raw DNA, which is faster and costs significantly less.
How much does a Strain Genie DNA test cost?
Expect to pay a couple hundred dollars if you order a Strain Genie at-home test kit. Compared to competitors, this is one of the more expensive options available. However, you receive a fair amount more information than you would get from GreenWay DNA, for example. If you are located in the US, shipping and return postage is included; if not, costs vary by location. You can save a significant amount of money by instead choosing to upload your raw DNA data, if you have already taken a test with another company (e.g., MyHeritage or AncestryDNA).
How can a Strain Genie DNA test benefit you?
When you know the strains and dosages that are best suited for your genetic makeup, you can get the greatest value from using cannabis, either medically or recreationally. THC and CBD have been shown to effectively help people deal with things like sleep issues, mood disorders, and chronic pain. However, we all respond to terpenes and cannabinoids differently – what might be a low dose for one person could be too strong for you. Knowing your ideal strain and dosage allows you to feel the benefits of cannabis more quickly, saving valuable time and money.
Who should consider taking a Strain Genie DNA test?
There are a lot of reasons why you might want to consider taking a Strain Genie DNA test. For example, if you have a health condition and would like to start using medicinal marijuana in a measured and informed way. You may also be looking to improve your experience using cannabis recreationally, and want to know your ideal strains and dosages. There are so many product options available nowadays that having an idea about what will work best for you can save tons of time otherwise spent on trial-and-error. By taking your cannabis health report to a dispensary, you can more quickly make an informed selection, based on your DNA.