Anandamide is a cannabinoid naturally produced by the human body that works to balance the body and mind. It takes its name from the Sanskrit word “Ananda”, which means “happiness” and plays an important role in regulating mood, but also in controlling appetite or relieving pain.
Its main function is to try to make us happy and keep us healthy.
Some interesting aspects of the inner workings of the human being might never have been discovered without the cannabis plant.
And one of those aspects in question is anandamide, a fundamental piece of the mystery of our endocannabinoid system, as it proves that cannabis is true medicine.
To begin with, anandamide is a type of endocannabinoid, that is, a human body-produced version of cannabis compounds. So without THC, the psychoactive molecule of cannabis, anandamide would never have been discovered.
In1980s, scientists noticed that THC was perfectly adapted to the particular receptors in the brain and central nervous system responsible for psychoactive effects. The theory proposed at the time was that if we have this complex network of receptors, then we must produce some kind of endogenous chemical reaction that unlocks these receptors.
After some time, they finally discovered anandamide, whose name in Sanskrit describes a kind of divine joy because of the wonderful sensations it produces.
The endocannabinoid system
Basically , Anandamide is part of the endocannabinoid system, as is 2-AG, or 2-Arachidonoylglycerol, a similar monoglyceride that works with the body’s endocannabinoid receptors. Present in all vertebrates, the endocannabinoid system is considered a homeostatic regulator. In other words, its role is to constantly ensure a state of equilibrium between body and mind.
It is therefore not surprising that mood, happiness, fear, anxiety or the ability to resist stress are all regulated by the endocannabinoid system. with uncontrollable concentrations of anandamide associated with all of this and which can cause disorders ranging from schizophrenia to depression.
The body produces anandamide on demand and then rapidly breaks down under the effect of the enzyme FAAH (fatty acid amide hydrolase). Also scientists have discovered that people in the happiest countries all share the same genetic characteristic: a lower production of the FAAH enzyme, which is responsible for the breakdown of anandamide.
Indeed, scientists believe that the happiness of the people in these countries is a direct result of a higher concentration of anandamide in their bodies. Thus, high levels of anandamide are thought to be linked to feelings of well-being and happiness, and the lowest levels of depression and anxiety.
How can this neurotransmitter responsible for happiness and satisfaction be increased?
It makes sense to do everything possible in order to increase the amount of anandamide in our bodies. Otherwise, what hope would we have of living another happy day?
ways to increase anandamide levels
Most people associate the sensation after running with what is called “endorphin fever”, but that is only part of the story. Scientists have found that after 30 minutes of intense exercise, anandamide levels increase and with them the feeling of well-being. Anandamide is basically like a neurobiological reward after a run.
2. Taking CBD
To stimulate the endocannabinoid system, you can also introduce cannabinoids derived from the cannabis plant into the body. Unlike THC, CBD has a very low binding affinity to endocannabinoid receptors, but scientists have found that CBD increases anandamide levels, inhibiting the FAAH enzyme responsible for anandamide degradation. As we said, less FAAH means more anandamide in the body and longer, and therefore an improvement in mood.
3. Eating Chocolate
Chocolate would represent a dual way of increasing anandamide by stimulating endocannabinoid receptors so, like CBD, by blocking anandamide metabolism. But not just any chocolate as only quality dark chocolate will work, without sugar or other additives usually added. In other words, no more chocolate loaves, you have to switch to cocoa powder or cocoa beans, which are generally used to make chocolate. Both are considerably less processed and are a more concentrated source of beneficial compounds.
This may not be the most practical way to increase anandamide levels, but scientists have discovered that it can be found in a culinary delight: black truffles. Interestingly, unlike other vertebrates with a developed endocannabinoid system, truffles have no auxiliary receptors, suggesting that the presence of anandamide does not trigger any biological effects. Instead, it could have developed as a means of encouraging animals to eat truffles, a process that releases their spores and allows them to spread.
5. Eating kaempferol-based feedstuffs
In addition to chocolate and truffles, other foods containing these compounds will increase the amount of activity of anandamide. Kaempferol is a type of flavonoid exist in a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables such as apples, tomatoes, grapes, potatoes, onions or broccoli. Studies are already suggesting that kaempferol has a potential action against cancer, but it also inhibits the production of FAAH, the enzyme that breaks down anandamide. So ,this means that we now have another excuse to eat more fruit and vegetables every day. Your body and especially your mood will thank you for it.