What is anandamide?
Originally called arachidonylethanolamide, anandamide (AEA) has been given a new name from the Indian word “Ananda”, meaning “joy, relief and happiness”. Already in this opening sentence there is a lot of information to be accepted. However, anandamide is a powerful ally, so let’s go back to the basic principles of the endocannabinoid system. This will help us understand why the so aptly named “happiness molecule” is so important.
Our endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a vast network of CB1 and CB2 receptors. These receptors are incredibly complex for two reasons. Firstly, they are present throughout the body and secondly, they are activated by the presence of chemicals called cannabinoids. Once activated, these receptors trigger a series of biological responses. Researchers believe that by extensively documenting these interactions, we may be able to use cannabinoids to great advantage.
Everything is fine and nice, but you may be wondering how our body reacts to the presence of cannabinoids. After all, while present in several plant species, they are primarily found in cannabis. Why has the human body developed a system that is activated by cannabis?
Well, the same question was bothering scientists, especially after the discovery of cannabinoid receptors in the 1980s.
Scientists discovered the biological system before discovering the activating factor
At the time of discovery, scientists believed that the presence of THC activated cannabinoid receptors. THC is a psychoactive compound found in cannabis. It wasn’t until a few years later that an internally produced chemical called anandamide was discovered. Suddenly the endocannabinoid system made sense. It was there to react with chemicals that our body produces internally. Scientists first thought that the receptors responded to the presence of THC because tetrahydracannabinol (THC) and anandamide (AEA) were similar at the molecular level.
Considered an endocannabinoid, anandamide has several effects. It seemed to induce a feeling of happiness by earning the appropriate title of the molecule of happiness. The researchers also noted that it could be related to memory, motivation, thinking, pain, appetite and fertility.
Anandamide also has the ability to induce neurogenesis, i.e. the creation of new nerve cells. Thus, it exhibited “anxiolytic and anti-depressant effects”. The list of anandamide’s benefits is long, but there is one downside to this chemical. Because it is produced naturally, our body breaks it down incredibly quickly.
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What can you do to increase the body’s production of anandamide naturally?
Getting rid of anandamide quickly from the body is one reason why we are not in a constant state of happiness. However, all is not lost. There are several ways to increase anandamide levels naturally.
The best news? You now have an excuse to gorge yourself on chocolate. Due to the content of a substance called theobromine, chocolate is believed to cause increased production of anandamide in the brain. Theobromine can also slow the breakdown of anandamide with a number of benefits. For best results, eat more dark chocolate than milk – the closer to pure cocoa, the better. This provides a greater concentration of theobromine and strong flavonoids.
CBD, hempseed oil, and healthy food
If you are not a fan of chocolate then truffles are the most suitable replacement. Not the magic ones, but the black mushrooms growing in the ground. Used by the world’s best chefs, black truffles are a highly sought-after delicacy. If you can afford them, truffles are rich in anandamide. Fortunately, there are cheaper alternatives. Tea, parsley, and celery can also increase the production of anandamide.
Running isn’t just a great way to stay fit and lose weight. Research published in the ** Journal of Experimental Biology found that exercise increases endocannabinoid production. After just 30 minutes of running, humans and dogs experienced an increase in AEA levels. Unfortunately, walking is not so effective. To get the most significant benefit, focus on acrobatic activity and make your heart beat faster.