Anandamide: everything you need to know

CBD info

Scientifically named N-arachidonoylethanolamine, the term anandamide (AEA) is derived from the Sanskrit word “ananda”, which means “joy, bliss or happiness”. Don’t worry if all of this sounds overwhelming; We are going to explain what AEA is, its functions, and how you can make your body produce a greater amount of this substance.

What is the SEC?

Before we dive into the scientific background of anandamide, let’s discuss the role of the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS is an integral part of how anandamide exerts its wondrous influence.

Our endocannabinoid system consists of an extensive network of CB1 and CB2 receptors, which are highly sophisticated for two reasons. First, they are found throughout the body and brain, and second, they are activated primarily in the presence of chemicals known as cannabinoids. Once activated, these receptors produce various biological changes. The researchers believe that with a closer look at these interactions, we could use cannabinoids to support our well-being.

This all sounds great, but you might wonder why our bodies react this way in the presence of cannabinoids, external compounds that are present in marijuana plants. And this is where anandamide comes into the picture. AEA is one of our own endocannabinoids (“endo” means “internal” or “within”). Chemically, these endocannabinoids are very similar to plant-derived cannabinoids. It’s not like our bodies evolved to accept cannabinoids like CBD, but already had its own supply!

What is anandamide?

When scientists realized their mistake, they worked to better understand what anandamide is and what role it plays in the daily functioning of the body.

They soon discovered that this neurochemical plays a wide variety of roles in various bodily functions through interaction with CB1 and CB2 receptors in the central and peripheral nervous systems, respectively.

What is anandamide responsible for?

AEA is believed to regulate bodily functions such as memory, fertility, appetite, sleep patterns, pain, and, as the name suggests, motivation and pleasure. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to explain in detail what this compound does, since there is very little research on it. Several animal studies indicate its possible mechanisms of action, but further analysis is needed to translate these findings to human behavior.

That being said, we know that anandamide exists and that it interacts with CB receptors, and that these receptors influence bodily functions. So we only have to describe the particular characteristics of the AEA.

Where is anandamide found?

The brain is the organ responsible for synthesizing anandamide and controlling how much it creates. This is the main reason why the study of AEA is so difficult: it does not remain stable for a long time, since our body regulates its levels in a very strict way. But the good news is that there are several ways to modulate AEA externally, such as through diet, exercise, and, as we’ll see shortly, CBD use.

How can I produce more anandamide?

If you want to maximize the potential stimulant effects of AEA, keep reading. Given the relationship of this molecule to our response to pleasure and reward, many people (scientists including[1]) are interested in finding out how a higher level of AEA might influence motivation, addiction, anxiety, and many other brain disorders.

Diet

Diet

Now you have an excuse to enjoy chocolate. This sweet contains theobromine, a substance that is said to cause the brain to produce more anandamide. It is possible that theobromine also slows down the breakdown of anandamide, which could be beneficial in several ways. For best results, consume dark chocolate instead of milk; the more cocoa[2] contain, better.

If you don’t like chocolate, the most suitable substitute is truffles[3]. Used by prestigious chefs around the world, black truffles are a highly prized delicacy. If you can afford them, they are very rich in anandamide. Fortunately, there are also cheaper alternatives, such as tea, parsley or celery.

Exercise

Have you ever wondered why athletes talk about the “runner’s high”? We may have our jolly friend the anandamide to thank for that. According to a study published in the Journal of Experimental Biology[4], exercise favors the production of endocannabinoids. After just thirty minutes of running, both humans and dogs experienced increased AEA levels.

Unfortunately, walking is not as effective. To get the maximum benefit you will have to carry out aerobic activities and make your heart work.

Does CBD enhance the production of anandamide?

After all this talk about cannabinoids, endocannabinoids and the endocannabinoid system, we have to mention the influence of CBD on anandamide production. Cannabidiol is believed to increase natural anandamide levels indirectly; that is, CBD inhibits the FAAH enzyme, a molecule that transforms AEA into other compounds.

Due to the interruption of this process, the natural levels of anandamide will not only be higher, but this endocannabinoid will also be present for a longer time. We still have a lot to learn about the implications of this unique interaction, but the researchers are hopeful that it will turn out to be a promising strategy.[5] to combat various mood and movement disorders in the future.

If you want to experience the holistic influence of CBD, visit the Cibdol store and discover a complete selection of capsules, oils, cosmetics, etc. And to learn more about endocannabinoids and their effect on bodily functions, check out our CBD Encyclopedia.

[1] Scherma, M., Masia, P., & Satta, V. (2019). Brain activity of anandamide: a rewarding bliss? NCBI. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6460372/ [Referencia]

[2] Nehlig, A. (2013). The neuroprotective effects of cocoa flavanol and its influence on cognitive performance. NCBI. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3575938/ [Referencia]

[3] Pacioni, G., Rapino, C., Zarivi, O., Falconi, A., Leonardi, M., Battista, N., Colafarina, S., Sergi, M., Bonfigli, A., Miranda, M., Barsacchi, D., & Maccarrone, M. (2015). Truffles contain endocannabinoid metabolic enzymes and anandamide. Phytochemistry, 110, 104–110. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.phytochem.2014.11.012 [Referencia]

[4] Thors, L., Belghiti, M., & Fowler, CJ (2008). Inhibition of fatty acid amide hydrolase by kaempferol and related naturally occurring flavonoids. NCBI. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2538700/ [Referencia]

[5] Peres, FF, Lima, AC, Hallak, JEC, Crippa, JA, Silva, RH, & Abílio, VC (2018). Cannabidiol as a Promising Strategy to Treat and Prevent Movement Disorders? Frontiers in Pharmacology, 9. https://doi.org/10.3389/fphar.2018.00482 [Referencia]

[1] Scherma, M., Masia, P., & Satta, V. (2019). Brain activity of anandamide: a rewarding bliss? NCBI. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6460372/ [Referencia]

[2] Nehlig, A. (2013). The neuroprotective effects of cocoa flavanol and its influence on cognitive performance. NCBI. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3575938/ [Referencia]

[3] Pacioni, G., Rapino, C., Zarivi, O., Falconi, A., Leonardi, M., Battista, N., Colafarina, S., Sergi, M., Bonfigli, A., Miranda, M., Barsacchi, D., & Maccarrone, M. (2015). Truffles contain endocannabinoid metabolic enzymes and anandamide. Phytochemistry, 110, 104–110. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.phytochem.2014.11.012 [Referencia]

[4] Thors, L., Belghiti, M., & Fowler, CJ (2008). Inhibition of fatty acid amide hydrolase by kaempferol and related naturally occurring flavonoids. NCBI. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2538700/ [Referencia]

[5] Peres, FF, Lima, AC, Hallak, JEC, Crippa, JA, Silva, RH, & Abílio, VC (2018). Cannabidiol as a Promising Strategy to Treat and Prevent Movement Disorders? Frontiers in Pharmacology, 9. https://doi.org/10.3389/fphar.2018.00482 [Referencia]

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