In Presence of Cannabis Your Body Makes More Anandamide = Bliss
Study shows that the presence of cannabinoids enhances the body’s ability to make its own anti-depressant, anandamide.
My body is weird and hairy. All of our bodies are weird, really. There’s something strange about a structured bag of flesh using a spongy ball of neurons to direct motion and behavior. Yet, each one of us, when broken down to the first molecule that created us, can be reduced to an energy we can’t truly measure. And inside this complexity are ligands, like anandamide, that give us mindful peace and bodily homeostasis. Stranger still, this component of the endocannabinoid system is mimicked almost perfectly by the cannabinoid THC. It’s weird.
The Manufacturing of Bliss
Most interestingly, our bodies naturally produce chemicals that are identical to compounds like DMT and THC—both phytochemicals with strong psychoactive effects. Our own bodies make anandamide, commonly known as the ‘bliss molecule’ because its presence in our system associates with positive feelings.
Consequently, anandamide is structurally similar to THC. In terms of properties, it varies in several ways including:
- A lower potency at CB1;
- Less intense behavioral effects;
- A shorter duration of action.
According to a 2008 study in The Journal of Neuroscience, anandamide undergoes a rapid two-step degradation process. Neurons quickly reabsorb it via presumed membrane transporters while a fatty acid (FAAH) dissolves any intracellular anandamide. The result is that more THC can make it to CB1 receptors. This THC is also absorbed for a longer amount of time.
That actually makes sense, have you ever felt like you were on cannabis when you weren’t?
Anandamide and Cannabis Consumption
Something very interesting is what happens to anandamide when you are on cannabis.
Consuming cannabis delivers CBD, which has a unique effect on anandamide. According to a 2012 study published in Translational Psychiatry, CBD inhibits the degradation of anandamide. Apparently, it blocks FAAH—the fatty acid—from breaking down intracellular anandamide. As a result, our ‘bliss molecule’ becomes more effective when we consume CBD.
Evolution essentially intertwined the creation of cannabinoids in plants with the creation of our endocannabinoid system. The parameters of that system:
- Increase ‘bliss molecule’ efficacy;
- Heal the body;
- Ease the mind;
- Center the spirit.
Consequently, I could be reading it wrong. Could we have experienced co-evolution with cannabis? Indeed, time created a plant that smells good to us, and gave that plant the ability to blend with our natural bodies in a way that improves the quality of our lives. Maybe you could say it was all just an accident.
But as we’ve already established: our bodies are weird.