sustaining a state of BLISS
YOUR BLISS MOLECULE
We all have days where we feel exuberant for life, inspired and uplifted. Did you know that your Endocannabinoid System (ECS) heavily influences that experience? What if supporting your ECS could have you feeling vibrant every day?
I’d like to introduce anandamide, the bliss molecule. This is a compound your body produces and it is involved in many biological process including mood, memory, appetite, pain relief, pleasure and reward.1 Anandamide, an endocannabinoid, is a messenger molecule which binds to a receptor on a cellular level to deliver a message and therefore have a biological response. Understanding the function of anandamide is key to understanding how you experience of happiness and pleasure.
How cannabis increases your experience of bliss.
The discovery of anandamide is largely due to Cannabis Sativa and more specifically Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). The psychoactive effects of cannabis lead scientists to inquire what happens psychologically after cannabis is imbibed. (2) How is one plant effective at helping with so many ailments? This inquiry lead to the discovery of the ECS. It turns out that THC and anandamide, though structurally different, are quite similar in the way the body metabolizes them. Therefore when you consume cannabis, THC binds to the receptors that anandamide typically would. THC is a more stable molecule than anandamide and is able to latch onto the receptor for a longer period of time, creating a psychoactive “blissful” state. (3)
So how does anandamide influence our experience of bliss?
Anandamide has been found to stimulate the release of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is the primary neurotransmitter that is involved with the physical sensation of pleasure, reward, and orgasm. (4.) Studies show that levels of anandamide increase during positive social interaction. Oxytocin, known as “the love molecule”, is responsible for the giddy feeling you get when you cuddle up next to your honey. Oxytocin has its positive social effects by increasing cellular amounts of anandamide. Researchers found that blocking anandamide effects in turn blocks the prosocial effects of oxytocin. In other words, oxytocin has this positive effect because of the production of anandamide. (5.)
How do we increase levels of anandamide?
The long term formula to ensure your body is primed to produce endocannabinoids is through proper nutrition, movement, stress management, and a diverse supplementation of plant medicine. There are compounds throughout the plant kingdom that either interact directly with the ECS or support it indirectly. Let’s explore our familiar friend, cannabidiol (CBD).
One of the ways CBD is so effective is because it inhibits the enzyme which breaks down anandamide thus allowing anandamide to exhibit its positive euphoric effects for a longer period of time. CBD has also been shown to support your endocannabinoid tone. Endocannabinoid tone refers to your bodies ability to produce and degrade endocannabinoids when needed and the health of the cannabinoid receptors. (6.)
To learn more about optimizing your endocannabinoid system, join a live lecture!