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Anandamide: This Natural Cannabinoid Makes Us Happy

The human body is a mysterious beast. It is equipped with all sorts of tricky little censors and gadgets that allow us to be the mostly miserable class of life that exists today. Hey, no one said we were perfect. But there are some interesting aspects of the internal workings of the average individual — ones that make us seemingly less miserable — that we, perhaps, would never have found had it not been for the cannabis plant. One of those interesting aspects is called anandamide. It is just another piece of the puzzle collected over the past few decades that proves, without a doubt, that marijuana is medicine.

Anandamide is a natural cannabinoid produced in the human body. The compound gets its name from the Sanskrit word ananda, which when translated to English simply means bliss. Basically, this almost undiscovered compound, present in every singe person — even the most miserable of the breed — plays an important role in regulating mood. It also has responsibilities related to appetite and pain relief. But its primary role in a complex system is to try and make us happy and healthy. Good luck, right?

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We say “almost undiscovered” because scientists had no clue there was even a such thing as anandamide until they started trying to learn more about how THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) binds to the brain. It was during these studies that researchers discovered an unusual neurotransmitter manufactured in the brain that seemed to mesh perfectly with THC receptors. This compound was originally called arachidonylethanolamide, but, for obvious reasons, it was given the updated moniker of anandamide.

Without going full-blown science geek here (not that there’s anything wrong with that), let’s just say that anandamide is a part of the human endocannabinoid system that works to bring balance to our bodies and minds. In almost every facet of the emotional rollercoaster all of us are doomed to ride each and every day, this compound is doing everything it can to provide us with a sense of security and happiness. People with high levels of anandamide have been shown to be more fearless. Those with lower levels can suffer from mental disorders ranging from depression to schizophrenia.

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So, it makes sense that we as miserable people need to do everything we can to increase the anandamide in our bodies. Otherwise, what hope do we have of ever living another happy day? The good news is there are ways to boost anandamide production in the body. Studies have shown that the feeling commonly referred to as a “runner’s high” is connected to anandamide enhancement. So getting off the couch and engaging in some solid exercise is a good way to give the body an extra jolt of this all-important compound. Interestingly, consuming chocolate and cannabidiol (CBD) has also been shown to create an uptick in anandamide. So, give those a try. Or not. We don’t care.

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