Our happiness is defined by many factors; our environment, social life, physical health, relationship, wealth, our childhood etc. There is also our genetic make up which is an important part of the equation. And anandamide – the bliss molecule – is an integral part of this equation. Ananda is a sanskrit word often translated as bliss or divine joy, a transcendent experience, one of the highest humans can experience on earth.
And anandamide is correctly named after this term, being the body’s own antidepressant. Research shows that the less your body produces the FAAH enzyme, the happier you are. And guess what FAAH does, it breaks down anandamide.
Anandamide is an endocannabinoid. Like many other endocannabinoids, it was discovered during THC and cannabis research. It was observed that THC fitted perfectly into some of the body’s receptors. Then started the quest to find the body’s own cannabinoids fitting into the same receptors. Anandamide is one of them.
Anandamide is part of the Endocannabinoid System (ES). A system responsible for homeostasis of a number of areas in our bodies inluding or mood, apetite, happiness and even mental health. Our ability to endure stress, our happiness, fear, anxiety etc are all regulated by the ES.
Anandamide is produced by the body on demand and can be broken down quickly. Scientists at University of Calgary found out that people with higher levels of anandamide have greater ability to overcome fear based memories. They observed better connections between the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala – this implies that the connection between the two lead to lower anxiety and better emotional stability.
Studies show that anandamide is important for ovulation and that the fluctuation of anandamide during pregnancy can affect fetal development. Higher levels of anandamide help a healthy and successful pregnancy.
So how to increase the Bliss Molecule?
One way is to exercise. Exercise doesn’t only cause endorphine to rise. It was also found to increase anandamide in the blood. Another is to take CBD which stimulates the ES. CBD has little binding affinity to our receptors but it regulates anandamide levels by inhibiting the FAAH enzyme. Most other well being tips like eating fresh fruits and vegetables have effects on anandamide levels, whether direct or indirect.