Anandamine, or why weeds make us so happy …




Ananda – what? anandamide is also known as the ‘happiness molecule’ in cannabis. This is also referred to as the AEA by researchers. This natural cannabinoid – actually a neurotransmitter – contains the mystery of the joy that cannabis gives us. And that is why, out of sheer gratitude, we put it in the spotlight today!

Exciting research

Cannabinoids are an exciting group of compounds. Over the years, researchers or scientists focusing on cannabis research have made several discoveries. Not only in terms of cannabis plants, but also their cannabinoid and terpene profiles as well as their unique relationship to humans endocannabinoid system (ECS).

One of the cannabinoids that our body produces itself is anandamides. Get to know anandamide and how it interacts with others cannabinoids interact. And above all: the answer to the question of why anandamide is called the molecule of happiness!

What is anandamide?

The human body is a complex whole. It makes substances that in turn interact with what we add to it. That way we can happy or right down to feel. Anandamide is a substance that can make a big contribution to our sense of happiness.

This is a primarily endogenous cannabinoid produced by the human body itself. The drug is not yet known, but what we now know is that this cannabinoid group responds well to other (vegetable) drugs.

How did the name anadamide come about?

The name ‘anandamide’ literally means ‘lucky molecule’. The word comes from Sanskrit. ‘Anand’ literally means ‘happiness’ or ‘joy’. ‘Amide’ is a term that describes the chemical formula of the molecule.

What makes anandamide so special?

Anandamide has unique properties and activities that help the ECS in our body to have a favorable relationship with cannabis plants. The substance was first discovered in the late twentieth century (1992), around the time when THC, CBD and others. phytocannabinoids also gained fame.

Subsequently, scientific journals suggested that phytocannabinoids could bind to natural receptors in the human body to demonstrate their effect. Between 1990 and 1995, Dr. Rapheal Mechoulam and his research team has successfully isolated anandamide from the human brain.

The anandamide endogenous cannabinoid neurotransmitter molecule … [beeld: StudioMolekuul/Shutterstock]

How does the body produce anandamide?

As we mentioned, anandamide is produced naturally in small amounts in the human body. The production process is distributed via various molecular routes using several enzymes. Anandamide has a relatively short half-life beginning with N-arachidonoylphosphatidylethanolamine (NAPE), the membrane precursor.

The half-life is the time when the amount of a substance falls to half its original value. This is done by breaking down or converting it into other substances. Specifically, this means that if anandamide is released in the body, it quickly disappears again.

What is the importance and function of anandamide?

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) mainly comprises CB1– and CB2 receptors† Both receptors work together with other factors to ensure that the homeostatic state of the body is maintained. Homeostasis is the body’s ability to maintain health by constantly restoring and balancing the internal or internal environment, even when conditions change.

How does anandamine behave?

The research team working on anandamide consisted of Lumir Hanus, William Devane and the aforementioned Dr. Mechoulam. They notice that the happiness molecule behaves like THC. This is a somewhat complicated story, but we’re trying to keep it clear.

Both anandamide and THC have a strong binding reaction with cannabinoid receptors. Anandamide and THC are partial agonists of CB1 and CB2. This means that they are able to produce effects on the central nervous system (CNS) and the immune system. However, THC has a stronger, more innate relationship with the CB1 receptor. Over a long period of time, THC catalyzes several chemical effects.

In contrast, anandamide is vulnerable. This is partly responsible for the fact that the happiness molecule cannot cause a significant psychoactive effect. It is instead responsible for creating feelings of joy, reward, inspiration or motivation. The places in the brain where it is active are mainly in areas relevant to memory, nutrition, learning and movement. Researchers say that anandamide allows us to make or break neutral compounds that promote memory and learning.

The primary function of anandamide is homeostasis. The brain releases it regularly to keep the endocannabinoid system in good shape.

The combination of cannabis and anandamine makes us very happy … [beeld: JosepPerianes/Shutterstock]

What is the relationship between cannabis and anandamide?

Cannabis and anandamide have a unique, multifaceted relationship. Each cannabinoid in the cannabis plant has a different effect on the happiness molecule. Researchers would have liked even more information about the results of THC and CBD on the AEA molecule. So there are still research opportunities here.


THC and anandamide have similar profiles. They are both partial agonists of the CB1 receptor and they have recognizable chemical structures.

As the body breaks down THC, it continues to hijack the CB1 receptors, triggering a more profound dramatic response. This manifests itself as psychoactivity. THC gradually affects the performance of the orbitofrontal cortex, hippocampus, basal ganglia, and cerebellum. The user may sometimes experience a lack of coordination and short-term memory.

THC and AEA stimulate the release of dopamine, which makes you experience pleasure. Dopamine is also involved in other actions such as sex, nutrition and rewards.

The chemical dopamine is released in the brain when neurons transmit electrical signals to each other. The nature of the broadcast signal determines what choices you make in your daily activities. Without dopamine, you would not be able to consciously or unconsciously be motivated, learn, change your mood, or maintain a healthy mindset.

It is important to know that the rare use of THC in the short term directly affects the brain’s reward system. At least as long as the connection remains active. Periodic use of THC can relatively reduce the amount of dopamine produced, decrease motivation and other negative emotions. The anandamide molecules are directly affected by:


CBD is the second prominent plant-derived cannabinoid. It reacts with the FAAH enzyme (the chemical involved in the breakdown of AEA).

CBD is the main reason why anandamide has a short half-life. CBD counteracts the effect of the chemical in the brain. CBD does this by stopping the breakdown of the FAAH enzyme.

Can we expand the availability of AEA in the body?

You can increase the amount of anandamide in the body in several ways. Of course, you can smoke cannabis or use THC-based edible products or other products such as CBD extract or oil.

Certain foods also help to increase the amount of happiness molecule in your body. Think of black truffles, chocolate, black pepper and kaempferol. Certain activities can also stimulate production, such as exercise and cuddling, yoga, cycling and long-distance running. In particular, endurance activities stimulate production.

Most importantly, take substances that inhibit FAAH or contain significant amounts of anandamide. For example, the body automatically has an increased AEA content.

What is it about now?

The researchers concluded that responsible cannabis use can contribute to a more open view of life in the long run. Scientific knowledge about anandamide and its relationship to cannabinoids has come a long way since the first cannabinoid was discovered.

Nevertheless, there is still a wealth of information to be found out on how to maximize cannabis plants and cannabinoids to help users feel happier in the long run.

Until then, of course, you can continue to use THC-based products. Always remember that with more cannabinoids, endurance-based training or activities and a balanced meal, you will have more happiness or pleasure as your AEA levels increase.

[openingsbeeld: christopherbrownphotos/Shutterstock]


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