Anandamide: the neurotransmitter of happiness

Anandamide is a chemical produced by our body. Interestingly, this substance has properties very similar to THC, which is the active ingredient in marijuana. Hence, many claim that this neurotransmitter is “natural marijuana” that the human body produces.

Anandamide has an effect similar to that of marijuana. It is very relaxing, calms down and regulates the cardiovascular system. It also generates a sense of happiness. In fact, its name comes from the word “ananda” which means “bearer of peace and inner happiness” in Sanskrit. It is present in the human brain and chocolate.

Scientists discovered this substance in 1992. They defined it as a weak molecule with short-term effects on the body. In addition to its calming effect, it also improves the functioning of the respiratory system and affects our cognitive functions.

How anandamide works

The brain synthesizes anandamide. It works in the same areas that are related to memory, higher cognition, motivation, and movement control. Scientists have found that it is able to reduce the feeling of pain. Moreover, it intervenes in the regulation of appetite, feelings of reward and pleasure.

In addition, scientists conducted a study on mice in 2017. Scientists injected mice with a dose of anandamide. Their behavior changed after him. When faced with cognitive problems, they were more interested in finding a solution and more effective in it.

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Some believe that science has not yet been able to identify all the properties and effects of this neurotransmitter. Some have suggested that it may be a good therapeutic aid for drug addicts. However, there is insufficient evidence to back it up.

The effects of anandamide

The effects of anandamide are short-lived and very intense. Therefore, it positively affects various parts of our brain and body. Its main effects are:

  • Homeostatic. Anandamide increases the regenerative properties of the body and maintains the balance of the nervous system.
  • Analgesic. Like marijuana and all cannabinoids, it has a strong pain relieving effect.
  • It protects the neurons. It helps to regulate the process of stimulating the nervous system that generates protective effects.
  • Appetite regulator. Research has shown that anandamide regulates the appetite and satiety cycles, and also changes the feeling of hunger.
  • Antiemetic. This means that it helps to stop vomiting. To do this, it works along with serotonin.
  • Regulates sexual desire. Research shows that small amounts of anandamide stimulate sexual desire. In turn, large amounts of it reduce sexual desire.
  • Plays a role in pregnancy. This substance is known to intervene in the implantation of the embryo in the uterus.
  • Natural motivator. It improves decision making and increases self-confidence.
  • Cognitive functions. Anandamide helps create new neural connections. This strengthens the process of thinking, learning and memory.
  • Relaxation and well-being. It makes you feel calm, relaxed and happy.
  • Antitumor effect. This effect has not yet been proven. There are all indications that it inhibits the growth of cancer cells, especially in melanomas.

How to increase anandamide levels

The easiest way to increase your anandamide levels is to eat dark chocolate. These foods contain a significant amount of theobromine.

Furthermore, scientists speculate that this substance stimulates the production of this neurotransmitter in the brain. Dark chocolate contains a lot of theobromine. In addition, the effects are even greater if you chew the cocoa shell.

On the other hand, in 2015 a team of German scientists conducted research related to this topic. In this study, they found that exercise facilitated the production of anandamide. Therefore, they concluded that this neurotransmitter is responsible for generating happiness after exercise, not endorphins.

Likewise, black truffles also contain natural anandamide. Furthermore, scientists agreed that meditation contributes to the natural production of various substances such as anandamide, serotonin, dopamine, and endorphins.

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