Pot or Not, Your Body Produces Its Own Cannabinoids

by Lisa Breitenwischer

January 25, 2023

Pot or Not, Your Body Produces Its Own Cannabinoids

You may be familiar with cannabinoids such as THC, the psychoactive compound in cannabis that makes people feel high. Or heard of cannabidiol, commonly known as CBD, an extract of cannabis infused in lotions, some foods, oils and many other products.

But what many people don’t know is that the human body actually produces its own in-house cannabinoids, such as THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD(cannibidiol) via “The Endocannabinoid System” (ECS).

The Endocannabinoid System is responsible for physiological processes such as appetite, pain-sensation, mood and memory, along with a multitude of other functions performed in each area of the body.

Endocannabinoids work on cannabinoid receptors throughout the brain and body. Anandamide is a neurotransmitter produced in the brain that binds to endocannabinoid receptors and produces a blissful or peaceful feeling much like THC, without the impairment.

Anandamide was found to do a lot more than produce a state of heightened happiness. It’s synthesized in areas of the brain that are important in memory, motivation, higher thought processes, and movement control. It plays an important role in pain, appetite, and fertility. It also helps put the brakes on cancer cell proliferation.

How To Increase Anandamide Without Smoking Marijuana?

Dark Chocolate, or Cacao Nibs (no sugar & more concentrated-74% cocoa) – According to research done at the Neurosciences Institute in San Diego, California, “Chocolate contains pharmacologically active substances that have the same effect on the brain as marijuana, and these chemicals may be responsible for certain drug-induced psychoses associated with chocolate craving.” In another study, the amount required to reduce stress hormones in the body was 1.5 ounces 74% dark chocolate a day.

Other foods known to contain anandamide: celery, parsley, and tea.

Flow- Something you love to do that makes time boundless. “Time flies when you’re having fun.” It’s a state of heightened focus, super concentration and peak performance, often referred to “the zone”. During the flow state the brain releases large quantities of feel good chemicals like dopamine, serotonin, endorphins and anandamide.

Exercise- Research has shown that acute exercise, including running, swimming, and weightlifting consistently boosted endocannabinoid levels across studies, in individuals with and without preexisting health conditions. Although only a few studies looked at intensity and duration of exercise, it appears that moderate levels of exercise intensity – such as cycling or running – are more effective than lower intensity exercise – like walking at slow speeds or low incline – when it comes to raising endocannabinoid levels.

It’s worth noting though, that one should not be tempted to forgo a run or bike ride and resort to smoking or ingesting cannabis, instead. Endocannabinoids lack the unwanted effects that come with getting high such as mental impairment.

Bottom Line

Anandamide is a relatively recent discovery and there is still much to learn about how it affects the brain and mood in both healthy people and those with mental or brain disorders. But there is certainly no downside to exercising, spending time in “the zone,” and eating a little chocolate.

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