Almost 30 years ago, the team of Israeli professor Raphael Mechoulam described and named what we might call “brain marijuana”, anandamide, a substance that produces analgesic, anxiolytic and antidepressant effects. These effects conferred by anandamide are similar to those of the cannabinoid THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive compound in Cannabis, responsible for giving the “high”.
Anandamide is also known as “the substance of happiness”. Ananda means, in Sanskrit, “supreme happiness”. Faced with its effects, researchers named it with that name.
This endogenous substance produced by the brain, from the metabolism of a type of fatty acid, omega 6, can be stimulated so that its levels are increased, enhancing the benefits in the brain. It is part of the Endocannabinoid System and connects with the cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2, acting on the central and peripheral nervous system, respectively.
By acting on these systems, anandamide acts in the regulation of psychological and physiological functions such as memory, cardiac activity, sleep, anxiety, appetite, stress and depression. Cannabinoids would be allies of this substance, helping to modulate systems and combating the emergence of various types of health problems and promoting a therapeutic effect when the disease or disorder presents itself.
One of the studies by Professor Raphael Mechoulam and his team studied the effects of anandamide on food intake and cognitive function in mice.
The results showed that “low-dose anandamide improved food intake, cognitive function and reversed some of the neurotransmitter changes caused by diet restriction, which may have implications for the treatment of cachexia associated with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and cancer , for mood swings sometimes associated with diet and, in extreme cases, for patients with anorexia.”
Another example of a study that shows the beneficial effects of the substance on the brain is in the case of PTSD (Post Traumatic Disorder) treatment.
A study carried out in mice by researchers at the University of Leiden, in the Netherlands, published in the journal Nature Chemical Biology, pointed out that anandamide can collaborate with the forgetting of traumatic memories.
Neuropathic pain caused by diabetes complications can also be influenced by anandamide, especially in refractory cases (those that do not respond to conventional treatments).
The study in mice says, “The results demonstrated broad-spectrum antinociceptive properties (which nullify or reduce the perception and transmission of stimuli that cause pain) of cannabinoids in a model of painful diabetic neuropathy when administered peripherally. Peripheral activation of CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors appears to mediate the antinociceptive effect of anandamide.”
Therefore, science has shown evidence of the therapeutic power of anandamide in the body and how cannabis can stimulate these molecules, collaborating with the body’s self-modulation and treating diseases of the most diverse aspects and origins.
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