Your Body Has An Internal Bliss Chemical, Anandamide. Here’s How To Activate It…
How do you bliss out?
Yoga retreat (can’t wait to do one of those again!)? Essential oil bath? A day at a spa? Meditation?
All these external, get-your-Zen-on rituals are fantastic for stress-management.
But I bet you didn’t know that deep within your body’s miraculous inner-workings is a neurotransmitter that when activated, can help you feel more joyous. And the best part about it is you don’t need to spend hundreds of bucks on a yoga retreat to activate this chemical.
The catch is that anandamide, the bliss chemical I’m talking about, needs to be activated over and over again. It’s effects are very short-lived. But in a little bit, I’ve got some great tips for you on how to frequently stay stoked.
Anandamide: A Molecular Mirror of Marijuana
First, though, a little background on this bliss chemical. If you’re wondering why you never learned about it in high school chemistry, there’s a couple good reasons. For starters, anandamide wasn’t discovered until 1992.
And second, researchers discovered it is because they were studying how THC—the chemical in marijuana that makes users feel high—interacts with certain receptors in the brain. That’s not something a high school chemistry curriculum covers.
In 1988, specific THC receptors in the brain were discovered. A few years later, anandamide was singled out as the molecule that most closely resembles the molecular structure of THC.
Anandamide is Sanskrit (the ancient language of India) for “extreme joy” or “bliss”. The molecule plays a role in memory, pain, depression, appetite and even fertility.
So … am I getting at that the best way to stimulate anandamide and feel ecstatic bliss is by getting high?
It’s quite the opposite actually. Research shows that too much anandamide stimulation induces forgetfulness. That’s why if you smoke pot, you may forget where you’ve put your keys. Although similar in molecular structure to THC, whatever joy one feels from anandamide is very short lived, unlike pot, which can make you feel high for hours. Anandamide breaks down very rapidly.
The trick to feeling steady joy throughout the day, then, is not by getting high off the wacky weed…
Feel Normal By Activating The Endocannabinoid System
One way to activate anandamide is by using the second most common chemical compound in cannabis sativa: CBD. CBD doesn’t get you high like THC. CBD comes from industrial hemp and marijuana. It’s legal in all 50 states as long as it comes from hemp and contains less than 0.3% THC.
CBD works by indirectly activating two types of receptors—CB1 and CB2—in the endocannabinoid system (the ECS). The ECS is definitely something that should be taught in high school chemistry. Consisting of receptors all over the body, the ECS is like your body’s internal health spa. Anandamide stimulates the ECS, and in doing so, promotes a state of homeostasis.
If there’s anything in life that you should wish for, it’s homeostasis. Homeostasis is a perfect state of balance. All body systems are functioning as they should. Mood, appetite, detoxification, digestion, immunity are normal. Everything is peachy keen when the body achieves homeostasis.
But CBD alone isn’t the answer to activating anandamide and feeling great. First of all, many CBD products, because they are not regulated and new to the market, are garbage. I highly recommend CBD but only if it’s full-spectrum CBD oil grown organically and sold by a company that prominently shows on its website 3rd-party- verified lab results for every batch it sells. This way, purity is guaranteed.
Best Foods For Bliss
There’s a good reason why eating certain meals or individual foods makes you feel happy. Eating ice cream or a donut elicits a feeling of guilty pleasure. But one reason why the pleasure is short-lived is because, as mentioned above, the effects of anandamide quickly wear off. After anandamide binds to its receptor, the molecule quickly dies.
Certain foods, however, can activate anandamide in just the right amount. And in doing so, the ECS is better able to promote homeostasis. (Remember: anandamide is a chemical in your body that activates receptors in the ECS.)
Jump for Joy with Organic Green Drink
And wouldn’t you know it, in researching this topic, I’ve discovered yet another selling point for my Organic Green Drink. It turns out that certain cruciferous green veggies such as kale (one of the 7 veggies in my Green Drink recipe; actually there are 2 types of kales!) are rich in a compound contained in sulfur called sulforaphane. Sulforaphane interacts with the ECS and prevents the breakdown of anandamide.
There’s a lot of times I get up in the morning, feeling a bit on the groggy side even if I got plenty of sleep the night before. Then, after drinking some water and then having some Green Drink, I feel great … back to normal! After reading about this fascinating bliss chemical, I wonder if that blissed-out feeling I get after having my daily morning Green Drink is because of anandamide activation?
The key to promoting balance in your body is to keep fueling your cells with high-nutrient density foods that prevent anandamide breakdown. Using essential oils (especially citrus, eucalyptus and lavender) also stimulate the body’s internal cannabinoid receptors. So on that note, off I go to take a nice relaxing bath…