Inside cacao: bliss molecule anandamine

Does chocolate make you happy? Cacao certainly contains an interesting cocktail of mood enhancers. We have shared about the brain chemical PEA before. And there is another very interesting one: anandamine.

Anandamide is a naturally occurring "feel-good" molecule in our body (in the endocannabinoid system) that makes you feel motivated and excited. Its name sprouts from the Sanskrit word 'ananda', meaning bliss, happiness and divine joy.

Optimal levels support your mood, overall well-being and mental health.

RUNNERS HIGH You might recognize the ananda feeling after doing a serious work-out, called 'the runners high'. Or by doing drugs. :) Or... by sitting with chocolate in cacao ceremony.

Cacao contains MAO (monoamine oxidase enzyme) inhibitors, which help regulate the breakdown of anandamide.

The neurotransmitter attaches to the same brain cell receptors as does marijuana's active ingredient THC and is important in relation to pain, mood, memory, sleep, pleasure enhancement and eating patterns.

It was just in 1992 that anandamine was discovered, a few years later after love molecule PEA. Since then a lot of research has been done on the physiological effects and benefits of anandamine. Let's take a look:

1) BRAIN HEALTH Anandamide is an important brain chemical for memory consolidation and encourages the formation of new brain cells. It protects against age-related cognitive decline like alzheimer.

2) FEAR REDUCTION Research has shown that optimal levels of anandamide decreases daily stress and anxiety during times of perceived threat.

3) INTERNAL BALANCE The endocannabinoid system is a network of receptors, molecules, and enzymes that work together to help maintain balance in our bodies. Anandamide is an important pillar, supporting homeostasis.


There is also a relation between oxytocin and anandamide. Social contact increases the cuddle hormone and activates anandamide! And vise versa. Another explanation why drinking cacao together or in a ceremonial setting gives a feeling of connection and joy.


Yes. Chocolate makes US happy. In the end, it all comes down to the chemical processes in our bodies. They can be influenced by drinking cacao. And our life's choices. Doing what we love makes us feel good about ourselves, stimulating a bunch of "feel-good" neurotransmitters, including endorphins, dopamine and — tadaaaaa — anandamide again. So let's create our wildest dreams. And fuel it with chocolate.

Read more about the effects of cacao here:

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The Godly molecule Theobromine

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