Anandamide: How is it Effective for the Brain?

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AEA is a brain lipid. It binds to cannabinoid receptors with high affinity and mimics the psychoactive effects of plant-derived cannabinoid drugs. 

The molecular weight of AEA is 347.54g/mol. The purity percentage is equal to 98% or greater than it. It is a colorless lipid. It is soluble in ethanol, DMSO, and dimethylformamide. Store AEA for long-term use under an inert atmosphere at -80°C. It remains stable for at least 1 year after receipt when stored. Protect the substance interaction with sunlight and oxygen. 

Anandamide and the Brain 

Anandamide can be categorized as a stress-responsive neurotransmitter. AEA is largely not as tonically active as 2-AG in the adult brain. But, if Anandamide is induced to be constantly active, the brain will carry downregulation of its responsiveness to anandamide, thus resulting in a decrease in its neuromodulatory functionality. 

The signaling function carried out by stress-responsive variations of AEA levels will be disrupted. Now, in turn, the endocannabinoid system will be unable to carry out its fine-tuning of neurotransmission. 

Anandamide synthesis takes place in the brain, where levels are controlled. Tightly regulated degradation pathways control such levels. The effects of Anandamide in the brain are extremely localized. Same as 2-AG, a retrograde neurotransmitter. Its release can affect many cells in the neighboring synaptic space. 

However, it has no effects beyond the synaptic space. Anandamide does not have the diffuse action of a hormone. Its release is locally controlled. AEA does not affect the organism systemically in the manner exogenous cannabinoid administration does.

In contrast, during development, Anandamide is tonically active. It does not function as a retrograde neurotransmitter during the developmental period, but an important promoter and regulator of neuronal development. 

Anandamide linked to Happiness 

Genetical mutations cause less production of enzyme FAAH, which is responsible for breaking down anandamide. AEA is the part of the endocannabinoid system. This system is a homeostatic regulator. It works constantly to bring a balanced mental and physical state. 

Mood regulation is regulated by the endocannabinoid system with some concerns about anandamide levels associated with everything from schizophrenia to depression. Anandamide production is carried out only when needed. It is then broken down rapidly by the FAAH enzyme (that is lacking in genetic mutation). Studies revealed that subjects’ enhanced levels of happiness are directly associated with high AEA levels in their system. Hence, sometimes it sounds good to be mutated. 

Further studies on AEA showed that higher levels of anandamideare linked to wellbeing and happiness feels. Cognitive abilities and emotional stability as well. Anxiety levels are decreased to the least. 

Anandamide and Addiction

AEA levels are increased following the acute administration of morphine and during heroin self-administration. But, neither the inhibitor of anandamide transport N-arachidonoylethanolamide nor the inhibitor of the enzyme degrading anandamide was able to change the reinforcing efficacy of heroin in rats.  Check here to know more.