When it comes to cannabinoids, there seems to be a lot of confusion about the right amount needed to benefit from their immense therapeutic potential. Cannabinoids are a class of naturally occurring compounds primarily found in the cannabis plant (phytocannabinoids) and humans and in a wide range of animals as endocannabinoids . Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD), found in the Cannabis sativa plant, are among the most-studied phytocannabinoids, yet anandamide was the first endogenous cannabinoid — or endocannabinoid — to be discovered.
Below, we discuss the correlation between anandamide and CBD, their similarities and differences, and how you can enhance anandamide levels in your body with the help of a nutritional supplement.
Our body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) consists of endocannabinoids, receptors, and enzymes that regulate various biological systems and maintain a state of internal equilibrium called homeostasis. Let’s look at the working mechanisms of endocannabinoids and phytocannabinoids to better understand their similarities and differences.
As an endocannabinoid, anandamide primarily binds to and activates CB1 cannabinoid receptors present in the brain and other organs and tissues.* Acting as a neurotransmitter, anandamide sends chemical messages between nerve cells (neurons) throughout the nervous system.*
The fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) enzyme drives the uptake of anandamide, synthesizes it, and breaks it down into ethanolamine and arachidonic acid. Inhibiting FAAH or fatty acid binding proteins (FABPs) has been found to reduce the rate of anandamide breakdown and raise anandamide levels for signaling at the receptor.
Interestingly, phytocannabinoids like THC can also activate cannabinoid receptors. The chemical structure of THC has been found1 to be similar to anandamide, which allows THC to mimic anandamide functions and interact directly with the same CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors.
Cannabidiol, or CBD, however, works differently compared to THC. Although CBD has a low affinity for CB1 cannabinoid receptors, it influences their functions indirectly. Biochemical studies2 indicate the potential role of cannabidiol to indirectly enhance endogenous anandamide signaling. CBD modulates the body’s production of FAAH, which inhibits anandamide degradation, and in turn, activates cannabinoid receptors.
The table below summarizes the similarities and differences between anandamide and CBD, highlighting their correlation.
|Anandamide and CBD Correlation|
|Origins||Both are classified as cannabinoids.|
|Anandamide is an endogenous cannabinoid (produced in the body).CBD is a plant-derived cannabinoid.|
|Interactions With CB Receptors||Both modulate the activities of CB receptors — directly or indirectly.|
|Anandamide primarily binds to and activates the CB1 receptors while CBD displays a low affinity to CB1 receptors.|
|Effects||Both exert positive effects on mental well-being and overall health.|
|CBD has been found to enhance anandamide signaling by inhibiting production of FAAH enzymes.|
Unlike THC, which causes psychoactive or mind-altering effects, CBD is the3 non-psychoactive isomer of THC. However, the debate over CBD’s use for health benefits continues, as proposed FDA regulations restrict the approval of CBD products as nutritional supplements or food additives. A suitable alternative is using anandamide supplements to support brain health and overall well-being.*
Your body might not produce sufficient anandamide or might have difficulty maintaining anandamide homeostasis. Anandamide levels can decrease for many reasons, including excessive FAAH activity. Supporting endogenous anandamide production with the help of an anandamide supplement can beneficially impact the body’s response to stress and mild anxiety.*
AnaQuellTM — a proprietary formulation developed by Tesseract Medical Research, contains anandamide and L-citrulline to support a healthy response to mood changes, trauma, mild anxiety (not Generalized Anxiety Disorder), and stress.* While anandamide exerts positive effects on your mental well-being, L-citrulline helps improve blood flow and nutrient delivery to the brain.* Tesseract’s revolutionary nano-molecular CyLoc® - DexKey® nutrient delivery technology solubilizes anandamide molecules for their delivery through the gut wall for unprecedented absorption of this hypoallergenic formulation. The sustained release of the supplement formulation supports the body’s natural response to stress and mild anxiety for a prolonged duration.*
1NIDA. National Institute on Drug Abuse. 13 Apr. 2021, https://nida.nih.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana/how-does-marijuana-produce-its-effects Accessed 20 Apr. 2023.
2 Bisogno T, et al. British Journal of Pharmacology. vol. 134,4 (2001): 845-52. doi:10.1038/sj.bjp.0704327
3Singh, Chander, et al. Current drug safety. 10.2174/1574886317666220902100511. 2 Sep. 2022, doi:10.2174/1574886317666220902100511