Getting high without actually getting high? Is it possible? We’ve all heard about the endorphin rush known as runner’s high. But did you know that within your body is a “bliss chemical” that can be activated without running long distances? Much attention has been focused on using CBD for optimal health, and getting all the benefits from marijuana without getting high.
CBD, in case you don’t know, can either be derived from marijuana or hemp, both of which are in the cannabis sativa family of plants. CBD doesn’t get you high, yet, like it’s psychoactive chemical cousin, THC, it interacts with a network of receptors in the body called the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The ECS regulates homeostasis (balance) in the body. And the more your ECS is activated, theoretically, the less inflammation you’ll have.
The problem with CBD is two-fold. First, many products with CBD actually contain very little CBD. And second, even if one uses a high-quality CBD supplement, because of the hype, people rely on it as a panacea.
In a recent webinar, Miracle Noodle founder and president, Dr. Jonathan Carp, M.D., discusses how we can holistically activate the body’s internal bliss chemical. This bliss chemical interacts and activates the ECS—without needing CBD.
Anandamide: Meet Your Body’s Internal Bliss Chemical
The ECS is activated by two receptors, CB1 and CB2. Two different chemicals that your own body produces activate CB1 and CB2. And remember, the more your ECS is activated, the more your body will operate in harmony. Of these two natural chemicals your body produces that stimulates the ECS, let’s focus on one called anadamine.
In the ancient Indian language, Sanskrit, ‘ananda’ means extreme happiness, one of the highest states of being. Anandamide is a chemical neurotransmitter derived from an essential omega-6 fatty acid, and gets its name from the Sanskrit ananda.
Unfortunately, the joy of anandamide is short-lived. It gets broken down very quickly in the body. But when anandamide is activated, it can stimulate memory, motivation and pleasure. In addition, anandamide can also reduce pain sensation.
In the webinar, Dr. Carp lists several things other than CBD that can prevent the enzymatic reaction that breaks down anandamide, which is important because this feel-good chemical also is instrumental in forming new brain cells (neurons).
But before these anandamide-preserving substances are revealed, here’s a surprising fact about CBD: it doesn’t really affect the main cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2, but rather, interacts primarily through the ECS’s secondary cannabinoid receptors known as PPARs (Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptors).
Reducing the “Nuclear Bomb” of Inflammation
Researchers speculate that people with chronic disease essentially have a compromised ECS system; an endocannabinoid receptor deficiency. Lurking within the body is a protein that’s partially to blame for having a dysfunctional ECS system. The protein is called Nuclear Factor KB (NF KB).
NF KB functions like an inflammatory on/off switch, mostly switching in the on position. Both CBD and THC can inhibit the NF-KB pathway, preventing inflammation from exerting its maximum potential. But again, there are several other natural substances that can be used to both activate the ECS and inhibit the NF-KB inflammation pathway
Plants Other Than Cannabis that Interact with ECS and Inhibit NF-KB
As the famous Hippocratic saying goes, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” Certain foods, it turns out, are the best sources of plant-based medicine for activating the ECS. Dr. Carp lists the following compounds and food sources:
- Allicin (onions, garlic)
- Curcumin (turmeric)
- EGCG (green tea)
- Quercetin (A flavonol antioxidant abundant in all vegetables, this compound helps the anti-viral mineral, zinc, penetrate the cells. A great source is buckwheat (Soba noodles).
- Resveratrol (A polyphenol that protects plants from fungi; abundant in red wine and grape skins.)
- Carnosol (rosemary)
- Sulforaphane (cruciferous veggies);
- Lignans (flax, sesame, kale)
- Pigmented fruits
- Ginkgolides (a compound in the herbal medicine, ginkgo biloba);
- Silymarin (milk thistle);
- Berberine (barberry)
Essential Oils For Anandamide
In addition to the above foods and herbal medicines, the volatile organic compounds (VOCs) of plant oils can activate the ECS. VOCs are also known as essential oils, because they contain the essence of the plant. Essential oils are rich in the compound called terpenes, which among other benefits, help polyphenol antioxidants penetrate into cells. Some of the most effective essential oils for activating the ECS are:
- Beta-caryophyllene (copaiba)
- Limonene (lemon, citrus)
- Alpha-pinene (pine, sage, eucalyptus)
- Myrcene (lavender and frankincense);
- BCP (oregano, cinnamon, black pepper)
In recent years, research has shown that aromatherapy may help stimulate the ECS.
Supplements That Activate The Endocannabinoid System
Besides aromatherapy and eating foods and using herbal medicines that stimulate the ECS, Dr. Carp recommends taking one or two of the following supplements that also may prevent NF-KB from breaking down anandamide:
- Vitamins A, C & E
- N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC)
- Lipoic acid (found in organ meats)
- Fish oil
By combining foods, herbal medicines, essential oils and supplements, you get what’s called the entourage effect. In other words, the sum of these individual ECS-stimulating components are greater than its individual parts.
Or as Dr. Carp put it, “One plus One doesn’t equal 2, it equals 4.” Even if you have high-quality CBD, don’t rely on it alone to activate your body’s endocannabinoid system.