Painless: The Case of Too Much Anandamide

When it comes to pain it looks like you can’t have too much Anandamide. Anandamide, aka “the bliss molecule”, or N-arachidonoylethanolamine (AEA) is an endogenous cannabinoid produced by the human body that binds to the endocannabinoid system similar to plant-derived THC.

Anandamide, the "Bliss Molecule"

Recently an article appeared in the British Journal of Anesthesia that discussed an unusual case of a woman who felt little or no pain. When the case came to the attention of researchers, what they found provides us with more insight regarding the analgesic and anxiolytic effects not only of Anandamide, but also of THC.

The researchers found that the patient “has mutations in her DNA that effect her body’s cannabinoid system, and thus how she experiences pain.” They wrote that the patient “has low levels of the enzyme FAAH (fatty-acid amide hydrolase), which breaks down Anandamides, a cannabinoid neurotransmitter.”

Research Dr. Collin Klein wrote that, “Since [the patient] doesn’t break down anandamide, it accumulates in her blood.” Animal studies show that elevated anandamide decreases pain and anxiety. The article continues that the patient “also reported never panicking, not even in dangerous or fearful situations, such as in a recent road traffic accident,” wrote the researcher. 

“…So she not only feels less pain, she also feels less anxiety about the pain she does feel.”

What researchers found is consistent with the over 4,000 years of cannabis as a medicine and particularly both as an analgesic and as a tranquilizer.