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by Bethan Rose
Valentine’s Day is here once again. Luckily for us, we don’t live in third-century Rome and aren’t named Valentine.
On Feb. 14 of two different years during the third century A.D., Roman Emperor Claudius II executed two men named Valentine. From the 13 to the 15, the Romans would celebrate by sacrificing a dog and goat and then using the hides to beat willing women who appeared to be blessed with fertility. Luckily, Valentine’s Day these days doesn’t involve sacrifices, ritual beatings, or executions.
With this day comes lots of candy, kisses, and for many people, cannabis. Cannabis accompanies Cupid on this day in many relationships, helping the juices of love flow in abundance. Combine cannabis with chocolates, and it usually leads to some kissing. Besides being enjoyable, chocolates, kisses, and cannabis actually have something else in common called anandamide, aka, the bliss molecule.
When you eat a piece of your favorite chocolate, the production of anandamide in your body increases; when you kiss, the same thing also occurs. Cannabis is also responsible for increasing anandamide production. Anandamide was given the nickname “the bliss molecule” because of the feelings it produces.
Have you ever wondered why you give someone you’re attracted to things like chocolates, flowers, cannabis, and jewelry? You do this to sweeten the deal in an attempt to bring that other person great feelings of bliss. All of the actions, in a way, are related to each other. The gifting of chocolate, flowers, and other things that are nice serves the purpose of producing anandamide and oxytocin. Let’s take a closer look at these compounds.
Anandamide is a naturally occurring endocannabinoid that is produced in cellular membranes and brain tissue. Levels produced in these regions are low and short-lived, allowing just enough time to produce a short feeling of joy or bliss. This is because the FAAH (fatty acid amide hydrolase) enzyme quickly converts anandamide into arachidonic acid and ethanolamine. Beyond producing a feeling of joy or bliss, anandamide is also said to be involved in the functions of our memory, learning, and even our appetite.
According to drugabuse.org, “Endogenous cannabinoids such as anandamide function as neurotransmitters because they send chemical messages between nerve cells (neurons) throughout the nervous system. They affect brain areas that influence pleasure, memory, thinking, concentration, movement, coordination, and sensory and time perception.”
Anandamide isn’t alone when it comes to helping us feel bliss. It gets by with a little help from a friend named oxytocin. Oxytocin is known as the love hormone, and it helps trigger the production of anandamide. Oxytocin is also referred to as the hug hormone, the cuddle chemical, and the moral molecule because of how it affects our behavior and the role it plays in female reproductive functions and love.
Oxytocin works much in the way cannabis does by using signaling pathways in the brain. “The hormone oxytocin, which has been associated with interpersonal bonding, may enhance the pleasure of social interactions by stimulating the production of marijuana-like neurotransmitters in the brain,” according to a University of California Irvine study.
On Valentine’s Day and leading up to it, many lovers choose to engage in the tradition of giving heart-shaped boxes of chocolates to the ones they love. The sweet treats in the box are a symbol of love. When they are devoured, they help facilitate those feelings of bliss that so often lead to a kiss.
There are many things that help to trigger anandamide production in the body. The gift of chocolate is only one of many. Coffee, candy, and flowers all help boost your chances at a little bliss. A little dose of phytocannabinoids from cannabis can also help increase your bliss. That’s because, like chocolate, cannabis helps to produce and boost anandamide levels. According to a 2019 literature review, “CBD increases anandamide levels by inhibiting its transporter-mediated reuptake and degradation by FAAH.”
If you are looking for some help boosting anandamide and oxytocin levels in that special someone this year, you may want to consider pulling out all the stops. You will definitely want to get some decadent chocolates. Chocolate is a sure thing to help boost the levels of love and bliss in the air this Valentine’s Day.
Since CBD is also shown to help increase anandamide production, you may want to opt for some CBD-infused chocolates. If you can’t find the right CBD chocolates, perhaps you might choose to add a nice CBD tincture, edible, or topical product to your gift-giving. Try adding a bouquet of your special someone’s favorite flowers like GG4, Chem Cookies, Wizard’s Kiss, or Blue Dream to those roses, carnations, tulips, sunflowers, or other bouquets of flowers for that someone special.
Valentine’s Day has evolved over the years to become a big retail event. Millions are made off of this holiday—it’s like Christmas for lovers. Back in 2011, market research firm IBIS World reported that Valentine’s Day sales the previous year had reached $17.6 billion. Fast forward just over 10 years, and projections predict that Valentine’s Day spending in 2022 will total nearly $21.8 billion. Not bad for what many people call a Hallmark holiday.
Enjoy your day with that special someone, and remember that it’s not about how much you spend—it’s about who you spend it with.
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