In previous blogs we've covered the first endocannabinoid discovered: Anandamide, AEA or the happy molecule. Click here for a link to a table of biological actions of AEA. Today, we cover the second endocannabinoid discovered 2-AG or 2-Arachidonoylgylycerol.
When people get stressed out, they produce chemicals in their brain known as excitatory neurochemicals. This is a result of switching our autonomic nervous system into the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight). This gets the brain ready for action! It also creates a superhighway in between the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala. In other words, it fuses the prefrontal cortex (planning and personality development) to the amygdala (emotional response such as anger, fear, sadness and aggression). While this may be good in times of fight or flight, or times of extreme action it will eventually lead to anxiety and stress disorders.
Enter 2-AG. 2-AG has been shown to dampen the bond between the amygdala and the prefrontal cortex. In other words 2-AG calms down the excitatory neurochemicals and binds to the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the brain. In rodent studies, the CB1 receptors were artificially “knocked out,” illustrating a decrease in social interaction, object exploration, and an increase in aggression. These experiments demonstrated the importance of the CB1 receptors regarding anxiety-based behavior.
While cannabinoids like THC bind directly to CB1 receptors mimicking the “happy molecule,” CBD will help the body protect its natural levels of AEA and 2-AG. Endocannabinoids like AEA and 2-AG are liposoluble and are broken down by fatty acid binding proteins FABPs. While CBD doesn’t bind directly to CB-1 receptors, it will, in place of AEA or 2-AG, bind to fatty acid binding proteins -FABPs. FABPs transport AEA and 2-AG to the enzymes that break them down but when we supplement with CBD, it steals their seat on the bus- so to speak.
FABPs take AEA and 2-AG to be broken down by the enzymes fatty acid amide hydrolase (FAAH) and monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL or MAG Lipase), respectively.
In this way, CBD will protect the body’s endocannabinoids. This will naturally help with anxiety-based behavior and will also help with mood regulation among many other positive benefits; all without the psychoactive effects of THC!
Until next time,
Stay healthy my friends!