As CBD studies advance the knowledge of the cannabinoids in general, the more questions surface about our bodies and how they interact with one another. For example, you may be wondering if your endocannabinoid system (ECS) affects how you interact with other people socially. Seeing that your ECS regulates your body’s response to appetite, pain, sensation, inflammation, temperature regulation, muscle control, energy balance, and much more, the likelihood is high that your ECS does play a role in your social interactions. In fact, a study out of University California-Irvine examined how the ECS may influence oxytocin in your body — otherwise known as the “love hormone.” As stated in the report on this study, the “bliss molecule” is responsible “for [oxytocin’s] role in activating cannabinoid receptors in brain cells to heighten motivation and happiness.” What does this mean for those seeking out CBD products? Not a whole lot right now. However, diving deeper into the study may reveal some more exciting information on how oxytocin “reinforces social ties by inducing anandamide formation.”
How the Study Discovered the Tie Between Oxytocin and Anandamide
University California-Irvine’s Daniele Piomelli and his colleagues went about measuring the marijuana-like neurotransmitter in mice. The research revealed that increased social contact between the mice increased the production of anandamide in the brain, which also triggered “cannabinoid receptors there to reinforce socialization.” This increased production was found in what’s called the nucleus accumbens. Anandamide is a naturally occurring chemical compound in the body. Further research from Piomelli and his colleagues revealed that when anandamide was blocked during these social interactions, the reinforcement of socialization vanished.
Piomelli and his colleagues then began searching for a link between anandamide and socialization, a connection between anandamide and oxytocin. What they found revealed a direct connection between the two chemicals and reinforced socialization. What Piomelli and his colleagues found is that blocking anandamide also blocked the pro-social effects of oxytocin, which reduced the overall socialization in the mice.
The “Hug Hormone”
Oxytocin is frequently called the “Hug Hormone” due to its reinforcement of social interaction and physical intimacy. What’s interesting is that when Piomelli tested interrupting anandamide degradation over time, they found that social interaction increased. For example, when anandamide was supported in the mice during tests, those mice responded much more positively to socialization than other mice given a placebo. Ultimately, the research is pointing in the direction of blocking anandamide interruption blockers, which could be the next step in boosting the brain’s oxytocin and help people socialize more.