27 Mar 2019

Is the Endocannabinoid System the Key to Happiness?

A new article from the Cannabis Business Executive website: Is the Endocannabinoid System the Key to Happiness?

 

Have you ever heard the saying, “happy wife, happy life?”  What makes that wife happy?  Is it the peacefulness of her family?  A stable job?  A loving partner?  Or, a healthy endocannabinoid system?  Could a well-functioning endocannabinoid system (ECS) be the key to our level of happiness?  We have heard stories about endocannabinoid deficiency syndrome, but what, if anything, is the proof that this relates to happiness?

 

We are fortunate to have a tool to evaluate the ECS’ role in happiness: a clinical study from the pharmaceutical industry’s interest in altering this system.  Pharma has been exploring the ECS’ role in appetite suppression and satiety since the first stoner ate Cheetos.  One of the first prescription drugs approved in Europe to modulate the ECS was Rimonabant/Zimulti (Acomplia).  This drug acts on the CB1 receptor as an antagonist—it blocks the activity of the targets such as anandamide; it was hypothesized that this would suppress appetite and be a useful weight reducing agent.  While the drug was approved in Europe for weight loss, the FDA did not approve this drug for use in the US.

 

The U.S. clinical studies, however, revealed how the CB1 receptor is involved with a healthy view of the world.  Studies demonstrated negative side effects of depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts while patients were taking the drug.  These documented adverse effects provide direct evidence that blockade of the CB1 receptor, one of the main components of the ECS, leads to depressed, anxious and troubled individuals. U.S. regulators believed the risks outweighed the benefits of modest weight loss seen in the study and blocked its approval.