The Bliss Gene: Some People are Naturally High

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Most of us know someone who always seems laid back, free of anxiety and does not to cling to negative memories.

How do they do it?

According to recent neuroscience research, 20 percent of Americans and Europeans were born with a lucky genetic mutation. They naturally produce higher levels of anandamide, a neurotransmitter in the brain that binds to the THC receptor, the psychoactive component in marijuana.

Anandamide, which comes from the word ananda and means bliss in Sanskrit, is the body’s own version of weed.

Eventually, anandamide was found to do a lot more than produce a state of heightened happiness. It is synthesized in areas of the brain that are important in memory, motivation, higher thought processes and movement control. It also plays an important role in pain, appetite and fertility.

Scientists say people with this mutation are less likely to develop post-traumatic stress disorder, hence, the push to allow our veterans, whom we honor today, to use medical marijuana to treat PTSD.

The downside of being among the 20 percent born with this chemical variation is that while others are getting high smoking weed, the bliss gene people sometimes feel less happy after consuming.

Of course, Dr. Richard Friedman, professor of clinical psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College and director of the psychopharmacology clinic, pointed out that it’s easier to abstain from smoking when you’re already naturally a little high.

If you want to increase your levels of anandamide, there are several things you can do. Eat dark chocolate, one of the most beloved food on the planet, which contains cacao. Exercise and get into a so-called “flow state.” Eat black truffles, if you’re rich. Otherwise, load up on other anandamide-producing foods, such as celery, parsley and tea.

Then again, you could just smoke weed.

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