Each year I make a different festive molecule ornament for the winter-solstice-centered holidays. This year I chose anandamide, known as the bliss molecule.
Anandamide plays many roles in our brains, including movement, appetite, pain, and memory. It is released in times of stress, and can make you feel that the world is gliding by and alter your sense of time. Scientists discovered anandamide while looking for the natural molecule that fits the receptor used by THC, the main active chemical in marijuana smoke.
Not only does anandamide bliss-out our brains, it also helps us forget things. While, at first glance, that property may not seem very desirable, forgetting is actually an essential part of remembering. It is by sorting out what we need or don't need to remember that we learn and become wiser.
The ornament is made in the USA of lead-free pewter. It is almost 3 inches long and is attached to a wine-hued satin ribbon. The ornament will come packaged in a recycled paper box tied with a ribbon and a little info card about anandamide - a wonderful gift for any science-interested person!