Emerging research on the role of the endogenous Endocannabinoid System (ECS) found within humans and animals, and its potential health impact, has expanded dramatically. Recently PubMed published articles linking compounds found in the Maca root with the ability to activate the Endocannabinoid System.
The Endocannabinoid System is a system belonging to all mammals, including dogs and cats, involving the central and peripheral nervous systems, immune and neurological system plus all organs. The Endocannabinoid Systems contains two primary receptors, referred to as CB1 and CB2, that are endogenous (innate) to the ECS system and are tasked with receiving and responding to nutritional cannabinoids, naturally found in your pet's body. It has long been thought that ECS receptors could only be stimulated by cannabinoids found in the hemp plant.
Recent Pub Med research shows that Maca contains secondary metabolites referred to as N-alkylamides (NAAs) as well as plant compounds called macamides, that can activate cannabinoids by mimicking their plant actions, referred to as the cannabimimetic effect.
This is exciting news for pet parents and pets alike because because Maca's NAA's and macamides do not contain specific canninbinoid chemistry, however, are likely able to stimulate the ECS receptors due to Maca's adaptogenic plant actions. Given Maca's well researched phytochemical and nutritional plant actions, the pairing of Maca with other plants that activate the Endocannabinoid System may yield rich results in potential layered, therapeutic health benefits.
While research continues, it appears that Maca has the ability to stimulate effects across the Central and Peripheral Nervous Systems as well as the Immune System. This study provides additional strong evidence of the endocannabinoid substrate mimicking of plant-derived NAAs adaptogens and uncovers a direct and indirect cannabimimetic action of the Peruvian Maca root.
While macamides have long been researched within the Peruvian traditional medical system, the emerging focus on the interaction of plant-derived N-alkylamides (NAAs) and the mammalian Endocannabinoid System (ECS) and the existence of a N-acylethanolamine signaling system is an exciting build out to our understanding of the adaptogenic nature of the Maca plant.
Continuing understanding on the endocannabinoid system and animal wellness is important since the system involves a number of body responses related to pain, illness, mood, inflammation, immune health and memory. The endocannabinoid system is tasked with maintaining immune and cellular balance, known as homeostasis, despite external interactions that might otherwise interrupt balance in the animal's body systems. Endocannabinoids also nourish and stimulate the encocannabinoid receptors that are found in the brain, organs, connective tissues, glands, and immune cells.
The discovery of the interaction of Maca's plant-derived N-alkylamides (NAAs) and the mammalian endocannabinoid system (ECS) and the existence of a plant endogenous N-acylethanolamine signaling system have led to the re-evaluation of this group of compounds and will likely spur on future research involving Maca root and its relationship to the endocannabinoid system.
Macamides are a distinct class of secondary metabolites that have so far been found only in the Peruvian Lepidium meyenii Walp Maca plant. Using HPLC-UV-MS/MS, the main macamides have been identified as n-benzylhexadecanamide, n-benzyl-(9Z)-octadecenamide, n-benzyl-(9Z, 12Z)-octadecadienamide, n-benzyl-(9Z, 12Z, 15Z)-octadecatrienamide and n-benzyloctadecanamide.
Maca can be found in the following Petabis Organics products:
J Nat Prod. 2014 Jul 25;77(7):1663-9. doi: 10.1021/np500292g. Epub 2014 Jun 27.
Identification of endocannabinoid system-modulating N-alkylamides from Heliopsis helianthoides var. scabra and Lepidium meyenii.