Cannabis And Exercise: The Same High?
Known as “runners high”, intense periods of exercise can induce feelings of euphoria and pain suppression. Until recently, it was presumed that this was caused by the release of endorphins; but since the discovery of the endocannabinoid system, scientists having being finding evidence to suggest that the body‘s own cannabis-like molecules may be responsible.
Exercise and the endocannabinoid system
A study, published in the journal Neuropharmacology, found that rats who were made to undergo high intensity exercise displayed a higher tolerance to pain. But most interestingly, it caused changes to the CB1 receptors within the brain – receptors of the endocannabinoid system that respond to the cannabinoids found in cannabis. But these receptors are also activated by a cannabinoid that occurs naturally within the body, called anandamide. CB1 receptors are known to have large implications in pain suppression.
The brains of rats that underwent high intensity training displayed both increased availability and activity of CB1 receptors, as well as increased levels of anandamide within the blood directly after exercise. Also, previous studies on humans have reached similar findings.
This confirms that the endocannabinoid system has a role to play in pain suppression, and that the pain relief, and potentially the high felt from exercise is linked to the endocannabinoid system.
Towards a cannabinoid based medicine
Although pain relief from exercise has been recognised and documented since the 1980’s, until recently, no one was quite sure why. This research sheds a lot of light into how exercise and the endocannabinoid go hand in hand, and has implications into treatments for those suffering from certain conditions.
Already now cannabis is used in the treatment of epilepsy, pain management and cancer therapy. Still, the medical potential of cannabis has been barley touched upon, and it is studies like this one, that further explore the potential of this medicine.
So get out there and go running!