Getting High On Exercise Can Be Attributed to Marijuana Like Compounds
The runner's high is well-documented but the phenomenon behind it is not properly understood. A new study claims that it could be naturally occurring euphoria inducing chemical compounds not unlike marijuana.
The runner's high is a short-lived state of euphoria followed by prolonged exercise that leaves one with a feeling of contentment. It was earlier solely attributed to endorphins but recent studies have suggested other explanations.
According to The Washington Post, the latest study done in mice showed that the test animals were less anxious and tolerated pain better after running. However, when their endocannabinoid receptors were blocked, there was no difference in anxiety levels. This led researchers to conclude that endocannabinoids, chemical compounds that can be thought of as the body's cannabis, are at work.
"For decades, it was hypothesized that exercise-induced endorphin release is solely responsible for a runner's high, but recent evidence has suggested that endocannabinoids also may play a role," researchers wrote in the Proceedings of National Academy of Science. "We thus show for the first time to our knowledge that cannabinoid receptors are crucial for main aspects of a runner's high."
Studies like the present one and similar past research could help humans extend limits of exercise tolerance, which in turn could lead to improvement in overall health.