Runners high according to the Wall Street Journal has prehistoric roots.
If you are an avid runner, and run long distances, that feeling of elation is something you have learned to expect. That euphoric feeling after the run was thought to be due to endorphins by many scientists.
The current science has altered our way of thinking about what causes the elation, which we now understand is really due to endocannabinoids, or eCBs (named for their molecular resemblance to the active ingredient of cannabis).
These powerful painkillers are released during long distance running, and they also cause the release of dopamine which is the brains pleasure inducing reward chemical. This is a very response that the body has to cannabis, nicotine, heroin and cocaine.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the body has developed a system that allowed us to suppress pain while going on long runs chasing prey.
For those who run, this article will be of great interest to you.
The Elusive “Runner”™s High”™ Has Prehistoric Roots
A jog won”™t do it; the powerful painkillers released during long-distance running let our ancestors chase prey for hours on end
By MATT WILKINSON
March 24, 2016 1:23 p.m.
Spring is finally here, and if the weather looks good, many of us will head outside this weekend to stretch our legs. Some will content themselves with leisurely strolls in the park while those looking for more of a challenge may prefer to chase that legendary, though misunderstood, “œrunner”™s high”””the heightened sense of well-being and euphoria that endurance running can produce.
Scientists used to chalk these feelings up to an increased concentration of endorphins, but we now know that the runner”™s high comes from the so-called endocannabinoids, or eCBs (named for their molecular resemblance to the active ingredient of cannabis). These are powerful painkillers, released during long-distance running, that also stimulate the secretion of the neurotransmitter dopamine from various neuron populations in the brain. Dopamine is often popularly seen as the brain”™s pleasure-inducing reward chemical, and while there is more to it than that, many recreational drugs””including cannabis, of course, but also nicotine, heroin and cocaine””do indeed stimulate the release of dopamine, inhibit its absorption or mimic its actions.