Runners high; is it similar to the high experienced when smoking marijuana?
For most runners, the runners high is that great feeling you get after a long run. What exactly is it and what causes it?
For years, it was thought to be caused by the bodies natural pain killers called endorphins. New information is now showing that the body’s own endocannabinoids, the chemicals that, like the cannabinoids in marijuana, lighten mood may actually be endocannabinoids, something our bodies produce.
Check out this article recently featured in the NY Times health section.
Homing In on the Source of Runner’s High
By Gretchen Reynolds
October 7, 2015 5:42 am
We’ve probably all heard someone exclaim, “Ah, my endorphins are kicking in!” at the end of a good run. Endorphins are famous for supposedly producing “runner’s high,” that fleeting sense of calm and euphoria that engulfs many of us after a satisfying workout.
But in fact, endorphins may be unfairly hogging the credit for making workouts enjoyable, according to an enlightening new experiment with animals. The findings suggest that endorphins have little to do with runner’s high. Instead, that euphoric feeling may be the product of a completely different but oddly familiar substance — the body’s own endocannabinoids, the chemicals that, like the cannabinoids in marijuana, lighten mood.
Endorphins first became a household word in the 1980s, when researchers found that blood levels increased after prolonged exercise. This finding made sense. Exercise can cause discomfort or pain, and endorphins are the body’s self-produced opiates, with pain-relieving properties much like morphine.