Up until now, experts have been under the impression that running causes the body to release pain blocking endorphins, but now, according to a new study, it appears exercise and smoking marijuana cause the body to release the same relaxing neurotransmitter.
In order to identify the release of the neurotransmitter, known as the “bliss” molecule, researchers trained 32 mice to run their little mouse butts on a wheel for a few days. The mice were split into two groups with one group tasked with five hours of daily running while the other group was tasked with no running.
The mice that ran all day responded with less anxiety when placed in stress tests. According to the research, which was published this week in the journal PNAS, the mice from this group exhibited lower pain sensitivity when placed on a hot plate.
A second set of mice were split into two parts and administered the same tests, however, one group was administered endorphin blocking drugs while the other was given drugs aimed at blocking endocannabinoids such as the “bliss” molecule known formally as anandamide.
Amongst the mice who took the endocannibinoid blockers, researchers did not observe the same relaxing relief offered by exercise, often referred to by runners as a “runner’s high.” On the other hand, the group who received only endorphin blockers did exhibit the same reduced stress and pain sensitivity associated with the release of anandamide.
Popular Science notes in a recent report that while this isn’t the first study to link endocannabinoids and the high induced by running, it does offer the strongest proof yet.
The brain’s endocannainoid system is affected by components in cannabis such as Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol, more commonly known by the acronym “THC.”
In other marijuana health coverage here at Immortal News, researchers have detected marijuana residue on pipes exhumed from William Shakespeare’s garden and an unrelated study found a link between the popular plant and prediabetes.