A new study indicates that a runner's high is pretty much just like toking up.
The feeling of a “runner’s high” after a strenuous physical workout is surprisingly similar to the experience of smoking marijuana, a new study has found.
The study, published in the journal of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by scientists from the Central Institute of Mental Health of the University of Heidelberg, indicates that while it has always been common knowledge that a vigorous workout causes the brain to be flooded with endorphins, reducing the sensation of pain and increasing the sense of euphoria, it may actually be receptors called endocannabinoids, which are almost like a self-produced cannabis inside your own body, according to a Washington Post report.
The findings indicate feelings of euphoia and lowered feelings of pain aren’t coming from the place you thought they were. They found this out by testing such receptors in mice. They had the mice work out on a running wheel, and tested them for a “runner’s high,” which lowered feelings of anxiety and pain. Then they gave them a drug that blocked endocannabinoid receptors, and found that the mice didn’t experience this high, and that their levels of pain and anxiety were about the same.
Scientists at the University of Montreal this summer went a different route, looking at the hormone leptin, which is responsible for feelings of satiety. This hormone tells our body that it has received enough fuel and his full. They genetically engineering mice to not have a leptin sensitive protein, meaning that leptin levels were low after a workout and therefore a hunger signal was sent to the brain, giving it a reward. These mice ran twice as much as mice that were not engineered genetically in this way.
The findings could result in new drugs or treatments that could help with people who are trying to exercise more or get on a healthier regimen.
But the findings indicate just how much you’re missing if you don’t exercise regularly. If you want to experience what it’s like to have a toke of marijuana legally, all you have to do is go for a vigorous jog, and you can enjoy the benefit of knowing you’re improving your body at the same time.
Still, it probably isn’t exactly the same as a cannabis high. For that, you’ll have to actually smoke marijuana — fortunately, acceptance of the drug has been growing in recent years, not just in medical fields but also recreationally as well. It remains illegal on the federal level, but numerous states and cities have attempted legalization or decriminalization initiatives.
Authorities estimate that nearly a third of the American population — 100 million people — have tried cannabis at some point in their lives, with about 25 million having smoked pot within the last year.
People enjoy the psychoactive benefits of marijauna, particularly feelings of relaxation and even euphoria, which are what is similar to a runner’s high. Some have the tendency to be more philosophical while high on the drugs, while others experience anxiety and paranoia. Still others get a heightened heart rate or a feeling of hunger.