The “runner’s high” has captivated scientists and fitness enthusiasts alike. New research reveals that endocannabinoids, natural compounds in our bodies, play a crucial role in this phenomenon. In this article, we explore the connection between exercise-induced endocannabinoids, their benefits, and how CBD products can potentially enhance the exercise experience.
Understanding Endocannabinoids: Endocannabinoids, namely anandamide, are chemical messengers that our bodies make that bind to cannabinoid receptors in the brain and nervous system. They regulate mood, pain perception, appetite, and inflammation. Cannabidiol (CBD), tetrahydrocannabinol(THC) and other cannabinoids that we consume from edibles or smoking are phyto-cannabinoids that we can supplement our endocannabinoid system with that derive from the hemp plant.
The Runner’s High and Endocannabinoids: The runner’s high refers to the euphoric state experienced during and after aerobic exercise. During exercise, endocannabinoid production increases, binding to cannabinoid receptors and triggering the release of neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin. This interaction promotes feelings of reward, happiness, and pain relief, enhancing motivation, reducing stress, and improving mood. Recent studies suggest that using cannabis products associated with greater enjoyment, tranquility, thereby boosting the “runner’s high.”
Benefits of Exercise-Induced Endocannabinoids:
- Mood Enhancement: Elevated endocannabinoid levels during exercise naturally elevate mood, reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety.
- Pain Relief: Endocannabinoids possess analgesic properties, alleviating exercise-induced pain and inflammation, aiding performance and recovery.
- Neuroprotection: Endocannabinoids have neuroprotective effects, promoting brain health and potentially reducing neurodegenerative disease risks.
- Stress Reduction: Exercise-induced endocannabinoids counteract stress by activating the body’s natural stress response, inducing relaxation.
Supplementing with CBD before Exercise:
CBD, derived from hemp, interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system. CBD is popular among athletes and fitness enthusiasts for its potential exercise-related benefits when the body is endocannabinoid-deficient.
- Pain Management: CBD may alleviate exercise-induced pain and inflammation, reducing pain receptor activation and modulating the immune response.
- Stress and Anxiety Reduction: CBD exhibits anxiolytic properties, potentially aiding stress and performance anxiety management.
- Improved Sleep: CBD promotes better sleep quality, aiding recovery and overall well-being.
- Anti-inflammatory Effects: CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties support faster recovery from exercise-induced muscle damage and injury prevention.
The runner’s high is closely tied to the release of anandamide during exercise. Understanding their role in mood elevation, pain relief, and stress reduction opens possibilities for enhancing the exercise experience. CBD products offer potential benefits, including pain management, stress reduction, improved sleep, and anti-inflammatory effects that can make exercising more enjoyable. Consult with healthcare professionals to determine the best approach for incorporating CBD into your exercise routine.