A new study has found the euphoric feeling after running or strenuous exercise, commonly known as a “Runner’s High,” isn’t caused by endorphins, a type of opioid, as previously thought.
In a study published by Science Direct, researchers from the University Medical Center in Hamburg, Germany found that running stimulates the body’s endocannabinoid system, the biological system that interacts with the THC and CBD found in cannabis when used.
The researchers behind this study had a group of volunteers participate in varying levels of walking and running on a treadmill. Each volunteer was given either naltrexone, a drug that’s an opioid receptor blocker, or a placebo.
The study found, “Opioid blockade did not prevent the development of euphoria and reduced anxiety as well as elevation of endocannabinoid levels following exercise. Moreover, the fraction of participants reporting a subjective runner’s high was comparable in the naltrexone and placebo-treated group.”
The study concluded, “Therefore, this study indicates that the development of a runner’s high does not depend on opioid signaling in humans, but makes endocannabinoid strong candidates in humans, as previously shown in mice.”