Do you know this feeling? Suddenly you feel euphoric while or after a nice long training session. The mood brightens up and the feeling of pain vanishes as well. This feeling is especially common amongst endurance athletes which is why it is also referred to as"runners high". For decades, researchers suspected that this condition is associated with the increased release of endorphins. However, newer research results relating to the effect to the endocannabinoid system, the system in which CBD and THC also reveal their effects .
The researchers got on this track because it removes the fact that endorphins cannot be transported across the blood-brain barrier. On the other hand, the German scientists learned that after a long run people have increased levels of the fat-soluble cannabinoid anandamide in their blood which can pass the blood-brain barrier. There it can be a lightening of the mood and a reduction in pain. But nobody has looked at the role of the endocannabinoid system on the behavior after exercise before.
To do this, they first took mice and let them run for five hours. Afterwards, they showed significantly less fear and a reduced sensitivity to pain than animals that did not run. This test was then repeated, but the mice were given substances that block the receptors for cannabinoids or endorphins in the brain. While mice with the blocked endorphin receptors again showed less fear and a reduced pain sensation, the mice that received the cannabinoid receptor blockers or were genetically modified so that they do not have any of these receptors do not benefit from the effects of the “runner's high”.
This data suggests that cannabinoids are the primary cause of the runner's high. Further studies on humans are needed examine these theses to determine whether the same mechanisms are responsible for this in humans.
CBD, or cannabidiol, is also a cannabinoid from the hemp plant, which acts on the same receptors as endocannabinoids. Although there are no published clinical trials on the effect of taking CBD on the runner's high yet, some testimonials on the Internet and also from our own customers suggest this.
According to this, this state is reached much faster by taking CBD as drops, spray or flowers before running, is more intense and lasts longer than a runner’s high without the support of CBD. The potential reason for this could be that, on the one hand, a significant concentration of cannabinoids is available in the blood earlier and can thus cross the blood-brain barrier. On the other hand, other mechanisms could be responsible for the fact that exercise increases the sensitivity of the cannabinoid receptors in the brain, so that the CBD already has an effect on reducing anxiety, increasing mood and reducing pain sensation before the body's own cannabinoids are released. We are sure that future studies will shed some light on this.
1. Fuss, Johannes, et al. "A runner’s high depends on cannabinoid receptors in mice." Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 112.42 (2015): 13105-13108.