Understanding the Endocannabinoid System: The Science behind the “Runner’s High”
Marijuana has been around for centuries, and yet, the acceptance of Cannabis is still a topic of debate in various countries around the world. With its psychoactive properties, marijuana has been a controversial topic in the medical field, and until recently, the science behind its effects on the human body was unclear and somewhat of a mystery. However, as science and technology have advanced, researchers have uncovered more information about the endocannabinoid system and the role it plays in the human body. One of the most interesting aspects of the endocannabinoid system is its ability to produce a “runner’s high”. In this blog post, we’ll delve deeper into the endocannabinoid system and explore how it affects our bodies.
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is found in all mammals and is responsible for maintaining homeostasis within the body. The ECS consists of chemical compounds and receptors that work together to regulate a variety of bodily functions, including mood, appetite, pain, and sleep. Essentially, this system ensures that the body’s internal environment is kept stable and consistent.
The ECS works by producing endocannabinoids, which are naturally-occurring compounds within the body that are similar to the cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. These endocannabinoids bind to cannabinoid receptors found throughout the body, which then trigger a variety of responses. The two main types of cannabinoid receptors are CB1 and CB2, and each plays a unique role in the body.
CB1 receptors are primarily found in the brain and are responsible for regulating mood, appetite, and pain. When the endocannabinoids bind with these receptors, they produce a sense of calm and relaxation. This is why many people turn to marijuana for anxiety and stress relief.
On the other hand, CB2 receptors are mostly found in the immune system and are responsible for reducing inflammation and pain. These receptors are activated by endocannabinoids and can help alleviate symptoms of autoimmune diseases, chronic pain, and inflammation.
One fascinating aspect of the endocannabinoid system is its ability to produce a “runner’s high”. When we exercise, our bodies produce endorphins – a natural painkiller that can induce feelings of euphoria. However, recent studies have shown that the endocannabinoid system also plays a significant role in this process. When we exercise, endocannabinoids are produced at higher levels, which binds to CB1 receptors in the brain and trigger the release of dopamine – a neurotransmitter that plays a significant role in feelings of pleasure and reward.
As more research is conducted, we will surely uncover even more about this critical system and the role it plays in our lives. In the meantime, it is essential to prioritize exercise and a healthy lifestyle to ensure that our endocannabinoid system remains balanced and healthy.
Caitlin Davis & Ben Eirdosh