Does the “Runners High” have roots in Cannabis?


Ever wonder what or where the term “runners high’ comes from?  Is it even real?  Does it matter?  Are you missing out on some wild health formula that only a run can enhance?

When I had to run for conditioning in college, we never got together at the end of the conditioning session and bragged about some “high” we were on.  Apparently people do this and I missed out.


Recently in a Wall Street Journal article, biologist Dr. Matt Wilkerson at the University of Cambridge published a paper regarding the history of the “Runners High”.    If you want to read the article in its entirety, click here or read further for a summarized version.


Brief history of Runners High:


If you are an avid runner, I’m sure that you have experienced some sort of runners high and and thought it was “endorphins”.   Previously, scientist thought that this euphoric feeling was actually due to these “endorphins”, but current science suggest otherwise, which we now know comes from the so called “endocannabinoids”, or eCB’s (named for their molecular resemblance to the active ingredient of cannabis).  These are actually pain killers released during  long distance runs and they also cause the release of dopamine, which is the brains pleasure/reward enduing chemical.  The article explains that this was our bodies response to deal with the pain associated with long runs while chasing our prey.


When you run for long periods of time, you get swelling of the muscles, achy joints and you just get tired.  No wonder our body had to adapt.  Back in the day, popping some advil was just not available.


There are many modalities of running that we can entertain for our exercise, not all may actually make you experience “endocannaboidic” episodes.  There are only certain modalities that result in these eCB highs.

I hate to break it to you, but walking will not get you high.

Marathon running will not get you high.

What does work, a modest 3-10 miles.    For some of you, like me, 3-10 miles is a MARATHON.


Many of us, because of family, life and exercises choices, choose to use other forms of cardiovascular exercise.  When we get to part II of this research, we will explore all the benefits that HIIT (Interval) training can offer.  I can’t promise you that you will find some cannabis reference, but I can assure you that the benefits may far out weigh the release eCB’s.


Until then……