Cannabinoids provide the runner's reward

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Science  13 Nov 2015:
Vol. 350, Issue 6262, pp. 784-785
DOI: 10.1126/science.350.6262.784-c

The “runner's high”—beneficial effects of prolonged exercise that reduce anxiety and pain perception—in mice appears to depend on the production of endogenous cannabinoids rather than endorphins. Mice allowed to do their normal running on a wheel (about 5 km per day) had increased circulating concentrations of β-endorphin (an opioid) and anandamide (an endocannabinoid). Fuss et al. found that the depletion of cannabinoid receptor 1 in neurons of the forebrain reduced the beneficial effects of running on anxiety-like behavior and tolerance to a painful stimulus.

Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 10.1073/pnas.1514996112 (2015).

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