If you have ever taken a long run and felt this weird sense of bliss afterwards , you probably though it was your endorphins pumping you up. Though your endorphins can contribute to the not experiencing pain aspect of the running high, the real sense of bliss comes from a form of THC that is naturally found in our body!

The European Journal of Applied Physiology published a study on Italian mountain climbers from the South Tyrolean Mountain Rescue team to see how levels of anandamide were affected after physical exertion and when experiencing higher altitudes. There were three groups in total where one group hiked for four hours on a hilly, low altitude trail. Another group went on a hilly trail for the same amount of time, but the altitude went higher. The final group only took a helicopter to high altitude and spent the night.

What you see is that exercise raises endocannabinoid levels, exercise at altitude raises them even more, but flying around in a helicopter doesn't do anything to them. Basically, the theory is that these chemicals help us deal with stress of different kinds:In this graph, it shows that the high altitude exercise produced the most anandamide, while the low altitude exercise still produced more than the no exercise group, though it dropped again at the end. The helicopter group never really saw an increase. From this, you can conclude that the group that had to work harder by walking up more of an incline got way more anandamide. The altitude itself did not really affect the anandamide levels, but it made the hikers use more energy than they would have had to if they walked at less of an incline or didn’t have to walk at all in the case of the helicopter group .

Anandamide is basically a natural form of THC in our body. It binds to the same CB1 receptors and has the same effects of THC, though THC is significantly stronger than anandamide because the actual molecule is much larger and lives longer while anandamide is quickly dissolved in the body. That is why we really don’t get high from anandamide unless you have produced more than usual for some reason, like when you exercise a lot at one time. Chocolate also has anandamide like substances in it, which largely contributed to the bliss you experience from eating it. So next time you can’t get ahold of your dealer, try taking a run around the block a few times until you feel it man.