‘Exercise increases the body’s own cannabis-like substance that helps with arthritis’ – Miriam Stoppard


Exercising can increase the body’s own cannabis-like substances, writes the Mirror’s Dr. Miriam Stoppard, and for arthritis sufferers, it not only decreases pain, but can also reduce inflammation.

Mature woman with hand weights
By exercising, we can reduce inflammation and treat certain conditions (File photo)

Working out can get us high and research is now getting to the bottom of that buzz, and its link to cannabis. We already know that workouts produce our own opioids, called endorphins, the feel-good hormones that also numb pain and reduce inflammation. But there are other hormonal benefits as well.

Experts from the University of Nottingham have shown that exercise also increases the body’s own cannabis-like substances. These, in turn, help reduce inflammation and could potentially help treat certain conditions, such as arthritis, cancer, and heart disease.

The latest study found that when people with arthritis exercise, they not only decrease pain, but also reduce levels of powerful substances called cytokines, which cause inflammation.

At the same time, the workouts increased the levels of cannabis-like substances that we produce within our own bodies, called endocannabinoids. And they are fascinating.

Exercise can help treat conditions like arthritis


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We have an endocannabinoid system that runs through our central nervous system and nerves in the extremities, hands, and feet. They regulate the function of many organs and tissues, where we have cannabinoid receptors, which modulate pain. But what I find particularly interesting about the new research is the way that exercise caused changes by altering the gut microbes, the microbiome.

Exercise curbs chronic inflammation, and inflammation is at the root of many diseases, including cancer, arthritis, and heart disease. But we know little about how exercise exerts its anti-inflammatory effect.

A group of scientists, led by Professor Ana Valdés of the university’s School of Medicine, evaluated 78 people with arthritis. Every day for six weeks, 38 of them did 15 minutes of muscle-strengthening exercises. The other 40 did nothing. At the end of the study, the participants who had been exercising had not only overcome their pain, but also had more healthy microbes in the gut, the type of bacteria that produce anti-inflammatory substances, lower levels of cytokines, and higher levels of cytokines. of endocannabinoids. A whole spectrum of simple bacteria nest in our intestines, all helping the body.

The increase in endocannabinoids was strongly related to changes in gut bacteria and anti-inflammatory substances produced by those bacteria called SCFAS. In fact, at least a third of the anti-inflammatory effects of the gut microbiome were due to increased endocannabinoids.

“Our study clearly shows that exercise increases the body’s own cannabis-like substance, which can have a positive impact on many conditions,” said Dr. Amrita Vijay, who was behind the research.

“As interest in cannabidiol oil and other supplements grows, it is important to know that simple lifestyle interventions such as exercise can modulate endocannabinoids.”

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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