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Exercise activates the endocannabinoid system

Sparling, P. B.; Giuffrida, A.1; Piomelli, D.1; Rosskopf, L.; Dietrich, A.CA ,2


Extensive documentation exists showing that exercise induces analgesia and sedation. Despite decades of research attempting to explicate a neurochemical basis for these phenomena, the mechanism underlying these changes is unknown. Using trained male college students running on a treadmill or cycling on a stationary bike for 50 min at 70–80% of maximum heart rate, we report here the first evidence that exercise of moderate intensity activates the endocannabinoid system, suggesting a new mechanism for exercise-induced analgesia and possibly other physiological and psychological adaptations to exercise.

School of Applied Physiology, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA 30332

1Department of Pharmacology, University of California, Irvine, CA 92697

2Behavioral Neuroscience Laboratory, Department of Psychology, Georgia College and State University, Milledgeville, GA 31061, USA

Received 1 August 2003; accepted 1 September 2003

CACorresponding Author:

© 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.