Physical exercise promotes the production of “cannabis-like” molecules in the body, research finds

It’s no secret that exercise is excellent from a health preservation standpoint, but according to new research, it can also reduce inflammation by altering the gut microbiome and increasing levels of endocannabinoids, a substance “similar to to cannabis “produced in the body.

As explained in a research paper (via ScienceDaily) published in Gut Microbes in November 2021, researchers at the University of Nottingham tested 78 people with arthritis. Thirty-eight people performed 15 minutes of “muscle strengthening” exercises each day for six weeks, while the other 40 did nothing. “Nothing” in this case means not exercising.

The researchers found that the exercise group not only felt less pain at the end of the experiment, but also had lower levels of cytokines and higher levels of endocannabinoids. The first is a small protein that is secreted by immune cells and certain other types of cells that promote inflammation, while the latter are molecules produced by the body that have a similar effect to cannabinoids.

Interestingly, these beneficial effects were achieved by the body by changing the structure of the intestinal microbiome. As ScienceDaily explains, “The increase in endocannabinoids was strongly related to changes in intestinal microbes and anti-inflammatory substances produced by intestinal microbes called SCFAS. In fact, at least a third of the anti-inflammatory effects of the intestinal microbiome were due. ‘increased endocannabinoids’.

“As interest in CBD oil and other supplements increases, it is important to know that simple lifestyle interventions such as exercise can modulate endocannabinoids,” added Dr. Amrita Vijay, lead author of the article.

Person squatting with a glass of Kettlebell in a gym

Exercise can improve overall health and can help people sleep better

(Image credit: Getty Images)

We are just beginning to understand what effect the gut has on our body and mental health. Much research has been done in the field, and growing evidence suggests that caring for your gut is beneficial, not just because it helps bowel movement.

That said, most of the research dealing with the subject is relatively new. Long-term studies have not yet been conducted, and without these, we cannot conclusively say how important the effect of the intestinal microbiome on the body is.

One thing is for sure: exercise can help you lose weight and build muscle, as long as you are consistent in your efforts and work out. If it also helps reduce inflammation by altering the intestinal microbiome, better.

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