When Running is Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will Run
January 10, 2004 9:56 PM   Subscribe

Marijuana Buzz Linked to 'Runner's High.' How do I begin to pose one suitable question? Will we see tapped-out stoners jogging roadside in Phish-logo sweats and Nikes? Will the DEA outlaw running? Will states enact "medical running" legislation? Will the ONDCP be forced to release new "Now go tell your teammates you were caught getting high from running; they'll understand" ads?
posted by ZenMasterThis (31 comments total)
Will US citizens move to the Great White North so they can run without being harassed by The Law?
posted by ZenMasterThis at 9:57 PM on January 10, 2004

Since the government already wants to make you fat, outlawing running is only the next logical step :)
posted by Space Coyote at 12:43 AM on January 11, 2004

There'll be lots of people running for the law now.
posted by sebas at 1:29 AM on January 11, 2004

Interesting, you can also get that “runner’s high” from eating hot peppers. This has always been explained to me as an endorphin release by the brain to compensate for the pain from the capsaicin. I wonder if this effect may also be related to anandamide release.
posted by Tenuki at 1:54 AM on January 11, 2004

That explains all the itme I spent on the treadmill in rehab.
posted by will at 2:50 AM on January 11, 2004

Doh! Time, not itme.
posted by will at 2:50 AM on January 11, 2004

runners high? that's, like, when you keel over because your lungs are seared and your legs kink up like twisted rubber bands while tingly lances of icy fire dart down the inside of your left arm intermittently? psht. nothing you can't get from quality california sensi.
posted by quonsar at 3:30 AM on January 11, 2004

Pot smokers can get a "runner's high" by walking up a flight of stairs.
posted by bdk3clash at 3:32 AM on January 11, 2004

bdk3clash is in first place, followed by will with Space coyote in a distant third.
posted by Keyser Soze at 4:02 AM on January 11, 2004

nah, quonsar is coming in a close third behind will... I didn't think Space Coyote was even in the race.
posted by Onanist at 4:36 AM on January 11, 2004

How many runnes out there actually got anything near what is described as a "runners high," other than feeling good after a hard workout (not the same as described)? If running can give you the "high" so often mentioned, then shouldn't any other aerobic sport? Is there a need to do aerobics if you can get high by puffing pot? Since there seems to be harm done th elung byu inhaling and holding pot (like cigarettes), does it seem a healthy thing to do?
posted by Postroad at 5:36 AM on January 11, 2004

He added that the findings could provide sufferers of glaucoma and chronic diseases an alternative to using marijuana for pain control.

Or, you know, we could just legalize it already...
posted by iamck at 6:02 AM on January 11, 2004

Postroad: I'm a cross-country runner. Running can be painful, especially if your knees are acting up, but when I run longer distances than I'm used to, more often than not at some point the pain just goes away and I feel great, like I could keep going; after I've finished, the pain returns in a short while. I don't know if this is "runner's high" or not; I haven't smoked pot, so I can't provide a comparison.
posted by thebabelfish at 6:59 AM on January 11, 2004

I'll stick with my preferred method of anandamide creation, thank you:


"The latest breakthrough in chocolate research comes from Emmanualle di Tomaso et al. who have found that chocolate contains pharmacologically active substances that mimic the effects of marijuana on the brain (Di Tomasso et al. 1996). The pursuit of this line of research came from the observations that chocolate cravings were associated with psychoses induced by certain drugs, such as MDMA (Chianese 1992; Di Tomasso et al. 1996). This suggested that chocolate cravings and effects are more than a sensory experience of the nervous system they involve some sort of pharmacologically active substance. Even though earlier research had focused on methylxanthines (caffeine and theobromine), these scientists focused on another substance, anandamide. Anandamide is a member of a family of fatty acid ethanolamides composed of arachidonic acid coupled to ethanolamine through an amide linkage (Devane et al. 1992).

Within the last couple of years, anandamide has been recognized as an endogenous cannabimimetic, meaning that it a substance produced in the body that binds to cannabinoid receptors with high affinity and mimics the effects of plant-derived cannabinoids on established behavioral patterns (Di Tomasso et al. 1996; Axelrod and Felder 1998). Anandamide is not a classical neurotransmitter in the sense that its hydrophobicity allows it to easily pass through plasma membranes limiting its ability to be stored in synaptic vesicles. Instead, it may be synthesized when needed at the plasma membrane (Axelrod and Felder 1998).

posted by mecran01 at 7:08 AM on January 11, 2004

Postroad: let me echo thebabelfish here and say when you run 1.5 to 2 times longer than you as a runner are used to, you'll get that runner's high and it will SUCK.

But then, the smell of marijuana (and alcohol for that matter) makes me throw up, so what do I know?
posted by Ryvar at 7:14 AM on January 11, 2004

Exercise high is very similar to a nice light buzz from pot. But that's not all there is to either, so the similarity ends rather quickly. For myself, I get insufferably hyper from exercise.
posted by Goofyy at 7:49 AM on January 11, 2004

"Interesting, you can also get that “runner’s high” from eating hot peppers." - Yes, you certainly can. I belong to the select club of people who have pushed through the "hot pepper wall" - if you eat peppers which are hot enough, for long enough, the burn eventually goes away. But the endorphin release does continue, as one eats the no-longer-hot hot peppers, even though the pepper burn has ceased.

I'm way out of training for this sort of thing nowadays. You need to eat a lot of peppers and suffer a lot of pain to break through the hot pepper wall. Once you get there, all the pain suffered on the way seems very worth the final effect, but getting there is a struggle.

The hottest pepper I've ever eaten in my life was a habanero from a potted pepper plant grown in someone's inner city garden. I ate one and - half an hour later - I was doubled over with excrutiating abdominal cramps. I was a mile away from my apartment and had to make a very wobbly trip home, through city traffic, on my bicycle. When I got there, I dry heaved for about 10 minutes.

Then, suddenly, I felt blissfully high.


"He added that the findings could provide sufferers of glaucoma and chronic diseases an alternative to using marijuana for pain control. " - Oh boy, just what folks on chemotherapy need to do to deal with their pain and nausea - train for a marathon by running 15 miles a day, as a pain management technique!

We live in a sadistic society.
posted by troutfishing at 8:17 AM on January 11, 2004

Trout, they were talking about the pot, not the running(don't feel bad, I read it the same way at first.)

Well, for this former blimp, about thirty minutes into a 45 minute treadmill session I would flip into a zone when nothing hurt and I felt like I could stay on the treadmill forever. I actually wound up staying on it for a whole hour once and might have gone longer if time permitted.

But it wasn't like pot, if (long term) memory serves.
posted by konolia at 11:16 AM on January 11, 2004

Yeah, forty-five minutes of running would be the perfect way to deal with the pain from my connective tissue disorder. When my joints dislocated, the Demerol in the hospital would work wonders.
posted by swerve at 12:02 PM on January 11, 2004

I run short cross-country courses (3-5 miles) at a fast pace, for about 40 minutes at a time, with high elevation delta. For many years now, it doesn't really hurt to run fast/uphill; or at least I don't perceive the discomfort as pain. I'm fully prepared to believe that the state I'm in after running is classified as a "high," though I've never had a proper drug-induced high, so I can't compare. What I've noticed, though, is that my general state of being is not really affected by whether I run once a week or six times a week.

What I really need is a running partner. I'm not nearly at the top of my capacity.
posted by azazello at 12:41 PM on January 11, 2004

I run about 20 miles a week, and I've never felt a "runner's high" that was akin to a marijuana-induced sensation. Running doesn't make me desparate for chips or make my Sea Monkeys interesting and marijuana doesn't make me smell like a clydesdale with gangrene or keep me up late swearing at my knees.
posted by Mayor Curley at 12:45 PM on January 11, 2004

I get that after about 45 minutes at the gym. I've been on the eliptical machine for an hour and a half and think, "well, I could do another 30 minutes." Of course, there is a certain point where that becomes not only insane, but unhealthy as well.
posted by benjh at 1:57 PM on January 11, 2004

This is definitely going to put a crinkle in the speeches of my health-concious gym-bunny never-does-drugs labmate. She goes running way more often than I smoke weed, perhaps it's the addictive personality :)
posted by Space Coyote at 2:14 PM on January 11, 2004

benjh, if you do an hour and a half on the elliptical, then you change clothes in a phone booth.

At my health club you only get to be on the elliptical thirty minutes at a time. I aspire to do that one day.
posted by konolia at 3:47 PM on January 11, 2004

Pot smokers can get a "runner's high" by walking up a flight of stairs.

as a frequent smoker of the pot, i can attest that i am completely unable to walk up a flight of stairs, certainly unable to run everyday and be in excellent physical shape. hell, i probably couldn't even kick your ass.

just remember that everyone who smokes pot is the same, just like all jews are the same!
posted by fuq at 4:21 PM on January 11, 2004

I wonder if runners get paranoid too.
posted by Space Coyote at 4:39 PM on January 11, 2004

Of course they get paranoid. Why do you think they're running?
posted by dchase at 4:56 PM on January 11, 2004

There's another twist to this story, folk: there are at least two pain pathways: the long-known "opiate" path, which is associated with short-term injury pain; and the "anandamide" path, which is associated with long-term, chronic pain.

Use of opiates is recognized and legal for use in appropriate pain-control scenarios.

Use of cannaboids must now be recognized for use by chronic pain sufferers. There is simply no excuse for forcing these people to suffer when a simple, safe, and cheap solution is available for them.

Let's hope the government pulls its head out of its ass on this one: if nothing else, medical use of marijuana must be allowed. Anything less would be mind-boggling stupid.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:20 PM on January 11, 2004

mind-bogglingly stupid is my governments middle name.
posted by quonsar at 10:45 PM on January 11, 2004

When my knees started hurting a few years ago and I couldn't run for a while, I really missed it. I mean REALLY missed it. Sometimes when you're running at a good pace and you get into the rythm, you get very very aware of the present, which is something that's lacking from most of the rest of my life. It's not entirely dissimilar from that other high. Hypothetically speaking, of course.
posted by callmejay at 9:08 AM on January 12, 2004

I run a lot, I mean a lot. Usually anywhere from 40-70 miles a week. My long runs vary from 10-25 miles. I've talked this over with people (other runners) and there seems to be several things that happen consistently when you run.

1) On a lot of runs, mid-distance tempo runs (40-60 minutes) (tempo is a fast run) in particular, you end the run feeling almost euphoric. You feel like superman.

2) I wouldn't say you get high from most runs, it's more like a supreme kind of mellow. I imagine it's what prozac is like. When you start running, there can be a million things that you're frustrated or angry or sad about, by the end of your run, it's all gone, all the anger and frustration and sadness.

3) If you miss runs, you become irritable, listless, stressed and just kind of snappy. I think your body does start to depend on the chemicals that are released while running.

4) A lot of runs, maybe as much as 50% of them, you are going to feel like crap and not want to run.
posted by patrickje at 12:42 PM on January 12, 2004

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