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Exercise and endocannabinoids

A study of vigorous physical activity and endocannabinoids

This study hypothesised that the beneficial effects of exercise on mood and wellbeing may be facilitated by the effect that vigorous exercise has on raising plasma endocannabinoid levels.

Project overview

The beneficial effects of exercise on mood, sleep, physical health and general wellbeing are well established. It has been suggested that some of these effects may be facilitated by the direct effect of exercise on raising endocannabinoid levels in the brain and body.

As part of a larger NHMRC funded trial, we have examined the effects of vigorous physical activity using an exercise bike versus simple stretching, on plasma levels of endocannabinoids. We also examined, in heavy cannabis users, whether exercise causes the release of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) from fat stores, raising plasma THC levels, and affecting the desire for cannabis.

Clinical trial completed – 2016

Results published – 2017

Professor Nicholas Lintzeris
Dr Kieron Rooney
Associate Professor David Allsop
Associate Professor Jonathon Arnold
Professor Iain McGregor

Dr Mark Montebello
Dr Raimondo Bruno
Professor Paul Haber
Dr Bridin Murnion
Dr Anjali Bhardwaj
Dr Richard Kevin
Dr Jordyn Stuart

Randomised controlled clinical trial

NHMRC ($600K)
The Lambert Initiative.

Results have been published in Mental Health and Physical Activity in October 2017.

Biological samples collected from the study are currently being processed.