Five Non-Cannabis Products That Make You High
The complex chemical makeup of the cannabis plant interacts with your endocannabinoid system and makes you high. These chemicals are called cannabinoids, and they play different roles. For example, THC is known for its psychoactive effects, while CBD brings you relaxation.
However, cannabis isn’t the only thing that gives you that euphoric feeling. Everything from exercise to comfort food can make you ‘higher.’ Here’s a list:
The ‘runner’s high’ is real. We used to believe that it is associated with the release of endorphins (or ‘pleasant painkiller‘ hormones), but researchers from the Central Institute of Mental Health at the University of Heidelberg medical school in Germany showed that this phenomenon is connected with endocannabinoid system.
To prove it, researchers made lab mice run on a wheel and tracked elevated levels of both endorphins and endocannabinoids after the run. The mice were less anxious and able to tolerate pain better. When researchers tried to block endorphin receptors, animal behavior didn’t change, and the mice still had the runner’s high. However, when they tried to block endocannabinoid’s system, the mice remained anxious and were more sensitive to pain.
Theoretical physicist Marcelo Gleiser thinks that this study makes sense from an evolutionary point of view:
We evolved to hunt fast moving animals and to escape from equally-fast predators. Such prolonged runs are tiring and painful. If we get a reward from working hard, our chances of running longer and faster are increased. And, with them, our chances of survival. As Christopher McDougall pointed out in Born to Run, his inspiring book about long-distance running, running is in our DNA, in how our bodies evolved to have an Achilles tendon and sweat glands and a series of other adaptations that make us all into potential marathoners.
We are running machines. Running gives you high, and it’s good for you. Pick shoes and meet you around the corner!
Indeed, love makes you high. Scientists discovered that higher levels of oxytocin could release anandamide, an endocannabinoid that makes you feel motivated and satisfied. Oxytocin is a hormone responsible for social bonding, sexual attraction, and reproductive behavior, including mother-baby bonding. Love skyrockets your oxytocin levels which, in turn, activate anandamide which is similar to THC by the way it interacts with your brain.
Go hug a person you love – and get high!
In 1996, scientists discovered that chocolate contains anandamide. More, two substances could mimic anandamide effects – N-oleoylethanolamine and N-linoleoylethanolamine. So, yeah, chocolate is the sweet (and legal everywhere) way to get a little bit high. Probably, it’s the reason why people believe that chocolate can be an aphrodisiac. However, don’t hurry to eat all the treats you have around – only a huge amount consumed fast will make you really high.
If you like cheese, here’s good news from researchers: thanks to casein, a protein commonly found in milk, your brain’s opioid receptors get triggered and deliver euphoric feelings. In the production, the casein separates from liquids and coagulates solid milk fats, which leads to a higher concentration of the protein in cheese. The more casein, the stronger the pleasure. Beware of eating too much – your belly may be not as happy as your brain after all.
Catnip – Not Exactly You But
You may know that cats go crazy for catnip. Why?
People use catnip, or Nepeta cataria, in cooking and brewing tea. Catnip has a distinctive aroma and flavor, thanks to an essential oil called nepetalactone. This oil can affect cats (including tigers, panthers, and leopards) – simple sniffing stimulates the receptors in feline brains that respond to ‘happy’ pheromones.
Catnip is related to the cannabis plant because both plants use the particular chemicals to survive. Professor Michael Pollan writes:
Killing pests can be counterproductive because they breed or select for resistance very quickly. This happens with a lot of poisonous types of plants, as it does with pesticides. But if the plant merely confuses the pests or disables their memory, it can defend itself against them overindulging. Pure speculation, as I say in the book. It occurred to me that it might help explain what’s happening with cannabis, which of course also disables memory.
However, humans can’t get high on catnip; nepetalactone doesn’t affect us the way it does to our cats. (PSA: don’t feed cannabis to your cat, it’s a bad idea.)
This article is based on this Leafly material.
(Sweedsy in no way encourages illegal activity and would like to remind its readers that marijuana usage continues to be an offense under Federal Law, regardless of state marijuana laws. To learn more, click here.)