Contrary to what you might believe, marijuana actually mimics the effect of substances our brain naturally produces.
What that essentially means is, you don’t need weed to get stoned. In fact, the only reason you don’t feel high all the time is because your brain isn’t producing enough of these substances (which are called “cannabinoids”) for it to affect your brain as significantly as smoking a joint.
And if you don’t believe us, just listen to what researchers at Stanford University wrote in 2004:
“Marijuana mimics the cannabinoids made naturally by our brain,” the article begins. “When overly excited, one type of neuron releases cannabinoids, which create a calming effect…the brain cell drugs itself.”
So if you want to celebrate 4/20 this year but keep it on the legit, we have you covered with all sorts of ways you can get high without dabbling in the illicit. Check it out:
Excercise has been found to directly activate the body’s “endocannabinoid system” (your body’s natural cannabinoid producer). That’s why, as you may have heard, most people tend to feel a sense of euphoria after strenuous activity. But exercise has also been found to flood the body with happy-triggering endorphins. “Most studies have demonstrated that serum concentrations of endogenous opioids, in particular beta-endorphin and beta-lipotrophin, increase in response to both acute exercise and training programmes,” one study reads. These opioids, meanwhile, have been linked to “exercise-induced euphoria” and “altered pain perception”. Sound familiar?
It turns out there really is no “I” in team. A study in 2010 found that players engaging in high-pressure soccer enjoyed bursts of oxytocin, the “love hormone” after celebrating goals. Even more interestingly, when positive emotions exude from certain players on a team, it empowers the team around them and almost handicaps the opponent. “Players who engaged in certain celebratory post-shot behaviours were more likely to be in the team that ultimately won the penalty shootout,” the authors write. “In particular, celebrations including both arms were associated with winning the shootout. It was more likely that the next kick taken by an opponent was missed after a player displayed these behaviours after a goal than when he did not.”
Falling in love
This is pretty much the ultimate natural high. A review of studies in 2010 found that falling head over heels for someone activates 12 different regions of the brain and creates a storm of happy chemicals including dopamine, adrenaline and oxytocin. You tend to feel such a range of crazy emotions during these times because all these neurochemicals are literally fighting for control. If you’ve already found your soul mate though, now might be a good time to do something nice for your partner. Surprise them, spoil them. Act like you’re on date #1 again!
Love ain’t your thing? No worries. Keeping it hot and heavy works just as well. “Parallels are drawn between ejaculation and heroin rush,” a study from 2003 reads. And last we checked, heroin is a whole lot crazier than pot. But another study out of the University of Colorado found that more sex is tied to a greater sense of peace and well being. “Having more sex makes us happy, but thinking that we are having more sex than other people makes us even happier,” one of the authors said.
Go ahead, dish out the dirt. Research from 2009 out of the University of Michigan found women who gossip are more likely to live longer and happier lives because of the bonding process that takes place when sharing sensitive information. Specifically, the study found that brains release progesterone while talking smack, which is linked to healthy sleep patterns and an increase in bone density. “Many of the hormones involved in bonding and helping behavior lead to reductions in stress and anxiety in both humans and other animals. Now we see that higher levels of progesterone may be part of the underlying physiological basis for these effects,” one of the authors said.