A team of researchers, including Jacob Meyer, assistant professor of kinesiology at Iowa State, looked into how the body's endocannabinoids (naturally-occurring cannabinoid molecules and their receptors) and exercise can help alleviate depression and its symptoms. Their findings were published in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.
Meyer said that understanding the link between endocannabinoid levels, mood and exercise could lead to better treatment options for depression.
Meyer and researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Medical College of Wisconsin and William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital, measured endocannabinoid levels and changes in mood before and after exercise sessions with varying levels of intensity. They found a significant boost in endocannabinoids and improvements in mood following prescribed moderate-intensity exercise.
“Finding alternatives to medication is important for the treatment of depression,” Meyer said. “If we can figure out how exercise works with the endocannabinoid system, we could then design optimal exercise interventions," Meyer said.
See the complete ISU News Service story.