A researcher from UC-Irvine has been studying the effects of endocannanabinoids and fatty foods. Cannabinoids are a class of chemicals found in plants, such as cannabis, and in the nervous and immune systems of animals, such as endocannabinoids. Endocannabinoids are believed to be involved in the regulation of hunger, pain, anxiety and stress. They are closely related to the active ingredients of the cannabis plant. The UC-Irvine research found fats in foods such as potato chips and french fries trigger the production of endocannabinoids. (It was noted that sugars and proteins did not have the same effect.) The production of endocannabinoids actually begins when the fatty food first touches the tongue.
The effect of eating a lot of fatty foods at once, can produce a sensation of floating, and mental fog. For some people this experience is not unlike getting high from smoking marijuana, although perhaps not as pronounced. Also, marijuana smoking is famous for producing the side effect of ‘the munchies’ which is exactly what the fatty foods study describes: eating them produces the desirable feeling that induces even more eating.
Binging on fatty foods, if repeated over and over, is one of factors involved in the rise of obesity in developed nations. Obesity is associated with other serious health issues such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer. It is not wonder potato chips french fries and other fatty foods are so popular. Fortunately though, endocannabinoids have been shown by other research to be associated with vigorous cardiovascular exercise. You probably have experienced the sensation of a high after going for a run, playing basketball, dancing, swimming, hiking or walking strenuously for some distance.
Image Credit: Public domain