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Front. Behav. Neurosci. | doi: 10.3389/fnbeh.2018.00269

An analysis of endocannabinoid concentrations and mood following singing and exercise in healthy volunteers.

Nicole Stone1, Sophie Millar1,  Philip Herrod1, David Barrett1, Catherine Ortori1,  Valerie Mellon2 and  Saoirse E. O'Sullivan1*
  • 1University of Nottingham, United Kingdom
  • 2British Broadcasting Corporation (United Kingdom), United Kingdom

The euphoric feeling described after running is, at least in part, due to increased circulating endocannabinoids. Endocannabinoids are lipid signalling molecules involved in reward, appetite, mood, memory and neuroprotection. The aim of this study was to investigate whether activities other than running can increase circulating endocannabinoids. 9 healthy female volunteers (mean 61 yrs) were recruited from a local choir. Circulating endocannabinoids, haemodynamics, mood and hunger ratings were measured before and immediately after 30 min of dance, reading, singing or cycling in a fasted state. Singing increased plasma levels of anandamide (AEA) by 42% (P<0.05), palmitoylethanolamine (PEA) by 53% (P<0.01) and oleoylethanolamine (OEA) by 34% (P<0.05), and improved positive mood and emotions (P<0.01), without affecting hunger scores. Dancing did not affect endocannabinoid levels or hunger ratings, but decreased negative mood and emotions (P<0.01). Cycling increased OEA levels by 26% (P<0.05) and tended to decrease how hungry volunteers felt, without affecting mood. Reading increased OEA levels by 28% (P<0.01) and increased the desire to eat. Plasma AEA levels were positively correlated with how full participants felt (P<0.05).Plasma OEA levels were positively correlated with positive mood and emotions (P<0.01). All three ethanolamines were positively correlated with heart rate (P<0.0001). These data suggest that activities other than running can increase plasma endocannabinoids associated with changes in mood or appetite. Increases in endocannabinoids may underlie the rewarding and pleasurable effects of singing and exercise, and ultimately some of the long-term beneficial effects on mental health, cognition and memory.

Keywords: enodcannabinoid, Exercise, Singing, mood, Mental Health

Received: 24 Aug 2018; Accepted: 22 Oct 2018.

Edited by:

Walter Adriani, Istituto Superiore di Sanità (ISS), Italy

Reviewed by:

Antonia Manduca, Aix-Marseille Université, France
Maria Morena, University of Calgary, Canada  

Copyright: © 2018 Stone, Millar, Herrod, Barrett, Ortori, Mellon and O'Sullivan. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Dr. Saoirse E. O'Sullivan, University of Nottingham, Nottingham, United Kingdom, mbzso@nottingham.ac.uk