“Anandamide, a major endocannabinoid, participates in energy metabolism homeostasis and neurobehavioral processes. In a secondary analyses of an open-label, randomized controlled trial, we investigated the long-term effect of aerobic exercise on resting plasma anandamide, and explored its relationship with changes in body weight, cardiorespiratory fitness, and mood status in healthy, physically inactive individuals.
Thirty-four participants (age = 38 ± 11.5, BMI = 26.6 ± 3.6) were intention to treat-analysed (Exercise: n = 17; Control: n = 17). After intervention, there were significant decreases in plasma anandamide (p < .01), anger, anxiety, and body weight (all p < .05), whereas cardiorespiratory fitness increased (p < .05) in the exercise group. There were no significant changes in any variable for the control group. In the whole cohort, adjusted R2 of multiple linear regressions showed that 12.2% of change body weight was explained by changes in anandamide (β = 0.391, p = .033), while 27% of change in mood disturbance (β = 0.546, p = .003), and 13.1% of change in anger (β = 0.404, p = .03) was explained by changes in anandamide.
Our data suggest that the weight loss and mood improvement through regular moderate exercise may involve changes in anandamide metabolism/signaling.”