Cannabis might be the “biohack” you need after a strenuous workout.

Athletes are always looking for ways to boost their performance, improve training and reduce recovery time. In a world of sports science, nutrition, and supplementation, the possibilities of reaching peak performance seem limitless.

What if we told you the latest athletic booster helping people power through workouts and refuel afterward isn’t coming from vitamins, power bars, or energy drinks; it’s coming from cannabis.

A recent study at the University of Colorado Boulder reports that now, more than ever, people are tapping into the benefits of cannabis both pre and post-workout. It also suggests that today’s average cannabis consumer is more likely to be fit, active, and exercise-obsessed.

That’s a far cry from the stereotypical stoner whose only marathons are watching Law and Order: SVU.

It’s a new era, and athletes are undoing the decades of stigmatization plaguing cannabis. There are current and former Olympians and fitness gurus who now swear by the many athletic enhancing benefits of cannabis.

Oregon is a state where recreational cannabis is legal. It’s also a state that fosters a culture of fitness and healthy living (Portland is at the top of the  list of healthiest cities in America.) Have you begun to integrate cannabis into your fitness routine?

If you haven’t, we think it’s time you did.

What benefits does cannabis have on my athletic performance and recovery?

Researches have that cannabis interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), a complex, unique communication system in the brain and body that regulates a wide range of physiological and cognitive processes.

Experts want to understand the effects of cannabis on the ECS fully. Still, there’s enough evidence to suggest that it helps balance and maintain systems such as pain, sleep, memory, appetite, mood, stress, immune function, and more—all essential functions for boosting athletic performance and recovery.

While more research is necessary, one thing is for sure; science is getting behind the benefits of cannabis and even getting advocacy from groups such as Doctors for Cannabis Regulation.

Cannabis can relieve pain, inflammation, and muscle spasms.

How do you usually feel after rafting the Columbia River Gorge or surfing off Agate Beach? What is the morning like after your Portland bicycle commute or your hike to Mount Hood’s summit?

It may have been a struggle getting out of bed this morning because you’re probably experiencing the holy trinity of physical post-workout fatigue: pain, inflammation, and muscle spasms.

What you’re experiencing is typical after any physical activity; it’s called delayed onset muscle soreness and general wear and tear. That pain and discomfort you feel come from small muscle fiber tears that occur during a workout. It’s your body’s way of letting you know that you’re building strength. It’s the “pain” that leads to the “gain.”

But why let this progress incapacitate you or deter you from getting back into the game?

Athletes have been looking for ways to mitigate and ease post-workout pain for ages, and they’ve started tapping into the many pain-relieving benefits of cannabis. And there’s a good reason for that.

People have used cannabis to treat pain for many centuries. Studies show that individual cannabis components, primarily cannabidiol (CBD), are effective analgesics because of their pain-relieving effects. By impacting the ECS, the CBD in certain topicals has been shown to help reduce muscle and connective tissue inflammation.

People suffering from ailments like chronic pain and muscle spasms see consistent benefits from cannabis consumption. While more research is necessary, studies indicate that cannabis is a healthier alternative to pain management than aggressive and habit-forming opiates.

People who want to reap the benefits of cannabis without having to smoke or get high can head to your nearest Oregon dispensary and pick up a topical for targeted muscle recovery. Suppose smoking cannabis is entirely unappealing to you (in a time when a virus is attacking the respiratory system, it’s understandable). In that case, there are also edibles (High Notes chews, for example), tinctures tablets, patches, and mouth strips. Tinctures, when taken sublingually (under the tongue), can get into the system quicker.

Cannabis can enhance mental acuity.

Do you know that euphoric feeling you get during a workout when you finally hit your stride? That’s called the “runner’s high.” A chemical called anandamide causes the feeling; anandamide is a naturally produced endocannabinoid.

Not only does that sweet burst of euphoria help push you through muscle pain, but it’s also linked to increasing your memory, focus, stamina, flexibility, and mobility. It might boost your immune function and insulin response, too.

Now think about all you can accomplish in a workout if you were in that “zone” from the get-go.

You’ll trigger the process that produces the endocannabinoids responsible for runner’s high by micro-dosing cannabis before exercise. People report increased relaxation, persistence, and mental performance after microdosing cannabis. Essentially, everything needed to “keep calm and carry on.”

Athletic performance is also about a healthy state of mind, and staying positive is always a plus.

With a runner’s high out of the gate, you can tap into a more motivational, inspirational, uplifting, and energetic workout while decreasing the likelihood of burnout and minimizing nagging distractions like anxiety and doubt.

Cannabis promotes rest and sleep.

It’s no secret that people need a good night’s sleep to maintain physical and mental health. It’s also no secret that CBD and THC can improve sleep quality.

When it comes to post-workout recovery, sleep is essential. Shut-eye helps muscles repair, rebuild and strengthen. As you enter different sleep stages, your blood flow increases, ushering in oxygen and nutrients that aid in muscle and cell regeneration and repair. Sleeping also promotes cardiovascular health, helping your heart to rest after a day of grueling physical exertion.

Sleep also goes hand-in-hand with mental acuity and cognitive processing. When you deprive your body of a good night of sleep, your cognitive abilities, reaction time, accuracy, and stamina decline, and your risks for exhaustion and injury rapidly increase.

Cannabis can restore a person’s natural sleep cycle, much like melatonin.

You’ll want something with more THC than CBD, as higher THC levels can completely circumvent the REM stages and instead place you into a more restful, deeply restorative sleep. If you have a competition, marathon, or physical even the following day, a trip to your fav Portland dispensary for a high-THC Indica-dominant tincture (best to avoid any excess sugars and fats you’d find in a tasty edible) should be on the agenda.

Be your best this year. Click here to find High Notes chews at an Oregon dispensary near you.