When it comes to working out, many of us live by the motto of “go hard or go home.” We’re constantly pushing the limits of what we can achieve, striving for new gains and new milestones. But as we all know, “going hard” can lead to a pretty grueling post-workout recovery, sometimes putting important muscle groups out of commission for days at a time. Those shakes, smoothies, and stretches aren’t always enough to keep the post-workout inflammation at bay, but other remedies may be available. More and more fitness buffs (if you’ll excuse the pun) are now turning to something that once would have seemed inconceivable for post-workout recovery: CBD.

What Is CBD?

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one of an estimated 100 chemical compounds found in cannabis. Aside from THC (the psychoactive ingredient that gets you high), CBD is the most prevalent cannabinoid compound found in the drug. CBD is becoming increasingly popular at the gym because of its anti-inflammatory and recovery benefits.

A 2011 review published in the journal Free Radical Biology and Medicine concluded that CBD holds promise as an inflammation treatment and is effective at repairing tissue. This is due to how the compound interacts with the body’s immune system, triggering the CB1 and CB2 receptors that live among our cells.

A 2016 animal study further concluded that topical CBD applications are effective at treating inflammation without side effects. The absence of side effects is especially noteworthy. Because CBD is a separate compound from THC, it doesn’t cause intoxication, hunger, disorientation, or any of the other effects sometimes associated with cannabis. It doesn’t even show up in conventional drug tests.

How to Take CBD After a Workout

Depending on your lifestyle and preferences, there are numerous ways to get your CBD fix after a workout, and most of these delivery methods won’t even require you to leave the gym.

CBD Protein Powder — If you’re already accustomed to pounding a post-workout shake or smoothie, this may be the most natural choice. One startup, WillPower Products, has already begun manufacturing CBD-infused protein powder, which can be consumed just like any other shake. Add water or milk along with one to two scoops of the powder, shake well, and enjoy the benefits.

CBD Tinctures — A tincture is a highly concentrated solution usually made from raw hemp oil with CBD compounds. Tinctures are popular because they work quickly and are highly potent. Just place one to two drops of the oil under your tongue and hold it for about 90 seconds, allowing ample time for the mucous membranes to absorb the liquid. Alternately, if you don’t have CBD protein powder on hand, you can also add one to two drops of CBD oil via tinctures to your regular recovery drink and enjoy.

CBD Vape Juice — You’ll typically have to step out of the gym if vaping is your preferred delivery method, but the benefit is instant relief. When you vape, the compound bypasses your liver and is delivered straight to your lungs and distributed throughout your system. You simply won’t find a faster delivery method. You’ll need either a CBD vape pen or a tank-style vaporizer with the appropriate e-juice and base liquid. Be aware that there’s a bit of a learning curve for those not accustomed with the practice. For anyone already enjoying or interested in the vaping lifestyle, though, this can be an excellent solution. You’ll need about 1ml of e-juice for a standard dose.

CBD Lotions and Creams — For localized inflammation, CBD lotions can be a godsend. Just gently apply the cream to the affected area, and you should start to feel some relief within a half hour. The drawback is that you have to reapply often for heavy inflammation, but the benefit is that the product looks and feels just like any standard body lotion.

Other Delivery Methods — As CBD continues to gain popularity, manufacturers are constantly finding new ways to harness this unique compound. There are edibles like lollipops and gummy bears, capsules and pills like those found in a typical pharmacy, and even CBD syrups that can be mixed into drinks and other recipes.

Get the Most From Your Workout

The CBD phenomenon shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, even Coca-Cola is considering producing a CBD-infused beverage. The popularity of this compound is due to the fact that it shows promise for so many conditions, ranging from arthritis to anxiety to migraines. If you’re looking for a new post-workout relief solution, you may want to give it a try and make it a part of your own healthy lifestyle.