Denver author Josiah Hesse to visit the Bookworm on Thursday |

Denver author Josiah Hesse to visit the Bookworm on Thursday

Author will speak about new book, “Runner’s High”

Denver author Josiah Hesse will visit the Bookworm in Edwards at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 30.
Courtesy photo

After the Tokyo Olympics this summer, cannabis use among athletes has been a hot topic. Luckily, investigative journalist Josiah Hesse is here to give his well-researched perspective on the issue.

Join Denver author Josiah Hesse as he speaks about his book, “Runner’s High,” an investigative look at the culture of cannabis use among elite and amateur athletes, and the science behind the ever elusive runner’s high.

Since moving to Denver in 2005, Hesse has been researching the cannabis industry for 15 years.

“Denver began loosening its marijuana laws, followed by an explosion in the medical market, and then recreational statewide,” Hesse said. “Most journalists at the time knew nothing of the plant and feared their reputations would be harmed by reporting on it. I was a young, inexperienced journalist with no reputation to protect and found an opportunity in the weed beat.”

After diving deep into the “weed beat” for several years, Hesse decided to try cannabis for himself to see if it could improve his running experience. “Before taking cannabis edibles I’d never voluntarily exercised a day in my life, and certainly never enjoyed it. Cannabis made me feel lighter, cheerier, in less pain, and generally more tuned into the experience of running,” Hesse says. “Over the course of four years, I spoke with dozens of professional and amateur athletes who all described the same dialed-in, playful state they reached with cannabis and exercise.”

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Cover of “Runner’s High”
Courtesy photo

In talking with athletes and scientists from a variety of fields, Hesse found that cannabis use can and does improve the experience for many athletes, but that experience varies for each individual.

“While it’s true that cannabis has a biphasic effect, meaning that in small doses it delivers euphoria, energy, and clarity, but when consumed in excess can induce the opposite – anxiety, lethargy (and) incoordination – that bell curve looks different for everyone,” Hesse said, adding that “80-90% of professional athletes are using cannabis—and that should speak for itself.”

During the summer Olympics this year, the controversy over cannabis use in athletes – namely the suspension of Sha’Carri Richardson – was a hotly debated topic.

“There’s a serious lack of clarity on the issue from the World Anti-Doping Agency, who are the regulatory agency on this issue,” Hesse said. “Policies vary from sport to sport, and in the last two years bans on cannabis use have been severely reduced across the board. Only last week, WADA announced they’ll be reforming their stance on cannabis, which is exciting.”

Looking towards the future of cannabis use among amateur athletes, Hesse hopes it can change the way people view exercise at its core.

“This book is about a much-needed societal shift in how we perceive exercise. Most people think of it as a chore, as a discipline in pursuit of some future goal,” Hesse said. “This has caused us a lot of problems, and we need to return physical activity to the realm of playfulness, being in the moment, doing it for its own sake — and never as a form of punishment. I believe cannabis can be just the tool for this job.”

If you go…

What: Denver author Josiah Hesse at the Bookworm

When: 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept.30

Where: The Bookworm of Edwards, 295 Main St., Riverwalk in Edwards

Cost: $10 per ticket. Purchase online or at the Bookworm of Edwards.

More Info: 970-926-READ or



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