Already a highly successful entrepreneur in the cannabis industry, Olivia Alexander went unexpectedly viral for an innocuous social media post mentioning microdosing. The resulting inundation of messages and questions from around the world led Olivia to consistently highlight to her followers the importance of education, safety, and responsibility when working with both psychedelics and cannabis. In this wide-ranging and honest discussion, Paul and Olivia chat about approaching psychedelics as a neurodivergent person, intentional and therapeutic use, Olivia’s career in cannabis from the infancy of the industry, and her use of cannabis to treat her bipolar disorder and get off her medications.
Olivia Alexander is the founder of Kush Queen, a multi-million dollar, multi-channel brand with a product line that includes award-winning bath bombs, pain relief lotions, indigestibles, wellness supplements, and skincare. She speaks openly about the challenges of being a young woman CEO in the cannabis industry, and works to promote progressive change and inclusion. Olivia has over 115K followers on TikTok, where she shares the importance of safe, responsible, and therapeutic use of cannabis and psychedelics.
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0:00:00.1 Olivia: I say this about cannabis, I say like, "Cannabis is a plant, and it's a female plant." And I think because it's part of nature, it's inherently anti-corporate, and it really has a way of correcting. And I like to... At least I tell myself that on my hard days. I'm like, she's anti-corporate girl. You don't even worry. You're always gonna have a place. You're gonna be fine. That she will correct. She is a part of nature, she is a part of that greater force, you're good. And I like to believe that about psychedelics, I like to believe that the spiritual and mystical side of all of this is gonna carry it and protect it.
0:00:46.7 Paul: I would love just for our listeners as we sort of start the talk, just as like an opener, just a brief intro on you and your background as Olivia Alexander, CEO of Kush Queen. And kinda the... Maybe the five-minute origin story of how you came to do what you're doing now.
0:01:07.2 Olivia: Okay, well, thanks for having me. So, I guess I was just an 18-year-old kid living in LA. I was a child actor, I was still acting at this point, I had tried cannabis for the first time and just slept like a baby. Really truly, I had suffered from insomnia most in my life, and it just blew my mind that cannabis had this power to help me sleep and was everything that I was taught, it wasn't. And I had actually known someone who was murdered in third grade buying weed in our town, and so I had a very stigmatized view of it. And then... Just worked in the industry, just fell in love with it. Fell in love with the people, the community, just everything about cannabis, and then built a following on social media. I... All I did was post my real life on the internet, and very quickly I built a following, I started a company called Crystal Cold in 2013. I made a sparkly vape pen, that literally had crystals on it, and then I called a Kush Queen, and that was sort of the beginning of everything.
0:02:18.0 Olivia: That was really in the vape industry, and I acknowledge that vapes weren't necessarily the best delivery method for your health, long before vape gate. And I wanted to make products for women, CBD and cannabis products that could actually change people's minds and that actually were effective around that time. I was weaning off the pharmaceuticals, eight years of Prozac, Lamictal, you name it, I took it for bipolar disorder.
0:02:44.5 Olivia: And I think it really helped me develop a really, really effective line of products. And then my dream came true, I created a multi-million dollar business from just about nothing. I went from being in my parent's garage to having a 3000 foot... Square foot warehouse and all of this stuff happening around me, but I wasn't really happy, I was really, really unhappy. And then my mom got a brain tumor. We had to have brain surgery. And I found myself really just struggling to do basic stuff again, and I knew I was like, "I'm going to have to go back on medication." And for me, the meds, they just didn't work. I had been in therapy for like 12 years or something crazy. Just barely getting by. Just barely functioning. And that's when I got a life coach. That's when I finally opened myself up to psychedelics, and my whole life changed. So that's kind of how I got here. Of how... Like a year ago, I started posting on TikTok, and went viral on TikTok posting LSD. But somebody's gotta do it.
0:03:56.2 Paul: Someone's gonna do it. Yeah.
0:03:57.6 Olivia: [chuckle] Yeah well... I mean no, I felt like someone had to do it...
0:04:00.7 Paul: And you were the person to... But you were the person do it. You're charismatic, you're young, you... You come from the mental health background which is helpful, and then you probably get how to work with those dynamics. And that TikTok is a younger crowd, and to open a space around micro-dosing to that age is both powerful and also terrifying, I imagine, 'cause you don't know how you might influence kids that are...
0:04:26.2 Olivia: Well, that's kind of what happened is it was an accident, honestly. I just, I... It was genuinely an accident. There was a trend, and you posted a different photo of yourself throughout the previous year. And I posted the one month, I said, "And this is when I started micro-dosing." That's all I said, and it was just crazy. "What is micro-dosing? I heard about micro-dosing. You micro-dose? Can you talk about this more?" And so then I kept posting. And then I posted the LSD journey, and I literally thought, "Oh no." As it was going viral, you've never felt anything like this, you never seen anything like this. So many people. So many comments. So many likes. In all my years, I never saw anything like this. And then I was like, do I take it down? Oh no. I thought the people who gave me the LSD, we're gonna be mad at me. I was freaking out about what they were gonna think, and then I was like, "Is this wrong?" And then a week later, I... 'cause it was COVID, I was on Club House, and I was listening in on a room with Tucker, Tucker Max.
0:05:43.3 Paul: Tucker Max, yeah.
0:05:43.4 Olivia: And he was talking about his psychedelics and his New York Times article. And how all these thousands of people were coming out of the woodwork saying, "I need access, I need access." Because of course, a week into being... Going viral, they were turning on me, they were calling me a gatekeeper. And they were saying, "Oh, so you can have it, but we can't. You can have healing, but we can't." And so I was very conflicted because I was like, I have a business, I'm CEO. I'm clearly not thinking straight 'cause I'm posting that stuff on the back where there's a lot of kids, but I kept it up, and then, I thought long and hard, he did give me some sound advice.
0:06:22.0 Paul: Tucker did?
0:06:23.7 Olivia: He said, "You can... " Yeah, he did, he did. He was actually... He could speak from a place of kind of being there, not the same but different. And he said, "This is how I decide if I wanna help people or not. This is what I... This is my checklist, this is how I did it." 'Cause I think that was really it for me, is I was just really overwhelmed by the sheer volume of people who wanted me to be their opening door to psychedelics.
0:06:50.8 Paul: Yeah, the comments I've seen.
0:06:50.9 Olivia: Yikes, I'm just living my life, and I just thought by telling my story, I could just de-stigmatize it. That's what I've always just been trying to do, is de-stigmatize things by existing and showing with cannabis that you can be really successful, but still use cannabis every single day. And show that cannabis can really be used as a medicine and not just as a tool for getting high, which is okay too. But I really thought... 'cause people would say, "Well, why would you post yourself micro-dosing LSD on TikTok if you didn't want people to see it?" And I'm like, "I did want people to see it, I just didn't think a million and a half people would see it.
0:07:33.4 Paul: That amount of people, right? It would go viral like that. Yeah.
0:07:35.9 Olivia: And then, I would become the TikTok big sister of micro-dosing because what the hell do I know? But I know so much more than them, and that's what I realized. It's like, it's also probably why I went viral, is, there's a certain element of social media that we want people to be... Or they want people to be an expert, but not much, not too far of an expert. I couldn't post about cannabis on TikTok, because I already know too much about cannabis. Sure, people follow me for that, but they don't... I'm not gonna be out there doing that. But with micro-dosing, I think I'm still fairly early in my own journey and still figuring it out. And then I think that I... Just because I can talk so much about the mental health system and about what it was like to be on meds and off meds and weaning and all of that. And then, I really try to encourage them to do the real work. Because for me, it wasn't the micro-dosing, that changed me, it was everything else. The micro-dosing just gave me the courage to do it. Because I was one of those people who I just was not... I had no courage. And that's one thing when I started... 'Cause I was so much older when I started integrating psychedelics into my life and much more conscious, I'm much more aware of my body and much more aware of everything.: I could just... I had this moment where I was like, "Wow, that's what it's done for me." It made me have courage. So that's my long story short.
0:09:05.1 Paul: Oh, there's more there, there's more there. And before we go into that, I know there's a lot within the cannabis piece, and I do wanna flesh that out a little bit more for audience. Because we don't... We don't have a ton of conversation around cannabis, and if we do, it may be more from a research perspective or a scientific perspective. But you're... You've been an entrepreneur in this space, you've built a multi-million dollar business with Kush Queen. What has it been like, just generally to be in the cannabis space as it's grown and developed in the way that it has? And then more specifically, as a young female CEO who uses cannabis herself. What is that dynamic like, compared to a lot of the, maybe corporate growth that we've seen in the wider cannabis space?
0:09:51.0 Olivia: Yeah, I was a part of the industry pre-64. It was a grey area medical for years, I like to think of it as our glory days. But there was issues there, the medicine wasn't clean. We knew people had dirty product. I saw... I worked at some of these companies, I saw who was running them and what was happening. And so there was this period when we voted for 64, I said to my family, I said, "I know I'm voting against my own interest." As a small business owner, as a woman, at that point I was so young, still in my 20s, I'm like, "There's... I know I'm voting against myself, but we have to have progress." And that's where I was at with it, I was like well, we have to have progress. So I definitely was like, "What does regulation gonna be like?" And I got to be in the industry whenever that was happening, and for me, to be able to survive in both the compliant cannabis space with my business and the unregulated hemp market online was... I don't know how I did it, I did it though, because I had to.
0:11:00.5 Olivia: And also because I felt like it was important for me to make it. Because I like to tell people, this is so ego and crazy, but I tell people, "I'm the Katniss Katniss Everdeen of weed. I'm the Mocking Jay." I made it in there. And so other people can. And, that's really part of the problem. In California right now, specifically, corporations, they're running the game, they're the only ones who can survive it. But you can have a profitable business in a space that is very... Highly regulated. You can exist in a market that you shouldn't be able to exist in. And small businesses can deal with regulations. So I learned a lot, it's definitely been hard to see the industry become what it's become, because so much of it is profit-driven, is just for the shareholders, and I really want businesses of all sizes to be able to exist in any space. I think I'm a little bit of an idealist and I'm like, "Can't we all just kumbaya?" Just because they do that doesn't mean you can't.
0:12:06.0 Olivia: I know how it feels, 'cause I used to feel like, "Oh, we gotta take them all down." And that was kind of a part of my bid on social media for a long time, was criticizing corporate cannabis. Was criticizing the way that a lot of these companies made these products and what they chose to do with their marketing. But for me, I just realized I can just make something better and I can make something that's true to me from the products, to the marketing, to what we do in the community, and how we engage in the community, and that's the power of building your own platform. And so that's really what it's been for me, is just like, I've had a rough go of it, being young, being a woman. I don't... People don't think I'm even my age now. They treat me like I'm 23, and I'm like, "Whoa, please don't." And I've... There's a lot of misogyny in cannabis, that's... I've probably benefited from in some way, sadly. But I...
0:13:04.4 Paul: What do you mean by that? What do you mean by benefiting from it?
0:13:08.5 Olivia: Well, they call it pretty privileged, they call it beauty privilege. You get to go farther 'cause you're an attractive woman. It's sick, but it's true. I know for a fact that that was just a part of my experience was that people... Everyone would let me show up and do all of these crazy things. Even to this day of a very... The largest corporation in cannabis took over my distributor manufacturer relationship, and they should have thrown me out, they threw everyone else out, and they didn't throw Kush Queen out. And it's because I have my own thing going on. It's because I make a product that no one else wants to make. 'Cause he's trying to make a weed bath bomb except me? And then I have my own following on social media, and I just built my own little corner of this very large industry, and I just worry about myself. And I... Kush Queen has like, I don't know, we have over 100 products I think on both sides. We have a 7000 square foot manufacturing space in Anaheim, we operate in the regulated cannabis market 11 miles down the street, in a 25,000 square foot facility. And we ship our products now all over the world.
0:14:24.6 Olivia: It blows my mind, when I see these pallets going out to like Japan. I'm like... Five years ago, I couldn't even sell CBD on the internet, and now we're shipping CBN gummies to Japan, what. But it's just given me everything, and for me, cannabis really truly is what stabilized me, and it's just another great tool that I use that just helps me live just such a beautiful, enjoyable life that I honestly never thought that I could live.
0:15:00.1 Paul: Thank you, thank you for sharing that, and for opening up in that way. Because cannabis for me has always been... I was 16 in a hippy hut with a couple friends smoking a blunt. And it helped me with social anxiety quite a bit, and it helped me just to feel more at home in my own body. And yeah, I've never really fully explored the medical side of things, just because I haven't come at cannabis or psychedelics from that angle. I was very fortunate that I wasn't on a lot of, or any pharmaceuticals at any point in time. And yet, it's clear that it's been a medicine for you. Tell us a little bit more about that, that path in terms of how did you come to cannabis? How is it just helpful in your mental health journey specifically?
0:15:47.4 Olivia: Yeah, well, for me personally, mania and insomnia, not sleeping was always a constant in my life. I was probably like, in third grade for the first time when the teacher called my mom and was like, "Is everything okay with her? She doesn't seem right." And I was just not sleeping. So I would go to school and I was just like a zombie and then that persisted. And then just really bad depression in high school, and really just isolating a lot, just all the time. And then I got to college when I was 18 and we were supposed to do a group project, okay. These two guys clearly had my number and they were like, "Hey, we gotta work on this group project come through." And I was just so innocent, had been homeschooled, and then they pulled out this giant bong and I was like, "Okay, I'll try it." And then I never slept so well in my life. And that was how I knew off the bat, this was not what I thought it was. 'Cause I didn't use cannabis in high school, I didn't touch it, I was like, no. And then my parents were cool with it, I was like, "Hey, I do not know what's going on with weed, but weed is not what I thought it was, and I need to be able to use it at home." I'm sleeping better. Please let me do this.
0:17:08.0 Olivia: I still had severe issues and episodes from the time I was 18 to the time I was like 23, and that's when I decided to get on medication, finally. I was in therapy, I was doing the whole thing, but it just wasn't working. And I took meds for eight years and then, believe it or not, I accidentally got pregnant on some meds that you cannot get pregnant on, and I had to have an abortion. And that was this moment where I was deep in cannabis, I was in the cannabis industry, I was using all of the stuff, and I knew it helped me. I knew it helped me sleep, I knew it helped me with my appetite, but then I thought, "Well, what is it that? What is in this medication that is making me not have to be able to have this baby?" And then I started talking to my doctor. And she was just like, "I don't think you're better. You're not better." And so that's when I developed the Kush Queen product line because I was weaning off of pharmaceuticals, and I know I'm going to sound naive, but I didn't know if prescription medication like antidepressants and antipsychotics were addictive. I swear to you, I didn't...
0:18:24.0 Olivia: It did not occur to me in the eight years I was taking them, that my body would be dependent on them, so when I was explained weaning, and when I was explained what I was gonna have to do, I was really freaked out. And I'm a very driven, disciplined person, that's why I can be successful despite being neurodivergent, it's like I just do it, so I did what they asked me to. But during that time is when I developed most of the Kush Queen products, because I needed so many cannabinoids with the wean, and I realized that if you put cannabinoids in products like your shower gel, with a nanoparticle that can really absorb through the skin, you can... It's a great, effective delivery method, and you don't have to smoke it or ingest it in the same way. Because that was really what I realized, is there are people who could benefit from cannabis, but you kind of need a high amount, or you need highly concentrated minor cannabinoids. And so that's really when Kush Queen sort of became what it is now, and that's where I learned so much about really applying cannabis in a medical wellness approach, as opposed to just smoking a blunt, or dabbing or any of that kind of stuff. That's really not a part of my... I mean, I've done it, but it's not really a part of my daily regimen. And I wouldn't say it's how I regulate my mental health.
0:19:57.3 Paul: It's instead through the bath bombs and the edibles, or what does that look like?
0:20:03.1 Olivia: Well, so your skin is your biggest organ, that's one of the things, your skin is your biggest organ, the endocannabinoid system is real, and there's already a lot of medical benefits to bathing, so when you soak in a tub of cannabinoids and essential oils, your body is actually absorbing it like a sponge, and so that, it just improves sleep and deals with body pain, you really feel like you got a full-body massage without getting one.
0:20:28.4 Paul: Oh, wow.
0:20:29.4 Olivia: And so I started reading about the benefits of integrating regular bath taking for sleep, because of course, a lot of stuff I was looking at was like sleep, how do I not be manic without medication sort of, was my thinking. So then that was that product, the shower gel is another product, really just trying to get cannabinoids into my system without having to consume, and that's when we developed the nanotechnology that we actually have at Kush Queen that's patent-pending, and it really just takes the cannabis oil and it turns it into water. So you can actually absorb it through the skin, we have tests that show the particle size is incredibly small, smaller than your pore, and so that's when I started to explore feeding my body THC without having to ingest it. So we do gummies, we do tinctures, but we also do fully transdermal topicals, which is what I'm really passionate about. I actually have been doing a little geeky side research and saw that there is a psychedelic that you can actually put on your skin, that should be transdermal. Yeah, I'll have to... I mean, I was doing some just late night...
0:21:33.3 Paul: Do you remember the company, or do you remember the specifics of it? Take your time.
0:21:38.8 Olivia: Hold on, I'm gonna...
0:21:38.9 Paul: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I wanna know all about this.
0:21:39.7 Olivia: Hold on, I'm gonna pull it up, and then... Let me see. What's that psychedelic? Hold on. I'll find out in one second. We were researching it. This was a thing, but yeah, I'm just really into unexpected delivery methods, building products. The reason we make products in my family, 'cause my mom has been a huge part of my business and making products, is because we didn't have any money growing up, and if you wanted something, you had to make it, or whatever. And so my mom, she's a formulator, she's a product maker, so she really helped me with the bath bombs, and then my partner at the company, he developed the nanotechnology and was really from the old school cannabis side. And he was really passionate about beverages and things like that. So yeah, we just realized though that the nanotechnology, and then the continual feeding of the cannabinoids, was really what leveled me off, but it just didn't deal with the other stuff, because there's clearly other stuff, it was just keeping me level. And that's why I believe in cannabis, I used cannabis and CBD and minors for mental health, but it didn't fix me, and do I think I'm fully fixed from psychedelics? No, we're always evolving.
0:23:03.3 Paul: We're always a little fucked up.
0:23:04.8 Olivia: And it's like an onion. You're like an onion, you get peeled, but the layers are still there, but whenever I started using psilocybin and LSD is when I just saw myself literally transform. That's the way that I describe it. It's full transformation. Even some days I look at myself and I'm like, "Who are you? I do not know you," but now I do. It was definitely a journey.
0:23:40.3 Paul: And cannabis, so we do this training program with Third Wave, it's called CCP, it's like a coaching certification program, and so as part of it, we had someone come in to lead a cannabis ceremony, right? Because there's a group out of Denver now called medicinal mindfulness that is training guides on how they can use cannabis as a psychedelic almost, where you do a little prep, you have the Cannabis ceremony with music, you have integration, and people will say that it's very powerful and profound. And yet that's clearly not the mainstream way of using cannabis, your experience of it was more medical and healing, and that it helped you to get off pharmaceutical medications and find a sense of balance, but it didn't necessarily get to the trauma that was underneath it. And so it's partly psilocybin, LSD, or more powerful medicines to bring that up, but it's also partly just the way that cannabis is talked about, it's almost like a new alcohol for most folks in terms of how they're getting into it, and how they're using it, right?
0:24:40.2 Olivia: Unfortunately.
0:24:41.4 Paul: Unfortunately.
0:24:43.3 Olivia: Yeah, I mean, even when I see people, there's a lot of popular beverage brands coming on to the market, and that's what they're intended to do, is you're supposed to dump the cannabis product into alcohol and drink it, and I just find that to be so disturbing that they're marketing legal cannabis products as that. And I've always been taught by mentors and people around me that unfortunately, the recreational movement to cannabis is a massive distraction to the actual medical wellness benefits that can be received, especially from it. I mean, not... I was always taught that, that if you inhale cannabis, like it's not medicine, you're just treating side effects there, when you're ingesting it, when you're rubbing it on your skin, that's when it's medicine. And I... That's... I'm writing a book right now, which is really about applying cannabis... Real applications for cannabis from a medical and wellness perspective, and you'd be really surprised at how little information there really is out there, on if you're trying to work out, what are you gonna do, and there are so many people coming to cannabis not to get high, and there's just very little information for them to navigate, and unfortunately, people just still love that whole side of it.
0:26:04.7 Olivia: I never did. I always just did my own thing and knew what it was for me, which was a medicine, but there is a lot of similarities when it comes to set and setting. I also just think a lot of the anxiety people feel using cannabis, has a lot to do with the way we've treated cannabis in the war on drugs, I don't think that it's separate, but people, they wanna tell you you're wrong when you're like, "So how do you feel about cannabis though, but really how do you feel about it?", "Wow, I grew up and it was... " And I'm like, "Well, there you go. You might wanna leave some of that behind before you try to imbibe."
0:26:46.8 Paul: Right, right. Julie Holland, do you know of Julie Holland? Psychiatrist who wrote this book, Good Chemistry, she talks in there a little bit about the overlap between cannabis and the classic psychedelics like psilocybin or LSD. And that cannabis just like the psychedelics, activates this 5-HT2A receptor, and that a lot of the potential benefit could come from the container or the set and setting, the way that it's used, right? To open up both the endocannabinoid system, but also just generally, these serotonin receptors in the brain that help us to feel good, they help us to feel content, and probably the most common thing that I hear from folks who struggle with cannabis is, I tried cannabis, or I've tried cannabis, and every time I do it, it makes me just feel really paranoid because it's so intense, right?
0:27:32.0 Paul: I think by far, that's the most common sort of folks who are open to it, they're not necessarily still conditioned by the war on drugs, but they're like, they try and it's too much, it's too overwhelming. And for a lot of those folks, I just say, "Hey, maybe best not to use in a social study, but maybe this is a medicine that you need to explore by yourself, and get a sense of where is that paranoia coming from." 'Cause I remember I even went through in my early 20s when I was first starting to do a lot of psychedelics, at higher doses, not necessarily micro-doses, that I would come out of those psychedelic experiences, and not like the day after, but within the next few weeks. I would smoke cannabis and the paranoia that I had experienced in a psilocybin experience as part of a difficult trip, would sort of resurfaced again with cannabis, and I'm like, "Oh, it's just bringing up stuff that I haven't fully processed, that still needs to be looked at," so to say.
0:28:31.0 Olivia: Yeah, it's really, it's really interesting. I think a lot of it has to do with dose as well. I think the dose that most people are using cannabis at is actually too high, and I actually think that less is more with cannabis, and I know that people would say, "That's crazy, you're in cannabis," but I just think most people are using too much, and I just think that flower isn't the greatest expression of the plants, and there's so much... There's just so much uncontrolled about that type of experience as opposed to topicals and tinctures and just more controlled approach that can get people there, but I think that's sort of also a similar thing, it's how do we control this? How do we keep people safe? There are people everyday who tell me they have negative experiences with just edibles, and I think, "Well, lord, what are we gonna do?" What are we gonna do with these people? They can't even have a positive experience with a little brownie, but I think you have to have so much skill in knowing how to navigate yourself in with all... With cannabis and with psychedelics, at least from my own experience.
0:29:51.2 Olivia: That's really been the biggest thing I've been trying to figure out, is with my audience on TikTok specifically, is how do I teach them how to listen to their own bodies? How do I teach them how to navigate it for themselves, because that's the privilege that I've had, is I know that, that's something I know personally, I know when I've had too much, I know I can't take Adderall. I know these things about myself, and they don't know those things about themselves, and it's very hard to meet people who don't even have a basic framework of listening to their body, and that's a majority of people... That's the part that always makes me nervous and sometimes keeps me up at night a little bit, just because I worry... I care very much about my audience on TikTok, that's something that has just happened, is I think of them like my family, I'm very protective of them. And it's because they're all fighting for their lives, it's just so... It gets me a little emotional, 'cause it's just so personal, and people look at a social media app like TikTok and they just think like, "Oh, it's just people feeding their ego, posting their outfits," and TikTok is... It's got a lot of bad stuff on there, but it's not Instagram and it's not Facebook, and it's not the same kind of place that's built to sell.
0:31:21.1 Olivia: It's built for people to feel, and then to feel safe with their people, and so that's just been something that has really been challenging for me over the course of this journey, is just how do I keep them safe, how do I keep them from doing stuff that isn't good for them, because what's even crazier is half of that audience doesn't even use CBD, they're all just typical Gen-Z and millennials on pharmaceuticals most of their life, very little education on diet, on exercise, on just any kind of holistic approach to mental health, and that's what... Also what caused me so much grief as I was like blowing up on an app, 'cause I was like, I'm just not equipped. I'm not equipped for this, I'm trying to run my business. I'm just a person living my life, and I felt like I woke up in the middle of just this crazy place with all of these people, and so many of them are women, so many of them are moms, daughters, young women in college, like the sheer amount of women who reach out to me about psychedelics and cannabis is really truly... It just overwhelms me and I feel like I have to do something, I feel like I can't leave them hanging.
0:32:45.8 Paul: Right. Right.
0:32:46.8 Olivia: Yeah.
0:32:48.1 Paul: So one thing you touched on was psychedelics, or not... One thing you touched on was how listening to yourself, and how that's a skill that you've developed and cultivated, how did psychedelics help you with that in particular, in terms of that, that going inwards and that listening?
0:33:05.6 Olivia: Well, it deepened it. I was always taught to listen to my intuition. That was something I was taught as a child. It's like your gut is talking to you, listen to it, don't ever talk against it, you cannot go towards danger, sort of a thing. My mom was always like, "You gotta listen to that." So she taught me that, but really, truly, I just... Once I started using psychedelics, I just never felt so connected and so able to actually be in the present, that was really what it's given me, and that, I was always struggling with that, I was always meditating and trying and trying and trying to be present so hard. But part of being an ambitious person is you're not in the present, that's part of what brought me here, was that I was always in the vision in the future, what I was gonna create, what I was gonna manifest. And so that's probably the biggest thing that it did, was it just made it all so clear, and then just so connected, and even just the last six months, I was telling my life coach, I've just never ever felt more like time doesn't actually exist, because I'm just so in the present and it feels like every moment is infinity. I don't know, I just probably sound crazy...
0:34:32.4 Paul: I love that. No, I love that. I love that.
0:34:36.4 Olivia: It's just really how it is. And for me, a lot of what psychedelics did, which just changed these patterns and these behaviors that I wanted to change so badly, but I just couldn't figure it out, I couldn't work my way out of them even, 'cause I'm a worker bee. I would have worked my way out of it, but I just kept finding myself always in these same habits, with these same irrational fears of heights, nervous in the car, and just really edgy, just a really type A, really edgy, really emotionally numb kind of girl. And to be able to have joy, even last night, to be able to just sit down with friends and have Thai food, and play dominoes, and just vibe. I mean, I was the kind of person... This is terrible. I should admit this, but here we go...
0:35:29.4 Paul: Okay, I wanna hear it. Let's go.
0:35:30.9 Olivia: Confessions... I judged people, actually judged them for having hobbies, like one time I went on a date with a guy, and he was like, "Yeah, I play kickball," and I was like, "Like professionally?" And he's like, "No, for fun." And I was like, "This is over. You play kickball for fun?" But I didn't have any concept of that. I didn't have a childhood. And when you don't have a childhood, you don't learn how to play, you don't learn how to have fun, and so a lot of what using psychedelics has given me, is that space to have fun. Like pour paint in crafts, and being able to do that, just being able to even go to an Adventure Park and hang like a monkey and do stuff like that. I didn't do it, I didn't watch cartoons, my mom tried to put on the Lion King for me when I was six years old, and I said, "I need to watch the news," I just didn't have... Yeah, why would a six-year-old need to... My mom was like, "Oh, watch The Lion King." I'm like, "No, I'm watching something on the Heaven's Gate Cold, okay?" Just not normal, not normal. But now I have, I just have that ability to have fun, and then obviously, you just see what's really important in life. Being able to see what was truly important, just transformed everything.
0:37:06.1 Paul: And did you have fears going into that, there was probably a time where you heard about psychedelics or heard how they might be useful, and maybe you hesitated, what... Going into that first experience, especially with a history of bipolar, 'cause we even hear about this, if you're bipolar, don't touch psychedelics whatsoever, because they could be really, really bad. What was that like going in for you to that first experience in terms of the fears and the thoughts about, what if this goes wrong, or what if this goes wrong or anything like that?
0:37:38.3 Olivia: Yeah, that's why I never tried psychedelics was because I was bipolar and I was taught, no, you can't, you won't come back. And so, that was really what kept me from it, and I mean, I had a lot of friends who were in a lot of different communities where psychedelics are a huge part of what they do, and they tried many times, and I was always not ready, and I think whenever I had the opportunity, I was ready. And I think that I had done a lot more work on myself and I knew myself a little bit better, so I didn't actually have the fear that I thought I was going to. And the opportunity presented itself, and I just, I saw it as, this must be right. This must really be right. And so, I had a really incredible experience.
0:38:33.5 Olivia: And of course, I've had bad experiences, even though I don't classify them as bad, I just would classify them as like I went through a period where every single time, even at a micro-dose I was using psilocybin, I was having just like... All of these things coming up. But I've never engaged with psychedelics in a party setting, I've never engaged with them, not with professionals, and that I think has also been a huge part of why I've been, had such a successful experience with it. Is I've always known and understood how important and personal and special, this was that I got to do this and that I had to respect it, and so really, I always tell people, whenever they asked me about it, I'm like I've definitely been very spoiled in my experience.
0:39:33.3 Paul: Which is great and privilege in your experience, and you've gone into it with a certain level of education. I remember when I did mushrooms for the first time, I was 19 with my best friend from high school. We snuck into the basement of my fraternity house over winter break, and I mean, didn't do a fuck ton, but we did maybe a couple of grams and then played Pink Floyd's, The Wall on a projector, and it was interesting and novel and unique, but I'd no context for certain setting and I had no context for preparation and integration. I did acid probably 30 times before I had any idea that, oh, this afterglow period is the integration phase, and I should maybe paying a little bit more attention to that. And so, I think that's also an upside of... You had mentioned you didn't do psychedelics until you were 30.
0:40:20.3 Paul: Well, by time you're 30, you at least have the maturity to know, "Okay, this is how it needs to be done, and this is the container that I want, and I should have a professional." And so, when you had that first experience, it was transformative for you, and so it made you a really big believer, whereas a lot of folks when they go in for that first experience, it can be very jarring because they don't actually pay attention to it. One of my mentors in the psychedelic space says that the biggest contraindication for psychedelics is immaturity, and that you really need to be prepared to face yourself in a significant way, whatever that might be. And for someone like you who had been on pharmaceuticals for so long, and had dealt with a lot of challenges, to have that first experience be in a way that allowed you to face those things and come through on the other side, change and transformed, it's really beautiful and something I think to be grateful for.
0:41:17.5 Olivia: I am incredibly grateful for it, and it's also why I try to... I'm uncomfortable with the whole TikTok thing and the social media thing, because I know all the support that I had. And I know I had that maturity, and I know if I had been 19 and in a basement and someone handed me psilocybin, I might have had a psychotic break, I might have not come back. Because of where it was at that age, and I was so immature and I was in such a bad place. So I really try to always have that be a part of everything that I say whenever I talk about my experience because this generation is kind of buck-wild and I try to tell them lik, "You guys, we have to approach this in a safe place and manner too, because everything that we do affects the collective." The way that we represent these things really does affect everybody else, and if we start acting out with these molecules in a negative way, it can really hold back progress, and that's not what we're trying to do.
0:42:33.9 Olivia: So, I really try to preach responsibility with my audience and explain to them how much support I had, how much work I did, 'cause they also, they see my story and they hear me talk about it and they want that, "I want that for myself." And I'm always just very... Just trying to walk that line because this is my truth. It's important that I speak from that place. But at the same time, I know how much privilege I had every step of the way, how much support I had, how much access I have even to the product, clean product, all the things. And it's really just... I think that's sort of just the challenge for me personally, with all of this, is really how I navigated and how I educate them in a way that is meaningful, 'cause I do feel responsible for the content that I put out there and whose hands... It winds up in... Because I think that's one of the things about TikTok, is you can't really control where your content goes, and I really just want them to be safe, 'cause I was.
0:43:44.9 Paul: And thankfully in micro-dosing, just leading with micro-dosing and talking about micro-dosing even as a concept, does that, because you're essentially convincing people or educating people that you can do very low doses of this even sub-perceptible doses and it can still be helpful, and that's often a good kinda backstop in a way when getting even viral attention from something like TikTok, because then people go, "Oh, I just need a tiny bit," and they don't go and five grams of mushrooms in a dark room with a couple of friends while they're on a... Drinking fits of Vodka or anything like that?
0:44:21.0 Olivia: Yeah, well, that's why I predominantly only post about micro-dosing, I think I've posted maybe a handful of posts about larger journeys and tripping and those types of things, because I'm very mindful that the audience is young and they're impressionable. But also, what I have come to realize is most of them want the sub-perceptual experience, they don't even want the experience, that's what so interesting about the conversation that ended up coming up at the end of the panel, you weren't there, but it was all about removing the psychedelic experience from the psychedelic. And is that ethical? And it's just really interesting because of how many people I meet and talk to. I think even people who buy my own push clean products, they don't care about the products, they want that results, that's what's driving them.
0:45:13.6 Olivia: And I think that's what's been interesting about micro-dosing and that conversation on TikTok, 'cause it's not just me, there are people posting about producing for ADHD, micro-dosing for fitness, micro-dosing for performance, there's all kinds of different creators making content about micro-dosing and... It's just been really interesting to me how many of these people have never used psychedelics, have no interest in having even a psychedelic or mystical experience of any kind, even though I tell them, "You should want it, it's really good. It might be really good, you don't know what you're gonna, you might like it." But they really all just want to not be depressed and to not be anxious and to not feel the way they feel, and I know it's predominantly that community because mental health is one of the main pillars of TikTok. But it's really fascinating to me that how many people just... They just wanna feel better and they know, this may be it.
0:46:19.1 Paul: And that's totally okay. If it's micro-dosing that helps them, great, and if they try micro-dosing and it's not quite what they need, maybe they know that they can go slightly higher. This is even a perspective that I've tried to bring to the conversation where it doesn't have to be a micro-dose or like five grams of mushrooms and a full-blown mystical experience, like there's a thousand shades of grey between the white and the black, right? Between those two polar opposites, and even just exploring a mini-dose or even what I would call a museum dose. It's just step-wise, you're going up and bringing more and more awareness to whatever it is that is underneath your sort of conscious activity.
0:46:58.1 Olivia: I try to advocate for that a lot, I get a lot of hate you. I get a lot of the people who are like, if you don't take six grams, you're not doing it, that's not it. I hear all the things, especially on TikTok, you get a lot of crazy comments and DMs, but that's how I've gotten comfortable too. That's how a lot of people have gotten comfortable and there's something to it, especially for people like myself who are so against nature. I didn't go to nature, okay, I didn't grow up going to the woods, I was born in the swamps and I was taught, we don't go there, we're gonna be city folk, like we can't do that. And so, one of the things that I worked on a lot in my therapy was micro-dosing and going up to a little higher doses in nature so I could really get comfortable. Because I had an abundance of anxiety in a forest. When you should be at the most peace, I was like a wreck, and then even last year, I did my first real night out camping. I'd never been camping before, I'd never slept in a tent before.
0:48:06.3 Paul: No.
0:48:07.3 Olivia: I know, never.
0:48:08.1 Paul: No.
0:48:10.0 Olivia: Well, also my friends took me and then they forced me, I took a ton of mushrooms, and then I got in the tent, we got in a tent, and they were really making me feel a little paranoid with the bear talk or how the bear spray and bear sighting, whatever.
0:48:25.5 Paul: Where was that? Where were you camping?
0:48:26.8 Olivia: We're in Kings Canyon in California. And then basically, we got in the tent, I'm laying there, they're like, "Look at the shooting star," or whatever, and then I just break down crying, and I'm like, I just can't believe that I never slept under the stars before, never in my whole life, and there are some kids, I could hear them screaming and I just thought like, "Wow, I spent 33 years of my life never doing this," never sleeping in a tent under the stars, and I had this incredible moment with them and they were just like, "You're too much," but I had everybody crying in the tent. But yeah, I was very scared of nature, of doing things and being able to sort of up the dose just a tiny bit, just being able to take it there.
0:49:16.1 Olivia: Where I'm definitely feeling something, I'm past a micro-dose, but I'm not quite, there really helped me, and I think that I try to advocate for that. I know there are so many people who don't agree with that and they want people to go all the way, but I really think there's something to it, to a mini-dose. To even just stacking up the dose a little bit with gummies, that's something I've really come to like as far as micro-dosing goes, so I can really work that, and then it's really just been a great tool for me to be able to also move. I think that's also part of it, it's like being able to be moving and exploring as I'm having the experience was really helpful for me.
0:50:03.6 Paul: Almost like a vision quest, so to say, where you can go out and you can be active and you can... Just go with the energy. 'Cause sometimes the energy, you get stuck, so to say, or you feel kind of constrained by it... And that's why I love acid in the mountains, because I can take a couple of hits and really explore in a significant way, the inner and the outer.
0:50:27.3 Olivia: Well, now I'm like one of those people who's like, I can only do LSD if I'm in the woods. Now I need to be in the woods when I do it, I can't do it anywhere else, I need to just be alone, and I need to be without people, I think that's also a very interesting sort of thing. It's just like I have not had very many ceremonial experiences, and because so much of the work that I've done with psychedelics is I'm alone or I'm just with one or two people. And so, I am very curious as I go farther into my journey, if that's gonna be something that is gonna be for me. Just because, I think that's what's so interesting about being kind of a person who's out there on social media, but still being very early on in my experiences with psychedelics, you just meet so many people who have their opinions about it and then...
0:51:20.3 Paul: A lot of opinions, there's a lot of opinions.
0:51:22.0 Olivia: They tell you about it, and they tell you what you need to do. And I'm like, "Yeah, yeah, we'll see if that's for me, I'm really just here," but there's definitely a lot of opinions about micro-dosing. I've gotten a lot of messages like, "You're just a light weight." And I'm like, "No, I'm just mentally ill, we just have to approach these things a little bit differently." We just can't dive in the same way normal people can, and maybe everyone should think of it that way, but people love to call me a light weight, that's the big one.
0:51:55.4 Paul: Take things at your own pace, and everyone comes to this in a unique way, and I love a micro-dose of acid, I love... I've taken a break from ayahuasca for the past couple of years, but when the right time is to do ayahuasca again, ayahuasca also has its place. Like what's so interesting about these medicines is there are some parallels to what we were talking about with cannabis in that the transdermal or the topical, or the bath bombs are different than the vape pens, which vape pens are different than flower, which can be sometimes different than dabs. And it's like that with psychedelics too, like ketamine is gonna be a way different experience than acid than psilocybin than MDMA than ayahuasca. We sort of categorize them all under this big umbrella, these are all psychedelics, but really like each one is very particular or very different in terms of what it will open up.
0:52:47.9 Olivia: Yeah, so I found my notes and it basically... What I wrote was that 4-AcO-DMT in propylene glycol is transdermal, it basically is a synthetic psilocybin.
0:53:00.4 Paul: 4-AcO-DMT is good. I did that in the woods two years ago or so, 'cause it's a psilocybin analog and you can... If you could send that after the talk, just so I can dive a little bit deeper if you know where you found that.
0:53:17.7 Olivia: I'll keep looking through my notes and we were... It was a few of us. This is the kind of stuff I do with my friends, we just get together and we smoke, and then we research scholarly journals and try to find things, but that's how... That's... Yeah, we're kinda nerds, but I like it. Well, it's just very fascinating to me, I agree with you, there's so many intricacies, like the same thing with cannabis. In writing my book, it's so hard, I'm trying to explain to people, it's so much more than a strain. Strain's almost like the last thing you should be thinking of. And it's the delivery method, there's just so much more than what people think, and that's what fascinates me the most is trying to explore all the different ways that people can get there. Especially 'cause I think with certain things, with smoking, I think people are just so stigmatized, and smoking anything is a lot for people, and I've just noticed if you can rub it on people's skin, you can do a lot, and so I was literally just like, I wonder if a topical psychedelic exists, and evidently it may, so we'll see.
0:54:35.5 Paul: It may, it may.
0:54:35.5 Olivia: But yeah, I'll send you that to.
0:54:37.8 Paul: Send it to me. Okay, last question before we wrap up, which is sort of... You, as a visionary in the cannabis space, built Kush Queen, multi-million dollar business, you did it in a really unique way, you found your own niche, you've been very successful in that way. And you started to sort of dip your toe in the psychedelic space, particularly with TikTok and micro-dosing. I'm just curious to hear from you based on the lessons that you've learned through cannabis and the perspectives that you've generated through your involvement in the cannabis space, what are your hopes for the psychedelic space as you started to observe the industry emerging and the different players and the different conversations? What to you would feel really full of integrity and healing and everything in terms of the psychedelic industry growing and developing, what are your aspirational ideals for it as an industry?
0:55:33.0 Olivia: Well, I'm obviously... This is gonna be hopeful, but I'm a hopeful girl. I believe that it should be about the collective healing of people, and for me, obviously, I set it at a certain part of the internet where I see the mass suffering of COVID, of the opioid epidemic, of the mental health system being completely broken, 'cause it's very broken, and my biggest hope is that everyone can kumbaya together. Because, no one in cannabis was able to do that. It's a very, very toxic industry that has a lot of work to do when it comes to equity. When it comes to corporations wanting to own everything, it's certainly true, and I think that the biggest lesson, the future of psychedelics, hopefully the future of even cannabis and the world as a community. In community is everything. We cannot do anything alone, we cannot do anything by ourselves, we as a collective are more powerful, and I think with cannabis, people who have built brands around communities are the people who actually have businesses, and I think there's no possible way that psychedelics as an industry can develop like cannabis. I just don't, like people can have nice things.
0:57:07.2 Olivia: We know this, they cannot handle these molecules, I say that with all certainty, they cannot handle them, and we have to protect young people. That's the big thing, it's protecting the youth, they really are just, like you said, not mature enough, so I don't know. I'm an idealist, I'm so hopeful. I hope that the psychedelic space can honor the indigenous history of so many of the medicines that they can grow the space and provide people safe access all while building really meaningful communities. Because ultimately, like I said this in my presentation, it's like... At the end of the day, if you get down to the level of these people of people, it's just humans, and all they wanna have is a decent life. What these people are fighting for and the hope they have for psychedelics, if the psychedelic space knew it, really, if you heard from some of these moms and some of these kids like what they're facing, you couldn't make it all about money, you know, that's really it comes down to is, I just hope it's not all about commercialization, not all about creating pharmaceuticals.
0:58:26.1 Olivia: 'Cause I think that's the other side of it, is just you see with COVID and you see with where the world is right now, there's a complete distrust for the FDA, there's a complete distrust for even science. And that's what's so interesting about most psychedelics is they kind of sit in between those spaces, part alternative medicine, but then part... We need pharmaceutical grade products, we do. So, I hope that the sense it's a psychedelic, I say this about cannabis, I say like, cannabis is a plant, and it's a female plant, and I think because it's part of nature, it's inherently anti-corporate and it really has a way of correcting and I like to, at least I tell myself that on my hard days. I'm like, she's anti-corporate girl, you don't even worry. You're always gonna have a place. You're gonna be fine. That she will correct. She is a part of nature, she is a part of that greater force, you're good. And I like to believe that about psychedelics, I like to believe that the spiritual and mystical side of all of this is gonna carry it and protect it, but greed is real, it really is.
0:59:42.4 Olivia: And some of these people are some of the worst people. And my fear is just when things become publicly traded, when you're out for shareholders, you're not out for the people and you're not out for their greater healing, and at least... Because I'm coming at it from such a true place of, this really just brought me so much, I just wanna speak truth to that, because not everything can be about money, you know? I don't know, it's not very eloquent, but it's really just like, I'm like, It's really fucked up. I hope we can all kumbaya together and make it good because, people are running out of time.
1:00:27.1 Paul: Right. Well, my sense of it is, one thing you're hitting on is wealth has been to narrowly defined in terms of money and financial wealth is much broader than that. It's way beyond that. So, that's... I think one thing that psychedelics has taught me personally is this concept of existential wealth, the wealth of existing, the wealth of being and what that means on a day-to-day basis. And then my observation of the psychedelic space has been, there's so many different players from the for-profits, the non-profits, from the private companies, to the publicly traded companies, from the activist, to the entrepreneurs. And it feels like there's a space for everything, and there's been a space that's opened up for disagreement. And there's a ton of disagreement, and I think that's so healthy and necessary to the successful growth of it is being okay with this disagreement and being willing to disagree, and particularly for those who are the non-profits for the activist for those who are not driven by money, to have the courage to speak their truth about where they're coming from, and to be able to work in tandem with the business-minded folks, 'cause the business minded folks frankly know how to get shit done in a reasonable way.
1:01:38.9 Olivia: That's what drove cannabis. That's the thing, we can't say, "Oh, we have cannabis everywhere for people's medicine." No, it's because of money, thankfully, I'm grateful. I wouldn't have what I need every day if we hadn't driven this forward, so I think it's just all about balance, of course, we're all just trying to find balance. And I do think at the end of the day, there's so many good lessons to be learned from cannabis though, and I really wish that people would look at that industry and look at how it's all happened and don't be like it. Because I've always been very critical of the industry itself and I think it's important, like you said, discourse is important, having these conversations important, speaking truth to power is important, and I think at the end of the day though, it's gonna be what it's gonna be. I love the speculative conversations really get me, people are like, what you think's gonna happen? I'm like, "I don't know, I'm making TikToks, that what I know for sure." I'm like... No, someone's like, "So, what's your plans for the psychedelics industry?" I'm like, "Honestly, just make TikToks, I'm good." I'll show up if people want me to speak about something and tell my story, but I don't know, I just don't... I don't think it'll be for me, but we'll see, people love to be like, and I put you on my board, I'm like, "No. No, I'm good." I'm like, "I wanna play dominoes."
1:03:18.3 Paul: That's it, that's it, I love it.
1:03:20.3 Olivia: Yeah, well, thank you so much also for just what you're doing with Third Wave and what you're building, and I think that you're really a refreshing person. And your perspective and everything that you're doing is really important. And I just wanted to say that as well.
1:03:48.6 Olivia: Yeah, Instagram, TikTok, thelivalexander. I'm on Twitter, but I'm not really interesting there, I really just retweet other people's stuff, Kush Queen is at kushqueen.shop, if you wanna check out some of our products and yeah, I'm always... I like to say, I live there, meaning TikTok, so I live there, I'm always there. And I really, I wanna encourage more people in the psychedelic space to get on TikTok, it's such a great place to do education, obviously, it's definitely... They have censorship there, but you can get around it and it's a really powerful algorithm, and that's a big thing that I'm just trying to do is tell the psychedelics community like...
1:04:29.1 Paul: Get on TikTok.
1:04:29.9 Olivia: Get off of Instagram and come to TikTok, it's where it's at.
1:04:34.4 Paul: We'll have to do that. Thanks again for popping on the show, I really appreciate you.
1:04:38.8 Olivia: Yeah, for sure. Thank you for having me.
1:04:41.5 Paul: Thanks so much for watching. If you wanna stay up-to-date on The Third Wave of psychedelics, subscribe to this channel and visit thethirdwave.co, where you'll find plenty of free resources on intentional and responsible psychedelics.