Paul F. Austin welcomes Ryan Sprague, founder of Highly Optimized, who shares how to cultivate a positive relationship with cannabis & more.
Ryan is the founder and co-owner of Highly Optimized, a company dedicated to helping its clients transform and become the conscious leaders the world is patiently awaiting. He is also the host of the “Highly Optimized” Podcast, the “This One Time On Psychedelics” Podcast and is the creator of the “Connect With Cannabis” program & the “Grow With Cannabis” course.
Ryan’s mission in life is helping his fellow brothers and sisters become empowered in their experience of being alive through one-on-one men’s coaching, plant medicine integration coaching and retreat experiences.
In this episode, Ryan shares powerful life-learned wisdom and insights for developing a healthy relationship with cannabis, and goes deep into the science behind different cannabis strains, compounds and routes of administration.
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Looking for an aligned retreat, clinic, therapist or coach? Our directory features trusted and vetted providers from around the world. Find psychedelic support or apply to join Third Wave’s Directory today.
0:00:00.6 Paul Austin: Welcome back to the Psychedelic Podcast by Third Wave. Today I am speaking with Ryan Sprague, the cannabis coach.
0:00:08.1 Ryan Sprague: More and more people are connecting with this medicine, especially with federal legalization on the horizon, yet there's no education out there on it. And the education out there is simply cannabinoid science, endocannabinoid science rather, terpenes, all the things that are great, but they don't give any awareness to emotions. Your mental state, your mental health, spiritual health, any of these things. And so I think a lot of people are doing more harm than good right now, yet they're not even aware of it. And that's what I've seen a lot in working with over a thousand clients, both in my one-on-one practice and now with Connect with Cannabis as well. So it's been fascinating, man. What a journey.
0:00:43.2 PA: Welcome to the Psychedelic Podcast by Third Wave, audio mycelium, connecting you to the luminaries and thought leaders of the psychedelic renaissance. We bring you illuminating conversations with scientists, therapists, entrepreneurs, coaches, doctors, and shamanic practitioners, exploring how we can best use psychedelic medicine to accelerate personal healing, peak performance and collective transformation.
0:01:19.2 PA: Hey, listeners, I am so excited to have Ryan Sprague on the podcast today. Ryan is an expert in the intentional use of cannabis. He coaches people on how to break their dependency on cannabis and create a healthy relationship with this plant. What a lot of people don't realize is that when cannabis is used in an intentional way, a ceremonial way, in a conscious way, that it can actually be profoundly insightful. In fact, as part of our training program through Third Wave, our coaches training program, we have all of our coaches go through a conscious cannabis ceremony because it's legal almost everywhere now, and it's a tool that people can have access to immediately.
0:02:06.0 PA: And so in today's conversation, we went really deep into Ryan's path and how he got to where he is today, utilizing cannabis as a core modality in his coaching practice. We talk about dependency around cannabis and how not to slip too far into the deep end. I can speak from personal experience here having been addicted to cannabis somewhat for the last four or five years. How do you tread that line where you can use this responsibly but not become consumed by it? We also go pretty deep into performance, and there's a lot of conversation around how cannabis and psychedelics are helpful for healing but not as much about elevation and transcendence. And I know we talk a lot about that in the podcast and we go double deep into that today with Ryan. We don't do too many podcasts specific to cannabis, this might be one of just a few that we've done, but I felt like it was important to have someone come on who could speak so eloquently around cannabis and to the point of intentional and responsible use for transformation and not just for disassociation. So it really is a pleasure to have Ryan on the podcast with us here today.
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0:06:55.4 PA: Okay, that's it for now. Let's dive into this episode with Ryan Sprague. I hope you enjoy our conversation. Hey, listeners, welcome back to the Psychedelic Podcast. Today we have Ryan Sprague, Cannabis Coach. Ryan and I recorded a podcast about a month ago for this one time on psychedelics. And so we had a chance to drop in a little bit then and have a really, really flowy back and forth, incredible conversation. And so for today's talk, we get to dive deep into Ryan, his cannabis coaching and a bunch of other stuff as it relates to cannabis being a psychedelic. So Ryan, I just want to welcome you to the show. It's an honor to have you.
0:07:31.1 RS: Thank you, man, so much. I'm so excited to be here. And, you know, when you and I met actually through a mutual friend who's upstairs right now, Kyle Gray, I'm at Mark England's Lakehouse in Moneta, Virginia. And so it's just so funny, man. You know, like this is what technology is really good for, in my opinion, is connecting people and then seeing what we can co-create from that connected place. So dude, so excited to be here and to dive in with you today.
0:07:52.7 PA: I agree with all of that. And so for the first question today, before we get into your life story and cannabis as a psychedelic and indica versus sativa, and we'll probably talk about Nitra at some point or, you know, who knows what might come up, you know, there's a pretty controversial topic in the cannabis space. And depending on whether you're an American or a European, you may feel differently about this topic. And that topic is joint versus spliff. So in other words, when you smoke your flower, is a pure green or are you gonna sprinkle a little tobacco in there to help with some of the flowiness and the way that it burns? What's your take?
0:08:33.8 RS: Yeah, man. So I think both can be correct depending on the situation and depending on what effect you're looking for. So how I understand cannabis is cannabis can help us connect so deep into our heart while allowing us to get some ideas and downloads from whether you want to call it your higher self, a deeper sense and truer sense of who you are, whatever you want to call that, whereas tobacco is a great grounder. And so for me, how I would choose which one I want to interact with is, for instance, am I looking to go on a deep medicine, psychedelic journey? Okay, pure cannabis. Am I interacting with cannabis with some friends and looking to have a stimulating conversation? Maybe then I want to have feet on the ground while my head is in the sky. And so that would be my argument for cannabis versus spliff. And I like both. I think a lot of people, especially in America, are like, how are you tainting that cannabis with tobacco? But I'll tell you, man, first time I tried to spliff, I was like, okay, the Europeans definitely got something right 'cause there is a jam to this for sure. So I'm glad you asked me that. [chuckle]
0:09:30.4 PA: Yeah, it's one of those things that it seems to be a very cultural divide. Whenever I'm in Europe, whenever I'm smoking cannabis there with friends, almost always without exception, there's tobacco sprinkled in. And then when I'm here in the States, you know, pre-rolls and joints and there is sort of a sense of people are, I think because of all the education around tobacco here in the States, it's somewhat stigmatized. People know it's responsible for lung cancer. People are very sort of put off by it, so to say. And yeah, I know when I smoke pure joints, like I just go sometimes into another galaxy, which is great if you have a really structured container that's appropriate for it. But if you're just trying to like hang out with a couple of friends, get a little high and see where the conversation leads, I always prefer to go for a joint.
0:10:17.4 RS: Yeah, 100%, man. I think that also the quality of tobacco is a big subject too, 'cause I don't know what it's like in Europe, I haven't been over there, but over here it's a slippery slope. Tobacco has been connected with by humans for millennia, and it was only in the last couple hundred years or maybe 100 years, I don't know the research off the top of my head that it all of a sudden started giving us cancer and all these things. But you look at how tobacco has grown, it's very similar to what's starting to happen with cannabis. This is a whole rabbit hole we could go down about how I really believe that we're gonna start seeing cannabis give people "cancer", not because of cannabis, but because of the rodenticides, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, glyphosate, everything that it's being grown by. And that's exactly what happened with tobacco. And so what we're getting in a cigarette is very little actual tobacco and a whole cornucopia of shit, essentially. And I think that's the ultimate reason why tobacco is now giving cancer so much or giving people cancer. But also, I think a lot of people use tobacco as a pacifier, very similar to cannabis. But I think at the end of the day, these things are sacred plant allies that can help us in our experience of life, but with great power comes great responsibility for both tobacco and cannabis and really any plant medicine out there.
0:11:28.8 PA: And tobacco and cannabis are two of the foremost ones when it comes to that frame precisely for the reason that you talked about. Tobacco is highly addictive. A lot of people would say that quitting nicotine is more difficult than quitting heroin even because of the ritual that surrounds it and sort of how easy it is to access it. And now with the accessibility of cannabis, cannabis I think is more addictive than a lot of people anticipated. I know I myself have struggled with a cannabis addiction over the last few years and only in the last several months have sort of popped out of it. And these are, like you said, they can be incredibly helpful plant allies, but they can also start to really be sort of life taking, life sucking. So that nuance is so important when it comes to this conversation in particular because of the work that you do around intentional cannabis experiences that are specifically for, let's say, growth, performance, optimization, leadership. I know there are a number of and this is true in the psychedelic space as well, there are a lot of facilitators out there in the cannabis space who are starting to do deeper ceremonial work with cannabis.
0:12:32.6 PA: And for the most part, a lot of them are focused on more of a therapeutic angle, even with some of the cannabis work. And so what I'd really love to open up as sort of a context for our conversation today is, Ryan Sprague, highly optimized dot co cannabis coach. There's a few different things that you've weaved within your brand, within the approach that you've taken. How did you land where you are now? Did you have a background as an athlete? Did you have a background as a biohacker? Did you have a background as... What is your origin story that led you into this sort of interesting juxtaposition of cannabis performance and ceremony?
0:13:15.1 RS: Yeah, it's a great question because for me, I think overall, I've been a question asker for a long time. And cannabis was the first thing that really helped me realize that life was not what I was told it was. And this was not like a conspiracy that anyone was trying to hide things from me. It was just that when you're 16, you've learned life through your parents, through society, etcetera. And at a certain point when I connected with cannabis and the funny thing was that I only went to cannabis after I had tried every pharmaceutical under the sun to mitigate anxiety. I was diagnosed with a generalized anxiety disorder at 16 and I tried every single pill they gave me, but yet none of them worked. And so here I was being 16 asking myself, is this the way the rest of my life is going to be? And you can imagine like, when I'm 16, of course, I think the whole world's ending. And so a friend had actually turned me on to cannabis. I don't remember the exact conversation we had. It probably wasn't this articulate, but something along the lines of like, "Hey, I'm experiencing something similar to you and I'm actually smoking weed for that."
0:14:18.9 RS: And I was like, "What?" Because the classic archetype of the lazy stoner is what I had been aware of at that point in time. And we're talking like, Harold and Kumar go to White Castle, Pineapple Express, those movies. Plus the people I was around at that point that were connecting with cannabis, they were the classic lazy stoner archetype. But spoiler alert, that wasn't cannabis making them that way. It was just their permission slip to continue being who they already were to a deeper level. And so when I got into connecting with cannabis, I found that not only did it help me mitigate my anxiety, but it gave me the experience of not being my thoughts. So we hear this a lot with Joe Dispenza, you're not your thoughts, a lot of these individuals out there today. But I, even before I knew that intellectually, I had the experience of where I was like, whoa, so I can see my anxiety now over there, those thought forms forming. But if I'm witnessing it, then who am I? Ensues the question asking, that I was talking about before. And so when that started happening, I started realizing, okay, what else have I been lied to about?
0:15:21.4 RS: 'Cause here I was a child of the DARE program, things like that. But I was very nervous to interact with any other plant medicine at this point. So I, like many people, I found a love for cannabis, but I had no idea how much is too much. I had no idea what quality of cannabis was or why it was so important. I had no idea how to use the plant and how to connect with it. And what I tell a lot of people is that, our generations and even before us, they went through this too, where a lot of what we learned about cannabis was through word of mouth. There was no user manual out there for it. So I fell into unconscious use, similar to what you were talking about before. And when I was 18, I had my first mortality crisis where I woke up one morning and I started peeing blood. And I had no idea what the hell was going on. And so my dad drives me to the hospital, crazy. And when he's driving me to the hospital, he asks me, he goes, "Dude, I just gotta know, are you doing drugs?"
0:16:16.1 RS: And I said, "No, but I am smoking a shit ton of pot." So when I said that, I expected him to get really furious because my father was never vehemently against drugs type person, but he definitely wasn't for them either. He kind of took the middle way. So I was expecting this furious outburst and all he did was have a sigh of relief. And I was like, "What?" So here we are in the car. I'm panicking as I'm pissing blood. So we get to the hospital and ends up being a benign cyst in my kidney that broke open and put blood into my urine. So thank goodness it wasn't cancerous or anything. But when we're in the hospital waiting to get the test back and everything like that, I was there for five days. And so during that time, I brought my laptop 'cause I was bored as hell and my anxiety was kicking up 'cause I couldn't interact with cannabis at that time. So I was in there showing my father all the documentaries and research and science that I had been looking into regarding cannabis. And so he looked at me and was like, "Listen, man, you're in school for psychology.
0:17:10.0 RS: You have a good life plan. You're fulfilling your responsibilities. You have a job. You're paying your bills. Who the hell am I to tell you that if this is working for you that you can't do it?" So he saw the research and he was like, "Maybe I didn't know what I didn't know." And so that started the deepening of our relationship. And my father and mother and I were always very close. I have a half-brother and half-sister, but I grew up an only child. And so we were always really, really close. And I could tell them pretty much anything. I kept that from my dad just 'cause I didn't want him to be "disappointed". But little did I know he wasn't even disappointed. He was actually pretty proud of me that I had found something that worked for me and I was making it work. And so after I got out of the hospital, a couple of years later, I think it was about a year later, I went to the Boston Freedom Rally, which is a big public display of disobedience where everyone comes out. They connect with cannabis. And as long as you're not doing anything too crazy, the cops just kind of look the other way.
0:18:00.0 RS: So I'm there and I hear this guy yelling, "Who wants to make butter with me?" And I go, I imagine he's talking about cannabis butter, so I go over to his tent and he's passing out these pamphlets of a basic eight week semester opening up right near my house. So a cannabis institute opening up five minutes from where I live. Now this is one of the first moments, Paul, that I had one of those like fuck yeses from a deep place in me that was way past my mind. Now I would describe it as intuition or my soul talking, heart talking, whatever. But I felt this pulled to say yes to it. And so here I am a broke college student. I go home and ask my dad, "Dad, could you help me get into the school?" And he goes, "I'll do one better, man. I'll pay for your tuition," because I was broke at that point, "And I'll go with you. So I'll buy a spot too." I think it was like 500 bucks.
0:18:45.0 RS: It wasn't anything too crazy. So we end up going there together. Now, my dad is not interacting with any cannabis, but he's just so excited about what I'm doing. He's always wanted to be a part of my world. When I used to go to death metal shows when I was 15, he would bring me and he must have had some hilarious experiences being there. Like what the hell are these kids doing? But so there we are in cannabis school. And so I knew right away, I'm like, this is what I want to do because I had had enough experience doing psychology, which is what my major was that I realized if I end up in this profession, I'm going to be wearing khakis the rest of my life in a fucking office building. And that does not sound fun to me whatsoever. And so my dad and I had a pep talk where after the first class, I was like so fired up and he was like, "Is this is what you wanna do?" And I was like, "Fuck, yeah, it's what I wanna do." And he's like, "All right, well, you gotta be the first one in, last one out, and you gotta ask them every day if they need help, yada, yada."
0:19:36.6 RS: So I did that. And I ended up interning for them. I ended up working for them. It was really fun, man. You know, back in 2011, right before... Or it was 2012 right before the medical bill passed, I'd be out at the commons passing up pamphlets, doing the activism work. So it was super fun. Met a lot of great people. And during this time, my father and I purchased a grow kit. It was now legal to grow. And so we did so. And the first harvest we grew together fucking sucked. It was terrible. Like for anyone listening who knows cultivating, I let a classic indica plant flower for like 18 weeks. So that will tell you all you need to know right there. And so he realized like, hey, this is something you want to do, I'll invest in this. This sounds fun. And so we buy the kit. We grow. It sucks. I get into the school. I start learning all about regenerative agriculture, Korean natural farming, mixing super soils and no till gardening, all this stuff. And I just fall in love with it, and at this point, now medical dispensaries were opening, because before this I think Boston was the first on the East Coast to open things.
0:20:38.6 RS: So the only plan for cannabis before this was like, go to Oaksterdam and work at a dispensary in California. And that seemed like a pretty big reach to me 'cause I have a lot of family out in Boston. I didn't see myself leaving anytime soon. So I end up going there, working for them. And during this time, I ended up going to EDC Las Vegas, which was my first music festival. And I was always big into electronic music right around 2010. This is the first festival I went to. And it was the first time I interacted with any other medicine besides cannabis, which was MDMA. So I'm out there and I had done a lot of research 'cause I was still paranoid that it was gonna put holes in your brain and all this stuff. But there was just something in me saying, "I'm curious about this." And so I decided to try it. And during this experience where I'm like in a crowd of 50,000 people, I feel this really strong heart connection to my father. Now, I figured that, you know, because I'm in Vegas and my dad and I always went to casinos when I was growing up, we'd go to Mohican Sun or Foxwoods.
0:21:34.7 RS: It was like a family event. And because I'm going to steak houses, which was his and I ritual, I figured, oh my God, I'm just missing my dad. No big deal. When I get home from that, nine days after I get home, I find out that he was diagnosed with terminal cancer. So he had brain cancer that... It was lung cancer that moved to the brain. And by the time they figured it out, it was already metastasized throughout his whole body. So here I am trying to have a relationship with my father who is now going to die. And he didn't want to be seen as a sick guy. I didn't want to see him as that. But yet, how do you just go around that gigantic elephant in the room? And so when we had gone to the school together, we had been presented with many people who had been curing their cancer with the help of RSO, Rick Simpson Oil, or FECO, Full-Extract Cannabis Oil. Now you'll notice I did not say curing their cancer with cannabis. I said curing their cancer with the help of RSO and FECO, aka cannabis. Because what I do not want people to walk away from this episode with is me or is thinking that they can live an unhealthy lifestyle and be stressed out and just cannabis will save the day for them 'cause that's not how it works.
0:22:38.8 RS: But there are PubMed studies out showing how THC kills cancer cells in mice and also how CBD inhibits their growth. And there's actually a lot more research out about that now if anyone wants to look into it. But so he decided not to take normal treatment, chemo and radiation, because he wanted this head of hair. He had a great head of hair and he wanted to die with his dignity. And so I had an opportunity in that moment. And the opportunity was, do I love my father for who he is and who he's always been, the amazing individual in my life that's raised me right, done all the right things and has always shown me love? Or do I decide to try to make him into the version of him that I think he should be so I can selfishly have him around longer? And is that even gonna work? Like if I try to get him to do all the things I think he should be doing. So I chose the first way because I realized that that was the only way I was ever gonna have a chance of having closure with his passing.
0:23:27.7 RS: And so after about two to three weeks, he started experiencing some pain. And so I started talking to him like, "Dad... ", 'cause at this point he still had not interacted with cannabis at all since like the 80s. So I was like, "Dad, we should really put you on RSO." And he was hesitant at first, but he was like, "Okay, let's do it." So we took our last harvest that we cultivated together and we turned it completely into RSO. And I started giving it to him. And of course, this is someone who hasn't connected with cannabis in years, like 20, 30 years. And now he's getting like the strongest form of cannabis on planet Earth. So I would sit with him to make sure that he didn't have any questions, that he was comfortable, things like that. And I thought that all I was doing was sitting for him. But what happened during that time is that I really saw the true power of cannabis as a connection medicine, because I got to connect with my father in ways that I had never connected with him before. I got to hear stories about his childhood that I had never heard before.
0:24:19.3 RS: I got to watch him have closure with his grandchildren, his other children, my mother, me, and his own mortality too, which was really important. We got to take the heaviness out of subjects like death. We got to talk about what happens after you die without this like air of hostility or challenge or any of the stuff that oftentimes comes along with someone's passing. And so during that time, I'd already realized how cannabis helped me connect to myself. But then when I saw this, I was like, "Wow, this is really powerful." And so my father ended up lasting a full year past the date that they had given him. And when he was getting his scans back, his tumors were still growing but they shrank and started growing at a much slower rate after the application of RSO. Now, again, correlation doesn't equal causation. But what I will say is that I do not know if I would have gotten that time with my father if it had not been for the RSO and the FECO. And so after he passed, I made it my mission to make cannabis my life.
0:25:13.0 RS: And I had no idea what that meant when I made the agreement with the cannabis plant. All I knew is that this plant had helped me in so many ways that I hadn't even asked for yet I had received from it. And so after he passed, I ended up getting into a dispensary. I worked there for five years with over 5000 medical patients, helping them with a range of different health issues, anything from cancer to PTSD to bulimia, anorexia, you name it, pretty much I faced it with every archetype of human too, librarian, police officer, fireman, old person, young person, student, professor, anyone you could imagine, I got to talk to in there. And so what I realized was that here is this plant that every archetype of individual is interacting with, but most people just have no idea how to interact with it in a way that's actually gonna allow them to have more quality of life and not become dependent on it. And so at a certain point, that company got taken over by a corporation and it started smelling like khakis in there real quick, to bring back the khakis joke.
0:26:11.2 RS: And so I realized, I was like, I feel it's time to move on. And so through a series of very fortunate events, through another MDMA ceremony in Las Vegas, I don't know what it is about Las Vegas and MDMA, but it's like epiphanies every time for me, which is the weirdest thing, 'cause you don't expect it to happen somewhere like that. And that's probably why it does happen, 'cause you're not expecting it. And so what happened was my girlfriend and I went through, I can get into the story more in detail if you want, 'cause it is pretty funny, but we went through an experience where I got to actually watch her have a very low emotion where she was like really anxious and really concerned that she wasn't gonna be able to get the job that she was doing done on time because we had stayed out too late partying and just having fun. And so in that moment, I connected with her 'cause I was still on MDMA, of course. So I connected with her and I realized in that moment, "Oh shit, what is this feeling?"
0:27:02.4 RS: I said again, "Oh shit, what is feeling?" 'Cause I realized I hadn't felt anything in so long and this is all like happening, I'm like, "What is this?" And I was like, "Is this what emotion is?" And then I started realizing, holy shit, I've been numbing myself out with cannabis since probably even before my father passed, but especially since he passed. And I thought I had greed, I thought I had done all the right things 'cause here I am drinking all the right water, doing check, education, I'm very aware of self-development and all of this stuff. I had only been interacting with cannabis once per night with a bowl through a mighty vaporizer that I grew myself organically. Like all the things were hit in terms of logic and in terms of like 3D reality stuff, if you will. But what I realized in that moment was the degree to which my ego had tried to "protect me" by interacting with cannabis because what would happen was I would go to this job that was no longer in alignment with me. I would get all the inspiration, motivation, and frustration necessary to make a change throughout the day.
0:28:01.0 RS: And then I would get home and numb out with cannabis and feel content and calm. And then I would go back the next day and this cycle just kept going. And so when I realized this, I decided, okay, I'm gonna stop interacting with cannabis. Huge identity shift for me. So I go home and I take a three month break, just cold turkey. And it actually wasn't too challenging whatsoever because I had made my mind up. And at that point I thought cannabis did this to me. Cue victim mentality. After about a month, another part of this epiphany happened where I realized, oh shit, this has nothing to do with cannabis. This is me trying to escape the feelings of discomfort that I'm living in by something that's providing me feelings of comfort. Now this thing could have easily been porn, alcohol, tobacco, whatever. It just happened to be cannabis for me. But there's a direct through line here to a lot of different people becoming dependent on things. What I choose to believe is that it's not cannabis or any of these things objectively that are addictive, it's the feeling of wanting to get out of discomfort that is addictive and we'll find whatever it takes to get ourselves back in comfort if we're not aware of it.
0:29:03.9 RS: And so after about a month I realized, oh, this is a me thing. This has nothing to do with cannabis. And so once I had really worked through a lot of these emotions, I left the job, I started the podcast, I started my business, I got into coaching. All this stuff happened over three months. Fucking crazy 'cause I wasn't numbing out anymore. After that, I decided to start sitting with cannabis again, but I did so in a much more intentional way. And I made sure that I created the structure and discipline practice around cannabis that was sustainable and that I wasn't gonna lie to myself anymore. I wasn't gonna tell myself that for me that I could interact with cannabis every day and to be fine again just because I had taken this three month break. So what I started doing was creating intention, creating ceremony and integrating my experiences. And what that looks like for me even to this day is interacting with cannabis on Saturday and Sundays specifically to integrate what challenges came up for me in the previous week in my sobriety period. So Monday through Friday, I'm working, I'm doing podcasts, all the stuff, my calendar is booked.
0:30:00.8 RS: So that's the time I'm most prone to want to numb out. So I keep track in my journal of all the things that trigger me, all the things that I feel uncomfortable with, all the things I'm scared of. And then when I interact with cannabis, I choose to go directly into those things now, to continue breaking that pattern I had to numb out with it. So rather than tuning out with it, I'm now tuning in with it. And so through that journey I ended up meeting individuals like Paul Chek, Aubrey Marcus, and they were all telling me like, "Dude, you gotta make a program about this." And I was still like, "No, I don't know. I'm a coach now. You know, it's not what I'm doing anymore." And I still loved, of course, growing and all these things. I've been growing for, I think, 12 years now. And so after a while, especially after Paul talked to me about it and was like, "Listen, dude, you should really think about making a program of this," I decided to ask myself, "Okay, what if I made a program with this?"
0:30:47.5 RS: And as soon as I asked what if, all the downloads started coming. And I was like, "Oh shit." And me and my business partner built out the skeleton of this in like two days. And then it took us about four months to build it out. But that's where Connect with Cannabis was born. And now we've had... We're just about to start group 10 and group 11 on December 1st. And it's been a fucking blast allowing people to transform their own relationship to the plant and start using it as a tool to optimize their lives and learn how to do that for their clients. Because let's face it, Paul, more and more people are connecting with this medicine, especially with federal legalization on the horizon, yet there's no education out there on it. And the education out there is simply cannabinoid science, endocannabinoid science rather, terpenes, all the things that are great, but they don't give any awareness to emotions, your mental state, your mental health, spiritual health, any of these things. And so I think a lot of people are doing more harm than good right now, yet they're not even aware of it. And that's what I've seen a lot in working with over 1000 clients, both in my one-on-one practice and now with Connect with Cannabis as well. So it's been fascinating, man. What a journey. [chuckle]
0:31:49.3 PA: Thank you.
0:31:49.6 RS: You're welcome.
0:31:50.4 PA: Wow. We covered like a lifetime.
0:31:53.9 RS: Yeah, man.
0:31:54.9 PA: That was a...
0:31:55.5 RS: Feels like 10.
0:31:57.2 PA: I took a few notes around, you know, the deconditioning process of first working with cannabis. One thing I wanted to sort of circle back on and just hear a little bit more about before we go. I do wanna talk a little bit about cannabis as a psychedelic and sort of the role of intention and maybe even how cannabis as a psychedelic compares to, let's say, psilocybin or some of these other classic psychedelics. But one thing you mentioned which I really resonate with is, you started working with cannabis initially because you had GAD, generalized anxiety disorder. And what I'm hearing is it was an ally to help with that in a significant way. And then there was sort of this relationship that was built with it until you reached a point where it clearly was no longer an ally. At that point you were able to step back, reframe your relationship and reenter it with a much more intentional purpose.
0:32:50.8 PA: So I'm just curious, sort of like, what did cannabis teach you about the root of that anxiety disorder and how did taking time off and then coming back into it help you to really address and integrate that anxiety from an energetic perspective? 'Cause the way that you show up now is you're very focused, you're very motivated. Like you said, Monday through Friday, it's very much get shit done. So clearly you found a way to allow for that energy and not necessarily push it away or pathologize it, but instead integrate it and make it an ally. So I'd just love to hear a little bit more about that process, that personal process.
0:33:29.0 RS: Yeah, great question, man. So what cannabis taught me about my anxiety was to love it and to own it as an aspect of me yet not let it own me, to own it, not let it on me is the way I would say it. And so what I mean by that is that anxiety served me in a lot of places in my life and cannabis helped me see this. Like part of the reason why I was so careful to interact with other psychedelics and to do so in healthy manners and not mix them with alcohol and all these things was because of a little bit of anxiety about it. What's gonna happen, right? But if I let that anxiety run and I think that I am anxiety or I am anxious, not I am experiencing anxiety, that's when it became a really slippery slope and cannabis helped me detach enough from it to see it as almost another ally in my life. Something that could help me if I chose to view it in that way. And it taught me a lot about perspective as well, because here I was getting diagnosed and getting put into this little tiny box of what people with anxiety can do.
0:34:26.0 RS: And here I am podcasting and doing stuff that would terrify me and still does a little bit. But at the same time, I realized that anxiety is part of the human experience, at least for me. And I think most people deal with some sort of anxiety, whether or not I actually have anxiety or whatever the medical model would say. For me, it was just another flavor that someone put the story of anxiety on. So what was it? It was up-regulation. So as I got distanced from it, I started realizing, wow, I like this feeling. And then later on, after I took my break and came back, I started realizing, wow, you know, I get this with meditating, I get this with breath work where I get this so many other things, so what ended up happening when I started integrating this is that I realized that cannabis was actually looking to teach me how to do this on my own yet I just kept using it as a pacifier to teach me the same lesson over and over, which was I can't get myself out of anxiety, so let me use the plant to do it.
0:35:18.4 RS: And so once I started realizing that, I started going, "Okay, cannabis. I'm ready to actually learn how to bring this awareness and this feeling that you're giving me of contentment and this feeling of being able to move past anxiety into my day to day life." Because here's the thing. I didn't want to feel dependent on a plant or anything being the thing I needed to get through anxiety. Because then when I thought about traveling internationally, it was like, oh, my God, the first thought was, "How am I gonna find cannabis?" And I didn't like that. I don't wanna feel tethered to anything. And I imagine no one listening to this does. Part of having a healthy dynamic with anything in life, including individuals, but also plants and anything like this is being able to take breaks from it, 'cause like Paul Chek says, anything you can't take three days off of owns you. And that is not a power couple dynamic, that's a codependent relationship. And when you're in a codependent relationship, whether it be with another individual, a plant, etcetera, you're never gonna really be able to experience the full power of that person, plant, etcetera, because you're dependent on it.
0:36:19.9 RS: And so what I choose to believe is that for me anyway, I'll make it more personal, cannabis was not showing me the full totality of what was possible because what I believe is that it didn't know I could handle it. So there's like levels to it that I've realized. Like as I started taking more ownership and doing more inner work and started asking better questions and making intentions and creating the space to be able to actually go through things, so much more came out and we can dive into that too of what came out. But yeah, that's a little bit of the answer to what question you were asking.
0:36:50.4 PA: I've had a very similar experience. I started smoking... There's a lot of parallels between us. We're probably even about the... How old are you? 31, 32?
0:36:58.6 RS: 31, 31. Yep.
0:37:00.1 PA: Yeah, I'm 32. So we're about the same age as well. I started smoking cannabis when I was 16 here and there, in college a little bit more. My early 20s, not so much. I was traveling a bunch. I was in Turkey for a year. I didn't smoke any cannabis when I was there. I was in Thailand with Kyle, our mutual friend, for about a year. On the weekend we would enjoy like a small joint together, so it was here and there, it was once or twice a week, if that, usually more like once or twice a month. And then when I was 26 I moved to New York city. And as anyone who's listening to this knows the intensity of New York city, I'm from the Midwest, I'm very sensitive, it was a lot for my nervous system. And so I started to get into this habit of working with cannabis quite a bit, I think, to manage the anxiety of living in New York. And from mid 2017 until early 2022 I got into a bit of a rut where initially the cannabis was helpful to manage and deal with the anxiety, and it was also helpful early on, too, for me to manage social anxiety in particular and deal with social anxiety.
0:38:06.7 PA: But then as I got deeper and deeper into it, I came to realize that, oh, it's no longer the thing that's helping, it's actually the thing that's harming. And so part of my decision to sort of pull out of cannabis and really, you know, I think my my ideal is to only work with it within sort of this intentional ceremonial way. I find that if I use it in any sort of recreational format, it tends to be a bit of a slippery slope. And so what I came back to was like, oh, actually stepping, kind of like what you did, stepping away from cannabis, having some spaciousness from it, that allows me to be more on top of things, if you will, to be more open. My mood stability is way more centered than when I am consistently working with it. And so now I feel like, oh, I have that choice. It's not necessarily a codependent relationship. And that choice really has to be intentional around cannabis as a psychedelic. And so that's really the next sort of opener that I want to welcome into the conversation is, this is a psychedelic podcast. We talk a lot about psychedelics within the podcast, psilocybin, ayahuasca, MDMA, ketamine. Even the definition of psychedelic is very flexible, we could say.
0:39:18.4 PA: And there is quite a discussion in the psychedelic community around, is cannabis a psychedelic or not? And so I'd love just to hear you talk a little bit about this orientation of cannabis as a psychedelic. Is it a psychedelic? If it is a psychedelic, how do we determine what a psychedelic is and how can it have psychedelic-like properties for folks who are maybe interested in working with it?
0:39:42.9 RS: Yeah, I firmly believe that cannabis is a psychedelic. And for anyone who's eaten a strong edible, you know the potential of what cannabis can do. It's just that for most people, most people that I tell this to when they say no, are daily users. And so they haven't taken a break in a long time. And so cannabis for them is like, pretty much normal, right? It's not much difference. But if you're taking these regular breaks, cannabis gets very strong. And for me, the definition of a psychedelic that I've heard and really agree with is a substance or otherwise something that produces hallucinations. And so for me, when I'm closing my eyes on a strong edible, or even if I've taken a month off or something like that, 'cause I still do that pretty frequently, and then I connect with an inhalation method, I'm seeing fractals, I'm seeing sacred geometry, I'm seeing these things. And so for me, cannabis has been a psychedelic for years. And it, for me, like, what I really think the benefit of seeing cannabis as a psychedelic is, what it really is for me is that a lot of psychedelics are fantastic.
0:40:47.9 RS: Like I've interacted with many different ones, and they're all great for their own reasons. But a lot of them send you so far out that it takes you a very long time to make sense out of that experience. And for most of us, we don't have the luxury of being able to take five weeks off of our life, go to the jungle, and really give that integration period, which is where we actually take the experience and route it into our day to day life. We don't have the ability to really give it that much time. Whereas with cannabis, we're only going a little bit far out. And we can go farther out, of course, with stronger doses. But it connects us more to the human experience. Because someone could, for instance, and I've actually had experiences like this, connect with cannabis, fold laundry, and start realizing, wow, I'm gonna change my story of why I have to fold laundry, have to, drama language and pressure language.
0:41:36.2 RS: And so for me, like in this scenario, I realized that normally I'm going through my day and I'm folding my laundry and I'm like, "Oh, this is annoying," but when I connected with cannabis, I realized, oh, if I reframe why I do laundry from just having to do it to being a story of, oh, I fold my laundry because I love myself and it really means a lot to me when I wake up, and all of my clothes are folded and put away and I know that I can go about my day without worrying about that one extra thing, all of a sudden I realized, whoa, this medicine can help me connect to even the most "mundane" aspects of my life, taking the trash out, doing laundry, etcetera.
0:42:11.1 RS: Now I'm not saying that you should interact with cannabis every time to get that lesson. For me I took that and then I integrated it. And now when I'm doing laundry or something, I noticed those thoughts coming up like, how much longer? How long is this gonna take? What am I doing next? I remind myself, hey, I'm giving myself an act of self love here. And so for me, that's why I truly believe cannabis to be a psychedelic. And some of the results I've gotten with it. And for people that are looking to make cannabis psychedelic, there's a couple different ways to do it.
0:42:37.0 RS: So if you're a fan of inhalation methods, you can do something that Daniel McQueen calls the Alchemy Blend, I've been calling salads for years, which is you take an indica, a hybrid and a sativa. And we can get into the whole indica hybrid sativa thing in a second too. But you take a classic indica, classic hybrid and classic sativa, and you mix them together. So what this is gonna do is that for any of your listeners that know cannabis, you know that sativas have the potential to up-regulate the nervous system and create "anxiety" and things like that if you're already up-regulated. And so that is because they're high in Delta-9 THC and low in CBD. So if you take that sativa and you combine it with a hybrid that has a really good amount of CBD and some other secondary terpenes too that are really beautiful, and then you combine that with an indica, which has even more CBD, maybe some CBN, usually all of them have CBG of some level, you mix all these together, and now you have everything balancing each other out. So you have the CBD to balance out the THC, you have the, let's say myrcene to get you nice and relaxed, you have the terpinolene or limonene to get you euphoric, you have everything working synergistically in this way, that really produces this beautiful psychedelic effect.
0:43:47.6 RS: Now the other thing is that with cannabis, especially if you're someone who's been using cannabis a lot, cannabis is more subtle. And so it doesn't mean that you can take this Alchemy Blend and do something like go to a concert and expect to have a psychedelic experience, maybe, but I don't know. For me, when I'm looking to have a full on psychedelic experience with it, I'm putting a blindfold on, maybe some binaural beats, I'm laying down after I've ingested maybe two bowls of cannabis, and I'm allowing that experience to ride out. And so for me, that's how I can take an inhalation method to make it more psychedelic. For an edible method I always recommend full spectrum edibles rather than going for just pure THC for the reasons that I already listed, you don't wanna up-regulate your nervous system so much that you end up receiving "anxiety or paranoia". Now at the end of the day, those things are already living within you if they come up, it's just cannabis illuminates them, but I know for a lot of people that can be challenging, especially if you don't have the tools and the skill set handy to actually deal with them.
0:44:44.7 RS: So I always like to practice harm reduction, especially with cannabis. And so that's why I say go low and slow, you can always take more but it's hard to reverse it once you've already gone down that rabbit hole. So take a full spectrum edible. What I recommend highly is if you're someone who's really serious about this, going to either get an epigenetic or a DNA test to figure out your predispositions and your liver metabolizing rate for cannabis. So for me, even when I was a daily user, a 15 or 20 milligram edible would blast me. Now the reason for that is because I'm a slow metabolizer for THC, I found that out after I got my epigenetic test through my buddy Len May who I believe his company is Endo Health USA. So great little resource for people if they really want to make sure that they're not like overdosing themselves or things like that, 'cause again, at the end of the day, what I really want people to do is have positive experiences with cannabis. Now, it does not mean without challenge, right? It's okay to face a challenge, but I don't want anyone to come out of these experiences with a small T trauma, because they saw too much, they weren't ready for it, and they pushed themselves too far just because they didn't know any better, and so one of my main intentions is just to bring awareness to this.
0:45:50.3 RS: And with cannabis being a psychedelic, I think it's so important that we practice this harm reduction, because we're gonna be the people out there actually educating people on these things, all of us that are listening to the show that are psychedelic proponents, it's up to us to make sure that we continue destigmatizing these medicines. And that starts and ends really with education and integration, of course.
0:46:09.9 PA: Start low and go slow is always something that I often emphasize in our educational materials as it relates to psilocybin, being able to micro dose, first get a sense, a calibration, a relationship with the medicine, the plant, the ally, whatever it is that you wanna call it, and I feel like I think that's great advice and perspective with cannabis as well, that you can do as low as one milligram for cannabis or you can do two and a half milligrams for cannabis or hell, you can even start with a potent CBD oil. And one of my favorites is HempLucid. It's a phenomenal CBD oil. It's really, really good CBD oil. And so I think that's a really great on ramp because I am glad that you mentioned Endo Health USA in terms of a test. But at the end of the day, a majority of people are not gonna go and actually test themselves.
0:46:57.5 RS: Exactly.
0:47:00.2 PA: So the easiest way is to just get a sense of that calibration and just sort of go from there.
0:47:04.8 RS: 100%. And...
0:47:08.1 PA: One bonus question that I have, Ryan. Oops, go ahead. Sorry, we have a bit of...
0:47:13.1 RS: Yeah, yeah, no worries, no worries. So what I was gonna say too is with psychedelics, and especially cannabis too, you can interact with them in like a psycholytic method, aka like a smaller dose, or you can go full on psychedelic. So with cannabis, you were mentioning the CBD oil, there is psychoactive properties that are not intoxicating with cannabis, like CBD, like CBG, like... What are some other ones? Like THCV etcetera. But the intoxicating...
0:47:39.7 PA: CBN.
0:47:41.4 RS: CBN, exactly. But the intoxicating ones are more like Delta-9 THC, THCP, etcetera. And so you can get a lot of the benefits that we're talking about here both healthwise and also like more the spiritual side with things like CBD oil. It's just that they're more subtle. And so like the whole laying down approach really works for me when I'm interacting with the CBD oil for like, not a psychedelic journey in that respect, but some type of deep inner work journey. So I wanted to throw that in as a caveat.
0:48:06.9 PA: Okay, now for the bonus question, so you're talking about inhalation, which means smoking, you've talked about vaping, you've talked about edibles, you probably know my mischievous side is about to come out, have you ever boofed cannabis?
0:48:25.9 RS: Dude, kudos to you for being the first person that's ever asked me this. Yes, I have actually, I did it one time. And I'll tell you why. So I was traveling a lot, and it wasn't full on cannabis that I boofed. And it's funny that you know the term boof too, that tells me a lot about you, Paul, that we know each other in some hilarious ways. So yeah, there's a product called the Sandman, and I think it might be a couple other things too. It's from MitoZen, the same company that makes the Zen mist, the meditation mist, which is fucking awesome.
0:49:01.0 PA: It's John Lieurance, we've had John on the podcast before and he's a good friend. And they have Zen mist and a bunch of other stuff. So you took Sandman, of course this all comes back to John, all the boofing always comes back to John.
0:49:12.0 RS: Yes, yes. Well, I heard Ben Greenfield talking about this, I was like, "If Ben Greenfield's boofing, then why not?" So they had like some 300 milligram, it was a NeuroDiol mixed with Sandman and something else. It was their travel essentials pack. And I was traveling a lot. I was actually going out to do Paul Chek's podcast, and I wanted to be fully rested and flying messes me up. So I was going from Boston to San Diego. So that six hour flight, brutal. And so I was like, you know what, fuck it, I'm gonna try it. So I did a suppository. And it was very interesting, like, I didn't notice anything that made me be like, this is the way I'm gonna keep doing this. But it was interesting. I definitely felt like full on relaxation. Now again, NeuroDiol is not intoxicating, it's psychoactive. But it did definitely make me sleep amazing.
0:49:56.0 RS: It has melatonin there too, this particular product they were using. But yes, I have boofed it. It was a hilarious venture for me, because here I was putting cannabis in my butt and never thought I'd do that before. So life is a wild trip. But when I worked at the dispensary, there were many people who were doing that methodology for rectal cancer. And it was working out fantastic for them. And so I think there's many different reasons why one might boof cannabis. But at the end of the day, there are some like real reasons why someone would choose to do that. And I think for rectal cancer/any intestinal type thing, like IBS even, it can work really well, because of course, through the anus things are absorbed without the liver and stuff. And so it can definitely be a really good methodology for people that are suffering with conditions like those.
0:50:41.7 PA: Just personally, I've never done it. I've done the Sandman before with the NeuroDiol. I've never done THC in particular in terms of the psychoactive with ketamine. I believe... I haven't told the story in the podcast, but I've boofed. I have told the story in the podcast, I did ketamine rectally as part of a bodywork session with a bodyworker out in California. And then I've also, at some point, I boofed, I did an MDA suppository in combination with a psilocybin extract and a ketamine lozenge, which was a really interesting combination. So I think for better... You know, unfortunately, rectal stuff is stigmatized to some degree, there is a different felt experience whenever I have done things rectally compared to ingestion or smoking or insufflation, and my experience of it is it's typically just a little bit more embodied. So when I eat an edible, for example, when I eat an edible, I feel a little bit more in my body than just when I smoke, 'cause when I'm smoking cannabis, a lot of it just sort of goes to my head, so to say, and I feel like sort of a boofing or a rectal would just get it into even those lower root chakras, which could be really great with something like bodywork, for example...
0:51:55.3 RS: Yes.
0:51:56.3 PA: Or it could be even great for a ceremony with breathwork, as a way to keep you really, really rooted and grounded so you don't start to like disassociate or go into kind of like a spin out of some sort with cannabis.
0:52:06.8 RS: Yeah, one thing that's really interesting, too, is you mentioned that obviously things are different depending on what method of ingestion we use. And one thing I wanted to throw in as a caveat is that a lot of people don't realize with edible cannabis that when you eat cannabis versus inhaling it, Delta-9 THC gets converted into a totally different cannabinoid called 11-Hydroxy-THC, which is about four to seven times more antagonizing on CB1 receptors, then Delta-9 THC. And so for a lot of people, that's why for me, cannabis hit me so hard when I was ingesting it, that plus the slower liver metabolization. And so, a lot of people don't know that and they end up getting themselves into a really sticky situation. But a cool little thing I learned that I've really put into practice is that indica is really good for me for the first three centers, first three chakra centers, hybrids are really good for the heart chakra. And then sativa is really good for the upper three chakras. So if you make that blend, once again, it's activating all the chakras. And there's a really cool synergistic effect that happens there. So I wanted to throw that in there too.
0:53:13.0 PA: And that's a really great transition to the next point, 'cause the next thing that I was gonna bring up is this sort of sativa indica, there has been some research that has come out as of late saying, hey, you know, there actually is no difference between sativa and indica. This is just sort of a marketing ploy to make you buy more cannabis, other people like yourself are saying, no, there really is a significant difference between sativa and indica and here's why. So I'd love if you could just give us sort of the overview of sativa versus indica, you know, always a blend for ceremony, are there different types of blends that you'll want to use pending the type of ceremony that you want to have. So for example, if you do want to do more embodiment and somatic work, is it better to have more of an indica? If you wanna do more sort of creative, innovative, visionary work, is it better to have sativa? How do you sort of look at that, the orchestration of those blends and the dynamic?
0:54:08.4 RS: Yeah, great question. So I'm a firm believer too that indica sativa hybrid is kind of a silly myth. Now I refer to it because people understand what I'm talking about when I say it. But normally, when I'm referring to indica hybrid sativa, I'm only using those to refer to a plant's growth structure. So if a plant's growing short and stout, I say, oh, that grows like an indica. If it's growing more like kind of in the middle, it's a hybrid. If it's growing more tall and lanky, it's a sativa. But at the end of the day, everything is a hybrid right now. You know, it's really hard to find heirloom or landrace strains. They are out there. There are some great companies like ACE Seeds that are preserving these genetics. But everything is being hybridized to death. And there's a whole rabbit hole we can go down of why that's so frustrating to me, and also why cannabis has lost some of its psychedelic properties since this hybridization has happened, because everyone's so obsessed with Delta-9 THC. And so a lot of the other minor cannabinoids are getting left out of the equation, being bred out.
0:55:00.2 RS: But at the end of the day, what I choose to tell people is that it's really based on terpenes, they're gonna tell you if something's more relaxing, more stimulating, more energizing, more euphoric, etcetera. So I think of cannabinoids as your gas and brake pedal. So if you have a high amount of Delta-9 THC, you know it's gonna be strong, but in what direction, right? And so terpenes are your steering wheel in this metaphorical car analogy. And so they're gonna tell you what direction that strong or that weak feeling is going to be in. So if you see terpenes that are like myrcene and linalool, those are classically related to more indica type plants, and they're gonna be relaxing, more relieving, great for body work, great for stillness meditation, even some breathwork too if you like some down regulatory styles, those are when I would use those. If you're seeing more like, say, limonene, limonene is pretty often in like a pretty even hybrid, usually leaning a little bit sativa, but it can be a little chatty, a little euphoria, but it's not gonna be like super stimulating.
0:56:00.9 RS: If you're seeing things like terpinolene and pinene, for instance, you know, that's gonna be very energizing, especially terpinolene, it's gonna be a very energizing experience. Now where you would use that is maybe if you're having a conversation with a friend or romantic partner, maybe to spice up sex, limonene is actually a great terpene for sex. So I wanted to say that 'cause I imagine listeners will appreciate that. So, also like walking, more intense styles of breathwork, which by the way, cannabis does enhance breath work to the degree because cannabis produces melatonin in the brain, melatonin of course being a precursor to endogenous DMT. So do with that information what you will, just forewarning, it can be very strong. But that being said, hybrids, the only one I didn't really go over why I would use those, those are good for like bodywork, if I'm going to be communicating with the bodyworker. So like, if I'm going out completely and just having like Reiki done or something where there's not gonna be a conversation, I'll maybe go classic indica, myrcene and linalool, etcetera, terpenes.
0:56:57.0 RS: If I'm going to be having some type of dialogue with the practitioner, that might be where I do a hybrid. So I'm still in my body. Yeah, I can still communicate a little bit. And then usually sativas for me are when I'm looking to get highdeas and spark a source of inspiration to me. If I'm looking to have a great conversation, if I am looking to go see some live music, anything like that, that's where a sativa would be really good for me. That being said, just always be aware that like with sativas, again, they can bring out these up-regulated symptoms of anxiety, paranoia, etcetera. That's why I do like the blends, I usually use some type of blend. I don't always do like a 33,33,33. Normally, like I said, I interact with cannabis on weekends, at night. So normally I'm using a mixture of a strain I have called Kush Mints mixed with Strawpicanna. So Kush Mints, classic indica, Strawpicanna, classic hybrid, that's normally where I stick. Now, if I am, let's say where I'm at right now, down in Virginia, the lake house, and someone here is like, "Hey, do you want to go on a nighttime walk?"
0:57:58.2 RS: And it's like a Saturday night or something, I'm like, sure, let's interact with some Jellysickle, make an intention on that to have a stimulating conversation and get some highdeas and go out and journey. And so these are the examples that I give. And of course, it's up to anyone to decide how they want to interact with cannabis and which thing works for them and what, you know, container. But that's how I use them, and how I feel they can strengthen the experiences that I mentioned, like breathwork, bodywork, etcetera.
0:58:25.3 PA: Awesome. So we've covered for a 50... I mean, we're at 52 minutes now, we've covered a ton of information and context around your story, cannabis is a psychedelic, sativa versus indica, the inhalation versus edibles versus boofing, this is sort of like, for those who are interested in cannabis as a psychedelic, I think this is gonna be a great resource to continue to come back to. And for those listening at home, let's say, this is now piquing their curiosity, they're interested in it, they're curious about it, they might want to try it themselves. You know, someone is looking to work with cannabis in an intentional way, what's the best way to get started? How do they potentially find a guide or a facilitator who can help support them in that? Just provide some of those bare bones in terms of, okay, like, I get the information, I get the potential power and potency of it. Now what?
0:59:20.1 RS: Yeah. Great question. So the first thing comes down to your why. Why are you looking to connect with the plant? 'Cause that's gonna tell you a lot about what intentions you're gonna make, right? And of course I continue to ask myself why almost every session. But the first thing is asking why. The second thing is making sure that your house is in order. And by house in order I mean like, are you drinking clean water? Are you eating enough food that's right for you and your body type and your diet? Are you getting enough sleep? Because all of these things are gonna play out in terms of your overall experience. So at the dispensary, I would have people come in a lot that are like, "I'm not getting effects from this." And I'm like, "Well, what does your lifestyle look like?" "Well, I'm drinking five Dunkin Donuts iced coffees every day. I'm starting my day with a Monster. I'm sleeping like six hours a night. I hate my job. I don't like my partnership." I'm like, "Well, dude, what do you... Like cannabis can't fix everything for you. You know what I mean? Like, you're gonna have to put something in here." So I always tell people like, get your house in order, make sure that you're fit for connecting with the plant, because at the end of the day, everything is an energetic exchange.
1:00:21.2 RS: And cannabis being an energetic plant and a spirit ally, it can work in many different ways. And especially if our house is in order, it's gonna be able to access more because like Aldous Huxley said, you're clearing the doors of perception so that the plant can actually help you go farther. Now, again, the other thing too is, I think a lot of people get the... I don't even know how people get this, but I got it, so I ended up believing that healing had to be hard. And whether or not you're choosing to heal with cannabis, that might be a woo woo term, but for me I was looking for healing. And so I ended up going into it projecting my own belief of what healing had to be, which was it had to be hard, it had to be heavy, it had to be sorrow, and Hamilton Souther, good buddy of mine, he says something very similar to what I say, which is, he's like, "Dude, every time I connect with ayahuasca, cannabis, etcetera, I ask for healing the most gentle, loving and caressing ways, because I'm not a fan of this whole healing has to be hard thing.
1:01:16.8 RS: It can be challenging, but it doesn't have to be hard and heavy and all these things." So I would say start with your why, get your house in order, make sure you're fit for the plant to be able to work with you. And then from there, in terms of finding practitioners, that's what we specialize in, we have a 12-week certification program, we're certifying people all the time. If you're someone who is interested in that, definitely reach out to me, I can let you know where to find me.
1:01:37.6 RS: But if you're someone who's like, "Hey, man, I'm not really looking to go through this, I'm not looking to be a coach," there's a couple different things I'd say. Number one, our program is meant for coaches, facilitators, guides, etcetera, but if you're someone out there listening who's like, "I don't wanna do that," well think about it this way, this is a system that professional coaches are using with their clients to get very high quality results. And so if you're someone who doesn't want to be a coach, you can choose to go through this program and gain a skill set that professionals are using with their clients. And so you'll be able to get a lot of value for your own journey. And then if you're someone who's like, "Listen, man, I don't want to do a program, I just want to get help from someone," we have a list of facilitators we're putting together right now, you can reach out to me, tell me what area you're in and I'll recommend one of our alumni that's gone through the program. And that can be a great way to either meet them on Zoom or meet them in person and allow them to actually guide you through an experience.
1:02:24.1 RS: And they're gonna meet with you and ask you what your goals are, how much you've interacted with cannabis for and make sure you'll have a medical intake form you'll probably fill out with them. And these types of things as well, because we want to make sure that, you know, if you do have a predisposition to schizophrenia or psychosis that we know that because it's not that cannabis can never work for you, it's that you probably want to stay away from Delta-9 THC and the more intoxicating components of cannabis if you do have predispositions to those things, which those tests I mentioned before can show. It's specifically a mutation of the AKT1 gene that is responsible for that predisposition. So this is where science can actually help us out a lot. I mean, science is great, helps in a lot of areas. But I would say that's like the foundation for getting started with this work, whether you're looking to do this professionally, looking to do it for yourself, or just looking to try it out. And we also have a conscious cannabis guide that I'll give you for the show notes that if you're somebody who's like, "Yeah, I'm interested in what this guy is saying, I'll try it out."
1:03:15.9 RS: Download this, this will give you a lot to work with. And if you have any questions on it, anyone, reach out to me. I love answering questions. This is like my ultimate passion in life. And so please reach out. I'm happy to give any information. And then we also have The Ceremony Circle too, which is our free Facebook groups, you can hop in there. You can... You know, we're always in there Wednesdays at 7:00 PM Eastern. I'm in there with a live, our Zoom call every week. That's a great place to come out, just test the water, see what we're all about, get some information, get your questions answered. And then when you're ready, you can pull the trigger and hop into Connect with Cannabis. And we have Grow with Cannabis coming out too, which is a 17-week self guided course to teach you how to grow the highest quality cannabis while learning how to create nature in your own home or in your own garden with Korean natural farming, regenerative agriculture, and a lot of things that you'll be able to walk away with and also learn how to grow your own food too, which is really important at this time in history.
1:04:04.1 PA: Just to recap, 'cause I think you just dropped a ton of awesome knowledge and practical bombs in terms of assets. So in terms of, you know, people are interested, first asking why, then really reviewing your lifestyle. After that, settling into this sort of understanding that healing doesn't necessarily have to be hard. Ryan is putting together a list of practitioners in different cities that have gone through his training program that you could potentially work with. If you are a practitioner yourself, they do have a 12-week certification program. So you can actually start to work with people hands on in this way. They have a conscious cannabis guide, which Ryan will share with us and we will link to in the show notes if you want to check out the conscious cannabis guide. They have a Facebook group, The Ceremony Circle. And then finally, they're rolling out a 17-week course called Grow with Cannabis if you want to learn how to grow your own medicine. Anything else Ryan in terms of places to point people or other resources that they should check out on the back end of this episode?
1:05:06.3 RS: Yeah, man. So I have two podcasts. You've been a guest on This One Time On Psychedelics. We had a friggin' blast. And so the first one is highly optimized, which is a classic hero's journey podcast showcasing conscious leaders living a life beat to their own drum. If you need a good pep in your step in the morning, I'd recommend that one. If you're ready to dive down the rabbit hole and hear not only people's experiences with psychedelics but what they've been able to create from that place and who they've become as a result of those experiences, the This One Time On Psychedelics podcast is for you. And also, we have the website highlyoptimized.me, so you can hop over there and dive into a lot of our different work. We have the whole explanation of the program once again in there too. So I think those are the best places to find me, man.
1:05:48.4 PA: Perfect. Well, it's been an honor. Thanks for coming on today and jamming and telling us your story and going into everything about cannabis as a psychedelic. We'll link out to all of this in the show notes. And listeners, if you do have any other questions, make sure to reach out to Ryan on Instagram. What's your social handles so people know how to find you?
1:06:04.4 RS: Yeah, it's the one thing I forgot. So @therealryansprague is my personal profile. I'm on there all the time. Best and easiest way to reach me. And then we have the business profile too, @highly.optimized, where if you like the tips I was giving today, we're putting out tons of new stuff on there all the time. So come hang out with us. Come talk to us. We love it.
1:06:20.8 PA: Thanks, Ryan.
1:06:22.7 RS: Absolutely, man. Thank you.
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