Kanna Unveiled: Microdosing, Formulations, & Therapeutic Potential


Episode 225

Ryan Latreille

Kanna continues to rise in prominence within the psychedelic community and beyond. On this episode of The Psychedelic Podcast, Paul F. Austin welcomes Ryan Latreille, Founder of Kanna Extract and Hearthstone Collective, to dive deeper into what makes kanna so special, and how to work with it safely and responsibly.

Ryan unravels the secrets of kanna’s alkaloids that lend to its unique effects on mood and energy. From historical cosmologies to modern applications, Ryan and Paul explore the common pairings with kanna, from cannabis to psilocybin. Lastly, Ryan sheds his expertise on sourcing the safest, most effective, and ethical kanna possible.

This episode explores the intersection of culture, spirituality, and human transformation through the lens of kanna's potent effects.

Ryan Latreille:

Ryan Latreille founded Kanna Extract Co., Hearthstone Collective, and Flow Labs. With over a decade of expertise in mushrooms and plant medicines, he’s dedicated to offering solutions that support mental and emotional well-being. From providing premium kanna extracts to designing innovative nutraceutical products, Ryan is helping shape the psychedelic and wellness industries with ethically sourced, high-quality botanicals.

Podcast Highlights

  • Ryan’s path with kanna microdosing that led him to create Hearthstone Collective.
  • Zembrin’s research into Kanna’s therapeutic potential.
  • Microdosing kanna: benefits and risks.
  • Kanna cosmologies: historical uses in the Khoi and San tribes.
  • Why the cultivation and lab testing of kanna is so crucial.
  • Unpacking the subjective effects of Kanna’s alkaloids.
  • Known Kanna combinations: Cannabis, psilocybin, & more.

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Podcast Transcript

0:00:00.0 Paul F. Austin: Hey, listeners and welcome back to The Psychedelic Podcast by Third Wave where we connect you to the leaders and pioneers of the psychedelic renaissance. This is Paul F. Austin and today I am speaking with Ryan Latreille, the founder of kannaextract.com.

0:00:18.5 Ryan Latreille: This is a really special plant. I'm really excited as there's more enthusiasm behind it, more money behind growing it and researching it. I think there's a lot of really cool things to come with with Kanna and people that are looking for something like an alternative to alcohol or an alternative to other substances that just aren't really healthy, like this is something that like you can feel. I mean, albeit it's you're not like in a full-blown psychedelic effect but you can feel it. You're more connected to yourself, to others. You feel great when you take it, you feel great the next day and I think the world needs more of it.

0:00:57.5 Paul F. Austin: 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.

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0:03:16.3 Paul F. Austin: Hey, listeners. This is Paul F. Austin, founder and CEO at Third Wave. Kanna continues to rise in prominence within both the psychedelic community and beyond. And today on the podcast, we have one of the leading formulators and product pioneers, Ryan Latreille, founder of kannaextract.com, as well as Hearthstone Collective to talk about this fascinating plant medicine. Now Ryan has over a decade of expertise in mushrooms and plant medicines and has dedicated his life to offering solutions that support mental and emotional well-being. From providing premium Kanna extracts to designing innovative nutraceutical products, Ryan is helping to shape the psychedelic and wellness industries with ethically sourced and high-quality botanicals. In my conversation today with Ryan, we dive deep into what makes Kanna so special and how to work with it safely and responsibly. We unpack Kanna's numerous alkaloids that lend to its effects on mood and energy, and Ryan also takes us through Kanna's historical cosmologies among the indigenous peoples of South Africa, all the way up to modern applications of this versatile plant medicine. Finally, we explore all common pairings with Kanna, from cannabis to psilocybin, and Ryan talks a little bit about how to source the safest, most effective, and ethical Kanna possible.

0:04:44.1 Paul F. Austin: This conversation explores the intersection of culture, spirituality, and human transformation through the lens of Kanna's potent effects. Now, if you want to go deeper into Kanna, follow the link in the show notes to check out kannaextract.com as well as Third Wave's Ultimate Guide to Kanna. All right, that's it for now. I hope you enjoy my conversation today with Ryan Latreille.

0:05:06.8 Paul F. Austin: Hey, listeners. Welcome back to The Psychedelic Podcast. Today, we're gonna do an even deeper dive into Kanna, a plant from South Africa, an entheogenic plant from South Africa, and today we have Ryan Latreille, the founder of Hearthstone Collective and the Kanna Extract, two different companies that are amplifying the importance of Kanna as well as selling Kanna-related products, and Ryan is one of the foremost experts on Kanna and will be bringing us through the neurochemistry, cultivation, traditional knowledge, utility, and application, and I would imagine quite a bit more. So, Ryan, welcome to the show. It's good to have you.

0:05:52.6 Ryan Latreille: Thank you for having me. Happy to be here.

0:05:57.1 Paul F. Austin: So, the place that I often prefer to start is your origin story. We had the pleasure of meeting just over two years ago at an event called Yearning Man, which we've talked about in the podcast before, and at Yearning Man, we had a little bit of a chance to drop in about Kanna, in particular, how Kanna can act as a support for deeper plant medicine work, for example, with psilocybin or even with other substances, and what really interested me at that point was the similarity between Kanna and maybe certain synthetic heart openers that have a lot more potential for neurotoxicity and sort of hangover type effects, and so when I heard about Kanna, when you told me about it, it just sort of struck a curiosity, and since that point in time, I've become a somewhat regular Kanna user, which I hope is okay. I want to explore that with you in the conversation today in terms of use of Kanna and what that might look like, and so I'm curious, like, just to bring us a little bit deeper into Kanna really has only become more widely known the last couple years, largely or partly because of the work that you've done through Hearthstone Collective. How did you hear about Kanna? How did you become interested in Kanna? Where did your path and story start as it relates to working with this entheogenic plant medicine from South Africa?

0:07:33.7 Ryan Latreille: My first experience with Kanna was in 2012, where I was invited to an underground psychedelic therapy session, ceremony, and I was given Kanna mixed with MDMA, and it was a very impactful experience. It was not only my introduction to Kanna, but also my introduction to any kind of psychedelic substance, and I experienced my first heart opening, and it was one of the most important feelings I've ever felt in my life. I knew that if more people could feel that, that the world would be a lot better place, and so that's where my journey with plants and mushrooms and my medicine journey began, was with that experience and very much just in that context. And at that point, that was really, I mean Kanna has been around for like 30 years, but that was just when high potency extracts of Kanna just started to really become commercially available. And I didn't even really know a lot about any of this stuff. I was just very much in love with psychedelics at that point. My focus was much more on mycology, and that was actually how Hearthstone was born, was actually like different mushroom formulas, nootropic stacks for supporting your brain and nervous system, and really that the... Like, if you go on the Hearthstone website, all the formulas other than Kanna was how it began.

0:09:43.1 Ryan Latreille: And then it was really in 2017, 2018 that microdosing started to become more popular and more discussed, like Paul Stamets going on, Joe Rogan, and that was really when I looked at Kanna more closely as a potential plant medicine to microdose, because it kind of checks all the boxes. It's a true sacred plant. It's been used in ceremony for thousands of years, and with the right kind of extract, it definitely has the capacity to open up medicine space. But what is really interesting is in low therapeutic doses that there is real efficacy for mental health, and this has everything to do with these very unique alkaloids that are found within the plant that have very unique and measurable effects on the central nervous system, often that support these different aspects of mental health. And that was really where that Kanna microdosing line was born on Hearthstone and where I really started learning a lot more about this plant and how to combine it with other nootropics and herbs to really just improve people's quality of life by supporting different areas of mental health and wellness.

0:11:21.3 Paul F. Austin: And bring us a little bit deeper into maybe some of the differences between Kanna and the classic psychedelics, right? We've talked a lot on the show about how LSD microdosing can be helpful or how psilocybin microdosing can be helpful. And a lot of it comes down to the activation of the 5-HT2A receptor, which is a serotonin receptor related to executive functioning in the prefrontal cortex, right? It's a precursor to BDNF. BDNF is a precursor to neuroplasticity. And you mentioned with Kanna, it sounds like its effect is more on the central nervous system, maybe compared to the sort of an overt focus on cognition. And that would in some ways make sense, because Kanna is more of a heart opener rather than something like LSD, which is... Seems to be a lot more of a sort of cognitive enhancement. So talk to us a little bit about what's going on from a physiological perspective when we work with Kanna either at high doses or low doses. What is it impacting biologically inside of us?

0:12:22.4 Ryan Latreille: Yeah. Well, I'll speak to what we know so far from the research. And I personally believe there's a lot more to discover. And it doesn't have nearly the kind of funding behind it that we now have behind these other substances. So yeah, I think it's going to be really exciting, the things that we learn, but we know that it binds to the 5-HT1 receptors. And yeah, the pharmacology, I mean, really, I'll speak rather in like a general sense. And then I think it's actually helpful to go through alkaloid by alkaloid because each alkaloid has specific effects. But it's a bioamine releasing agent. So when you take Kanna, it is stimulating the release of more serotonin, more dopamine, more norepinephrine. And that's part of the equation. It also has light SSRI activity. And it seems that the way that it is doing this, and I don't know, should I explain briefly how an SSRI works or?

0:13:46.4 Paul F. Austin: Sure. Yeah, go into that.

0:13:49.0 Ryan Latreille: So like pharmaceutical SSRIs, serotonin is released from the presynaptic nerve into the synapse. And it prevents it from being re-uptaken into that presynaptic nerve so that more serotonin is available to be a messenger to be absorbed by the postsynaptic nerve. And so then serotonin can do all the really important functions that it does within our body. What's interesting about Kanna is, it doesn't seem to have any of the side effects that pharmaceutical SSRIs often have for some people. And everything that I'm saying is actually like documented in research on a lot of my...

0:14:36.8 Paul F. Austin: It's not like you're just an enthusiast who believes on something like, I mean this has been clinically studied.

0:14:40.2 Ryan Latreille: Yeah, I mean this is actually documented, human studies. And it's really a company called Zembrin. 30 years ago, they really pioneered the way with commercial Kanna with the standardized extract. And they funded a lot of these studies and showed that it does this. It's also a PDE4 inhibitor, which is in a very simple way of explaining it. It's a kind of cellular metabolism that if you inhibit it, it actually allows these neurotransmitters once they're absorbed by the postsynaptic nerve to do more of their job, including increasing BDNF, I mean regulating all sorts of different systems that are required to have focus, to be like a positive mood, to be more just equipped to handle the stresses and demands of everyday life. So those are the main pieces of pharmacology that we're looking at is the bio-amine releasing agent, the light SSRI activity, and the PDE4 inhibition. And it seems to be the synergy of those three things that is making Kanna so unique in its ability to support mental health and mostly what people are taking something like Zembrin for is depression and anxiety. And so in a low therapeutic dose, what they found is that over the course of doing a protocol with over four to six weeks is when you really start to see relief with something like anxiety.

0:16:35.5 Paul F. Austin: And that would be every day, four to six weeks, or would that be two or three times a week, like a typical microdosing psychedelic protocol?

0:16:43.5 Ryan Latreille: You know I... Using Zembrin as the example, they recommend it daily. I personally like to do a five day on, two day off sequence and treat it like a microdosing protocol with on days and off days. I do find that with natural medicines, that the body responds more to a sequence where there's like the on days your body, my body at least seems to respond more. And it really is a personal journey where I think that's the real value of working with a psychedelic coach or someone that's really well versed in microdosing that can help guide someone in tuning into different metrics within their body and find a sequence and protocol that really works for them.

0:17:35.3 Joseph Anew: Hey, sorry to interrupt the episode, but I got to tell you guys, I have two boys under three years old. And by the time they're both in bed, the house is tidied and the work is done. Sometimes I am wired and whether you have kids or not, I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. And the longer it takes me to fall asleep at night, the less productive my following day is. And that is the problem. So for me personally, Magnesium Breakthrough has been the thing that has helped me solve my sleep problems as it helps me more easily wind down at the end of a stressful or busy day, no more tossing and turning all night or waking up groggy. I take one in the late morning and two capsules before bed. And it has been an absolute game changer for me because well, over 75% of the adult population is magnesium deficient. But what most people don't know is that even if you're taking a magnesium supplement, you're probably still deficient because you're not getting all the right forms. There are seven different forms of magnesium, each speaking to a different organ or part of the body. And Magnesium Breakthrough is the ultimate way to get all seven forms in one supplement. So now you can nurture your mind and body with this all natural, full spectrum magnesium supplement just by going to magbreakthrough.com/third wave. That's magbreakthrough.com/third wave and use promo code Third Wave during checkout to save 10%. Now back to the show.

0:19:04.0 Paul F. Austin: So the natural next question after this 'cause this is one of the, I would say, main reasons that people look into microdosing is because they are on certain SSRI medications or SNRI medications or benzodiazepines or ADHD medications, and they're looking to microdosing to help potentially wean off or at least take less of the medication that they're taking. And I'd be curious to hear from what you've noticed and observed as Hearthstone has grown. What types of folks are becoming interested in Kanna? What are they using Kanna for? What are some of the intentions and purposes in working with this medicine? Is it the majority of people are looking to maybe get off certain SSRI medications, or are there maybe several other intentions when working with Kanna as well?

0:20:00.1 Ryan Latreille: That's certainly what I've heard. Is a lot of people don't... They wanna look for more natural ways to be healthy because I'm in the business of selling and providing Kanna extracts. I have a blanket disclaimer of if you are on any kind of medication, it's really important to talk with your healthcare provider before beginning this, you know, before beginning a protocol with Kanna. And I mean, really that goes for any supplement if you're on pharmaceuticals or have a health condition. I think that's really important. That said, I can speak to what I've observed people do. And a lot of people have told me that they have successfully come off of antidepressants by doing a microdosing protocol. And I've seen a lot of different successful strategies employed too where some people like to titrate down while then titrating up other people, just they wanna just stop, cold turkey and then start. And yeah, I mean, it really is a... I guess what I'd wanna say is that I have seen people be very successful with it.

0:21:08.9 Ryan Latreille: But it's definitely an individual journey that should be done. Like, you know, if you're being prescribed medication, you should definitely keep your healthcare provider in the loop with this and understand like what the potential risks are. And so the biggest risk with not just Kanna but really anything that's gonna be stimulating serotonin like this is triggering a serotonergic reaction. So it's also called Serotonin Syndrome, so too much serotonin in the body which can have a big spectrum of side effects at the more mild end, it's like getting a headache, weird tingly sensations in your nervous system. I mean, probably some of the people listening who have done a lot of psychedelics have probably maybe experienced this a little bit.

0:22:28.9 Ryan Latreille: Doing too many big journeys in a row. And but then at the extreme end is the potential for death. That said, there are no known cases that I know of of anyone ever dying from Kanna or even having a serotonergic reaction, especially if they're doing low therapeutic doses. It's just highly unlikely but it's really important that people are aware of potential risks.

0:23:04.6 Paul F. Austin: Right. And it's interesting with psilocybin, I provide this context and frame as well, that we know that the one thing that psilocybin is contraindicated with is lithium. That if you're on lithium, you should not be taking psilocybin. Outside of that a lot of people take psilocybin while they are on SSRIs to help wean off of them. However, it is still critical that they do so under the support of a medical professional because you never know what might come up. And so my sense is Kanna isn't necessarily contraindicated with SSRIs. However, if someone is going to work with Kanna while they're on SSRIs to make sure that they have the support of a medical professional, is there anything that Kanna is definitely contraindicated with? Like if someone is on a certain medication or they are, you know, whatever else, like, it's like a no touch zone for Kanna whatsoever.

0:23:57.1 Ryan Latreille: I mean, what we say is that if you're on SSRIs or MAOIs, that's the other one.

0:24:05.7 Paul F. Austin: MAOIs. Okay.

0:24:07.4 Ryan Latreille: Is you really need to talk to your doctor first to be safe.

0:24:15.3 Paul F. Austin: Excellent. So let's get a little bit more into timelines around Kanna. You had mentioned at one point in the interview that Kanna, and I think what you meant by this is commercial Kanna has been around for about 30 years, and I think that was the company that you mentioned before that came out with this product that if people take regularly for four to six weeks, it can substantially help with anxiety and overall mood. And yet you also mentioned that Kanna has been historically used in ceremonies for thousands of years, and you yourself have been to South Africa and you've actually visited some of the places where this has been used historically. So I'd love if you could just talk a little bit more about the indigenous use of Kanna, the historical use of Kanna. Both how it has been used historically, but also how are those groups currently today working with it and what is your relationship like with them as someone who is running a couple of commercial Kanna businesses.

0:25:17.5 Ryan Latreille: Yeah. So I guess just to preface this, like I'm definitely still learning like I'm an American still just learning the full landscape. But what we know for sure is the Khoi and the Sān both have like documented traditional knowledge and traditional use of Kanna as a plant medicine. And for both of them historically it was a very central part of their culture. And so the Khoi and the Sān are sometimes referred to collectively as Khoisan even though they're very distinct. The Sān they live more on the coastal region of South Africa on the West coast. And they are true hunter gatherer culture that amazingly is still intact today. And they are... Most of the cave paintings that you see are Sān cave paintings. Like the cave paintings that you see come out of South Africa.

0:26:45.7 Ryan Latreille: And that could be a whole podcast just going into their whole relationship to trance states, altered states and healing and ceremony. And then you have the Khoi who are... They are pastoralists. Their culture is, around herding, is based around herding, cows and sheep and goats. But both of these cultures are ancient. They've done DNA tests and they're potentially some of the oldest people on the planet like the first people. So the Khoi live in an area called... I mean they expanded across a lot of... As a migratory lifestyle herding, then they covered vast distances but really, they're in an area called Kannaland, which is in more of like the, southern coastal region and into that mountain range, along the southern central section of the country.

0:28:00.5 Ryan Latreille: And there's a lot of different clans that make up both of these two communities. The clan that I am working with directly now is, Chief Katella's clan, who he recently passed, but this was, Richard Katella was a very brilliant man who did a lot to unite a lot of the Khoi clans and remind them of their rich heritage. And I'm working, directly with his brother to essentially at this point, 3% of all of the Kanna that I purchase goes directly to support them and their clan in preserving, the traditional culture. And the ultimate goal is to expand larger as my company grows and support more of the Khoi and the Sān.

0:29:12.4 Paul F. Austin: Hey folks, I wanna pause this conversation for a moment. Look, if you're a coach or a practitioner or you know someone who is, this is for you, whatever domain of coaching you work in, ultimately you're in the human potential and behavioral change field because every single thing that we do as coaches hinges upon changing established patterns to tap into our greatest potential. Patterns that are neurologically anchored in the brain.

0:29:42.3 Paul F. Austin: So whether you're talking about shifting, limiting beliefs, habits, conditioning, negative images, set points and resistance, or you're focusing on creating breakthrough uh-huh moments, mindset work, shifting relationships, or unlocking the next level in any domain. Ultimately, you're talking about changing neurological patterns. As you may have experienced with clients or maybe even in your own life getting changes to stick is not easy and that's why psychedelics are so incredible because they work directly on the neurological level to make these changes more accessible and sustainable.

0:30:16.0 Paul F. Austin: They are the biochemical keys to transformation and behavioral change. And with guidance they can accelerate just about any growth or create a process by facilitating the release of old patterns and the rapid adoption of new ones. Used within the right frameworks, psychedelic substances are the cutting edge of leadership, performance and wellbeing. And that was the inspiration behind our coaching certification program. Our certification program helps you to integrate psychedelic work into your coaching practice for the right coach, facilitator, or even therapist. Psychedelic modalities are a game changer for client results and overall impact and our coaching certification program gives you the ultimate toolkit to help clients overcome resistance, emotional blockages, and limiting beliefs.

0:31:04.4 Paul F. Austin: It gives you neurobiological access to co-create, break the results for your clients with greater alignment between mind, body, and spirit. In fact we've trained coaches in every industry you can think of, from executive and high performance to relationships, life coaching, creativity, mindset. Psychedelic substances are an incredibly important tool, potent tool for any coaching practice, because the fundamentals of neurochemistry and human behavior are the same across every domain. So if you want to join the leading edge of coaching and human potential or you're just curious about what adding psychedelic substances could look like for your practice go to thethirdwave.co/ccp. That's thethirdwave.co/ccp to book an alignment call with our team to see if it's a good fit. Alright, thanks for listening. Now let's drop back into this riveting conversation.

0:31:55.0 Ryan Latreille: Keep guiding me a little bit on what you'd like me to talk about.

0:31:57.5 Paul F. Austin: Well, I'd love to hear more, just like how do they work with Kanna? Is it an evening ceremony?

0:32:02.8 Ryan Latreille: Yeah.

0:32:04.5 Paul F. Austin: Is it to help with hunting? Is it, as part of a rite of passage and initiation? Just bring us a little bit deeper into, the sort of practical use of Kanna in some of these indigenous communities.

0:32:19.3 Ryan Latreille: All of the above. It's like, I said, it's a very central part of the culture. So it is used for social occasions. I guess first in the preparation of it. Kanna the plant is very high in oxalic acid, and this is essential part of the plant's biology that fuels its energy systems. But for humans it's essentially toxic. So they devised a way, like the ancient way of preparing it was to ferment it. And they would do this by masticating the plant, but like grinding it up and putting it in some kind of skin or gourd and letting it ferment in its own juices.

0:33:04.0 Ryan Latreille: And that fermentation process would eat up the oxalic acid, potentially alter the alkaloid composition in some way. The debate is still out on that. And then they would, dry this material. And for some of the ways of ingesting it would be, for like social occasions or hunting. They would dry it and braid it and chew on it. And that would almost be a way of microdosing, Kanna. And so on these, like especially the Sān in particular, when they go out hunting, they're hunting for days in like heat, in the elements it's very like...

0:33:46.1 Paul F. Austin: Extreme temperatures.

0:33:49.6 Ryan Latreille: Yeah. And Kanna does have this way of making pain more tolerable. It doesn't take pain away the way that opioids do. It's you still... The pain's still there, but it becomes something that's much more manageable. And they would hunt for days and it would... There's pro-cognitive benefits to Kanna and it would be this essential medicine and tool that would help them on their hunts. Socially it's a great cure of spirits as they say in historical documents. It does, it has euphoric qualities. It definitely... When you take it, you feel really nice. And they would use it socially and that could be chewed on it still, or mixed into drinks or things like that.

0:34:47.8 Ryan Latreille: And then, oftentimes for ceremony it would be smoked and it seems like they would even combine it with other things like cannabis for deeper ceremonial use. And again, speaking to the Sān in particular their whole cosmology and culture is about entering trance states. When you go into a trance state or an altered state, that's where you're able to you know, you cross the threshold into a spirit realm where you can speak with the divine or channel divine healing energy and ultimately find... I mean this is what I think is cool about the Sān culture is that they're... It's a very shamanic culture, but they don't have just one central figure that serves as the healer or the shaman. They're actually a community of healers. And by entering into these trance states you find your own medicine, and they all have their own medicine that they bring and provide to the community.

0:35:54.0 Ryan Latreille: And Kanna definitely served as a way of initiating people into how to enter into trance states. And just to speak to the importance of this plant, anyone who's familiar with Huichol culture and how central the deer is to that shamanic culture, it's very similar with the eland antelope and the Sān. The eland is the shaman it is This being that can move between thresholds, between the two worlds and the name of the eland is Kanna, and they gave the same name to the plant. And that really speaks volumes to how central this plant is to their culture.

0:36:47.9 Paul F. Austin: And do they hunt the eland when they're like... For the Sān, if they're going out and they're doing these hunts and they're chewing on Kanna, are they then hunting these eland? Is that part of the sort of...

0:36:56.3 Ryan Latreille: Yeah, totally. The eland is this really powerful symbol in the Sān, like psyche and world of this... I mean it's a source of massive amounts of food. It's the largest antelope on the planet. It stores abnormally large amounts of fat and meat compared to other animals. It's a keystone species for the ecosystem. It's helping maintain the entire environment that they live in. And it's full of... And just those aspects alone, it's the symbol of abundance and fertility and it means you're gonna be able to survive. And it's full of spiritual energy. And they actually use... You know Sān are very famous for their cave paintings. And the rock wall that they use as their canvas is not just a canvas to put these symbols onto them. It truly is the threshold between the other world. And what's coming through in the paintings are those spirits and what they use to allow those spirits to come through is oftentimes the blood of the eland is the paint that they're using on the cave walls. So it's like full of this spiritual energy. And again Kanna is full of this spiritual energy as well, sharing that name and place within their culture.

0:38:36.0 Paul F. Austin: Fascinating. I'm just looking up, the eland and my understanding as well is, let's say the Sān people in particular are not just in South Africa. They're actually all over the southern part of the African continent. Is that correct?

0:38:56.9 Ryan Latreille: Yeah. And it's even the word Sān is encompassing a lot of different communities. It's... But there's definitely very famous videos and documentaries about the Sān that are in Namibia. And the way that they have decided to collectively be named is based mostly on language similarities. And within the Sān community, the languages are very, very similar. And just to speak to that, 'cause this is really interesting, it's the most phonetically complex language on the planet. Within their language, they use every single sound that the human body is capable of making.

0:39:53.8 Paul F. Austin: I have a dear friend who is half Nigerian and his mom is from Nigeria. His dad is from Germany and he's a language learner. He is been on the... He was on the podcast many years ago. His name is Idahosa. He speaks seven languages fluently.

0:40:10.4 Ryan Latreille: Wow.

0:40:13.8 Paul F. Austin: Chinese, German, Portuguese, Spanish, a couple others. And I asked him, I'm like "Are you gonna go to Namibia, Botswana, South Africa and learn the language of the Sān people?" Because they also have clicks, I believe in their language. The way that they talk it's nothing you've ever heard before in terms of the complexity and the richness of the tones and whatnot. That was my challenge of him, I'm like, "Your lineage is African," it's Nigeria, which is a very different part of Africa, but still African and he knows all these languages I'm like, "That'd be cool for you to go and learn the language of the Sān." because you said, it just is, like even in their written language, there's exclamation points that are in between letters because those exclamation points represent the clicks. That they communicate.

0:41:10.5 Ryan Latreille: All those exclamation points and other lines are sounds that I don't know if you and I would ever be able to do, just because if you don't start learning to do it from birth, you don't develop [chuckle] the muscle strength to do it.

0:41:25.9 Paul F. Austin: Yeah yu don't develop the physiology. It's a... I forget how to pronounce this word, but physiognomy or physio-geonomy or something that. The way we speak, the way we use language from an early age then dictates the structure of our faces and the structure of our mouths and whatnot. So a lot of people who have grown up speaking Western languages would just have no capacity for that. That is though an interesting... One interesting question though would be what could be the role of Kanna in helping to enter a trance state that may allow for learning the language?

0:42:01.2 Paul F. Austin: In your own experiences, having visited some of these places, is there a relationship for you at all in terms of working with Kanna and trying to learn the language? For example, or better learning kinda the context of who they are and why they do what they do? I think of ayahuasca drinkers, for example, they go drink with the Shipibo, and all of a sudden then by working with Ayahuasca, these aspects of who the Shipibo are, becomes more clear or you can better understand how this medicine informed the very culture that developed in the Shipibo, for example.

0:42:42.4 Ryan Latreille: That is definitely a goal [chuckle] and a big part of what I'm doing with Kanna extract company, with our benefit sharing agreements is really to help, not just preserve, but even revive the Koi and Sān cultures. I mentioned right now I'm working directly with Chief Katella's clan because... The Kanna that we use is high alkaloid Kanna, and this, maybe later we'll go into cultivation, but this is really important because without high alkaloid Kanna, you're not going to feel anything from it. And this is really distinguishing the extracts that we make. There was a lot of question marks around whether Kanna was psychoactive or whether Kanna really did anything. And a lot of that had to do with most wild varietals that you find have very very low alkaloid content. When I say alkaloids, these are the things within the plant that make you feel something. And it was Chief Katella and his clan, it was in the area where he lived and by his suggestions on where to look that this high alkaloid Kanna was discovered.

0:44:19.7 Paul F. Austin: Oh.

0:44:20.9 Ryan Latreille: And Kanna is a very difficult plant to cultivate. There's a lot of nuances to it. And so, it wasn't as simple as finding that strain and bringing into cultivation. It had to be hybridized with another Sceletium species called Sceletium expansum. And that was what allowed for these really cool, high potency extracts that are available now. And so, that what was born was a strain called DV17. And essentially I exclusively source DV17 from my supply partners. And, DV17 has been hijacked by more pirate growers, but essentially if you're getting anything that's potent out there, it comes from this, that strain that is the strain that have a stabilized high alkaloid content within the Kanna plant.

0:45:29.5 Paul F. Austin: Talk to us then a little bit more about cultivation. Why is it that it can be quite tricky to cultivate? You mentioned already that the preparation of it was often fermented because that helped to elicit more potency from the alkaloid. Just go a little bit deeper into cultivation and the particulars around it. I think that would be, super interesting.

0:45:49.2 Ryan Latreille: Yeah. Again, if you're gonna try to produce, a high alkaloid extract, you have to have high alkaloid genetics to begin with. The plant itself is not geographically stable. The plant that grows well in Kannaland, which is in the central part of the country, is not necessarily gonna be a plant that performs well in the western part of South Africa or anywhere else in the world for that matter.

0:46:23.8 Ryan Latreille: So from a cultivation standpoint, you really got to know what you're doing in terms of like... So my supply partners, they start from seed. Everything starts from seed and you have to get a large seed bank wherever your farms are located. And from there you can start growing lots of genetics. And you have to be attached to a lab that has the HPLC capacity to do testing on all the plants that you're growing to not only find one that meets your... Most importantly that meets your alkaloid standards, but that it's also going to grow fast. That it's going to be growing... Like it's going to be resistant to diseases and pests. So you don't have to use nasty pesticides or anything like that. And so this, this is really like a process that needs to be perfected. And essentially what we're offering or sourcing is, high alkaloid plants that have gone through this process. So once you have then established genetics that are going to perform well where your farms are, then you go through a process of cloning, which is very similar to like growing cannabis.

0:47:53.7 Ryan Latreille: And then cultivation falls into three different like categories of quality. So the highest quality is pharmaceutical grade Kanna. Oftentimes this is grown hydroponically, fully controlled environment, oftentimes like HIPAA controlled environment. Every aspect is controlled. There's, nothing can get into the greenhouses where they're grown. And this produces the most... Like hands down, the most potent Kanna that's available. And it's prohibitively expensive. It's almost exclusively used for some pharmaceutical applications. Next you have a nutraceutical grade Kanna. This is grown in semi-controlled environment so hoop houses. It's grown in controlled media so we've grown and grow pots but they're growing in fresh air natural sunlight and that's exclusively what we source, is nutraceutical grade Kanna.

0:49:06.5 Ryan Latreille: Because it has a very high potency close to pharmaceutical grade but at a much more accessible price point and Kanna in general is kind of expensive. Then you have what's called table grade Kanna which is just grown out in the open in fields and it's a succulent so it's pretty hardy like you can grow it out in fields but the issue with table grade is like animals can get into it poop on it... If rain hits Kanna it's actually really hard hard on it. And so it doesn't really produce high quality Kanna doesn't produce high alkaloid Kanna and... But it's very, it's much cheaper and so table grade is what I see go into a lot of like I don't want to like name any brands but like OTC like if like Kanna teas that are out there that like you don't really feel it's table grade Kanna. And I've even heard of like people trying to grow it this way in the United States but they're not like working with any kind of lab in the way that I've described and so I'm just I'm sure that there's no real content to it and that that's why lab testing is really important. Is to get third-party lab testing that's showing the purity the potency... We not only test for that but we're also testing for bio contaminants heavy metals as well as pesticides and residual solvents.

0:50:50.2 Ryan Latreille: And those last two are really important 'cause that's not like mandatory in any way most people don't put that expense to test for those and there's a lot of scary stuff out there when it comes to just even just the residual solvents that are left in extracts.

0:51:06.8 Paul F. Austin: Right. Yeah you want something that's pure, right? The more pure the better the cleaner the better.

0:51:12.8 Ryan Latreille: Yeah.

0:51:13.4 Paul F. Austin: That matters quite a bit so the the natural question after this is talking about nutraceutical grade. It sounds like nutraceutical grade is like the middle way. You're getting the potency that's required from the alkaloids but it's not cost prohibitive necessarily so it's a little bit more accessible than pharmaceutical grade and I'd love for you to talk a little bit about okay if folks are interested in let's say in work working with nutraceutical grade it is legal, it's fully legal, this is this is 100% legal how does that work? Tell us about the legal Kanna...

0:51:44.4 Ryan Latreille: Well, 99% legal. It's not legal in the state of Louisiana because it got lumped in...

0:51:48.0 Paul F. Austin: Oh, interesting.

0:51:49.5 Ryan Latreille: With something else I think it's probably 'cause of the name because Kanna is spelt so similar to cannabis.

0:51:58.0 Paul F. Austin: Cannabis.

0:52:00.7 Ryan Latreille: Yeah it's not it's not really clear so it's not it's not legal in Louisiana but it is not scheduled in the United States it's fully legal to to sell and purchase within the United States and in most countries in the world. I think there's like one or two European countries that they don't allow it but yeah. So what I'm setting out to do with Kanna extract companies is to provide the best Kanna extracts possible whether you're an end user that wants just to take what you tried earlier or if you are a brand or a company or a medicine maker that wants to use Kanna as an active ingredient. We're just checking all the boxes in terms of terms of what you need to have the best extract possible and so starting with the potency and the purity.

0:53:10.2 Ryan Latreille: So these alkaloids inside of Kanna are all water... Most of them are water soluble. They're very easy to extract, so it's easy to make an extract of Kanna. It's a lot harder to make an extract of Kanna that's stable and so a lot of people and companies are starting to do extracts that are water extracts and then it'll have mesembrine content when they first do it. And then after like a month, there's nothing left because it's very hard to stabilize the alkaloids. It's even harder to stabilize it and render it into a powder form, that's workable. Our extract powders are fully water soluble. You can take them sublingually, you can take intranasally, if you want really strong, you can blend into drinks, you can blend them into edibles.

0:54:09.1 Ryan Latreille: It's really designed to be a really easy form factor to dose and absorb and to get real potency that you can feel. Next is the cultivation, which I went into... There's no certified organic Kanna farms that are out there, but the farms that we source from are growing beyond organic standards, absolutely no pesticides, no synthetic fertilizers and then above all of that, we are doing the third party lab testing with a lab that has no affiliation with us, that tests for all those parameters that I described earlier. And I just... That's just so, it's so important just in the supplement industry in general is like, whatever you're sourcing, make sure that it's really tested. And then finally is the ethics. So what we've built into our business model is a benefit sharing agreement that is benefiting the traditional knowledge keepers that use Kanna. So when you purchase our Kanna, you are directly helping preserve support and hopefully help flourish Khoisan culture within South Africa.

0:55:38.9 Paul F. Austin: I want to talk a little bit more about the exact formulations that you've put together with Kanna Extract, because, we were at the Aspen Mastermind a few weeks ago, and right before you left, you gifted me this and it says BLISS, one gram. And I think the way that you described it is you made this formulation with specific alkaloids that you knew would facilitate a certain way of being. And so I'd love to hear a little bit more about kind of what are the different options in terms of experiential and what was your process to actually land on the specific formulations and the different alkaloids that you wove into those formulations? Did you just have to do a bunch of trial and error and basically see what happened? I can imagine.

0:56:23.9 Ryan Latreille: No. I'm very, very lucky with my supply partners and how much I've been able to learn from those on the ground in South Africa that have truly dedicated their entire lives to this. And I really hope that my business will help them flourish as well because I do believe that this plant has the capacity to help a lot of people, whether you're seeking it for mental health reasons or for recreational reasons, which are pretty awesome and fun. [chuckle] And that's what these extracts help to facilitate. So yeah, going to the extracts, you mentioned LIFT and BLISS, what that's speaking to is two different alkaloid profiles. So I mentioned Kanna is very botanically complex with alkaloids that each have unique effects on the central nervous system. Mesembrine is what you'd call the benchmark alkaloid.

0:57:22.6 Ryan Latreille: So mesembrine is what is stimulating, it's what is responsible for the euphoric empathogenic effects of Kanna. And if you were to compare it to like THC for cannabis, it's how you would evaluate the potency or the quality of a Kanna extract or Kanna product. So then you have mesembrenone and this is the like the PDE4 inhibitor. So it is actually an anti-psychotic like synthetic PDE4 inhibitors are used very effectively for schizophrenia, bipolar, more hardcore mental health issues and it has some Calming, anti-anxiety effects. And then you have delta-7 mesembrenone, and this is your deeply relaxing, can be almost sedating in higher levels. And, so what we do is we use those three alkaloids to create different felt effects. So it's the ratio of those three together that with the example of LIFT that is going to be a more uplifting, energizing, you feel like more outgoing in social situations. That's gonna be the felt effect because it has that fair mesembrine content and lower delta-7. And then with BLISS, this is gonna be, the felt effect is more like a blissful, melty, warm hug sensation and that's because the mesembrine is lower and it's more balanced with the mesembrenone and the delta-7 and so those are just those two extracts. But really, like we can build alkaloid profiles to spec for someone's need.

0:59:28.9 Ryan Latreille: But I wanted to produce those at scale, and offer those at scale because it really lends a broad range of experiences. If you're a formulator, for example, with those two profiles, if you start stacking them with other compounds, you can take it in a lot of different directions. So, yeah, and then the powders, they are very bitter, 'cause it's just a true, pure extract, but you can mix them in water, mix them in edibles, and they're great. I just put them underneath my tongue. I don't really mind the bitter sensation.

1:00:05.7 Paul F. Austin: It's not too bad. I just did it in the middle of the interview and... And you notice it, but it's not like drinking Ayahuasca.

1:00:13.0 Ryan Latreille: No. No. And then what I'm really excited about is, I don't know when this will air, but we are coming out with a line of Kanna... So we're doing both the LIFT and the BLISS in vapes.

1:00:29.6 Paul F. Austin: Interesting.

1:00:30.4 Ryan Latreille: Which, I personally deal with with anxiety, and this is incredible, 'cause it comes on fast. I feel my anxieties melt away. It's kind of how I wish I felt when I smoked weed. 'Cause I feel so good in my body and relaxed and calm, but still present and clear and able to function. So I'm really excited to put these out here. I think Kanna Extract Company falls... The two companies that I have, Hearthstone is more like... These are low-dose, therapeutic doses of Kanna that are really designed to be taken over those longer protocols, where Kanna Extract Company these are, I guess, falling more into the realm of like: You can take it therapeutically if you want to, but it's more into that recreational or ceremonial realm, depending on how you use it.

1:01:36.1 Paul F. Austin: And so what do you notice about how Kanna interacts with, let's say, psilocybin? What makes them potentially good pairs if folks are looking at, for example, adding this into their microdosing protocol and mixing psilocybin and Kanna?

1:01:52.7 Ryan Latreille: I think it's amazing. Kanna plays really, really well with other plant medicines, other compounds. The combination of Kanna and cannabis is ancient. It goes back as far as our knowledge of Kanna goes back. And with that one in particular, it seems to ground the experience... Across the board, it seems to ground the experience of like a stronger psychedelic more in the heart and body and make it feel more like an empathogen. You asked about psilocybin, like I think it's... I really hope that there's research into what the actual synergy is with these alkaloids as they are hitting our neurotransmitters and what it's doing for the body, especially for potential mental health benefits. But there is the felt effect in a stronger dose of Kanna with psilocybin dosed... Anywhere within the 200 to 1 gram range makes it feel like a heart opener. And like a heart opener that doesn't give you a not a great feeling, like it doesn't give you a hangover the next day. So that I think is really cool.

1:03:22.6 Paul F. Austin: And of course, what is important in this is to go back to your earlier point that you really want this nutraceutical grade level of Kanna that the table grade... Sounds like if I'm to make a very rough parallel, table grade is more like ecstasy, if you will. And maybe the nutraceutical grade is more like pure MDMA because you're getting that potency. However, we know that Kanna doesn't have necessarily the neurotoxic profile that MDMA does. It doesn't have the methamphetamine, the overstimulating component. And it sounds like with the work that you're doing in mixing different alkaloids, there is more and more potential to sort of personalize a formulation based on the intention or the outcome that someone is looking for.

1:04:04.6 Paul F. Austin: Which I haven't heard anything like this for psilocybin in terms of mixing different strains to have a certain outcome. I'm sure there are people who are doing it to some degree. But I think for me, that's the most interesting part about this conversation is different alkaloid percentages. The alkaloids create different subjective effects. And when we combine them in unique formulations, we could then, like you said, feel more of a LIFT or feel more BLISS or feel potentially other things as well for combining it with psilocybin or cannabis. There's a lot of ways to work with it.

1:04:38.8 Ryan Latreille: Yeah. And there's even more potential. There's there's alkaloids that are in lower content within the plants that have really unique effects. There's two alkaloids within Kanna, Sceletium A4 and mesembrenone that are both potent PDE5 inhibitors. So this is like the same mode of action as like sildenafil or Cialis or Viagra. So a lot of pro-sexual benefits. There are delta-7 and this is like in actual studies has anti-cancer benefits. So, yeah, there's a... This is a really special plant that I'm really excited as... There's more enthusiasm behind it. More money behind growing it and researching it. I think there's a lot of really cool things to come with Kanna. And especially for just people that are looking for something like an alternative to alcohol or an alternative to other substances that are just aren't really healthy. This is something that you can feel. I mean, albeit it's you're not in a full blown psychedelic effect, but you can feel it. It makes you, you're more connected to yourself, to others, and you feel great. You feel great when you take it, you feel great the next day. And I think the world needs needs more of that.

1:06:19.8 Paul F. Austin: I agree 100%. Well, Ryan, thanks for for popping on sharing your expertise and wisdom about all things Kanna especially the alkaloids, cultivation. Some of the indigenous lenses I think are important. As we were having this interview, I went to kannaextract.com, which is your website and was noticing that you have a lot of blog posts as well that you've published. If people want to go deeper into some of the context around Kanna, the neurobiology, the chemistry, the historical lens. There's there's quite a few, quite a bit of education material on the on the website itself.

1:06:54.1 Ryan Latreille: Yeah. And I would just invite people to reach out through the email on the website or on social media at Kannaextract. And if people have any questions, just reach out.

1:07:07.2 Paul F. Austin: And then where else? Hearthstonecollective.com. Is that for Hearthstone or?

1:07:12.5 Ryan Latreille: Yeah. So those are the low therapeutic doses of Kanna. Go to hearthstonecollective.com and on Instagram it's at hearthstonecollective.

1:07:23.6 Paul F. Austin: Fantastic. So hearthstonecollective.com, kannaextract.com. I love the design and overall vibe of Kanna extract in particular. I haven't looked at the Hearthstone website in a little bit, but everything is very clean, beautiful, well done. So congrats on I know this is more of the recent project. Congrats on launching that. And thanks for all your help. We also on Third Wave, we have an ultimate guide to Kanna that Ryan was supportive in helping us to put together. That's been, I think, published now for a couple of years. So if you do have more questions, you can also go to the Third Wave and check out our guide to Kanna. Ryan, I just appreciate you coming on and sharing everything with us. It's really been a pleasure to host you today for the podcast.

1:08:08.4 Ryan Latreille: Thank you for the opportunity. I appreciate it.

1:08:14.7 Paul F. Austin: Hey, listeners, Paul here. I hope you enjoyed our episode today with Ryan Latreille. If you missed anything that we mentioned today, remember to follow the link in the show notes for the links and the transcript of this episode. And if you want to continue the conversation about Kanna, go to community.thirdwave.co, our free community where you can continue the discussion. As always, thank you for being a listener of this podcast. Leave us a review wherever you listen to this podcast; Spotify, Apple, wherever it might be, your rating and comments are helping to amplify The Psychedelic Podcast, which is going a long way to shifting the cultural conversation around psychedelic substances. Until next time.

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