Sobriety and Cannabis - Brian Chaplin
Based in Tahoe City, California Medicine Box founder Brian Chaplin is on a mission to, as he puts it: "Co-create sovereignty in human health and happiness while harmonizing our relationship with Mother Earth.” Veteran underground cannabis cultivator turned medical cannabis brand creator, Brian embraces the core tenet of the 12 step program of “atrraction, not promotion” for his brand and welcomes “fostering community and collaboration with people aligned with these same values.” He has been feated in Rolling Stone, Dope Magazine and HIGH TIMES and enjoys skiing, hiking and meditating when he’s not running a thriving cannabis and hemp brand. Brian shares his personal journey through recovery and sobriety while using cannabis and healing herbs as an aid on Head Change #6.
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Transcripts of this episode provided thanks to a generous donation by Debra Lumpkins Studio, sustainable gyotaku artist in Maui, HI. Additional funding by Jeanne Nasarow of Bee Haven Hill Farms in Mendocino, CA.
Levi: Welcome to Head Change, the podcast that puts you and better head space. I'm your host Levi Strom. Transcripts of today's episode are brought to you thanks to a generous donation from Debra Lumpkins Studio, sustainable gyotaku artist in Maui, Hawaii. Thank you Debra. Additional funding provided by Jeanne Nasarow of Bee Haven Hill Farms in Mendocino, California. On today's episode I speak with Medicine Box founder Brian Chaplin about sobriety and cannabis.
Brian: I'm Brian Martello Chaplin the founder of Medicine Box, plant-based therapeutics brand in the prop 64 Marketplace in California and then as well as the national direct to consumer model with exploring some of those minor cannabinoids from the hemp plant. So products that have less than 0.3 percent THC which we could probably talk all day on, launched in 2020. Our mission at Medicine Box is to co-create interconnectedness and human health and happiness while harmonizing relationships with Mother Earth. I've been working at Medicine Box, working on it, for the better part of five years, coming all the way from the prop 215 world. Before that, I was a traditional market farmer, or cultivator, like yourself, starting that illustrious career in 2009 in Oakland and I know a lot of your listeners are in the, you know, the California culture and some people might know of Dutch Boy Studios which is in East Oakland. So probably about a mile from the Fruitvale BART station. And yeah, kind of landed there with some friends when I was unemployed in 2009.
Levi: 2009, yeah Oaksterdam.
Brian: Well yeah, like right after the recession I moved to San Francisco right off of the Playa after Burning Man all partied out, my friends like dude, we're moving to San Francisco are you coming? And I'm like, yeah, let's do it and basically just went to San Francisco and had a room in Tahoe where I was living and then my bartending career at the time fizzled out. I thought like the thousands of bars in San Francisco I'll be able to get a job no problem. That was like, no one was hiring. It was a recession.
Brian: I was on unemployment. Basically that guy on the couch. I had a car, I had this Hyundai Elantra that my sister gave me this little four-door beater and my friends were like, yo, we're going to Oakland like we need a ride, you're not doing anything. You don't work, you're not doing anything so we drove over to Dutch Boy Studios. I had no idea, Levi, what was going on, like I didn't know why they were going to Oakland. I was just like along for the ride and they get the tape measures out and you're measuring the space and it's like, oh, put a room here and then it was like, oh I know, I know what they're doing. I wasn't really like in that world, I was, you know, before that, I was living in Tahoe and just in the food and beverage world and bartending and partying and doing my thing. But I knew it was kind of around. It was still pretty like you know, secretive at that time.
Brian: Not unless you were really ingrained in a network or click or circle.
Levi: Yeah, people didn't talk about it,yeah.
Brian: People didn't talk about it. It was like oh what do you do? I'm a consultant. I'm a music producer. I'm a DJ.
Brian: Yeah, construction. Everyone had their stories - like whoa you guys, I never see you guys go to work and like you're always traveling to like Bali and Mexico and going to all these festivals and in your, you know, buses and you seem to throw around a lot of money.
Brian: And so, I was like, somewhat naive to it and on the way back crossing the Bay Bridge, my friend Mike and Tim, they're like, well, we need money to come up with the lease in the deposit and I was driving my Hyundai Elantra and like, I have money, they're like, you don't have any money, you're unemployed. And I'm like, I have $60,000 of unused credit cards. At that time credit card companies were just like, here's more credit, like, remodel your kitchen for low low APR like 7.2% cash advances. And I had all this, like, compiled and the light bulb just went off and I ended up just financing the whole thing on credit cards, jumped into the mix and really just dove headfirst into the cannabis world of growing indoors. Big learning curve, we had this like a super top-notch room at the time, there were no Gavita's back then, there's no LED's.
Levi: What were you guys growing Romulan, like, wasn't that a big strain around that time in Oakland maybe even that was past Romulan?
Brian: Remember Mr. Nice Guy?
Levi: Yeah, yeah.
Brian: We were growing Mr. Nice Guy.
Levi: That was a haze right kind of a real classic haze?
Brian: Yeah. Super leggy.
Brian: Really cerebral. I think it was, is it Jack X Hash Plant? I know Hash Plants are there but yeah.
Levi: Yeah, I do remember that.
Brian: But the first round we tried growing because it was the hot seller at the time for like $3,200 a unit to $3,500 unit was Sour Diesel. Everyone wanted Sour Diesel. But Sour Diesels are a pretty tricky one to grow.
Levi: Right. Kind of Sativa right? I haven't grown a lot of it, but it's a little more sativa leaning than traditional OG right?
Brian: Exactly. Yeah. And it will stretch for miles, it will just keep growing. I mean 10 to 12 weeks. So our buddy built us the grow room and then he took off. He was just building grow rooms at that time and then he went up to Humboldt to build out a property and basically left us with this like, we called it the space shuttle. We were like, dude thanks for building us the space shuttle and you didn't leave us a like owner's manual. So we're like, figuring out how to, you know, grow 16 lights of Sour Diesel. And I mean all the, all the horror stories, like let's go get coffee and fill the 250 gallon Reservoir because there's a super awesome float valve on there and that will just turn turn off and we came back and there's like water pouring out of the roll-up door. I mean, every nightmare possible. We went to the Big Bounce Festival back in the day that was in like Quincy. Another horror story. And we had 16 lights on the ground floor and then on top of that room, we built a nine light room which we called the princes pad. And it was on a kill switch or a flip switch. So it was like, 16 on and then nine off and then nine on 16 off and it was flipping, and we were actually like jet pumping water up like 15 feet into the 9 lightroom. We're like we're going to the festival. This is all automated, this is before all this like radical automation technology and we went, this was Mr. Nice Guy round. And it was like bang, it was doing so well and we went to The Bounce festival for like five, six days. Probably, you know, three days longer than we were supposed to be out there and we came back and all the lights are on it. It never flipped. So everything is hermaphrodite. Big learning curves back then. But we got it going. We got it cruising along and made it a well-oiled machine after like a year and a half and actually turned a little bit of revenue on it. Things just got a little bit like gnarly over there in Oakland, there's like shootings and people were breaking in that it was like one of those locations that was too good to be true. Got discovered pretty quickly and when one of our workers locked up for the night and went out to his car in the back parking lot. There's two cars in a high-speed chase one was a van chasing a car and they pulled down the back alley thinking they were gonna get away. It was a dead end and they hit a fence and poor Joey is out there like, trying to get to his car. And then the van opens up and there is like a full-on gunfire shoot out. He's like ducking behind the car. That's when we were like, yeah. It's time to get rid of this thing. So moved back up to Tahoe and that was like 2012 and took some time actually in the house that I'm in right now found this house nine years ago, and I was drinking and using a lot of drugs at that point, a lot of us were, we were just rage face kids and partying and didn't really take the cannabis thing too seriously, it was more to supplement, you know, the going up to the festival for a week and leaving the grow room behind unoccupied. [00:10:53] And that's when, you know, I started kind of there's this, like, I don't know the universe speaking to me or something or this voice in my head like, did you get here shit together? You need to, you're going to die. You're drinking every day, you're using hard drugs every day. And I was just completely unhappy, suicidal. Very just down and out, right? And it took probably another nine months for me to really rein it in, and it was like, you know, just one more time. I'm just going to go out just this one more time. That whole thing, I found myself just deep down in despair. Are after like a three-day bender and I walked next door to my neighbors right here and knocked on his door. I remembered he told me that he didn't drink when he introduced himself as like yeah come on in let's have a beer, you know middle of the day on like a Tuesday and he was like, I don't drink my wife doesn't either, that kind of like landed with me and it stuck with me for six months and then just thing, like there's actually people that don't drink.
Levi: Opened up that possibility.
Brian: Use drugs. Like it was like a whole other world, I didn't even think that world existed. That's how fried I was and yeah, I walked next door and he's like, come on if you've come to the right place. I basically just surrendered and was like I need help that sent me off. They were in the 12-step program and Invited me to go to a meeting with them and coming up on nine years later in September, gave all that world up and had money that I was going to invest into a restaurant. I was going to open a bar. Forfeited that, you know, I had a liquor license. Put all that back into the lottery and just started to take, you know, sobriety seriously. And pulled away from a lot of friends. I wasn't growing at the time. It was almost like a perfect time. Like when you hit a bottom and there's like, nothing for you, like barely any friends, the girlfriend laughs. It was like a tragic country song, but I just stuck with it. And that was my entry point into sobriety, and learning a more spiritual way of living. And yeah, I did 90 meetings in 90 days and then I was like . . .
Levi: Were you smoking weed at that time?
Brian: That's the thing, I never, I was never much of a weed smoker, I mean here and there but it was never like, I never had that like stoner face in high school, that a lot of kids do that are just like taking bong hits every day and before school and after school, I was more of a drinker. And loved uppers, ecstasy, ketamine, coke, put in front of me I'd do it. [00:14:24] And but yeah, that so this is actually a good topic to explore because the AA program and the 12 Steps I'm really vocal about it. I'm very vocal.
Levi: That's kind of what I wanted to hear from you because I think a lot of people that might listen, you know, I'm interested in your perspective on sobriety while using plant based medicine. I think that's a really good topic.
Brian: It is and you know, there's this is there's all these labels everything has to have a label these days and there's this big label [00:14:57] Cali Sober going around, right? Cali sobers like Steve DeAngelo, just wrote a great article on it and like, you know, you can microdose, you know psilocybin and smoke, you know, some cannabis. And to me, like . . .
Levi: Ayahuasca ceremony would probably be Cali sober, you know. Yeah,
Brian: Yeah, topanga canyon, let's just go down there and I'll be sober. But, you know, these labels I don't really, you know, do too well with them even though it's like someone could say well, you're labeling yourself sober. So when I was in AA in those early days I had to be completely abstinent. AA is like abstinence. You have this addiction and this disease in this like problem with thinking and this is this is the way now. And the 12-step program I casted its net to me when I was drowning in the tidal wave and they pulled me into the boat, right? And I'm on that boat and the boat took me across the shore or into some, you know, [00:16:15] calmer waters. But it's like you don't really get off the boat. It's like well I want to get off the boat now and I want to go do other things. I want to explore some plant based medicines. Right? I want to learn about like why the hell was I reckless drug addict and had this chaotic relationship with drugs and alcohol since I was 14 years old, for 18 years and it's like well, whoa, you can't get off the, don't quite get off the boat Brian, because it's a scary world out there and your disease is going to overcome you and don't turn your back on the program that that saved you and it's almost this David and Goliath thing, like Goliath being your addiction and you're just still David and you have to succumb to your addiction all the time, and that's kind of what AA and the 12-step recovery . . .
Levi: the powerless.
Brian: the powerlessness, right? And the disease theory and me being this like a nonconformist, you know, I'm not into authorities and I started a question all of that. Like, and the big question came when you know, I'm in Tahoe, so people are always injuring themselves, from skiing biking, hang-gliding, whatever they're doing, you know, to the extreme and I'm in there in these rooms and it's like okay, like, you know, anonymous like, Johnny over here is like, on oxycontin and Percocet because he blew his knee out and he's got 10 years of recovery. And next thing, you know that 10 years of recovery is out the window because Johnny's now drinking vodka with his oxycontin, cause that goes really well together as a former addict. Or Susie can't quite get over the hump of her anxiety and depression and she's on Xanax, and Prozac and Lexapro, and all the SSRIs and Benzos and then painkillers. And I'm like, this isn't right. Like this is not right and I was still and I was growing at the time. And so I started to kind of question all that. Mind you I didn't know what direction I was going. My brain was like, completely, I had to rewire my whole brain and system and so that that was another seed and you hear in there like, oh, cannabis is a drug, it's babble. Cannabis is a drug because of the war on drugs and president Nixon in 1972 declaring it public enemy number one, so if you trace that back, there's a lot of propaganda and false information about this plant, right? So that's really when I started to think of like, okay, that's where medicine box was born from really like my journey through recovery and questioning how we look at recovery and treating humans holistically and being able to be sovereign in your own health and happiness and make your own choice, for whatever it might be, if you want to, you know, microdose some psilocybin three days a week because it helps with prolonged well-being, great. If you want to microdose some cannabis formulations to help you sleep at night to relax your nervous system, amazing, right. And I think it's also poignant to talk about that. [00:20:08] In 1937 Bill W, the founder of AA, he took LSD to have a spiritual experience with Aldous Huxley and yeah, Bill W had his spiritual awakening when he was in the hospital and the window was open and some breeze of air came through and fluttered the curtain the white curtains, and he's like, that's God like that's the Divine that's something bigger than me, a higher power speaking to me. And he was so involved in people's recovery that he really just wanted everyone to have that Spiritual Awakening that he did. And that is really the big underlying, that's the Goliath that you need to overcome is like, having a spiritual way of life, and he thought LSD was the way to kill the ego, dissolve the ego, and get people to have that Spiritual Awakening, that he did at came easy for him. And that's not really talked about that much. That was, that was buried. Just like a lot of these new plant based medicines, and the Psychedelic Renaissance that is rising to the top.
Levi: It's not black and white and you're right The War on Drugs, has kind of created this model of only pharmaceutical drugs are you know, are acceptable, everything else is illicit and and you know, you're a criminal or a bad person and it and people that are just trying to get well. And then I also think about, you know, maybe the recovered addict who is triggered by someone saying I microdose psilocybin. I can certainly understand someone maybe who was you know hardcore drug addict having issues with that, but I think the propaganda from our own government has kind of created this like that David and Goliath syndrome you're talking about and it sounds to me like your journey was trying to find you know, medicine to heal yourself.
Levi: That didn't take you back to the old Brian.
Levi: You were creating a new version, but with the aid of plants, I mean, I think of cannabis, you probably do too, not as medicine, but as food, and you can eat too much, you know, food too and I think you can probably use too much cannabis, but we need to eat and we have an endocannabinoid system for a reason and it's a supplement.
Brian: That's exactly how I see it is. I've been shifting my own perspective on that plant as it's a supplement or nutraceutical or a daily life and being able to [00:23:10] mindfully consume it. I think it is really another topic to explore versus like, you know, oh cannabis isn't addictive per se. It's not physically addictive, but there is the ability for it to be a form of escapism.
Brian: There's a fine line there and so in my journey in that recovery, I started to supplement what, you know, shifting my perspective, it was like I'm not waking up and taking like for bong hits and jumping onto the Xbox for five hours, right? It's like I'm going to sleep at night and it's like, what is my intention of taking this medicine? I mean, it started to, you know, that the 12-step program kind of like frightened me a little bit where I was like, oh, am I a bad person now for taking five milligrams of a formulation that has all these like well-balanced synergistic herbs in there and terpene profile and a cannabinoid profile that is like specifically blended and formulated to target my nervous system and I just would tell myself that you know this is to actually help you write to get to the better place but I also had other tools that I was using, meditation, Qigong, a mindfulness practice that I've developed over the years that is like daily medicine to me, music, you mentioned food. Shifting my diet around, high fat and cutting out sugar, high fat protein and cutting out sugar, grains as well as community collaboration and then, you know, being in nature's always been something that's you know, near and dear in my heart since I was a little kid and all of that really became all the tools in my medicine box. And that's what that's where the Medicine Box came from. Where at one point, the 12-step program was the only tool I had; it was like the whole toolbox. So now it's like I have this like 12 step recovery thing that is like filling up the larger tool box with all those other action items that I mentioned and you know, always a student and exploring and, you know, I've sat with peyote and, you know, and the Lakota tradition, wachuma and San Pedro cactus microdose psilocybin. And, you know, I've microdosed LSD once in a while and it's all it's all for having, you know what I call improving my conscious contact with the universe right? And last Sunday I did a deep psychedelic cannabis, conscious cannabis circle, with one of the practitioners from medicinal mindfulness. They're out of Boulder and their founder Daniel McQueen wrote a book called breaking the gate and he uses cannabis as his medium like as his psychedelic entheogen of choice because it's a lot more accessible than DMT and combo and Aya, and all the other, you know, bigger name plant medicines that, I think a lot of folks when they hear the word plant medicine they may automatically go to like Ayahuasca and all that's like no plant medicine can be staring at the aspen tree out my window or go hugging tree or chamomile tea at night.
Levi: The smells, the sounds.
Brian: That's how I see it. And, you know, but again, like I'm not a doctor, you know, disclaimer, this is my own experience and it's worked out pretty well so far, and it's afforded me to be able to build a business around this.
Levi: I do feel like, I mean, this is something I think about a lot and, you know, I'm not sober, but I know people that are and I think I remember talking to a homeless guy in Big Sur about the difference between alcohol and cannabis and I remember I remember asking is he was super cool guy. I mean, some of the coolest people on the planet are alcoholics, you know, and they have, and they have these moments of clarity that are just unbelievable. And I caught this homeless guy, with this moment of clarity, I was talking to him and I asked him, I said, hey, do you because I was struggling with it too because I was drinking a lot. I was bartending, you know just that culture. I was growing, I was drinking a lot and smoking a lot, and I was kind of struggling with things like my just, you know, am I getting a little too fucked up every day? I am using this as an escape. And so I asked him I said, hey, do you see a difference between alcohol and cannabis? And he said oh absolutely told me alcohol cuts off your connection to higher power cannabis actually opens it up and [00:28:31] I don't think people use alcohol with the same mindset or medicinal intention, you could I suppose you know but it's pretty rare. I think the mindset usually is almost 100% celebration, which is great, you know, or escapism. Cannabis can be those things too, but I think it has a much deeper and profound medicinal, spiritual healing quality to it and I could never prescribe something for another person but I know from my own life the use of cannabis you know if my mind and my intention is strong and in harmony with the plant it usually does provide a lot of healing, you know. It can really open up channels, it can really sometimes it can scare me. I mean, you know . . .
Levi: Take a strong edible and it takes you down a rabbit hole, but usually end up kind of working stuff out when that happens, you know, do you experience that like do you or you know is is your journey with this with the sacred plants? You know, with this sacred medicine, the unprocessed medicine, the natural stuff. You know, it's a personal journey, it's [00:29:31] a journey of healing and recovery, but it's kind of like the new recovery model. Like maybe the old recovery model isn't updated enough. It's too rigid. You know, that's what it seems like to me.
Brian: It's too rigid and it has kept up with Neuroscience.
Brian: There's a lot more we know about the brain and the mind being the byproduct of the brain and mindfulness techniques, and a lot of things like ancient wisdom and eastern healing modalities making their way into the west. And I think that's also very open-minded about the rigidity and it's like, I'm not, like disowning the 12 step program. I'm not saying, oh, you guys don't know what you're doing. It worked. It pulled me in when I needed it the most and I think you have to if you want to continuously spiritually evolve. And use other mediums to reveal more about yourself, you have to start kind of looking outside of that box that you're in. And I like what you said about the homeless man in Big Sur and I always say addicts and alcoholics are some of the most amazing people I've ever met. Because we have big hearts. We just don't always know how to direct them, but really a lot of what are you know, problems stem from trauma and it's our thinking is just a little bit off and there's our thinking mind not the brain, the byproduct of the the brain is what gets us kind of caught up on those in the in the loops and yeah, he couldn't have said it any better. It's like alcohol is very spiritually restrictive and cannabis and meditation and other plant based medicines is spiritually expansive, and it's kind of like, what container do you want to play in? You want to be spiritually expansive, or do you want to be spiritually restrictive? And if you want to be restrictive, that doesn't mean that you're a bad person. It might be just like, this is the way I'm dealing with my trauma right now and you know a liter of Jack Daniels is my medicine. Like you can almost switch that. I'm not condoning that but and and we addicts and alcoholics and, you know, the homeless and mentally ill and mental health it's like our society again had, there's so much propaganda around that. You're a criminal, you're a bad person. You can't get your shit together. You're a bum. Right, all these negative connotations that go with that. It's like, well, let's look at the wider. Like opening it up to the wider perspective, that our society really isn't built for humanity, it's like keeping up with the Joneses, instant gratification, economic disparity, marginalized communities, you know, intergenerational trauma and we don't really have those tools growing up or going through school. Atleast, you know, maybe our generation Levi, you're 40 and 41, we're that cusp Millennials, you know.
Levi: We're the Elder Millennials. Yeah, we remember life without phones and the internet.
Brian: There's a lot of change happening. I was talking to a mentor yesterday and we were talking about that movie Seaspiracy and just the state of the world and he's like you know it's just and this guy is like super woke and really spiritually you know expansive and he's like you know Brian it's just it's a really tough time to be a human in this world right now. And I always remind myself that like gratitude is so huge, it's the only shortcut and like, every day, I'm grateful that I get to look out at the lake and go walk in nature and especially in 2020 with Covid, you know. I wasn't living in a city and an apartment building in New York and couldn't do anything. And it's like that amount of isolation humans aren't meant to stay inside, they need Vitamin D. We are meant to play in the dirt and the trees and be around people. So it's like the real pandemic wasn't covid. It was like this isolation in, like pulling us away from community and self and over. 8,000 people died of drug overdoses, the most in history.
Levi: I think about that a lot, the unintended consequences of these lockdowns, you know. And you know, I try to stay out of the politics of it, you know, I understand people's concerns and I share them, but we have to look at the whole picture, right? We get so divided as a country over this stuff. No, but you have to look at that. I think about that all the time. I think the addicts during this pandemic probably can't go to twelve steps. You know, the 12 Steps haven't been shot down, right? I mean, they're probably Zoom.
Brian: I would recommend 11 steps, which is a meditation meeting all through 2020. Actually, up until January the day after the capitol building raid. But yeah, we had zoom meetings. It's just not the same and the amount of folks that were relapsing and struggling. It's like isolation is the actually the worst thing for an alcoholic.
Brian: And because you're with yourself and again, extremely grateful that I had developed a meditation practice and developed a routine and ritual that allowed me the space to be comfortable alone and in my own skin and have my connection with the higher power and many people don't have that or haven't found that or are still trying to find that and then the 12-step program, yes [00:36:22] the 11 step is sought through prayer, meditation, to improve our conscious contact with God. I change it to the universe, but there's not much literature and there's not many teachings that actually are like well let's meditate, right? Like I tried to propose that, like, every meeting my local meeting was like, we'd open up with the 10 minute meditation and it's like once a week, was a meditation meeting for 8 minutes and I ran that meeting. But I'd always set the timer for 10 and be like, hey every every week in extra, two minutes, you get, you know, you get that extra 10 minutes, you know, she was almost again yesterday and people in there would be like this is my only time that I meditate for the week and I saw myself getting attached to other people's well being, kind of like Bill W was doing. And I checked in with myself and that's not a good place to be because it's autonomous. And the only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking and using and I was like, you need Sally, you should meditate more and I started kind of like taking inventory of other people and it's like, you can meditate outside of this meeting. You don't have to wait for me to guide you doing it. And I had to back off of that and called one of my, my elders, this woman, she's a great friend and she's been in the program for like 40 years and talked it through with her and she's like, you're getting attached to other people's well-being right now Brian and that's beautiful, but you have to remember that it's, it's, it's everyone's on their own journey and maybe you shouldn't maybe you shouldn't share this meeting anymore. You've held on to it for three years. Everyone wanted me to just stay and I had to give it up and I gave that up and kind of like to explore other types of work, you know, trauma, you know, healing and and really just, you know, stepped away from the 12-step program. I don't want to say quit, it's just I just took some time away to kind of shift my perspective and get away from that rigidity as you said.
Levi: Sure. I think there's a lot of awareness and healing happening right now and you mentioned [00:38:51] harmony with the Earth and I kind of want to circle back to that because I think that, that's really kind of what's going on, you know, like, you know, we're talking about cannabis and alcohol and, you know, in the west is such an alcohol, industrialized capitalism know, like cannabis doesn't fit in with industrialized capitalism really well.
Levi: Capitalism is go go go. You know, and cannabis is like, well, I don't know, it's just chill out, you know, but the East is a hashish culture and the East is far more spiritual really than the west and the mindset, you know, in the dedication to the spiritual practice. And I think, I think there's a real disconnect unfortunately right now in the west, but I think we're all actively trying to heal it and I think harmony with Earth for me at least, is at the center of that. And, you know, and you're in Tahoe and one of the most beautiful places on Earth, and I think that lake is magical, give me some hope that what's going on right now with the movements that you're seeing because you're more plugged into just about anybody I know, I think with kind of and I don't want to call it new age, but at least I think just real progressive. I'm thinking on these issues, like you almost speak a different language sometimes Brian like I get your emails and your on this vibration, this frequency and I just want people to hear from you about this concept of harmony with Mother Earth because I think it gets lost and I think it sounds cheesy to some people and I want to dispel all of that stigma around this concept.
Brian: You said, you know, the capitalization and corporatization of the West and Manifest Destiny, and when America was discovered, you know, 400-plus years ago, there were native people on this land, Navajo and Sioux and Lakota. And they were not in harmony with Mother Nature. They were Mother Nature right? This earth.
Levi: The disconnect. The fall hadn't happened, you know.
Brian: The fall hadn't happened.
Levi: There wasn't even a word for nature, right, in a lot of those languages they just were.
Brian: They just were, they just are, you know, the discovery of this country, right? Was the birth of colonialism, colonialism came in and pulled us humans away from nature, okay? Then it pulled us away from each other and then it pulled us away from ourselves. That was like, yeah . . .
Levi: That's the progression.
Brian: That's the progression, that linear progression, but it's really been caught up in this negative feedback loop.
Brian: It's like, okay, here's this untapped massive resource of beautiful sacred land, and let's extract as much as possible out of it to build for the superior race, right? This is what we call the patriarchal system, right? This white race that we are a part of you and I were white. White men who are probably privileged white men in a lot of people's eyes, but again just like the mind is a byproduct of the brain, we're a byproduct of this system. We didn't create it and I think we're trying to do a lot of work to dissolve it in a sustainable conscious fashion. So enter the age of industrialization, Carnegie and steel and now we're building cities and we're just, you know, taking over the country and then through the age of industrialization you got World War I, World War II, baby boomer generation, it's like the Baby Boomers, they get the Boomers get a lot of like you know, people make fun of them is like my parents, your parents their Boomers but like their parents or grandparents, they just wanted to have families. They wanted to live like a nice life. I think it's like, you just went through Wars and famine and depression, a much different era. And that's important to pay attention to. There wasn't really the consciousness that is happening now then, and I think that needs to be paid attention to and instead of bashing them, it's like, let's have some compassion for them, right? Include them in.
Levi: And you have to get to a point where you have some free time to explore spirituality. If you're just trying to feed yourself, there's not a lot of time left in the day to explore these things. So it's kind of like the blessing and the curse of it and we have more leisure time available to us because of the system.
Brian: That could be a whole other topic to explore like that free time and self-empowerment, the coaching personal development movement. Me me, me, me, me me. It's all about me and I'm just still watching myself care routine and all this, right?
Levi: Right, the wellness movement?
Brian: What are you doing with that? Like are you taking what you've learned to like, you know, be of service to others or and just do it without expectation of like a monetary exchange. So that's a side note. But the age of industrialization, right? We built up capitalism. Okay, life's good money everywhere. and then that created a lot of economic disparity and this class you know class system really that's like folded into capitalism that we don't really see and then the age of technology or age of information kind of where we're at now and then 10 years ago, right, like the millennial generation, smartphones. Smart phones came out, app culture, that was right when I left San Francisco and I started to see it get really gentrified in 2012 and it was the rise of app culture. And now there's so much information coming at us at all times, which again is feeding into the colonialistic, linear model of removing us from nature, removing us from ourselves but from each other. And, as you've seen in the last probably couple years, definitely through 2020, Black Lives Matter, movement, Covid, conspiracy theories, QAnon, all this like New Age stuff, 5D, I'm ascending and all that kind of stuff. Polarity, divisiveness and it's like cancel culture, that's a whole other one that I'm just like, this is insane. Like because there's evil people Jordan Peterson says about cancel culture, there are evil people lurking in the shadows that you don't even know about that are ust waiting and waiting for us for everyone to get so weak that they're just going to come and take us over. And it's like Capitalism, they're like great. We're at the top of the class and all you peasants down here, just keep fighting with each other because Levi, you know what you said about cannabis that I just don't agree with okay. So I can't talk that out with you. I don't want to see your perspective because mine's better. So I'm going to cancel you and it's this triangle, it's this victim savior hero, right? You're the sorry, villain, victim, hero. You're the villina, I'm going to cancel you because I'm going to be the hero. Now, I'm telling myself that I'm the hero by canceling you, but in reality, I'm just becoming the victim of my own unconsciousness. So that's all happening right now, and I pay attention to maybe like too much and I definitely can get sucked into social media and you know, and the difference, what am I trying to say? The different viewpoints and like back to the labels cancel culture, virtue signaling, Cali sober, I'm a social justice warrior, anti social justice warrior. It's like yo, let's get back to being in harmony with nature before all this bullshit happened with colonialism? None of that mattered because we were all all just living in harmony with each other with ourselves and with nature as Earth citizens of this world in this earth and like, we're just going in fucking circles were in this, like we're like a pair of like sneakers in a dryer going thump, thump, thump, and it's like, turn the dryer off, take their sneakers out and put them on and just take a walk.
Levi: Or put them out in the sun, you know.
Brian: Put them out in the sun, there you go, like, don't use electricity or like, you know, throw microplastics up into the sky. But that's, that's my kind of take on it. And I think covid is the under are so many people were focusing on the numbers and CDC and I'm a vaxxer and you're an anti-vaxxer and okay, you're back, sir. So I'm canceling you. It's like, oh my gosh, it's be sovereign in your own choice. Take the vaccine, do whatever you need to do Sally, just don't tell me what I need to do with my body. That's it, we can be friends. Okay. But that underlying message, I think the fundamental philosophical truth of what the message of Covid delivered a lot of us was this message of reprioritizing our personal selves and well-being in our professional lives and really looking at what matters and people in the cities, again, this is what triggers me being up in Tahoe that I have to explore in my own self. Why am I getting triggered with the amount of techies here now? Silicon Valley has moved to Tahoe or they moved to Texas or Florida but the amount of homes like that were bought in the last year, thirty to forty percent were from Facebook and Google. And Tahoe is being overrun by what we call, it's being labeled as Zoom Towns now, you know, remote workers and the gig economy, and Facebook and Google employees taken 30 to 40 percent pay cuts to stay in their remote living lifestyle now, where before there on the campuses and Silicone Valley and coming up for the weekends. So what my mission, harmonizing a relationship with Mother Earth. That's triggering when I can't even go to my local like a tiny post office with one postal worker that I know by name, that gives my dog treats every time we go in there because there's a line out the door and there are five Tesla's in the parking lot. Right there are people honking horns now. I've never heard someone honk a horn and Tahoe, I get mad. I'm just getting out of the way. It's like, yo, you, you're driving like . . .
Levi: You're being very un Tahoe. Yeah.
Brian: You're like coming down Fell Street going like 60, trying to like race all the lights, but that's triggering to me. But then I have to realize, like, okay, well everyone deserves to be happy and everyone deserves to have some like connection to Nature even though they don't a lot don't know how to what I say do, Kimberly Dylan, you know, Kimberly Dylan former CMO of Papa & Barkley and a little plug here her brand now is I Get Frigg, but she's been trying to come up to Tahoe the last couple of years to be in the snow, because as she says, she doesn't know how to do nature. She wants to learn how to do nature. And I love that because you actually want to learn how to do it. There's people that come up here that it's like nature's my trashcan and the we're just going to leave like diapers on the beach and plastic everywhere in broken sleds and the dumpsters full, so we'll just pile our trash next to the dumpster instead of like because out of sight out of mind, someone else's problem now, that's really frustrating and it's frustrating a lot of locals but Brian is like how can we educate these folks? How can we bring awareness? Because I think it's a beautiful thing that I see a lot of minorities up here now and it's amazing. It's like y'all need connection to nature, but we need to learn how to do it together. And that is a byproduct back to that colonialistic equation. Like you've been so removed from nature and in what it means to to be in touch with it, that it's not even a thought that like, oh, you know, undoing like a piece of plastic like this and I'm just going to throw it down in the ground or a bottle cap or I mean, I'm always taking walks in the forest and filling my pockets up with little bits of plastic trash and, but that, that's there's this big influx coming out of the cities into a lot of the rural areas.
Levi: Yeah. For sure. Yeah. You're hitting the pain point. I think a lot of people feel that people that are in rural communities and gentrification, you know, obviously people are getting priced out and there's a culture always think of like Hawaii you know and the Hawaiians there's a real culture and people come over and maybe don't respect that culture. It's like leaving trash on the beach or you know, touching the turtle in the water like just doing things like not at these and it's like, no, these turtles are leaving them alone. Like they've been here for millions of years just like, you know, appreciate them but don't go and mess with them. It's not an amusement park, you know, these are real living beings, you know, that have heartbeats and thoughts and fears. And I think a lot of people have become so disconnected that we kind of forget that and you know, I mean, I'm looking for optimism in everything these days because I think that's the only choice we really have. And I'm seeing some optimism with, you know, using that, you know, you're talking about the tech, guys, but we can use this technology, we're using it right now. I think to share a good message and a lot of people have gotten into home gardening because of YouTube and people sharing, you know, here's how to start a tomato garden and people grab that and they go out and they start a tomato garden. Like we need everybody to be starting gardens right now. Like I think if you have space to grow some food, do it. There's probably nothing better you could do for yourself to heal your connection to absorb good nutrients out of the soil to carbon sink. You know, with that soil to create literal carbon sinks, you know, everywhere we need to, like, just garden every flat surface, you know, in the world and be growing food and get away from industrialized agriculture. [00:55:38] And that's the big one for me. It's like, yeah, who knows who started the fire? You know, somewhere this fire started, but I think that capitalist mindset of always scaling up right? Go big or go home? It's always got to be bigger. It's always got to be more efficient. I think that's what we're starting to question, at least you know, I am, and I feel like we want to go back to a model that is more localized. And I think Covid has taught us if covid hasn't taught us anything else, it's that our supply chain needs to be reconsidered. Right?
Levi: And I think there's a lot of good that can come out of that and if we take that momentum and say, look, we need to make sure that we have food and medicine and the, you know, we are able to be a self-sufficient closed-loop system if we need to because its global economy sounded great in, you know, the 90s, you know to a lot of people you know it just seemed like it's just you know ship mangoes all like nothing's ever out of season, you can have mangoes, year-round, tomatoes year-round, everything is available all the time. Doesn't necessarily need to be that way. You know. I think I think people could get into seasonal you know it's like you know it's tomato season like we just don't have tomatoes, you know, like even Burgerville up in Oregon. I'm an Oregonian. Like they don't put tomatoes on their hamburgers when tomatoes are out of season, like, that's cool. And that like, makes a brand for them, right. People are like I'm talking about it right now, you know.
Levi: Exactly, exactly, It's the awareness component where, you know, we are the Earth, right? Just like the Native Americans. Like we're not separate from it. What we do matters and the earth is this Incredible spaceship floating around the cosmos and it's this incredible system that has perfected the creation of life so beautifully and our monkey minds really get in the way and start cluttering that up. But I am hopeful that I see people from our generation, the younger people. I see the hippie movement from the sixties and want to talk, can we talk about [00:57:43] The Human Potential Movement a little bit? Are you familiar with that movement? That would be like the Esalen Institute in Big Sur.
Levi: What The Human Potential Movement kind of encompasses psychedelia and the use of psychedelic drugs, it encompasses the counterculture hippie movement. But what the central theme is that there's an untapped human potential in us and I think that comes from the earth and it's like we talked about the progression of we have, you know, separated ourselves from the earth and thus separated ourselves from each other and ultimately ourselves. You know, our true self or whatever you want to call it. So to restore that connection, you know, do we need to heal ourselves first or is there a hack? And for me, my hack is it's easier to control my body than my mind, so like, do the yoga, do the meditation and just kind of let like your body shift your mind in a new direction rather than just being so in the mental sphere, you know, and that's just how I operate. I'm not prescribing that for everybody, but I think another way if you want instant healing in your life. go to go to the Earth, like literally put your hands in the earth, you know, and absorb on the side like a super hippie and I want to you but maybe to some people listening but there are microbes in the earth, you know that are going to get into your fingernails like a lot of people don't put their hands in the earth like if we can I feel farming and agriculture like the u.s. decided to be a hydrocarbon economy rather than a carbohydrate economy a long time ago but we are a farming nation. You know, we have a ton of farmland. Look at California. It is a utopia agriculturally speaking. You know, outside like the Czech Republic, we have some of the most fertile land in the world right here in California and it doesn't have to just be mono cropped. We can go back to diversification, regenerative farming. We can rebuild a different agricultural system that can feed everyone a higher nutrient quality product, a product that leaves the ground and better shape than when we started it and I don't think it's that hard. I feel like there's a little there's this defeatist mentality out there right now where people are just like, oh, we can't, we can't, we will never get off fossil fuels, we will never be able to change it. I think we can. It just takes the mindset to do it and I think people will be happier, you know? Like let's get government programs to subsidize farming, they do this in Oregon, Oregon. The state of Oregon gave grants to young people to go out and start farms, organic certified small farms. We can have a national program to do that. Let's get people back into the earth and I think we'll start to see the healing come out of that because that's what the earth is here to do. You know it's here for us or provided for us. It is our mother literally, you know, nurturing us back to health and if we're disconnected from and If all we're doing is searching for it through the digital channels. And ignoring the organic channels, I think we're missing something. So I hope if anybody takes anything away, you know, from what I'm saying. I hope that they just go out and start a garden. You know, just plant some seeds like it will change your life, right? I mean, it's changed your life. It sounds like Brian. Like, you got into cannabis because of economic opportunity, but I think that incentive and me too, I started growing weed because of money, I'm not going to lie, I needed money and it was like, hey, there's an opportunity here to make some money, but that was like the gateway to me. Then I started growing all kinds of stuff. The plant takes over, you know, it doesn't matter if you're growing it in a warehouse in Oakland, or out in the forest of Big Sur, [01:01:24] it's a magical plant. I think it's an alien species and that's for another topic, but I think it has a sentient, conscious connection with us and when you grow that plant, it's going to communicate with you and it's going to start healing you immediately. You don't even have to smoke it.
Levi: [01:01:39] Like you're just growing the cannabis plant on its own is an incredible healing. This is true for a tomato plant other plans to buy but the cannabis plant kind of has this release for me a very special psychic connection you know, I really feel a communication happening. The smells you know are that everyone loves cannabis in nature. The deer, the birds, the insects it is, it is just like out there just being like this goddess, you know? It is an absolute [01:02:04] goddess plant, just absorbing, everyone loves it, right? Like the natural cannabis plant growing wild out in nature, is like, if you just walked into this forest, like it would just be glistening and shining and it's perfume, you know, would would take over the area, it's an incredible plant that is so loved by nature that by growing it you're tapping directly back into that ancient connection to nature even if you're growing hydroponically in a basement, in Oakland, like you're still tapping in, you know, and that gives me a lot of hope. I mean, we're growing a lot of cannabis right now you know in the United States like a lot of people are tapping into that root.
Brian: Right? I love what you just said there. I mean it's like production wise, It's like whatever minute that was time-stamped to where you just left off there's a great sizzle real for you. Very poetic and yeah, I got into cannabis too for economic opportunity. And one thing I didn't mention was the 2015 ski accident. I was laid out for like 30 days, you know, laying down. I came this was right after the biggest growth season I've ever had, I mean, I grew me and my crew and we grew like 750 units. I mean that that's like small potatoes to some.
Levi: Yeah, I was going to say, dang, indoor that's serious. Outdoor yeah that makes more sense.
Brian: But that was like outdoor and but there was this thing, it was like, cool that was fun what now? Like I say the extension of my marketability at that time was like how many turkey bags full of flowers, right? And add that up and then it was like, yo, bro check out my 10-pound plant I grew a 12 pound Gorilla Glue, I did this, and I looked at my new truck, you know, I put a new lift on it and all that grow bro stuff was going on. Like, I got a Tundra, a Land Rover, a Ranch vehicle that the Land Rover, the kid like hit a deer and totaled it, and I was like, whatever. And I was like, this is what I want to continuously pursue. And that's when I started learning about cannabinoid medicine and terpene profiles and making formulations with the mentor and what you said, they're like how the taproot of cannabis, kind of just like gets in you. It was like any spirit of cannabis that we have co-evolved with as humans for thousands of years was in me somewhere in that's when I was like, you know, I don't think I want my legacy, you know, people would consider me and you and I a legacy farmer. But it's like, no, no, no, no, no, like I'm not an OG, people are like, dude you're an OG. I'm like nope, nope I'm not. Like OG's were way before me, way, I don't even go near that.
Brian: So any OG's listening, thank you for paving the way for us all.
Levi: For sure.
Brian: And that's when I was like I don't think I'm going to just grow for weight like I didn't have the, you know, turkey bags times 750 and be like I didn't I wasn't satiated. It was like that, like almost that capitalistic model.
Levi: It's just a commodity at this point, you know.
Brian: Scale. Let's just grow more and it's a weed, like we used to have. My collective at the time was called ABF collective, always flowering. That was my motto all year long just being flowering. But yeah, I pulled it back and was like, I want to build a brand because this is 2016 and I knew 2018 was right down the pipe and we were going to get legal here in California. And it was like, do I want to cultivate, manufacture, distribute, own a dispensary, vertically integrated? That was the big business model at the time and I was like I want to be a brand like I want to build a brand. I don't know how the hell I'm going to do it. I have never done anything in the digital world. I've never done anything but grow cannabis and sling drinks and sell Blow Pops when I was 13 and rake leaves and shovel driveways as a kid and that was like the extent of my professional life. But what you said brought that up because there's so much intrinsic value and intrinsicness of this plant. The culture, the medicine of it and really what it can do, not only just for endocannabinoids systems and contribute to a more holistic lifestyle, but what it can do and on a larger scale of shifting mindsets that will help all of humanity. And that's my optimism. I'm you asked me to talk about optimism and I started talking about trash like to tie that back in. I feel that it's the domino that's going to really, you know, knock over . . .
Levi: I agree.
Brian: The next domino and get into agriculture like you said and the Earth biome.
Levi: I think hemp, you know the Rasta's say hemp will heal all the nations of the earth, you know. It's like I believe that I think there's a lot more to this plant than we even give it credit for now. You know, it's reshaping the landscape that we're going to be operating in significant ways. I mean not just, you know, economically, that's you know, pretty obvious, you know, the spiritual work, the plant does, the mindset change that it's offered? I mean, I think any of anybody that's really gotten into weed has a story, right, you know, and it's usually a pretty powerful one and the, it's like all of the coolest people, you know, I love hanging on a hangout people that smoke don't smoke, you know, my partner doesn't smoke and that's great and like people can do their own thing but like, some of the best people I've met, you know, I've met through cannabis, you know, and sharing a joint and sharing that appreciation for the plant and I really want people to try your products. Brian's brand of Medicine Box is amazing. And I'll put the link up, you know, on the podcast, people can check out where you're doing. I know you're doing a lot of work with, you know, webinars and you just you really getting out there man and being a leader and a teacher and and you know, and Tahoe you know, I haven't spent enough time there but I know there's a you know, I see Tahoes like one of those kind of vortex, hubs, you know, it was like Shasta, Tahoe, Big Sur Joshua Tree, you know, it's on the list of places you need to go if you need to tap into something deep because of the nature there is just profound. There's just instant healing. I think when you're just breathing that air. Tahoe OG just to talk about the genetics for him, and I mean, it's like going to smoke some Tahoe OG in Taho. There's so many cool Tahoe crosses out there now. I know. I've grown in Nevada City a little bit with a Greenshock who I cultivate with up in that area and just some phenomenal flowers. The outdoor flowers from that area are phenomenal.
Brian: Yeah, the sun exposure there and the terroir of Nevada County ,Grass Valley is like 1,200 feet in elevation, and then you can go all the way up to, like, above 3,000. Afgoo was invented up there in 1972.
Levi: Oh, invented there, Wow, I didn't know Afgoo was that old that's crazy.
Brian: The original Afghani Indica seed was smuggled over. and from an OG from Humboldt, and then he worked his seed all the way up to British Columbia down to where you're at in San Diego after that Afgoo, that Afgani landed on the ridge in the 70s. And that's where Afgoo came from, and Afghani Indica by Mildly Hayes, I think. And that was a banger. That's like a fan favorite down there.
Levi: For sure. I remember taking a bong rip of Afgoo over a decade ago and getting just, it was like a different caliber of high. You know, it was like, okay, this Gorilla Glue stuff, like what you know, this is this is this and it really is the call it because it's so sticky. Like, it is just such a sticky resinous plant. Yeah, the terroir and Tahoe. I just did Tahoe get a regional designation by the state of California and I think it was left out, wasn't it?
Brian: Yeah I think so.
Levi: So that's a shame. That is a real shame. We're going to have to upgrade. That's not okay because that area has a true terroir that no other place in California can mimic.
Brian: Yeah. We'll Nevada County I know is working on designations like Grass Valley, there's so many great nooks there, the Grass Valley and you know hats off to all the homies in Grass Valley, like I've been, I've stepped away from the whole cultivation scene down there. There's some amazing cultivators.
Levi: Some real OG's coming out of the area and nutrient companies.
Brian: Yeah, John Valdman of Forever Flowering Greenhouse.
Levi: Right? Yep.
Brian: Growtek is there. Yellow Dog Farms. My buddy, John Foley. Yuba River Organics, Green Hummingbird Farm. There's some there's some good good people.
Levi: [01:12:39] Real important contributions to the cannabis space from that area have a lot of respect and I want people to come and check it out, just be considerate of the locals up there and you do and don't honk your horn, but go check it out. Tahoes is just just an incredible spot.
Brian: That vortex you mention of Tahoe, It's a pretty special Vibe here. I mean, my parents met here in the late 70s in 76, and then moved back to the east coast in 78, late78, and I was born 14 months later. So I grew up here in Tahoe and I call it, my spawn of consciousness, the more, I like, all of my Consciousness I'm like, well, damn, like time isn't linear, right, it's quantum and it's like I was pretty much like conceived in Tahoe with my parents, like love for each other. I mean they've been together for 42 years this coming August. I'm going to see them next week, but that's kind of like where it is. I'm also very connected to this place. I grew up hearing of it and I was like, I knew I was moving there since I was a kid and I call it my base of inspiration. I use this place as amused and I know you mentioned some things about what I'm doing. But I wanted to let your audience know that I'm offering, I'm doing a giveaway right now on my Instagram @_brianchaplin a trip for two to Tahoe, two nights at the Hyatt Regency on the East Shore dinner for two at one of my favorite restaurants called Bite, its American tapas and great, great cocktail menu for anyone that likes to imbibe and a one-hour Zoom consultation with myself to, you know, just get them all, get the folks at win on the right path so to speak, like off the beaten path, like one of my favorite things to do is show people around up here and you make it to Tahoe, look me up, 99% of the time I make time to go meet someone that took their time to say, hey, I'm in your area. I've gone skiing with people for coffee, I've taken them swimming paddle boarding and it's just kind of a fun little thing that I like to do. And if all else fails, I'll be a tour guide so nice on my Instagram. It's a giveaway and they sound like certain things to do to enter the enter, your email and you get points. And it's a fun little thing I'm doing. So . . .
Levi: I hope people will take advantage of that because you know you it's like you have your products by really feel like Medicine Box really is and you know, Awakened too, it's kind of somewhere. It's like the products are a big part of it, of course, but it's really were trying to establish a community, we're trying to just remind people how powerful we are together. And then we really can change things if we're together.
Brian: Don't know. Yeah. And that togetherness, you know, you know, rising tides lift, all boats and you know, all those sayings and like to go fast, go alone and go far go together. But I think, you know, one of my qualms with prop 64 was like, kind of back to that capitalistic model it pulled a lot of us away from each other. And I think so much confusion and no one knew what was going on. I don't think anyone knows what's happening still. right?
Levi: I agree.
Brian: My bad contracts, bad partnerships and I think people just trying to jockey for position and capture shelf space and then you get like all the corporate money coming in and I'm getting, I took time away from the prop 64 in 2020 but we're working on getting our Equanimity product back up into the marketplace and repackaged, redesigned and same same great, you know, award-winning Emerald cup award-winning formulation with the Afgoo as the base cannabis because yes, we're getting that back out there and then the medicineboxwellness.com is where you can order products online.
Levi: The CBD? The hemp products? Yeah.
Brian: Yeah. Sleep product with CBD, CBN, and a variety of beneficial herbs. A gut health product.
Levi: Before I let you go, we didn't really get to talk too much about your products and you're such a talented formulator because you're going to be on, you know, I keep it really pretty simple, at least with tinctures, base oil, cannabis And that's just kind of want to do that for the people just want to rule everything else out, but maybe it's because I just don't feel confident enough to combine other herbs into an ingestible product, but you're really combining a lot. You're using mushrooms and complementary herbs. How did you come up with your formulas? What, how did you decide? What plants to pick to work with cannabis? Help me understand that because I'm fascinated by it.
Brian: Yeah, meI'm fascinated by it too and there's always more to learn. I learned a lot from my mentor, Michael Hollister, 54 years in cannabis. He was one of the OG's up in Humboldt rolling around with like Lawrence Ringo and Martin Lee, Chris Larson.
Levi: That's Ringo's gift. Is that that Lawrence Ringo? Or? Is that a different Ringo?
Brian: Yeah, that Ringo. Tsunami Sue, Harle-tsu. When I met him, R.I.P. Michael left this dimension three years ago, this coming strawberry full moon, but he showed me the importance of combining specific cannabinoid ratios with terpene profiles and then using terpene profiles from other botanical herbs and essential oils. Like lavender is the basic, you know, one to explore, his like lavender is really just little linalool the terpene and It's very soothing and that's why people feel relaxed around you so you can start combining that with say Mercy, right? Like that is the dominant terpene in indica with the THC base of the Afgoo you know so to speak and start playing around with all these ratios. And really it comes from reverse engineering it. It's like the ailment that you want to provide some relief, sleep, gut health, energy, focus, vitality, mood enhancement or pain. Like those are kind of like the big top categories and just exploring you know what are the [01:20:16] herbs for sleep? Everyone sleeps right, or everyone wants to sleep.
Levi: Hopefully yeah.
Brian: So I would come up with kind of like a concept or theme and then find people that are much more talented than I am and the science and realm of it and understand how to put that Alchemy right again and for sleep, it's like, okay, but I look at sleepy time tea any sleepy, time tea, whether its traditional medicinal is or Yogi brand, it usually has chamomile, skullcap, licorice, catnip some valerian. Some of the beneficial herbs that help soothe the nervous system. Now, you're adding like, terpene profile like little linalool, bisabolol, myrcene, and then some, you know, Indica whole plant compounds, but putting it together and a very strategic way with the ratios. And then, we did that with gut health, which we call happy belly and I started to research some of these minor cannabinoids like a year and a half ago and CBG is growing in hap predominantly at the early stages of the plant as well as CBC. And the combination of both of those, there are some studies already done on them that show great promise in treating IBS, which 40 million people in our country. It's almost like 30% of our population have IBS.
Levi: Kind of like a one-to-one ratio of CBG to CBC.
Brian: CBG is actually the dominant cannabinoid and there's just a little bit of CBC and I'm looking at, like, okay, what are some herbs that, you know, treat are good for [01:22:17] soothing your digestions cinnamon, saffron, grape seed, fennel, you know, and then kind of like that's the concept mr. scientist right. And then like, with the vital recovery, I wanted something that was like energizing immune-boosting focus flow and, you know, little bit like upbeat and we use CBD, CBG, CBC and CBN, like the CBN just to kind of like, round off the polysaccharides in the medicinal mushrooms use in there, which is maitake shiitake reishi and chaga, and then tumeric and ginger as the like, nootropic herbal blend. And that is pretty energizing and stimulating. One of my friends took it for the first time, and she was like, holy shit what is in this formulation? I just feel like I'm microdust MDMA. And that's the power of plants and when you put that in the correct ratios, you can really make some powerful medicine.
Levi: Yes, I would say formula matters, you know, a lot of people shun natural products cause they think they don't work and some of them don't because they're not formulated very well. And a lot of traditional herbalists shy away from using cannabis for the same reason western doctors do, you know, they're afraid of the stigma, there's not a lot of studies or not enough good studies, you know, for them to point to you. So a lot of us that are, you know, least speaking for myself, an amateur herbalist, I'm not. I don't have a formal herbalism background, but I've been tinkering around enough and experimenting and selling products and collecting anecdotal data. A enough to kind of know, yeah, you know, this cannabinoid and terpene ratio with chamomile and lavender does seem to really promote a calm restful relaxed state and we have this kind of tribal knowledge and good herbalist history. Herbalist or some of my favorite people. Oh man. I mean people that just dive that deep into plants, but I'm someone who believes that plants, plant medicine can heal all diseases. We just have to find the right formula, you know? And this is really the frontier. Cannabinoids are the next big frontier in the pharmacopoeia, you know, the pharmaceutical industry will go, probably down the synthesized path, we'll keep the plant derived path alive, people like us, but this is the future and combining cannabinoids, terpenes ,flavonoids, all these things, with all these other powerful, sacred plants, we're going to get better at extraction. We're going to start to learn more about combinations. Now, the mushroom movement, you know, and gone beyond the psychedelics, you know.
Brian: It's overwhelming.
Levi: It's incredible. And I mean just look at Chinese medicine, you know, open up a book, there are so many herbs, so many barks roots from all over the world, you know. They're the Native Americans who have some crazy, crazy shit. You know, they have they know about herbs they still guard some of these secrets, the tribes and the elders, you know, because they don't think that we're ready for it, you know, there's a deep there's there's people holding on to that knowledge of the plant medicine that colonialism tried to erase right? You know, that's the first thing you do, you got to sever the connection? And I think we're all trying to get back to it, but, you know, Brian. I mean, I need to have you back on the show.
Brian: Lots of things like my mentor who made, who taught me about botanical medicine and formulations. He learned from the Sioux and Navajo, actually, he was a mediator for the [01:25:59] sacred seed project in DC where all the native tribes and First Nations have their sacred plants.
Levi: And that's still happening at the sacred seed project.
Brian: Yeah, and he was chosen to be the mediator between the tribes and they moved, thinking they moved all the plants to like a big glass greenhouse, but he had some amazing stories of studying with like Jamie Sam's, the Elder of the Sioux Tribe. And when I was reading, Jamie Sam's and like, Michael, you need to, you need to check this article out and he's like, oh, brother Brian, like I'm like, what's so funny that he was like, he was like my like missed mr. Miyagi, or like my yoda, right? And he's like something, you don't know. I studied with Jamie Sam's grandmother, and that's how I learned how to make these formulations, right? And he's like, what you just said, us white people aren't ready for that yet. There's a lot of knowledge still being obtained.
Levi: Damage can be done, right?
Brian: I even think there's a lot of knowledge locked up into the hills in Mendocino and the Emerald Triangle. The OG's, and the seeds, people are just like what you guys just come eat each other up and prop 64, and then we'll be ready right? When it was like that, the Medicinal part of right cannabis is moving along, but I know we've been going for a little while.
Levi: It's all good man.
Brian: You sparked a lot of good good stuff within me man. It felt really, really good to talk with you.
Levi: For sure.
Brian: Fellow gunslinger.
Levi: Yes, yep. Now we have really similar stories, you know and it's cool you know, the way I think that we're trying to support each other, you know. And I just, I'm just rooting for all of us, you know, that they're not they're trying to kind of hold space right now for the plant. That's how I feel, you know, and do well for ourselves too and to grow and to thrive. But to really try to hold space and to recognize the OG's, you know, to not for, you know, do not forget to not forget about all the harm to acknowledge, are privileged to do all that into just talking about and be in but to not shy away from anything, you know. That's why I started this podcast, let's use the First Amendment. Let's talk about stuff. That's how the healing begins, you know.
Brian: Yeah, I mean we didn't even get into the war on drugs and marginalized communities and the amount of people that are in jail and you should get like Steve or Andrew.
Levi: Yeah, I'd love to, I'd love to.
Brian: Last prisoner project. Another great guest would be like Trevon Darwish of Grow Sisters.
Levi: Mmm-hmm, yeah. Yep, I know the Grow Sisters.
Brian: There's a lot of people you can invite on. Let me know.
Levi: I'll definitely tap you for those connections. You know, in this industry some of the best people are really doing the work that they're trying to figure out these complex problems and trying to, you know, heal themselves, probably first. And I think that's also why we all kind of go down this path is for self-healing and in the reconnection to what's real, you know, I think that's what people want, that's what I want, I think. I think people are ready to get off for their phones a little bit into to start tapping into something a little bit more real and maybe cannabis can do that for, you know, I think I think that it's not for everyone, I think it's important to acknowledge that but it might, it might be something if you remove the stigma away from the plant that it can really help a lot of people and there's so many, you know, there's CBD, you know, there's the not there's the raw cannabinoids there, you know, there's so many ways, there's topicals there's so many ways to use the plant in a holistic way, that's non-intoxicating, you know, that would be AA approved, you know, and then maybe, exploring THC a little bit and maybe not being afraid of what that might have to offer because I think THC is a great teacher, but fascinating stuff, man.
Brian: Thanks Levi. Thanks for having me man.
Levi: Yeah, for sure man. And let's do it again sometime. There's yep. Enjoy Tahoe.
Brian: Enjoy the coast.
Levi: Yep, and I want to smoke some of that Tahoe, Afgoo. That sounds mighty tasty. All right, brother until next time.
Brian: Until next time buddy.
Levi: All right. Peace.
Levi: Thanks for joining me today on the Head Change, the podcast that puts you in a better head space. I've been your host Levi Strom. Full transcripts of today's episode are available on our blog at awakenedeveryday.com. If you'd like to listen to more podcasts like this you can join the conversation on Anchor fm and YouTube. Until next time, peace.