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Here’s a great overview of your Endocannabinoid System and how phytocannabinoids interact with that system, starting with CBDa.
See links at the bottom of this article for all nine short pieces in this Cannabinoid Profile Series by Mitch Colbert
Share this with anyone looking to learn more about the science of cannabis!
Feeling connected leads us to our best, most expansive self.
Last Friday, June 22, 2018, I was interviewed for an episode of the Casually Baked Potcast by my lovely colleague in cannabis, Johanna Nuding. She asked questions about my work in the cannabis industry and beyond with iRest® Yoga Nidra. That potcast — iRest and Chill — drops today.
We talked about how crucial it is that we all have tools to help us observe, to help us nourish non-reactiveness, and to de-stress. The themes that surfaced in this interview echoed those I’d been exploring in a blog post that has sat in my drafts folder for quite some time…
Many thanks to Jo for helping me elucidate what I was trying to get to in this post — and eventually (this morning), finishing it.
I am a meditation teacher. I teach something called iRest® – Integrative Restoration, a Yoga Nidra protocol. Nidra means “sleep.” iRest® is a body-sensing, guided meditation created by my teacher, Richard Miller, based on a lineage from as far back as 4,500 years ago. These teachings have survived because they resonate. Let me explain.
The concepts of iRest® Yoga Nidra are in the Non-Dual tradition. Here’s what wikipedia says about Nondualism. (Though I’ve been experiencing and teaching iRest® for nearly seven years, I’m not that so great yet at talking about it. I’m getting better, though, and hope to be great at it one day. Because it’s frickin’ cool A.F.)
“In spirituality, nondualism, also called non-duality, means “not two” or “one undivided without a second”. Nondualism primarily refers to a mature state of consciousness, in which the dichotomy of I-other is ‘transcended’, and awareness is described as ‘centerless’ and ‘without dichotomies’.”
By the way, I love that Wikipedia calls it a ‘mature’ state of mind. It makes me feel like I’m aspiring to something awesome. So the practice, in a nutshell, invites us to experience thoughts, emotions, beliefs, as sensations in the body. To peel off the labels of our story — the whys and hows of our past that caused us to come to feel the way we do — and keep feeling whatever it is in the body. It also invites us to feel into our edges and…beyond our edges. Then, to feel out into the reality that there are no edges to us. In our nature, we are expansive.
Okay, it may sound like a lot of hoohah, I’ll give you that. It’s a bit overwhelming to intellectualize it, because our ego/mind can only thrive from the perspective of separation. But I’m here to tell you that touching in on nonseparation or nonduality feels completely natural and yummy. And here’s the kicker: fear – you know, that place from which we are EXTREMELY reactive – only exists from the perspective of duality.
In duality, we perceive ourselves as separate, which creates the illusion of “otherness.” When we live in duality, we feel fear of the “other.” Our edges knock up against the edges of others – ouch! – and we feel threatened. We strive and scheme in oneupsmanship. We cultivate the feeling of scarcity and victim or victor mentality. We feel the need to minimize or tear down others to get ahead, or we feel inadequate in relation to others. We become a small shadow, forgetting our abundant selves and our infinite gifts. We forget that, as a child of the infinite universe, we’re here to aspire to greatness. We forget that there’s room for everyone. We forget compassion.
Like anything worth pursuing, touching in on this experience of nonduality is practice — a lifelong practice, I’m just starting to understand. Everything around me tries to convince me that I am separate from. Seriously. Even typing nonduality right now, my spellcheck keeps changing it to non duality. But I also am beginning to understand how worthy this practice is.
Even the tiniest bit of this experience during iRest® meditation practice is the most expansive feeling I’ve ever had — and I’ve had some very expansive feelings prior to studying and practicing iRest®.
The first time I smoked THC-rich cannabis, I felt a sense of connection to all things, almost immediately. It kind of blew everything apart. I was twelve. Of course, I immediately went back to listening to Andy Gibb and roller skating and kind of forgot about it until I smoked cannabis the next time. And there it was again — this sense of connectedness. Don’t ask me what the strain was. I grew up in the midwest and the strain was whatever-you-could-get, or what I now like to refer to as “St. Louis Schwaggy Diesel.”
Since first experiencing that feeling getting high with my friend off her dad’s weed in the vacant field near her house, I have continued to use cannabis and also have sought out other ways to feel connected in that similar way — in my training as an actor, in writing plays, and performing in solo pieces.
I’ve also found that being surrounded by trees gives me that experience. And looking at the stars and the moon. I get the feeling listening to a choir of voices. I get the feeling practicing yoga, looking into the wise eyes of a baby, tasting a good, dark chocolate, smelling fresh ground coffee, and holding a puppy or kitten. It’s difficult to describe the feeling. But if I had to, I’d describe it as a resounding Yes.
Again, I realize, this could seem like hoohah, perhaps unattainable (separation likes us to feel like we’ll never get ‘there’). The good news is, your brain is ready to get you there — or, rather, here. All you have to do is show up.
The brain has several networks that oversee all of the body’s — and mind’s — functions. We tend to operate in the Default Mode Network, (DMN). This is the network we are in when we are daydreaming — the network that carries our autobiographical info, as a separate entity from all the other entities. When the DMN is online, we are replaying events over and over with better (or worse) outcomes. We are constantly creating and recreating the story of who we are, and how we were shaped by these events and circumstances. Operating from the DMN, we are the hero, or victim, of life. A tape is constantly replaying how we’ve told people off — or should have — how we’ve helped people, accomplished things, been cheated out of things, been victorious, missed out, regretted, etc.
Functioning from the DMN also puts us in worry mode about the future, and about others. It causes us to be suspicious of others’ motives and how they threaten our livelihood. The mind kicks in, doing everything it can to figure out what will happen, when, and how. The fact that we can’t see the future can cause anxiety and make the mind crazy fearful — or can cause us to be constantly plotting our master plans for dominance over others.
The Task-Positive (TPN) or Present-Centered Network (PCN) comes online when we are in our bodies. When we are involved in a task, exercising, or when we are purely in sensory experience. Try smelling a lemon and thinking about the future simultaneously. It’s really difficult to do. The PCN is what comes online when we do iRest® Yoga Nidra (or any body-sensing) meditation. When you’re feeling into the body, the thinking mind/DMN starts to quiet, and the PCN comes online. We drop out of time and space. We drop out of our biographical sense of self and the story we carry around about who we are and why. We drop out of any conditioning we carry in that autobiographic self — including trauma. In as few as about ten minutes of body sensing, the DMN switches off and the PCN switches on. We drop out of a sense of separation. We are present. We are connected. And we are expanded.
When things took an emotional turn for me at my last job as a budtender, I redoubled my focus toward the patients who came to my window, and in finding that which connected us. This was a magnificent experience. My engagement with patients deepened. I felt less and less a sense of separation in all my interactions. And I began to literally see myself in everyone who came in. Or see everyone in me. More and more understanding and acceptance flowed, and I came to comprehend that someone else’s suffering is my suffering. An understanding developed in me that we can hold the space for healing for others while we pursue our own bliss. Conversations were easier and more rewarding. I began to feel thrilled about others’ accomplishments and rejoice in their successes.
This feeling of expansiveness — even in the smallest doses — is a tremendous gift. And did I mention this feeling lasts beyond the practice? My esteemed teacher, Richard Miller, likens it to a perfume on the wind, an essence of the feeling that remains and keeps calling us back to who we truly are — children of an infinite, ever-expanding universe.
Microdose and read this again.
Dennis Peron passed this evening. You should know about him, Newbie. Legal cannabis would not have been possible without his activism. I had the fortune of being part of a special event for vets last Veterans Day, 11/11/17 at a dispensary in San Francisco called Harvest. I delivered a meditation I teach called iRest, and Dennis dropped right into it. When we came out, he smiled at me, nodded, and winked. He told me he was a big believer in meditation. Bon Voyage, Dennis. May you soar high. 💚
KindPeoples in Santa Cruz has great edible inforgraphics!
I love this easy infographic from the brilliant brain of Elise McDonough, PR Specialist at KindPeoples in Santa Cruz. Elise is also a former Edibles Editor at High Times Magazine and the author of “The Official High Times Cookbook.”
Adding my two cents for newbies, since I’m so protective of you and want to prevent you from making the terrible mistake of overdoing it with edibles which could very well scare you off of cannabis medicine entirely because it IS NOT FUN:
*Rate symptoms before starting
*Lower and Slower! Start at 2.5mg for newbies – or for any new edible.
(While 5 – 15mg is considered a starter dose, many people do really well with microdosing.)
*Put the edible up and away in between doses, so you are NOT tempted to nibble more!
*After two hours, rate symptoms again.
*If needed, dose up another 2.5mg. As Korova says on their packaging, ‘You Can Always Take More, but You Can’t Take Less!”
*Keep your edible wrappers away from pets! If they go into your garbage, DON’T put wrappers in there. Tie them up in another bag and put them directly outside in the dumpster.
*If you get too high, remember the three things I always tell Newbies!
Be kind to your Budtender.
I know, friends, we’re all excited. Suddenly, what was verboten for many years is free to all. Well. Not free. In fact, taxes are upwards of 35% for Adult Use cannabis in California. But you get it. Freely accessible. You just might have wait in some long lines with other equally excited folks. All those throngs of excited people sift and filter down to come face to face to one person: The Budtender.
I worked until recently at Harborside, the biggest (and arguably the most famous) dispensary in the Bay Area for nearly five years — with just under two of those years spent in the role of Budtender. Under the leadership of the dynamic Steve DeAngelo, our team of Budtenders made it our collective mission to quench our own thirst for cannabis knowledge — combing the internet for, studying, and sampling (on our own time) as much cannabis as we possibly could. We shared with fellow Budtenders the knowledge we culled independently from researchers, growers and product-makers about the different cultivars of cannabis, the varying effects of cannabinoids and terpenes, products and methods of delivery — all information that is constantly evolving and changing — so that we might best serve the patient — you.
Everyone I know in the California cannabis industry has worked hard for the legitimate advancement of cannabis as medicine because we’ve experienced firsthand how effective and powerful it is. We’ve also seen — again and again — how it helps others. Everyone you’d ever see in your lifetime, we’ve seen at the counter, right in front of us, telling us their stories of struggle and heartbreak, of pain and loss. Google ‘cannabis helped my’ and watch the testimonials pile up onto the results pages. We’ve come in contact with the lot of them. It’s nearly impossible to hold that kind of space for healing on the daily and not be enduringly and seriously affected by it. Changed.
Along with the plants we’ve watched fill our gardens and line our shelves, our capacity for compassion has blossomed in ways we never imagined. The roots of this ever-evolving compassion informs our every decision — even outside of the workplace. Cannabis, in its essence, connects us to each other, helps us to empathize and try on the struggle of another, to see things from beyond the neatness of opposing views, to approach even the toughest of situations from a ground of love and respect for humankind.
And those times when we fail at the grand mission of compassion that cannabis has imprinted upon us, we suffer a greater sense of guilt than most — How we might have handled things better? How might we have been a better resource for information? How might we have tried to connect, rather than distance ourselves, from the suffering of another? How might we have exhibited more willingness to listen, observe, and, when appropriate, educate and encourage?
We share in your excitement about this brave new world, and we’re smiling right along with you — because cannabis is all about community and compassion. We’ve dreamed of this moment and we welcome newbies — whether brand new, or returning to cannabis after some time — with open arms. We know that this medicine can help everyone on the planet in some way. We. Just. Know. But there are also some things you should know about the Budtenders.
As you stand in the lines to be part of this moment in history, it’s important you know that behind the scenes, a massive reshuffling is at play in the industry to which we’ve dedicated ourselves. For several weeks now, we have witnessed a mass exodus of highly knowledgeable and trusted colleagues of quality cannabis flowers and products — victims to the new, ‘liberated’ world of Adult Use. They’ve been unable to secure funding, quality material, proper space or licensing and we’ve had to watch as it happens, helpless. These friends, many of whom were leading innovators themselves, are brokenhearted at being forced to leave their beloved industry and devastated at deserting the patients who have come to rely on them. So while we are celebrating with you, it’s important you know that the ground beneath us is giving way. Seismic changes are occurring at every level of what we’ve built upon for years. The future, while certainly open, is uncertain. This can have a dizzying effect for your Budtender.
The announcement today that Jeff Sessions had rescinded the Cole Memo — safeguards for legal cannabis businesses, employees, and users put in place by President Obama — further adds to the stress of providing safe access for new consumers, which is every Budtender’s mission.
Take this information with you when you enter the dispensary. Bring your kindness and patience. Know that the Budtenders are smiling through the challenges they are facing, because they want you to love cannabis like they do. Know that though they’ll not let on, their home lives have been affected by the madness of this massive moment in time. Know, that while they are thrilled for you, they’ve taken all these changes on their feet and their bodies are suffering under the weight of the run up to legalization and the constant rush of consumers since.
Know that the lines — at least for the time being — are unavoidable. If they’re going to trigger you, you might consider signing up for delivery. There will always be time to set foot into the dispensary, because Adult Use is now a reality. It’s all very exciting. And exhausting. With a little bit of mutual understanding, this new world will take root in wondrous ways for all of us.
May we all seek to embody the sweet gift of Compassion that cannabis bestows upon us.