523. Nature's MDMA? Open Your Heart w/ Kanna: A Potent & Legal Plant Medicine w/ Ryan Latreille

Ryan Latreille

DISCLAIMER: This podcast is presented for educational and exploratory purposes only. Published content is not intended to be used for diagnosing or treating any illness. Those responsible for this show disclaim responsibility for any possible adverse effects from the use of information presented by Luke or his guests. Please consult with your healthcare provider before using any products referenced. This podcast may contain paid endorsements for products or services.

Ryan Latreille, Kanna Extract Co. founder, gives us an all-inclusive lesson on kanna – a legal, non-addictive plant medicine. Detailing its mental health benefits, he shares how he creates safe, effective, responsibly-handled products for profound healing and connection.

Ryan Latreille is the founder of Kanna Extract Co. He is excited to share about Kanna (Sceletium Tortuosum); a legal empathogen that can elevate mood and support mental health.

DISCLAIMER: This podcast is presented for educational and exploratory purposes only. Published content is not intended to be used for diagnosing or treating any illness. Those responsible for this show disclaim responsibility for any possible adverse effects from the use of information presented by Luke or his guests. Please consult with your healthcare provider before using any products referenced. This podcast may contain paid endorsements for products or services.

Today's episode is one that I've been eagerly waiting to share with you all. We’re joined by an incredibly special guest, Ryan Latreille, the founder of Kanna Extract Co., to talk about Kanna (Sceletium Tortuosum); a legal empathogen that can elevate mood and support mental health. 

Ryan's expertise in the realm of psychedelics and plant medicines is more extensive than anyone I know, especially when it comes to kanna, a plant medicine he introduced me to years ago. He's a trailblazer, making these novel substances more approachable and, importantly, doing so with a profound sense of responsibility and care.

Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered on getting started. The Life Stylist listeners can visit kannaextract.com and use code LUKE for 10% off.

In this episode, we explore the world of kanna, a topic Ryan knows inside out. His approach to creating these products is meticulous and heartfelt, focusing on efficacy and safety. We're not just exploring the origins and stories behind these substances, we're also emphasizing the importance of respect and caution in their use. 

This episode highlights the many benefits of kanna, including its non-addictive nature. It is legal, and potentially the safest way to experience profound plant medicine benefits, leading to deeper healing, connection, and growth.

Get ready to have your mind expanded and to learn from one of the most knowledgeable people in the field of plant medicine. Let's dive in and discover the wonders of kanna and the remarkable journey of Kanna Extract Co. with Ryan Latreille.

(00:00:41) An Introduction to Using Empathogens for Heart Opening

  • Ryan’s background using kanna or plant medicine intentionally
  • Defining empathogens and exploring their function facilitating heart opening
  • The difference between MDMA and 2C-B compounds for assisted therapy
  • Important warning about 2C-B and how to get your substances tested
  • Alkemist Labs Testing
  • How MDMA can lead couples to have a more intimate relationship

(00:17:13) Important Disclaimer on Safe Use of Plant Medicine

  • Risks involved in working in the psychedelic space & advice for safe use
  • Knowing when you are in a safe space with the right people to explore plant medicine
  • Recognizing how often facilitators abuse the integrity of these experiences
  • Properly leading journeys & creating containers that allows everyone to do the work
  • Using plant medicine to keep your ego in check
  • The importance of vetting your facilitator 

(00:41:28) A Cautionary Tale About Taking Too Much Plant Medicine

  • Ryan’s full ego death experience on mushrooms at the Monterey Aquarium 
  • Being aware of how long a trip can potentially last if you’re in public
  • Luke’s experience on an acid trip at the Pink Floyd Laser Show

(01:00:41) Deep Dive on Kanna 

  • Overview of Kanna: where it comes from and how it’s used
  • Visit kannaextract.com (use code LUKE for 10% off)
  • How much kanna extract is safe to take for calm and ceremonial experiences 
  • The non addictive nature of kanna extracts 
  • Exploring the intranasal and vape products and how it helps with stress and anxiety
  • Taking kanna versus cannabis
  • Combining kanna with MDMA

(01:10:13) Exploring the Pharmacology Behind Kanna Extract Co.

  • Exploring alkaloids and their benefits
  • The difference between the Kanna Extract Co. formulations
  • The ability and research showing kanna can treat mental health diseases
  • Why Ryan loves kanna as a heart opening, legal, efficacious substance
  • Ryan’s journey creating top quality extracts in terms of purity, potency and ethics
  • Raising awareness about pesticides and residual solvents in extracts

(01:26:23) Cultivating Kanna Plants with Kanna Extract Co.

(01:40:58) Questions from Alyson: Non-Addictive Nature, Vapor Safety & Ceremonial Mindfulness

[00:00:00] Luke: It's good to see you, Ryan.

[00:00:01] Ryan: Good to see you too.

[00:00:02] Luke: So I feel like we already had a podcast downstairs.

[00:00:07] Ryan: We should have been rolling.

[00:00:08] Luke: But we were talking about some things that can't be shared publicly, so we're going to talk about some other shit that probably shouldn't be shared publicly, but will. No, it's really good to see you, man.

[00:00:20] Ryan: Me too.

[00:00:21] Luke: I don't remember. I think the last time I saw you is when you were out here.

[00:00:25] Ryan: 2021, summer of 2021.

[00:00:28] Luke: When this house was a construction site.

[00:00:30] Ryan: Yeah, it's really amazing to see everything that you've done here.

[00:00:32] Luke: It's coming along. You are the first guy in the world that I've ever met in the realm of plant medicines that hit me to something called kanna, K-A-N-N-A, for those listening. By the way, that leads me to the show notes, lukestorey.com/kanna, K-A-N-N-A, and you'll find all the things we talk about today at that link.

[00:00:58] And as I got to know you a little bit, I found that you have much expertise in the realm of psychedelics and plant medicines to the point that I finally talked you into facilitating me in a one-on-one journey at some point years ago, which--

[00:01:15] Ryan: Oh, that's right.

[00:01:15] Luke: You may have forgotten about.

[00:01:16] Ryan: I forgot about that.

[00:01:17] Luke: Because you've done many, but I was just so curious about these interesting and I guess novel substances that you were working with at that time and hearing a bit about your journey just has made me increasingly interested in getting you on the show and sharing some of your wisdom and expertise with the listeners. So mostly what I want to talk about is kanna because you know so much about it.

[00:01:46] I think you know more about it than anyone I've ever met, and I meet some interesting people. And the fact that it's legal, and I think we'll find out its safety profile, but from my experience with it, I've always felt pretty safe, quite safe, actually. But before we get into that and niche down, give us a bit of your background and how you first started using some of these different medicines with intentionality.

[00:02:13] Ryan: Sure. Well, first, I'm definitely still learning about kanna, but I'm very excited to share what I do know. My journey with kanna in any kind of psychoactive substance, I started about 11 years ago now. In 2012, I was invited to a underground plant medicine ceremony where what I was given, or what I was served was a combination of kanna blended with MDMA.

[00:02:50] And so that was the first time I had ever experienced an altered state of consciousness, tried something psychoactive or psychedelic. Experienced my first heart opening with an empathogen, and it was an incredibly impactful experience. I was 25 or 26 at the time, and I think it was the first time in my life that I had felt real purpose, a real calling, something that just excited me in a way that nothing ever had before.

[00:03:28] And so I threw myself in. I went to every kind of ceremony that I could. And in that first year, I went to a lot and saw the way a lot of different kind of people work or different methods that people use working in this space, lots of different compounds being used. And that was really the only context that I was working specifically with kanna for several years, was just in this ceremonial context. Yeah. So that's how I--

[00:04:01] Luke: So in high school you weren't like taking shrooms and going to concerts and stuff?

[00:04:06] Ryan: No.

[00:04:07] Luke: I guess that my question did say, when did you start to work with them intentionally, which I guess there's an intention in tripping balls and going to a concert. It's just maybe not--

[00:04:17] Ryan: It's hard. I was always curious about something like MDMA, but no, I've never done any drugs in my life. I had drank alcohol. That's probably the only altered state that I'd been in. So I went in definitely very pure. I didn't even really have a lot of exposure in culture media, so I didn't really have a lot of preconceived notions of what it could or could not be.

[00:04:41] And the way that it was introduced to me was definitely very intentional. This set and setting was underground group, psychedelic-assisted therapy where it was all done in a group setting. And it was very much about connection and facilitating processes with other people with the aid of your heart blasted open by empathogens.

[00:05:07] Luke: Would you define empathogen?

[00:05:09] Ryan: Yeah. So empathogen is a category of psychoactive compounds similar to-- entheogen, for example, that's a category that certain psychoactive substances fall under. And so empathogens are substances that when you take them, they create a strong sense of empathy, which is where that word empathogen comes from.

[00:05:37] Connection. You feel a heightened sense of emotional awareness. You seem to have a better grasp of not only your own emotions, but other people's emotions. And so they really help facilitate connection. Yeah. So that's why they're employed so successfully in things like MDMA-assisted therapy.

[00:06:02] And MDMA is definitely the most popular, well-known empathogen. Kanna is also considered an empathogen, but it's unique in that it's entirely natural, it's completely plant-derived. And so there aren't a lot of empathogens like that.

[00:06:20] Luke: What about sassafras or MDMA?

[00:06:24] Ryan: Yeah, so those are [Inaudible], or if you've heard of Alexander Shulgin, his book PiHKAL is all about different empathogens. So 2C-B is another less known, but pretty well known in some circles that's also empathogen. And so these substances, when you take them, what really distinguishes them from tryptamines or entheogens like mushrooms or LSD, is that you don't typically see visuals when you see them, where tryptamines, part of why they're called entheogen is you often have a mystical or a spiritual experience with it.

[00:07:10] Empathogens are different. You don't typically see visuals. You have this, they call it a heart opening because you just feel so open and really easy to feel your own emotions, feel other people's emotions, connect with people. There also seems to be a strong intactgenic response. If you've ever done MDMA before, that feeling where things start to feel incredible, that's a common effect from empathogens as well.

[00:07:42] Luke: I've forgot about 2C-B.

[00:07:44] Ryan: That's a really cool one.

[00:07:46] Luke: That is a very interesting substance.

[00:07:50] Ryan: Yeah. I wish that they were doing more with it. MAPS is doing so much work with MDMA, but what's really unique about 2C-B is that it's significantly stronger. It's about 10 times stronger than MDMA, which means you can use about 10 times less. And yeah, it just seems to be more gentle on people's nervous systems, and it seems to have a strong felt effect even if someone is on SSRIs. And so given the kinds of people that are seeking psychedelic assisted therapy, I think 2C-B should really be looked at more closely because it has the potential to help a lot of people.

[00:08:38] Luke: Also, in my very limited experience with 2C-B, it doesn't have the visuals in the classical sense that you would get from DMT, or mushrooms, or something like that. But I remember the last time I used it, which has only been, I don't know, maybe three or four times, and not that high of a dose, I think 12 milligrams versus what's-- 25 is the upper threshold of a full send.

[00:09:01] Ryan: Yeah. 25 is what most people work at. I prefer 12. But you can actually go pretty high with it. If you go into that book PiHKAL, you can read people's trip reports of doing like over 100 milligrams.

[00:09:18] Luke: Wow.

[00:09:19] Ryan: And yeah, once you cross a certain threshold, you see visuals with that one.

[00:09:24] Luke: I remember in the midst of that experience, and it wasn't you in a formal ceremony, it was with two or three friends and there was some intentionality to it. We're essentially just hanging out. I wouldn't say we were partying per se, but we also didn't have eye masks on listening to a shamanic playlist or something. I was hanging out, actually listened to some Grateful Dead. It was really nice. It's one of those things with many of these substances where you go, am I feeling it?

[00:09:55] Should I take more? And I remember at one point it's like, yeah, I think I'm feeling something. And I remembered I never look at my phone during these experiences because it's just so nasty to me. But for some reason, I had to look at my phone, and I looked at my phone. I was like, okay.

[00:10:10] I'm definitely feeling it because I could not even use my phone. The phone looked very different, and I thought, oh, okay. Yeah, I'm definitely not going to drive a car right now, put it that way. But 2C-B is a very strange being. It doesn't feel quite like anything else. You can't really describe it. It really is an interesting substance.

[00:10:35] Ryan: Yeah, it was potentially Sasha and Ann's favorite of all of the different compounds that they discovered. And an interesting fact about it is that Alexander Shulgin said that if man were to ever create a true aphrodisiac that it would be based on that molecule-- I mentioned that state that you go into where things start to feel really good. That is very profound with that substance. And the visual itself is very unique. Most people when they take it, they experience a rainbow shimmer all over everything. I don't know if that's what you saw.

[00:11:16] Luke: Yeah. Rainbow shimmer on the iPhone. Totally.

[00:11:19] Ryan: Yeah. It gets activated when you see light. Light beams seem to--

[00:11:24] Luke: Yeah. It's not like a thing where- when you're working with mushrooms, you close your eyes and you're like, oh, holy shit. And then obviously, if you're on a lot of mushrooms or LSD, even when your eyes are open, things look very strange, fractals and patterns and what you'd call hallucinations. That's the word I was looking for. Maybe I should stop doing it. I can't talk anymore.

[00:11:47] But with that, yeah, it's not like I'm seeing fractals or a pattern on the wall or the carpet's moving or anything. It is very much associated with light. That's interesting, yeah, that you say that. I think about that now, and there is a luminescence to anything lit.

[00:12:04] Ryan: Yeah.

[00:12:04] Luke: Yeah. With 2C-B, which I actually learned about from you too, you're the guy that turns me on to obscure substances, one thing I remember you telling me was that over the years-- well, it had been legal at one point because it was so underground and rare, and then as it gained a little popularity, became illegal.

[00:12:25] But I remember you telling me 2C-B is not something you want to try to order off the dark web and just take randomly, that a lot of the stuff out there in the rave scene and whatnot is potentially dangerous and could be tainted or not what it's supposed to be, and things like that. So what can you tell us about 2C-B for someone that's like, oh, cool, I'll go find some of that?

[00:12:45] Ryan: I would be careful with anything these days just with the Fentanyl crisis. There are so many good labs now that are offering lab testing for your stuff. So I would highly recommend that people go and get their stuff tested.

[00:13:06] Luke: Good idea. Do you happen to know the name of any of these labs out there?

[00:13:10] Ryan: Alchemist Labs is doing it.

[00:13:12] Luke: Alchemist Labs, okay.

[00:13:13] Ryan: That's just one that I met at the MAPS conference, but there was a handful of them. So I know there's a lot that are out there.

[00:13:19] Luke: We'll put Alchemist Labs in the show notes at lukestorey.com/kanna. With the 2C-B, you think that that has potential to be used in a therapeutic setting such as has been done and is being done currently with MDMA?

[00:13:40] Ryan: Yeah. And just to round out your other question, it's a hard one to make. The solvents that are required to make it are difficult to obtain. And so just far fewer people that are able to make that than can make something like MDMA. So that's why it's really important to get it tested if you're going to seek out that kind of thing.

[00:14:10] After doing a lot of substances, I'm very sensitive to any kind of stimulant. MDMA is activated by an amphetamine. That stimulant in it is part of what creates that intense heart opening and that rolling sensation, which is awesome. But if you do a lot of it, I personally have a very long recovery period afterward, which has turned me off of doing something like MDMA.

[00:14:38] I find that that is a lot less with a lower dose of 2C-B. As far as therapeutic applications, I think what really stands out is the fact that people still feel it when they're on SSRIs. So when people are on SSRIs, they don't usually feel the effects of MDMA, which, if you're going through the MAPS protocol, a lot of those people have depression and they're on SSRIs.

[00:15:07] So I think that's something that should really be looked at. But also, with couples, the fact that it is this powerful, can be an aphrodisiac and you feel really good. I think it facilitates a level of connection that can lead to much deeper, more intimate relationships.

[00:15:34] Luke: I usually, at the beginning of conversations covering this subject matter, like to give a strong disclaimer and warning. And part of that just being the fact that I have such a history with addiction and have somehow managed, I don't know, by the grace of God perhaps, to be able to really derive much benefit from using mind altering substances, over the past few years, periodically with a lot of discretion and discernment without ever going back into addiction.

[00:16:13] But there could be people listening that are still in the throes of addiction or might be sober and feel like all of this is off limits to them. Or they might be sober and think, oh yeah, I can just go start doing a bunch of psychedelics and entheogens, or whatever. What are some of the risks involved in working in the plant medicine or psychedelic space, a? B, in light of those risks, what would be some, I guess, guidance or advice for people that do feel called and want to do so safely in a productive manner?

[00:16:59] Ryan: Yeah, that's a big question to answer.

[00:17:04] Luke: That could be a whole podcast in itself. I know it's a very loaded question, but I just feel a sense of responsibility. I don't want to be the guy who's like, eh, everyone should do psychedelics. Yay. Even though that is based on the benefits that I've derived from those experiences, I think there's a lot of value there, but maybe not for everyone. And it can certainly go very wrong, which I experienced numerous times early in life when I was just indiscriminately throwing anything at the wall that would stick, in terms of the walls of my brain, and had a lot of terrifying and very negative experiences.

[00:17:37] Ryan: Yeah. Obviously, as part of the disclaimer, I'm not encouraging anyone to go seek out illegal substances. Check what's legal wherever you live. And that's part of what I'm doing with Kanna Extract Company is to offer safe legal options for people to begin to explore psychedelics and plant medicines.

[00:18:00] I think that there is absolutely the potential for abuse with psychedelics, and you and I have both witnessed that. I live in the LA area, and we're seeing ketamine get abused like crazy in the party scene there.  When psychedelics are used intentionally, they aren't addictive per se.

[00:18:24] And I think part of that has to do with a lot of the experience that people have when they take a true psychedelic, is an experience of connection, whether that's connection with themselves, or with other people that they're going on this journey with, or just a more profound connection to life, which seems to be facilitated a lot by things like mushrooms.

[00:18:48] That experience of connection seems to be what's at the root of a lot of people's addiction. That said, as far as I know, none of them produce a physical dependency, so they don't fit that definition of addiction. But where I think people run into trouble is, if they don't have the proper container to begin exploring these kinds of experiences that really facilitate the integration when you're coming out the other end of the experience.

[00:19:27] Because it can almost have a negative consequence where you feel such a profound connection and then afterwards you go back to your normal life and you feel almost even more empty because now you have the contrast of the two.

[00:19:41] And so I think that can be a potential problem area that leads to abuse. I think having a proper respect for them is really important. I think there's a lot of wisdom in shamonic traditions or indigenous traditions around plant medicine use, where they create a ritual around going into an experience, coming out of an experience, things that you do in the experience.

[00:20:12] And I think what's built into that act of ritual is a certain level of respect that just creates a different relationship to these substances. And that's things to be careful of just using what the substances themselves. I think there's a whole other part of this when it comes to how you select the people that you decide to do this work with.

[00:20:35] That is equally, if not more important because there's just so many ways you can get into trouble doing this. And I think just a very brief way of addressing that is really taking responsibility for yourself, not giving your power away to anyone, doing your own research. Yeah, I think those three simple things, no matter what context you're exploring this, will really go a long way and just keep you out of trouble.

[00:21:19] Luke: I'm glad you mentioned the latter because, man, that is such an important piece. And I've been fortunate enough to maybe just have a good gut feeling and run in circles where people are pretty clean and of high integrity. But I've heard some gnarly stories for sure, but just in my observation of other people who haven't been so lucky and hearing some stories about facilitators and, I don't know, not so much shamans even, although I heard some third hand stories of really gnarly stuff happening in the jungles in South America and things like that of people exploiting and abusing people.

[00:22:03] And I'm sure that happens, but just in my immediate circles, something that's been difficult for me to get my head around, is that someone can spend a lot of time, many years, working with plant medicines and psychedelics in the context of facilitation and still be very dark and lacking integrity.

[00:22:31] And that to me is part of my naivete in this. And like I said, I've been lucky to not interface with those people personally, but just hearing stories in these circles, it's hard for me to fathom how someone could, say, spend years working with something like ayahuasca, which is such an illuminator of shadow within the person using it.

[00:22:55] It's just hard for me to fathom that you could journey consistently for a period of time and yet still be the type of person that would take advantage of someone, or lie, or manipulate. You know what I mean? Or have power trips or form your own little shamanic cult and just weird stuff that does happen.

[00:23:21] It's hard for me to imagine that because in all of the experiences I've had, especially early on when I was just starting to venture into this some years ago-- the first many journeys I had were mostly with ayahuasca. Every hour in those journeys was spent just looking in all the nooks and crannies of my character and dealing with my trauma and patterns that I had developed in my life that were either destructive to myself or maybe more importantly, in some cases, destructive to other people with whom I shared relationships.

[00:23:56] So over the years, those experiences, for me, have refined me in any areas of my life in which I'm out of integrity or even just not being authentic or truly honest, and giving, and selfless, and all the things that I aspire to be, those are the things that come front and center in every journey.

[00:24:19] Like, ah, you're a little bit full of shit over here. You're being selfish over here, whatever it is. So it's still just hard for me to fathom how someone who has the potential to exploit other people, manipulate, abuse other people-- how do you take psychedelics and then emerge out of that and still be that person?

[00:24:40] That's what I don't understand. Because it's like, I don't know. In my experience, it just clears everything away that is not pure in me. And I become a much higher integrity person as time goes on through those experiences, and then it even becomes more finely tuned and more nuanced, where I'm pretty clean, honest, authentic, integrous person.

[00:25:01] And then I'll see just some very subtle thing that isn't even a big deal, and then that'll even bother me and I'll work on that and overcome that. So I don't even know if there's a question there. It's just so weird that people could do that kind of work and not clean themselves up and still be messy and untrustworthy. It's just weird to me.

[00:25:24] Ryan: Yeah. And it happens a lot. As a culture, we're really stumbling our way through this, exploring consciousness with these medicines, we're having the mirror held up to the way we structure everything. And so how are we going to meet the demand for these things at scale with our existing structures? All of that is being reflected to us with examples, like what you're describing.

[00:26:02] And so I think these people that have large followings, they get trapped in a situation where they're not able to do their own work. They're in a position that they're holding as a facilitator or a leader or whatever, where, in some cases, the whole business revolves around holding up that, maintaining that persona. And it doesn't leave a lot of room for a person to make mistakes or even be able to see their own mistakes and deal with it.

[00:26:42] And a lot of what's being called neo shamanism, just a lot of leaders in medicine space that are just rising with this popularity, what you described in terms of psychedelics helping you keep your ego in check, that hasn't been my experience for everyone.

[00:27:08] Some people it does seem to be an amplifier. It takes a certain amount of wisdom to keep yourself in check and to make sure that you are keeping relationships in your life that don't serve as more of an echo chamber, but help you grow, help you see your blind spots. And I think that's important.

[00:27:34] Luke: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. It reminds me of the phenomenon of the fallen guru syndrome, where you have someone who has legitimate spiritual gifts and they begin to share those, and the radiation of those gifts is magnetizing to groups of people, and then those groups of people put their leader on a pedestal.

[00:28:00] And if the leader doesn't have the wisdom and discernment to avoid the trappings of that and starts taking their own magic too seriously, I can see, to your point, that at some point it might be difficult for them to continue to do the work on themselves and are getting reflections from people about their uniqueness and their gifts. And it's probably easy to become self-diluted in those kind of scenarios.

[00:28:34] Ryan: I probably had it as bad of an experience with that as anyone. And so I'm definitely very, very turned off by gurus and anything that even feels like that. But what I'll say is that I think I was very fortunate in the way that I discovered psychedelics and the way that I saw these people working with it, because at least what my experience of it was was that the focus was not on the leader or the guide. It wasn't even so much the focus on the substances. It was on the container itself.

[00:29:16] And so I saw these communities of people that were journeying all over the country, and a lot of them had been journeying for, some of them, 20 years. And they came together several times a year. And over the course of several years, this really incredible container was built from the relationships that people were forming with each other over the course of having all these journeys and the depth of experience, the kinds of experiences these compounds can create.

[00:29:51] Yeah, I saw relationships that you don't really see in the day-to-day world and that just being in that space, I keep calling it container, but that group of people to do that work in was powerful medicine. It has an energetic to it, and within there is a level of safety that experiences seem to facilitate themselves.

[00:30:19] And so I think there's always going to be a need, in a group setting, someone that's educated on all the different substances and potential health hazards to keep people safe. That I think is really important, to have someone that's not taking something and is monitoring the space to keep people safe.

[00:30:45] But I think with proper education for everyone and proper tools for everyone, containers can be self-facilitating and that that can be a really cool model for doing this work that allows for everyone to participate in the doing of work rather than there being this one person that sits on the outside that can't do their own work.

[00:31:09] Luke: Well said, yeah. I think the thing that I’m realizing is that I can't base my own subjective experience and the refinement of my morality in relation to the expectation that that's going to happen for other people as well. Anywhere that I'm out of my value system and out of my morality is revealed to me, and the more experiences I have with medicine just further refine that and keep me in line.

[00:31:43] And so naively, I think in the past I've thought, well, that's how it is for everyone. But that's obviously not the case because I've met people that have much experience in these realms and most definitely lack morality, ethics, and are definitely unable to provide the safety that you described that is so necessary in these situations.

[00:32:03] I think that's really the key word. That's the one that stands out to me, is safety, because man, when you're in a journey, I don't know of any other time other than perhaps when you're an infant, when you were that vulnerable. If you truly surrender into the experience and you're able to find a deep level of trust, there has to be an equal level of safety to meet you there.

[00:32:30] And if you come in with that surrender and trust and that safety is limited or artificial fraudulent because the people with whom you're working lack moral standards and integrity, it's very unsafe. They could get real squirrely if that, as you said, container isn't tightly held with some intentionality.

[00:32:53] Ryan: Yeah. I think it actually takes being burned in that space to be a facilitator and really appreciate exactly what you're dealing with in terms of the level of vulnerability. It should be a required process in your training to go through that. How easy it is even unconsciously to take advantage of people in that space and to really treat it with the respect that it deserves.

[00:33:33] And I think you in particular are a very spiritual person. You're not typical. And I definitely think that you hold yourself to a higher standard that keeps your ego in check when you're-- from the few conversations that I've had with you, it seems like you're doing that all the time, not just within medicine work. So yeah.

[00:34:04] Luke: Well, thank you. I won't let that go to my head. It's true. And also, it's not out of virtue. It's just life is so painful and chaotic when one allows the ego to lead. It's just simple math. It's just like, okay, one plus one equals two, and if you don't like two, you stop adding one and one together over time, little by little.

[00:34:37] And then you fuck up and you go, oops, I did it again. I added those together, and look where I am. I got myself in a situation. And then hopefully you remember that hot stove next time and keep yourself in some equanimity. So thank you for that. I definitely want to move into talking about kanna.

[00:34:56] I know you've been in these circles for a long time and have a lot of experience, and like I said, beginning of this little section, I want to issue a statement of caution, and if not caution, at least prudence. And I think it has a lot to do with vetting the people with whom you're going to have these experiences because they really are such an important part of it.

[00:35:18] And last thing I'll say on that is this, is that depending on what substance you're working with, and this is hard to even describe, and I'm sure to take in for someone who has never been interested in going into these realms, and it's not for everyone, but those that have when you're talking about DMT, 5-MeO-DMT, ayahuasca, mushrooms. It's an inner dimensional space.

[00:35:49] And as many different types of people that there are in the earthly plane, from the most angelic and saintly to the most depraved, those kind of energies and entities also exist in that infinite spectrum of dimensions in which you exist in a medicine space.

[00:36:12] So it’s like the integral part of a facilitator or shaman who has traveled within those dimensions and spaces and knows how to keep you safe. Not only safe in your body in this realm, but safe in all of the different planes of reality in which you're going to be working. That's serious business. And this is where you see people having psychotic episodes after journeys and things like that.

[00:36:38] I'm seeing this more and more, I think just because people are indiscriminately entering into these experiences with either someone who lacks integrity or someone who lacks the experience and the wherewithal to keep not only the physical container, but the astral and etheric containers clean and clear too. And there's a reason why shamans shake rattles and light things on fire and have all these rituals.

[00:37:08] It's not just to make it fun and interesting. There's a purpose to that. I remember the first time I sat with ayahuasca, actually. I asked one of the facilitators. I was like, why are you doing this thing? And why'd you do this thing at this point? And all these kind of micro rituals within the ceremony, and she's like, oh, I'm creating the grid.

[00:37:25] I was like, the grid? What's that? We're in a Maloca in Costa Rica. She's like, we have to keep the entities out. And I was like, whatever. I'm like, oh shit. I know exactly what she means now. It can get crunchy out there without someone there who really knows how to hold that pristine space and fill it with nothing but love and light and purity.

[00:37:25] So that's our disclaimer for people. That said, before we get into kanna, and you can say no if you're not willing, but one of the best psychedelic stories I've ever heard in my life, and I've heard many of them and have some of my own, was when you took an exorbitant amount of mushrooms and went to the Monterey Aquarium.

[00:38:08] Ryan: Oh my God. You want me to tell this story?

[00:38:09] Luke: Yeah. If you could, yeah. But I don't want to take up too much time because I do want to share the beauty of this plant, kanna, with people. But that is maybe the best story I've ever heard.

[00:38:22] Ryan: I wonder if I can get in trouble for telling. Okay, I'll tell it. Okay. I think it might have been 2015, 2016, and it was Thanksgiving day, and the people I lived with, everyone was going and visiting family for vacation. I was living in Monterey at the time, right down the street from the aquarium, and I thought, oh, no one's going to be at the aquarium today. So I'll just take a little bit of mushrooms and go hang out with some cool life forms at the aquarium. I have to be careful about some of the parts.

[00:39:20] Luke: You can edit as needed.

[00:39:22] Ryan: Okay.

[00:39:22] Luke: And it is a cautionary tale too to just sum up our of disclaimer. He's not recommending you do this. It's definitely a cautionary tale. When you told me that, I was like, note to self, don't do that.

[00:39:37] Ryan: So I reached into this bag in a freezer, in this house I was living in, and this particular batch of mushrooms had been grown in a different way. And so without even thinking, I just reached in and grabbed what would've been two to three grams, which for me at that time, was not a big dose. Threw it in a smoothie.

[00:40:07] It's first thing in the morning. You throw a smoothie, drinking the smoothie on my way to the aquarium, and I finish it by the time I get to the aquarium. And I walk in and I go inside and my first stop is the jellyfish exhibit. And so if you've ever been to this aquarium, you will know that this is first a very special aquarium.

[00:40:30] It's very well done. Yeah, it's just a really beautiful space. And the jellyfish exhibit in particular is a very dimly lit room. It's almost dark. The only light is the light that's coming from behind the glass and the tanks that the jellyfish are in, and it has this overhead ambient, amber glow to it.

[00:40:56] And they play this really-- it's like journey music-- when you walk in. And I go straight up to one of the glass, and I am just in complete awe of what I am. And I'm checking in regularly. I'm a seasoned veteran at this point. I'm checking in. I feel totally normal. It's maybe five minutes in. There's no way the effects are coming on. Motor functions are fine, cognitive functions are fine.

[00:41:29] But I am just in complete entrainment with this jellyfish. There is nothing else on the planet, but this life form that is just moving with such grace. I've never experienced anything like it. And before I realize it, my jaw is literally dropped as I'm just sitting in front of this-- literally, I'm stooped down by the glass, like jaw dropped in front of it.

[00:41:58] And what snapped me out of it with this was this little kid came and-- you know how kids get at aquariums came and slapped his hands against the glass and started shouting to his parents to come look. And I realized like, whoa, I am way too into these jellyfish. I need to get out of here before people think something's wrong with me.

[00:42:21] So I leave the jellyfish area and I decide to go downstairs stairs to the octopus zone because not as many people go down there. And when I walk in, it's also dimly lit and they play, at the time, this funky carnival music. And so now it's 10, 15 minutes in maybe. And I swear to God, every exhibit that I go up to, they come up to me, whatever's in there.

[00:42:59] So the first one is the cuttlefish. They come up to me, and they're just locking eyes with me, and there seems to be some kind of, I don't know, connection that's going on. I'm not speaking cuttlefish at this point, but it seems like we're recognizing each other. And so I go from that to then the-- they have this giant tank that is just a big cylinder glass that has an enormous octopus in it.

[00:43:34] And I walk up to it and the octopus just locks eyes with me. It is just doing this like swirling motion with all of his tentacles and not breaking eye contact with me. And its skin is changing colors. I'm seeing electrical signals going up and down its tentacles, and it feels like I'm having a direct transmission from this octopus. And at the very least, I'm recognizing that this is truly an intelligent, sentient being. So I have this really intense exchange and I take a step back.

[00:44:13] I'm like, whoa, this is intense. The way this whole area is set up, there's these little alcoves that are in the wall, and there's a bench that I can sit on. So I'm sitting in this alcove and I'm looking around the whole room. And I think to myself like, wow, when did they install projector lights in here?

[00:44:35] Because I'm seeing neon geometric patterns all over everything. And I realize, oh my God, I'm seeing hardcore visuals right now. And I don't usually see visuals on this amount of mushrooms, so I realize I must have taken way more than I thought I have. And this is now 15, 20 minutes, so I haven't fully come up yet, and I realize, okay, I have to get home. Whatever this is going to be strong, I need to get home before it comes on. So I'm about to walk out, but to my right is the basement floor of the deep sea exhibit, which it's their flagship exhibit.

[00:45:18] It's the biggest tank. It holds like a shark in it, a giant sea turtle, all these different schooling, fish. There's actually two storeys of it. So the upper level is almost a big auditorium seating, to give you an idea of how big this exhibit is.

[00:45:41] And then on the basement floor where I am is a wall that's maybe the height of your first floor here. And the entire wall is glass, and it's a big concrete room. So I walk into the center of the room. There's no one in there, and then 1,000 sardines come down and they start schooling in a perfect sphere.

[00:46:06] And again, I'm locked in this where I can't break free from whatever's happening in front of me. And now it's really starting to come on and I'm starting to have all these, what feel like very profound realizations at the time. They're the ones that are free, man, and we're the ones that are behind the glass.

[00:46:29] And then it gets to a point where I feel like in my head I am controlling their movements with my thoughts. And right when I have that thought, I realize I am walking and swaying back and forth with them along the glass, and I realize they're controlling me with their thoughts.

[00:46:52] And this is all happening very fast. And then right at that moment, the glass disappears. The fish turn into light. I turn into light, and I have this feeling of ascension, and I just slap myself in the face. I'm like, oh my God, Ryan, you have taken way too much mushrooms. Keep it together. You need to get home.

[00:47:21] I try to get out of the aquarium as fast as possible. It's still, again, not even 25 minutes, so I haven't even fully come up yet. And I think, okay, I have to get home. What just happened there, this is going to be a full ego death level experience.

[00:47:37] So I leave the aquarium, and the moment I step outside, I realize I'm hit by every-- if you remember like VCRs, how you could fast forward and how jerky all the movements looked like, that's how everything felt outside of this beautiful space that all these life forms in the aquarium were holding.

[00:48:03] And I keep having to bring myself back to baseline, default consciousness, just get home. I live not less than two minutes away. So I'm just keep telling myself, get to the car. I remember I crossed a street and right when I got to the other side of the street, I felt all these cars passed behind me.

[00:48:24] And I thought, Ryan, you just crossed a street and you didn't even use a crosswalk. You need to look at yourself in a mirror and make sure you don't look like a maniac right now. And I look in a car window and instead of seeing my reflection, I see my roommate's reflection, and I realize like, oh my God, like I'm in for a big journey.

[00:48:46] So I get into my car, and I'm thinking, am I really going to do this right now? And I'm staring at the steering wheel for what feels like three hours and actually 30 seconds have gone by. And so I say no, we have to go home. We cannot have this experience right now in this car on a public street.

[00:49:11] So I start driving. I live just up the road, and the moment I get onto the road, the road stretches to infinity, and I just keep having to slap myself in the face and say, Ryan, keep it together. And I get in front of my house, I get outside my car, and the moment I step onto the sidewalk, I have no memory of how I got to where I am.

[00:49:36] Obviously, it all came rushing back to me after. Something in me just said, get up to your room and just lock the door. And so I ran into the house, locked the door behind me, got under my sheets. And at that moment, I experienced probably one of-- the only thing that's ever come close is doing 5-MEO. It started with this roaring sensation, and with that, all sensory input was getting torn away and there was this tremendous amount of fear. And at the same time, I was feeling this incredibly powerful heart opening.

[00:50:15] It was actual physical pain. It was so intense, and there was something in me that just said, grab onto that feeling with everything that you are. And then this world got ripped away. And then it was just this state of pure love. And after some ineffable amount of time, parts of my identity began to constellate around this feeling. And I was back.

[00:50:48] And I thought, wow, that was a crazy journey. How much mushrooms did I just take? And I went back into that same bag and I grabbed a pinch out and it weighed 16 grams. These were these incredibly dense mushrooms.  I figure I took somewhere in the neighborhood of 14 to 16 grams of mushrooms and went to the aquarium.

[00:51:15] Luke: Wow. Do not try this at home, kids. I love that story because it's funny and it's also educational. I feel fortunate, in recent years I haven't had anything like that. But I think the thing that is also interesting about that is I think for many of us when we're younger, at least for me when I was a teenager and whatnot, you want to take some mushrooms or some acid and go do something cool that's like the aquarium, something visual that's interesting. You can just trip on.

[00:51:49] But we sometimes forget how long the experience that we're going to trip on is versus how long the experience of what we just took was. Remember I was, I guess, probably 17 or so, and we had this idea to go down to the Laserium in San Francisco and take acid and go watch the Pink Floyd Laser show, no brainer.

[00:52:12] Pink Floyd, acid, a marriage made in heaven. So we do. Everything goes as planned. I'm peaking, having the best time ever, listening to Pink Floyd loudly and watching these lasers and just tripping balls and didn't realize that the whole laser show is 45 minutes and an acid trip is eight hours.

[00:52:35] So we took it at the right time if the laser show had been an eight-hour laser show, which it wasn't, so we walk out and similar kind of thing, like, oh shit, what did we just do? And then we have to navigate the streets of San Francisco, which if you're going to try and drive on acid, San Francisco's probably the worst city in which to do so, one-way streets, crazy ass steep hills, total nightmare.

[00:52:58] And we made it home safely. I wish I would've learned my lesson, but I kept doing that over and over again, going to concerts and things like that, and then coming out and being like, okay, wow, I still have five more hours of this to go. So yeah. However, part of the story I do like that I would like to try is like going to the Monterey Aquarium.

[00:53:20] And if you had the money, just buy it out for the day for you and your friends. So you're not going to get straight people around you, and you can just ride it out and be there for the whole duration of the journey and interface with those amazing creatures. That part sounds really, really fun.

[00:53:38] Ryan: I agree.

[00:53:39] Luke: Yeah. I don't know if you can even do that. If anyone that works at the Monterey Aquarium is listening, hit us up.

[00:53:44] Ryan: Hopefully to not be suing.

[00:53:46] Luke: Yeah, we won't put your last name in the show notes. But yeah, those kind of experiences can be really beautiful. Obviously, you can achieve the same thing by safely being in nature presumably, but you won't get the concentration and variety of fantastic beings that you would in a scenario like that.

[00:54:08] Ryan: Yeah. And just shout out to Monterey Aquarium. They've really done an exceptional job in the way that everything is designed, and you just feel--

[00:54:18] Luke: You don't need mushrooms to have the experience.

[00:54:20] Ryan: Yeah. You feel immersed. They have an exhibit where it's like being in a kelp forest with the long seaweed, and it's just amazing to just watch the whole thing breathe. You really see that this-- the ocean's pretty psychedelic, and you really see that when you're at the Monterey Aquarium.

[00:54:46] Luke: Noted. I'll make a point to get out there and not eat 14 to 16 grams of mushrooms. Okay. As I often do, it takes me a while to get to the point of a podcast, so for those still listening, thank you. I hope you found that entertaining and educational.

[00:55:01] But I would like to get into kanna and really deep dive that. So give us the overview. What is it? Where does it come from? What historical relevance does it have for the peoples from where it comes?

[00:55:16] Ryan: Sure. So kanna is a succulent that is found in the deserts of South Africa. It is a true sacred plant, has been used in ceremony, I think, thousands of years is an understatement, by the indigenous communities that live in South Africa. And today kanna is used therapeutically for its anxiolytic benefits and mood lifting properties.

[00:55:49] And it's also used recreationally, or I guess ceremonially as well, for its pathogenic and euphoric effects. What I do is I work with farms in South Africa that are commercially cultivating this plant. Not unlike the journey of cannabis through very intentional cultivation.

[00:56:14] We've created very high alkaloid strains that are heavy concentration of these very special alkaloids that this plant contains. And then we do very sophisticated extraction techniques to render a stabilized, highly concentrated form of kanna that can be used in low doses therapeutically or higher doses recreationally and ceremonially.

[00:56:43] Luke: Amazing. And so your new venture, and we were going to do a podcast where we talked about-- Hearthstone Collective for those watching, I have one of your tinctures here and you had all kinds of stuff going on with this, with different medicinal mushroom blends and things like that, and I've been using the stuff you gave me a few years ago, ever since, because you were so generous to give me a lot of it.

[00:57:04] In the meantime, though, you've gone full on with the kanna as a secondary venture, which is what you're describing the Kanna Extract Company, which is this thing right here. And that for those, again, watching the video comes in a tiny little jar with a tiny little spoon because it's quite potent.

[00:57:25] So you don't need the-- let me see that little spoon. For those that were alive in the '80s and did cocaine, it's like a coke spoon. Very tiny spoon. So before we recorded, I took two spoonfuls of this, and I don't feel intoxicated in any way, but I feel really good to the point where I might just start taking this before every podcast.

[00:57:49] Luke: So if I took two spoonfuls of your kanna extract, and there's two different blends, and I want you to explain the difference, and I'm feeling like I could drive a car or work on my taxes or do whatever, I wouldn't feel like doing either. I could do so safely and with the cognition needed. If I wanted to take the night off with my wife or a couple of friends and have a more ceremonial dose of this, how many of these little spoonfuls would I take being a 6'2, 267-pound guy?

[00:58:24] Ryan: Well, if you wanted it really strong, you would take it intranasally. The LIFT in particular is really great for that. So as you mentioned, there's two extracts, meaning the composition of those alkaloids I mentioned are different in each extract.

[00:58:42] I was surprised, but I can't tell you how many people have told me that they've had a problem with cocaine. I had a booth and at a trade show and a guy runs a men's circle and he is like, we had two people die from some kind of cocaine-related death.

[00:59:06] And when I told him about this and that, yeah, you can take it intranasally, and you feel amazing, and it's non-addictive, but you still have a felt effect, they were really excited about it, especially that fact that it is non-addictive. And that's really what I was setting out to do with the whole line that you'll see coming. There's a line of vapes that are coming out soon too with Kanna Extract Company.

[00:59:35] Luke: Can I see the vape?

[00:59:36] Ryan: Yeah, yeah.

[00:59:36] Luke: So I forgot I did one of those too. I took one pull off the vape.

[00:59:41] Ryan: That's become my--

[00:59:43] Luke: Maybe I should do another one.

[00:59:44] Ryan: Yeah, yeah. Sure.

[00:59:45] Luke: And you can carry on talking because I'll be silent.

[00:59:48] Ryan: So the vape is actually my new go-to product because I experience a lot of situational anxiety, like public speaking, stuff like that.

[01:00:02] Luke: Like what are doing right now?

[01:00:04] Ryan: This is my first recorded  podcast live like this. So I definitely have been very nervous.

[01:00:11] Luke: I love that. I love virgin podcast guests.

[01:00:16] Ryan: Yeah. And so it comes on quite quick. Or at least the way that I experience it is like, oh, my anxiety just melts away, especially tension that's held in the body. I feel very relaxed in my body. So I really like the vapes, and I think it has the potential to support a lot of people that deal with stress.

[01:00:40] Luke: Which is 100% of the human population to some degree or another.

[01:00:45] Ryan: Yeah. And it's nicotine free, it's cannabis free. And I think what really stands apart from cannabis, one, I can't even take cannabis. To me, it has the opposite effect. This is how I wish I felt when I smoked cannabis. But I still feel very lucid and clear. And I don't feel stoned.

[01:01:04] So I'm really excited about those. But the idea is to create alternatives to things like alcohol and other substances that are abused a lot. A lot of them are toxic for your body. A lot of them aren't legal. And so this is a legal option for things that help you feel good that you can take in social settings.

[01:01:27] And if you are a medicine person or medicine practitioner, with the right set and setting, they absolutely have the capacity to open up medicine space, albeit light. And if we have time, we could get into the pharmacology of kanna. It is somewhat similar to MDMA in its modes of action, but it lacks that amphetamine, that stimulant in it. Yeah. It's not as strong as MDMA, but you feel a lot better the next day when you take it.

[01:02:05] Luke: Yeah. I find sassafras and MDMA very challenging because of the amphetamine feeling that comes with it. There's something really sweet in it, and it's been beneficial to me, used in ceremony at different times, so I don't regret it, but these days I'd be hard pressed to work with anyone that was using that as one of their medicines.

[01:02:29] It would have to be done in a specific way. Which I did a podcast recently with someone who uses those medicines very intelligently, and I didn't have that experience. But in the past, yeah, I felt really speedy, and I don't like that feeling. I've wondered why people call MDMA ecstasy because a couple of years ago, I went to an event and it wasn't a proper ceremony, but it was a very mellow and heart-centered group of people.

[01:03:00] I think it was for someone's birthday. And they passed out really good clean MDMA from MAPS approved, whatever. And I reluctantly took it without anything else. It wasn't stacked with mushrooms or anything like that. And I'm looking around the room going like, these people look like they're on something called ecstasy.

[01:03:20] I feel like I'm on something called paranoia. I just felt so speedy and uptight and really not good. And from that moment on, I was like, no, it's not my jam. So I share that experience with you.

[01:03:36] Ryan: Yeah. That's the beauty of combining kanna with MDMA. I would take half the dose of MDMA and add this to it if I were to do something like that. And it really makes it a much smoother, more gentle, hard opening, but you still are going to get that experience that you have with a strong heart opener, like MDMA.

[01:04:06] Luke: With the vape and these powdered extracts, I think by the time those come out people will be able to find them on your site. So we will put a link to it at lukestorey.com/kanna. And we'll also link your Hearthstone Collective stuff, which I want to touch on too. So for people that are like, oh, cool, this sounds interesting to me, and you want to explore it, we're obviously both fans.

[01:04:34] Tell us a little bit about the pharmacology of it. You mentioned these different compounds that are extracted from this succulent called kanna that's been around for thousands of years. What are the constituents of the product that you have here?

[01:04:49] Ryan: Yeah, so I keep saying this word alkaloid. I don't know if everyone knows what alkaloid means, but alkaloids are organic compounds that are found in things like plants and mushrooms that are largely responsible for the things that you feel when you take plants and mushrooms. So like psilocybin is an alkaloid in mushrooms.

[01:05:12] The primary alkaloid in kanna is mesembrine. But this is an incredibly botanically complex plant. It has over 28 known alkaloids that each have measurable effects on the body. And so there's a lot of exciting things that I think will come out of this plant as the industry grows around it.

[01:05:38] But for the purposes of these products, the primary alkaloids that I work with are mesembrine, mesembrenone, and delta 7 mesembrenone. And it's with these three alkaloids that you're actually able to create a range of different experiences with the plant because each alkaloid has a different felt effect.

[01:05:59] And so in different combinations with an extract like LIFT, you can create a more stimulating, more energizing, more of an outward, outgoing experience, which is great for parties and festivals or just feeling more optimistic and up during the day. Bliss, we tone down the mesembrine content in it, and it's definitely more of a, I wouldn't say sedating, but you feel relaxed and melty. And you feel very blissful when you take it.

[01:06:33] Luke: Which version is in this vape?

[01:06:36] Ryan: We're going to do both. I believe that's BLISS in there. That's just a beta test as we're-- but both will be available, LIFT and BLISS.

[01:06:47] Luke: I feel nice.

[01:06:48] Ryan: Yeah, it's awesome.

[01:06:48] Luke: I kind of don't want to record a podcast now. I guess I'll pretend like we're not and we're just hanging out, chatting.

[01:06:55] Ryan: Yeah, we're just talking about these cool products. So mesembrine is more stimulating. This is largely responsible for the euphoric, pathogenic, heart opening effects of kanna. It is the one that is the primarily responsible as a bio amine-releasing agent. So it stimulates the release of more serotonin, more dopamine, more norepinephrine into your synapse.

[01:07:21] Ryan: It also has light SSRI activity, so it functions like an SSRI, but apparently without a lot of the side effects that come with conventional SSRIs. And then you have mesembrenone, which is lightly relaxing, but it's actually primarily an antipsychotic. So it actually helps balance a lot of thing, not just these blends, but if you combine it with psilocybin or MDMA.

[01:07:54] I feel like that is a very important component of it because as a PDE4 inhibitor, PDE4 inhibitors within the pharmaceutical world are very successful antipsychotics. So treating things like bipolar, schizophenia, more intense mental health issues. You don't hear about a lot of them being used, like pharmaceutical PDE4 inhibitors, because they have intense mimetic side effects. You throw up violently when you take them, so no one can be on them.

[01:08:28] So that part is really cool about kanna, and a lot of things that I'm saying in terms of the pharmacology, I just want to state, this is referring to actual studies, a lot of which were paid for by a company called Zembrin, which pharmaceuticalized a kanna extract about 30 years ago.

[01:08:48] And they did a lot of studies with actual humans for 30 years, which is really cool and unique about kanna, that we have all of this data for 30 years that it's a very safe thing to take daily if you wanted to.

[01:09:07] Luke: Wow. That is very interesting

[01:09:10] Ryan: Yeah. Because we don't have that long of data on microdosing something. And I should say within the right dose range, taking it daily, but we don't have that length of data with psilocybin or LSD, which are very common for people to microdose. And so the third alkaloid is Delta 7 mesembrenone. And this is the one that's very relaxing. It can be almost sedating.

[01:09:33] And so what we do is we are not only on the cultivation aspect or the cultivation side, selecting plants that naturally have levels that fall into certain ranges. But then through our extraction process, we're able to do a blending that lets us standardize to these extract profiles that we have here that will-- it's important to have that standardization. So you have the consistency and the reliability, especially if someone is looking to kanna to support them with mental health.

[01:10:07] Luke: Totally. To the point of your mushroom aquarium experience, it's like that's not standardized. Taking a handful and you go, oh, these were actually more dense than the mushrooms I'm used to taking, therefore have more of the active ingredient.

[01:10:20] Ryan: Yeah.

[01:10:21] Luke: Yeah. Guesswork with any kind of substances like this is not the win. As I was telling you before, I did guesswork on what I thought would be a totally mellow light ketamine dose years ago, and it was not that because I just eyeballed it and wasn't paying attention, and it was not a pleasant experience. So I appreciate the fact that you're being so myopic in your production, that everything is lab tested and very specific according to what alkaloids and how much.

[01:10:55] Ryan: Yeah. So the journey of how came to this, you showed the Hearthstone tincture. So I started off with Hearthstone Collective, and that was many years ago. I think it's five or six years ago now, which is crazy. I mentioned my journey started more in the ceremonial space, but when people started looking at microdosing more seriously and it started becoming more popular, that's when I started looking at kanna as a way of giving people an entry point into microdosing and working with psychedelics with something that was legal, but also had a lot of the efficacy that people were looking for.

[01:11:44] And the more I started looking at kanna and realizing that it was checking all the boxes, it had the efficacy, it was legal, you felt something when you took it, it was an actual sacred plant that's been used in ceremony. And so I created a line of kanna microdosing formulas. And so that's what Hearthstone is essentially. These are very low therapeutic doses of kanna that are designed to be taken daily.

[01:12:13] And as you mentioned, they're stacked. They're very intentionally stacked with other botanicals to really focus in on a specific use case. An area that someone is looking for support with, it's pretty easy to look at a product and match it up. And then if they're working with a facilitator or some kind of microdosing coach, they're able to actually-- or self-educating, they can build a real protocol with the line that's on there. And yeah, I really dove in deep with kanna.

[01:12:50] Luke: I can tell.

[01:12:51] Ryan: I love the plant because it's a heart medicine. It has that energetic, and there aren't a lot of heart openers that you can microdose and especially without diminishing returns. So I think that's very unique, and I think that'll excite a lot of people in the plant medicine space, that here's this empathogen that they can work with.

[01:13:15] Going back. So then in the journey of creating this line, I just was looking for the best kanna possible. And got burned a few times and realized I'm going to have to create the best kanna extracts possible. And so I met some really amazing people in South Africa, and they are now my supply partners.

[01:13:43] And that's what I'm setting out to do with Kanna Extract Company, is to provide the best possible kanna extracts in terms of its purity, its potency, the way it's cultivated, what we're cultivating, the ethics of it. 3% of all of the kanna that I purchase goes to support indigenous communities that have traditional knowledge around kanna wanting to offer full transparency,  at least as much as possible.

[01:14:12] I have third party lab testing, a lab that's not affiliated with me in any way. Does all the lab testing, and we post the lab results openly on our website. And we're not only testing for the alkaloid content, but also the standards. It's free of heavy metals, free of bio contaminants.

[01:14:31] But where we're going above and beyond and where I think customers should really start to demand this of the companies that they're sourcing from, is testing for residual solvents and pesticides. Because when you're working with high potency extracts, you need to make sure that it's clean. And in this journey of just seeing other people that are doing extracts of kanna, you really need to make sure there's no residual solvents and pesticides in it.

[01:15:05] Luke: Right. Because if you're concentrating the active ingredients of this plant, this a succulent, in this case, you're also then concentrating any contaminants. If it's sprayed with glyphosate or something, you're extracting that and concentrating that into a tiny little pill potion or powder or whatever.

[01:15:23] Ryan: Yeah.

[01:15:23] Luke: I hadn't thought about that. That's scary.

[01:15:25] Ryan: Some of the stuff I saw when I was in-- I was just in South Africa recently, and some of it was scary, legitimately scary.

[01:15:32] Luke: Wow, that reminds me that years ago I saw a video, somewhere in Bolivia or something of guys in the jungle making cocaine. And you're like, oh, beautiful plants. The coca plant, that seems innocent enough. And then they just turn it into a white powder. No big deal. Leaving aside the sanitary conditions, these cats are putting it all in a barrel, pounding it with their feet, barefoot, out in the jungle.

[01:15:58] And then they poured in a huge vat of gasoline, straight up gasoline, and then so on and so on, and hexane, and all these different extracts. And I was thinking like, oh my God, even if it was really, I guess, high quality, clean cocaine, who knows what's in it by the time it hits the street.

[01:16:17] And I shuttered for all of the dirty cocaine I probably snorted earlier in life. But the extracts is a huge thing. That's the thing in the CBD industry, a lot of people are using hexane and nasty stuff. It is a ubiquitous problem, and there's not a lot of public awareness about it.

[01:16:35] Ryan: Yeah, it's not required. And there's a lot of really potent-- there's potent rhodiola extracts out there that should be tested for all this.

[01:16:46] Luke: I love that you're doing that and that you're putting the third-party lab test on your site. That's epic. I appreciate your integrity. Since I learned about kanna from you and over the years, you've sent me samples of different things you're working on and the Hearthstone collective stuff, and so I've just trusted you, so I trusted your stuff. I didn't need to go on your site and see a lab test. But if I happen to run out of kanna, I have ordered it online from different sites that are just, I don't know, the sites that sell nootropics or whatever, and I read the fine print and make sure that there's no funny business going on.

[01:17:21] And I think that they were probably clean, but I've never actually felt the effects of them really. I think I have a jar of kanna down there and it's like, ah, I think it's clean. I look through their website, and I think they're trustworthy in terms of contamination, but I don't really feel it, like I want to feel it.

[01:17:39] If I'm going to take something that has a potential to make you feel different than you feel and open your heart and some of the effects that you describe, that's why I'm spending my money on it. I want it to hit to whatever degree, maybe it's a microdose and I don't feel it because, by the definition of microdose, it's sub perceptual ideally.

[01:17:58] You just feel, oh, I had a good day today, and you don't really notice that you took something. But with what you've created here, it's cool because you can titrate the dose to where you do feel it, depending on the setting, as you described.

[01:18:13] Ryan: Yeah. You can choose to use it therapeutically, should you wish, or recreational. I'm using the word recreational, but that can be very therapeutic to just have all your anxieties melt away and to just feel a lot happier and able to connect with your loved ones or eat more easily. That said, Hearthstone is very easy to just-- you take these. They're already in capsules. It's very easy to just dose and take your daily dose. Yeah.

[01:18:42] Luke: And why did you split it into two different brands?

[01:18:45] Ryan: Well, when I first started this, I thought I was just going to do the pure extracts and I thought I was going to be primarily a supplier for other companies that would be-- what really excites me is the cultivation and the extraction process. I get really nerdy about. This is a really unique extract. A lot of these alkaloids are water soluble. It's not hard to take a lot of them out of kanna.

[01:19:16] But it's really hard to take them out of kanna and render them in a form that's stable that doesn't degrade really quickly. And so that's a lot of the other suppliers that I'm seeing out there, they'll do make a kanna extract. And while it'll be potent, maybe, right after they made it, if you test it two or three months later, it's gone.

[01:19:42] Luke: That must be what happened to mine.

[01:19:44] Ryan: So that can happen. Yeah. It's hard to stabilize these. So stabilizing the extract is what makes these very unique, and then it's this beautiful powder form. That's not easy to do if you-- I don't know if you've ever tried to do an extract before and it becomes this like gooey clumpy mess. So yeah, these are very unique beautiful extracts that are made by some really talented people. And then the plants themselves.

[01:20:19] It's a really cool journey or story of how these plants even came to be. Because for the longest time people were very skeptical of whether kanna is psychoactive, if you actually feel anything when you take it. And people are still skeptical because there's a lot of bad kanna products that are out there.

[01:20:40] And so you had a company, Zembrin, and they were the first to come in, and they stabilized a strain, but it was a relatively low alkaloid strain that they stabilized and brought into cultivation. And they have do all their farming in-house, and they really paved the way for everyone else.

[01:21:01] And like I said, they funded a lot of the initial research, but the people that I work with had a close relationship with a man named Richard Ella, who was a chief of one of the indigenous communities that I mentioned that have a traditional knowledge around this plant.

[01:21:19] It's where his clan lived that high alkaloid kanna was found, high alkaloid strains of Sceletium tortuosum. And he told us where to go and showed us where the plants were, and then they brought that plant into cultivation or essentially what they had to do in order to stabilize it.

[01:21:42] Because the plant is not geographically stable. The alkaloids aren't stable in a lot of ways, but a plant that grows very well in one place, or that grows well in the wild, does not necessarily grow well in cultivation. And to make it even more complicated, a plant that grows well in cultivation in one area, even one area of South Africa, like kannaland, does not necessarily grow well on the other end of the country, in Cape Town.

[01:22:14] Luke: Oh, interesting.

[01:22:15] Ryan: So a lot of work was done to stabilize it and it was hybridized with another Sceletium species called Sceletium expansum. And it was through that process that they were able to stabilize the highest alkaloid strain of kanna that exists. It's called DV 17. Essentially, a lot of people have taken those genetics and so everyone's growing it there, or a lot of people are growing it there, even though they didn't make it.

[01:22:45] But that's essentially what you have to grow in order to produce high potency kanna. And it's a very rigorous process to even get that plant producing a high alkaloid content where your farms are located. You essentially have to be attached to a lab that can do regular testing of your physical material. So yeah. So that's essentially what we're growing. We're not certified organic, but it's essentially organic cultivation practices. And yeah, I could go deep into the cultivation if you want me to, but please guide me.

[01:23:23] Luke: No, I love It. I can only hope and assume that some people listening like the details on things because I do. I just have a brain. I want to know how everything works down to the minutiae of it. So I find it to be really interesting. It reminds me of the Amanita muscaria mushrooms, which I've recently discovered and I've been using with some regularity after interviewing a guy about them. Shout out to Dragon.

[01:23:49] Ryan: Yeah, he's a good guy. I met him.

[01:23:51] Luke: You met him?

[01:23:51] Ryan: Yeah, he's really cool.

[01:23:52] Luke: Oh, cool. He's committed his whole life to this mushroom.

[01:23:55] Ryan: He's a mushroom shaman, for sure.

[01:23:57] Luke: Yeah. And what's similar, maybe to a greater degree, and what you described with the cultivation of kanna is that you can't cultivate Amanita. It has to be found in the wild. It's wild forged or not, because it has to grow under trees. It's so interesting how nature creates some of these things and puts the brakes on humans and animals from-- I guess not animals in this case, but puts the brakes on us from being able to commodify it.

[01:24:26] You can buy Amanita mushrooms online. I have them linked on my website, and there's a few people, but they're going out and wild harvesting these things. And there's only so many of them and so many places of the world in different seasons, and they're very particular about where they grow.

[01:24:40] So I like the aspect of things like this that rare and of higher value because of their scarcity. But it sounds like in this case, there is some scalability for you at least, specifically. The people you're working with have isolated this strain that produces the alkaloid content and the variety of them that you want, the place in which they're doing it as a repeatable process, and then the lab testing in conjunction with that to make sure that they keep going that way.

[01:25:17] Is what you're doing scalable? Say people listen to this podcast and then you end up going on Joe Rogan and 50,000 people want to buy your kanna, could you keep up with that if it becomes more prevalent in our culture?

[01:25:33] Ryan: Well, yeah, we're scaling up, for sure.

[01:25:39] Luke: I think big, forgive me.

[01:25:40] Ryan: Yeah, no, no, no. No, that's the intention. So it is very scalable. My intention with these retail product, like I mentioned, I'm very interested in the cultivation, the extraction, and my intention with this brand was to create some-- it's very simple packaging, you may have noticed.

[01:26:01] Luke: I like it. It's minimal.

[01:26:03] Ryan: This plant is so versatile. I wanted to create a really simple product just to meet other brands and medicine makers and show them like, you guys should do something with this, because we can help them. We can create custom extracts. We can do full product formulation or at least consulting on product formulation if people want to use kanna as an active ingredient to really activate whatever their product is.

[01:26:29]: That was my intention with this, was just to have something for people to see the possibilities with. And then the vapes too. These are just two very simple vapes, but we can do all kinds of really cool things with it.

[01:26:46] Luke: With the vape, which, thanks for reminding me that it's sitting here because I'm going to have another draw on this vape, I've never used vapes. This might be the first time I've ever tugged on one. But I do hear in the periphery a lot of noise about the toxins that people are using in the different syrups for nicotine products, and cannabis products, and things like that.

[01:27:06] Vape is a very scary word. I can only assume based on your attention to detail and your integrity and care for humanity that you found a way to do it without putting a bunch of weird shit in it.

[01:27:17] Ryan: I've never vaped either. This was the first time I've ever vaped.

[01:27:20] Luke: I'm going to do it right now, by the way. Carry on.

[01:27:22] Ryan: Yeah. So I'm definitely still learning this world. The reason why I am so attracted to it is because the demand is crazy for it. The amount that people vape is absurd. While I was in South Africa, there was a report on the-- a TV was playing in the background and it just happened to be broadcasting that the amount of vapes that are thrown in the trash every month just the UK is 5 million vapes a month.

[01:27:54] So the amount of people that you can reach with a product like this is wild. Like I said, this is how I wish I felt when I smoked cannabis. And so I do believe that it's a form that a lot of people are going to really enjoy, and it is fun to blow out the smoke.

[01:28:17] It's very pure. The lab tests will be posted. It's just the R extract, propylene glycol and vegetable glycerin. And that's basically the standard for making a vape. And if we find something that's better that will still hold the extract properly dispersed, then we will switch to that. But this is as clean as a vape will get.

[01:28:44] Luke: Cool.

[01:28:45] Ryan: Yeah.

[01:28:47] Luke: It feels really nice. I like it.  

[01:28:49] Ryan: Like I said, it's my new go-to, and I've never used a vape before in my life.

[01:28:52] Luke: Yeah, I think that's my third puff on that. I feel quite nice.

[01:28:58] Ryan: Yeah.

[01:28:59] Luke: Yeah, I feel good. I could totally drive.

[01:29:02] Ryan: You're functioning.

[01:29:02] Luke: Yeah, I don't feel like high per se, but I feel quite relaxed. It's nice. I'd like to get a couple more of these.

[01:29:10] Ryan: Oh, I'll send you a bunch as soon as they're ready.

[01:29:12] Luke: I'd like to put in an advance order for when these are. And for people listening, I think by the time this comes out, usually it's six to eight weeks after we do a recording by the time it's published. So you stay in touch with my team, my people, and we'll put this out after you feel like you're fully there so that people don't go to your site and be like, wait, where's the vape thing?

[01:29:33] Ryan: Yeah. And we'll give you a discount code too.

[01:29:36] Luke: We'll put all of it at lukestorey.com/kanna. Yeah. And thank you for that. I don't require, but it's always nice when guests come--

[01:29:44] Ryan: No, I am happy to.

[01:29:45] Luke: That they hook the audience up, but I don't want them hearing about cool stuff and be like, oh, great, I have to pay retail. Man, I don't know, I think we just about covered it, dude. We got a little origin story. We got a harrowing mushroom story. We got a good plant medicine psychedelic disclaimer, so we're not being frivolous and careless around some of these things that we're covering. And I'm so excited that this is your first podcast, and I'm so excited that it's the first one that I did it about kanna.

[01:30:19] Ryan: First on live, recorded with cameras and everything. Yeah.

[01:30:23] Luke: Oh, okay. You've done them on Zoom and stuff.

[01:30:24] Ryan: I did a Zoom one, and this is far more intimidating.

[01:30:26] Luke: I know, all the lights and cameras and stuff. Well, you've done a great job.

[01:30:30] Ryan: Thank you.

[01:30:31] Luke: And I'm also stoked that I haven't covered kanna yet because I just knew that you and I had it on the books for some day, and I don't know, I've never met anyone that knows as much about it as you do, nor do I know anyone that's actually making it publicly available with the efficacy and the care and attention that you're doing.

[01:30:51] So, man, thank you so much for geeking out and having the passion to create this product. And I'm super excited because, like I said, the stuff I bought online, I don't really notice a lot from it. And in a ceremonial setting, I've had some positive experiences, but I suspect that there's some stimulant in there as well that I don't like, even though like I get the essence of the kanna, and I know there's something there in the heart opening element to it, but there's also side effects that have been not great for me.

[01:31:25] So I can't wait to start working with this and just playing around with different doses from microdosing to having a nice night at home with Alyson with some candles lit and some beautiful music on. And take it a little further and see how it feels.

[01:31:39] Ryan: Well, please share your experience. I would love to hear about it. And in fact, for connecting with Alyson, I think the bliss in some cacao would be a beautiful night.

[01:31:51] Luke: Nice.

[01:31:51] Ryan: Yeah.

[01:31:52] Luke: She's got us covered on the cacao, don't you honey?

[01:31:54] Alyson: I have a question.

[01:31:55] Luke: Okay. Alyson has a question. She's off mic, so I'll reiterate it for you. For those listening, she's asking about-- we covered it. You might've been out of the room. Some of the shady ingredients around vaping, the habit-forming nature, and things like that. That's what you're asking. I don't think with kanna, honey, that-- it's not the type of thing I'm going to be pushing the limits of. And we did cover the addiction profile, by the way. And there is none. It's a totally non-addictive plant.

[01:32:27] Ryan: In fact, what I will say is that it actually helps people with addiction. Now, granted, there's nothing in there that will be addictive. I don't know if the act of taking something to your mouth is addictive, but there's no flavored ingredients, which is what these really crazy addictive vapes have there. It's not only nicotine, but they make it taste like candy. This doesn't have any of that. It's literally just--

[01:32:57] Luke: It just tastes like kanna.

[01:32:59] Ryan: Yeah.

[01:33:00] Luke: But it's very mild. If it tastes like anything, it's that a little bit?

[01:33:05] Ryan: Yeah. And the kanna itself has actually helped a lot of people with addiction. And the plant itself has a reverse tolerance, reverse dependency. So people that are taking it daily for therapeutic purposes and at therapeutic doses actually find that they need it less and less.

[01:33:23] As far as what the effects are of vaping propylene, glycol, and glycerin, what I would say is if you're vaping something else that's more toxic, or if you're smoking, that's healthier. If you have a lung issue, that might not be something that you want to do. I don't know what the current research is as far as if it's-- I don't actually know.

[01:33:49] Alyson: Yeah.

[01:33:49] Luke: Alyson, you should have just been my co-host on this one, honey.

[01:33:52] Ryan: Yeah, they're good questions.

[01:33:53] Luke: To that point, and that is a great question, and you guys have probably deduced that she's talking about the safety profile for your lungs physically. I think in this case, my sense would be you're not going to be sitting there hitting a con of vape pen 85 times a day. Two or three draws is the dose, and you're good.

[01:34:20] And I'm looking forward to you exploring it further, but when I think about the way that I would use when I was addicted to weed or smoking cigarettes, I would've been using a vape nonstop all day long. It would just be in my hand, permanently, super glued to my hand, and I just hit it all the time. I don't foresee that being the relationship I would have with kanna.

[01:34:44] Ryan: I hope not.

[01:34:46] Luke: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, people would be buying a lot more vapes if that was the case. But you know what I'm saying?

[01:34:52] Ryan: We've could have gone through a lot of vapes.

[01:34:54] Luke: We've been here a couple of hours and I've taken three and I feel fine. I don't feel like I'm going to sit there and just be hitting it all day long.

[01:35:01] Ryan: We're not putting any fruity, candy flavors in it. There's no nicotine in it. Kanna itself is non-addictive, and the real intention behind it is to create something that's healthier and non-addictive in the social recreational theme. And I think from a therapeutic standpoint, it has a very rapid onset and significantly can reduce anxiety. And so there are some real benefits to it.

[01:35:31] I do think that if you are concerned about just the effects of vapor on your lungs, it's better to work with the pure extract. This is as pure as it gets just working with the powdered extracts.

[01:35:45] Luke: Noted.

[01:35:45] Alyson: One last question.

[01:35:46] Luke: All right, we got one more question from our co-host. What is it, honey? She's asking about the ceremonial practices and the sacredness, the reverence with which someone approaches this plant medicine, if there's recommendations that you make on your site or the packaging that doesn't just have people flippantly, just, oh yeah, iconic, oh, whatever without being mindful and respectful of the plant?

[01:36:10] Ryan: As I mentioned, this plant absolutely has the capacity to open up medicine space, as you've probably experienced with these extracts, with the right intention and set and setting. It's a beautiful medicine. And you can feel that when I say that word medicine space like that, vibration of consciousness or that frequency that you enter into when you're in any kind of altered state, if you've noticed that similarity, whether you're on mushrooms or LSD, there's something similar about that.

[01:36:45] What I would say is that the more you put into this relationship, the more you'll get out of it. And if you put reverence into it, if you treat it with respect, this can be a profound medicine that can really enhance your life in a lot of different ways. Whether you're hurting or if you're already good, there is a depth that you can go to with this.

[01:37:07] We didn't get into this in the pharmacology, but I was just reading recently about what VMAT2 upregulators do. When VMAT2 is prohibitive, basically dopamine gets depleted in your body. But when it's upregulated, there's much more dopamine available to you, which is really important for not only feeling well, but there is this theory that's called the God gene.

[01:37:38] If you go and Wikipedia God gene, it'll talk about VMAT2 upregulation and there seems to be something about VMAT2 upregulators that makes it easier to access mystical states or spiritual states. So it's almost like if you're working with kanna, if this theory or hypothesis is correct that VMAT2 upregulators do this, that microdosing this plant in low doses is actually activating your own innate ability to operate in a spiritual frequency or access your own intuition or access mystical states, which I think is really cool.

[01:38:28] I try to position myself in this company as very grounded in the plant itself, how we cultivate it, how we produce these products, and really try to provide something as pure and efficacious as possible so that whatever background you're coming from, you really have the best possible kanna to work with. And I encourage you, if you're so inclined to take it into a spiritual realm, this can be a very powerful plant ally.

[01:39:08] Luke: Awesome. Thank you so much. And thank you, hun. You have any more questions? We're about to wrap up.

[01:39:15] Alyson: No, no. I feel good. Yeah. I just personally feel whether someone spiritual or not, it's so important that when working with a spirit, a living consciousness of a plant, that that should always, in some way, be acknowledged whether you were trying to have a mystical experience or not. So I just fear that being lost along the way, but yeah.

[01:39:36] Ryan: It's a valid concern.

[01:39:41] Luke: Thanks, dear.

[01:39:42] Ryan: I'm doing the best I can.

[01:39:46] Luke: Yeah. Well said, honey. Thank you for your contribution. She's always a great reminder to me. Sometimes I look at these things. Some of these really sacred plant allies in the terms of microdosing and things like that, I sometimes think about them as a supplement.

[01:40:04] I just, oh, walk by the cabinet, take a little of that without actually tuning into it and having, as you said, the relationship. I think that's a really important piece. So I'm glad we got to cover that as well.

[01:40:16] Ryan: And what I will say is you'll feel it more if you do. This will be a much stronger experience if you do approach it with that level of reverence and respect.

[01:40:28] Luke: Hell yeah. Well, I think we did it, man. Thank you so much. It's so great to see you. Thanks for coming.

[01:40:33] Ryan: I had such a good time. Thank you for having me.

[01:40:35] Luke: Yeah. Thanks for coming to Austin and popping your cherry on a live podcast.

[01:40:40] Alyson: Hey.

[01:40:40] Luke: Are you not supposed to say that anymore?

[01:40:47] Alyson: Hush.

[01:40:47] Luke: I hit this vape three times. I'm feeling a bit loose. You have to forgive me. No, thanks, Ryan. I love you, brother. Thanks for your commitment to your work.

[01:40:55] Ryan: I love you too, man. And thank you so much for having me.


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