294. Higher Ground: Rediscovering The Ancient Wisdom of Cannabis & CBD W/ Stephen Smith

Stephen Smith

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.

Sit in on my conversation with Stephen Smith and learn everything you could ever want to know about the incredible plant medicine, cannabis.

Growing up in North Carolina in an active family Stephen spent most of his developmental days outside exploring his grandmother's farm, the woods, streams, and lakes of this bio-diversified Southern landscape.

Stephen received a Bachelor of Fine Art from the University of Colorado while exploring the Rocky Mountains. It was a five-month solo motorcycle adventure through South America that piqued Stephen's interest in farming, grape growing, and wine-making. This ultimately led him to get his hands dirty working for boutique wineries and vineyards in Napa, California, arguably the wine mecca of the world.

By 2012, Stephen found his next job back in Colorado to work as the Director of Business Development for the first Organic distillery in the US and the first Biodynamic farm in Colorado. Experiencing half a year on this 90,000-acre cattle ranch opened Stephen's eyes to large scale land management, animal husbandry, and agricultural and economic diversification.

Stephen's fascination with hemp goes back over 20 years when he wrote his high school research paper on the many uses of hemp. "My mind was blown by how dynamic this crop is and by the strange fact that hemp is not being used for building materials, medicines, food, fiber, and more. This truly feels like my life's work. Time to bring hemp back."

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.

Stephen Smith is a good friend of mine and the co-founder of Onda Wellness, a company that makes hemp- and cannabis-based products with uncompromising quality. And in this conversation, we look at the current state of cannabis, hemp, CBD, and THC—the whole industry. For those of you curious about all of the noise in the industry, this episode is going to answer every question you could ever possibly have and then some.

We talk about biodynamic and regenerative farming practices (especially as they pertain to the hemp industry), and the huge opportunity we have right now to set the course for the hemp industry, actually empowering the people and farmers who produce it along the way—but if people like Stephen don’t capitalize on this opportunity now, the industry will follow the same commoditized industrial agricultural model that is already slowly killing us. Consider this the reintroduction of this ancient medicine with new, environmental, and climate-friendly practices.

Sit back, relax, and enjoy some cannabis in whatever form suits you—legally, of course—and learn everything you could ever want to know about this incredible plant medicine with Stephen Smith.

And if you want to get your own sustainable CBD products, you can use code LUKE15 for 15% off at www.ondawellness.com.

10:11 — From biodynamic farming, grape growing, to hemp farming

  • Falling in love with the grape-growing region of Mendoza
  • Seeing a high-level view of regenerative agriculture
  • Becoming connected with the OG biodynamic farmers
  • Seeing hemp as the next frontier and opportunity for non-commodity industrial farming
  • What permaculture is
  • The drawbacks of “monocropping”
  • How farmers get the short end of the stick—and how to fix that

26:34 —How, when, and why the hemp plant was made illegal, as well as the various uses of hemp

  • The pressures from the paper industry who felt threatened by hemp
  • How the country used propaganda to associate cannabis or “marijuana” with immigrant latino populations
  • How the controlled substance act made hemp illegal
  • Being blown away by the many uses of hemp that aren’t being explored
  • How we are just scratching the surface of what these plants can do
  • The different classifications for the cannabis plant
  • How cannabis is still the wild west of regulation and understanding
  • Using cannabis as a mechanism for good

47:46 —The difference between growing cannabis and hemp naturally versus artificially

  • The race to the top of high-THC cannabis
  • Going old-school cannabis
  • The risk of cross-pollination from neighboring farms

57:26 —The best and worst growing/processing practices

  • The cost of growing indoors
  • Why there’s a rush to cutting corners
  • The importance of biodiversity for your crops
  • Why “organic” doesn’t necessarily mean it’s good for you
  • How biodiversity has the biggest impact on the environment
  • Rewarding our farmers fairly
  • Taking a pharmaceutical approach versus slow infusion

01:25:02 —The future potential of this plant medicine

  • Geeking out on all the individual pieces of the process—the farmers, the oil, the soil, and more.
  • FInding out how to get everything this plant can give
  • The medicinal benefits of THC

01:29:27 —The way cannabis works with your body

  • The three main issues to address: anxiety, inflammation, and sleep issues.
  • The way cannabis reacts with our endocannabinoid system
  • Addressing things that are universal for the human experience
  • The effects of cannabis on deep sleep

More about this episode.

Watch it on YouTube.

[00:00:00]Luke Storey:  I'm Luke Storey. For the past 22 years, I've been relentlessly committed to my deepest passion, designing the ultimate lifestyle based on the most powerful principles of spirituality, health, psychology. The Life Stylist podcast is a show dedicated to sharing my discoveries and the experts behind them with you. Good to see you, dude. Welcome to the show.

[00:00:02]Stephen Smith:  Thanks for having me.

[00:00:02]Luke Storey:  So, we've been talking about this for a while, my friend. We finally got her done, or at least, we're about to get her done.

[00:00:34]Stephen Smith:  Here we are, lit a fire under your ass, I was like, I'm going back to Oregon. I got two weeks.

[00:00:40]Luke Storey:  Yeah. Well, we've talked about being on the show and it's going to force me to do a recording on Zoom versus doing it in person, I'm always going to jump on the in-person opportunity.

[00:00:52]Stephen Smith:  On the spot.

[00:00:53]Luke Storey:  Yeah, the ambiance and you just get better video quality, better conversations.

[00:00:57]Stephen Smith:  For sure.

[00:00:57]Luke Storey:  I think the finished product for the audience is just a little more robust when we do it that way. So, yeah. So, first thing I want to start with is I want you to tell me how you first got into biodynamic farming, grape-growing, and then eventually moved into growing hemp.

[00:01:15]Stephen Smith:  Gosh, yeah. So, I worked in the restaurant business in college and I saved up some money. And I went to South America and bought a motorcycle and rode around for five months by myself. And I ended up in Mendoza. And I really fell in love with that grape-growing region. And then, I got connected with a guy, David Mahaffey, up in Napa and I pretty much harassed him until he said, yes, come be my intern. And this guy has been like a mentor, he's a total autodidact.

[00:01:48] He like shot film for Polaroid in the '70s, and used to hang with Warhol, and like taught film at Harvard, and all these amazing things. But that was like really my first deep dive into farming. And he used a lot of permaculture methods and organic-farming methods, grew his own food, and all these things. And then, I worked in the wine business for a bit. And then, I worked for Jack Rabbit Hill Farm in western Colorado.

[00:02:13] And that's when I first got exposed to biodynamic farming. And so, that, working for some other vineyards, working for a large-scale ranch, all of this gave me—and I'm not a farmer. I've worked in that capacity, but it gave me this kind of high-level view of land stewardship, regenerative agriculture, how to really be a part of a farming system that is beneficial for the consumers, the farmers, and the earth. And honestly, that has just been in the back driving the core of what we've been doing with what started as an experiment almost four years ago.

[00:02:51] And that's been driving the core and the soul of what we're doing, but because we're so small and we're self-funded, like you just can't take big steps and kind of do it all yourself, so you have to partner with really, really amazing people. And we've been lucky to circle back and partner with land to Jack Rabbit Hill Farm, and Casard Farms, and Jim Fullmer was the head of Demeter, which is the certifying body for biodynamic in North America, and he's one of our farmers.

[00:03:17] So, we're like very, very closely connected to these OG biodynamic farmers. And so, that was kind of my path. Like the real quick overview is working as an apprentice, intern, sales, business development, ranch hand, all these different things that kind of informed my path and my passion for wanting to bring this into hemp because it's a clean slate. Like we're all, like we, you, us consumers were writing the code. We're paving the way now.

[00:03:52] And that's why we're so fired up about talking about these opportunities because we're not—like you look at dairy, almonds, any other agricultural industry that's become super industrialized, commodity-oriented, centralized, corporate, it's like a massive ocean liner, and you're trying to change the direction and the course of this big ship. Well, we're all a bunch of relatively small boats kind of finding our own chart, our own navigation. So, it's important for us, we think, to really link with consumers and work with folks like you to say, hey, we have a chance to do this right, to do this in a way that's not commodity industrial farming. So, before I get on that soapbox, that's what's fired us up the whole time and continues to do so. 

[00:04:40]Luke Storey:  Cool. What's permaculture?

[00:04:43]Stephen Smith:  So, permaculture, there's a lot of overlap with a lot of these farming methods, eco-farming, regenerative biodynamic, permaculture. Permaculture is basically built on this kind of zones. So, if you have a homestead, you would build each zone going outward based on usage and timeline. So, for example, on the outer zone, you'd have long-term growth trees. On the inside zone, you'd have herbs because they're right outside the kitchen. It's all about companion planting, really designing these systems based on use, and working with the landscape and the environment to create a really, I'd say, dynamic and abundant little ecosystem, food forest, stuff like that.

[00:05:26]Luke Storey:  Oh, that's dope. And would a traditional permaculture setup include the use of livestock?

[00:05:33]Stephen Smith:  Yeah, a lot-

[00:05:34]Luke Storey:  Or, is it mostly just plant-growing situation?

[00:05:38]Stephen Smith:  There is a use of livestock, but maybe not as heavy of an influence or use as maybe biodynamic farming, which is really, really focused on animal manure for fertilizer, definitely an influence of animals, but more, from my experience, and I don't have a PDC Permaculture Design certification, or anything, but it's about designing the system based on use, and biodiversity, and flow of the landscape. So, just customizing the farming experience for highest yield and productivity, but using these methods of companion planting, intercropping, things like that.

[00:06:17]Luke Storey:  Companion planting, meaning, plants that grow well together and support each other versus the antithesis of that being a mono-crop where you have rows and rows of kale, corn, soy, et cetera?

[00:06:29]Stephen Smith:  Yeah. And the mono-crop conversation is interesting because it's relative to scale. In other words, if you have a hundred acres, but you're growing like 50 different things, you might say, well, that two acres is mono-cropped, because in that two acres, it's one thing, but from the scope of the whole farm as an ecosystem, it's not a mono-crop farm, right? But for example, the hemp that Jack Rabbit Hill is growing this year is being inter-cropped, so it's like a four-foot section of pasture that's torn up, and then put hay down, not plastic, as a weed cover or as a weed suppressant, plant the hemp, and then it's Echinacea, yarrow, chamomile, I think Calendula, Chinese licorice.

[00:07:13] So, all these herbs are using the shade cover of the hemp, this is the hope. And also, really bringing more to the table as far as building soil health. So, the short-term gain with any situation is like feed the plant, feed the plant, feed the plant, but our goal is feeding the soil. Feed the soil first, build something up for the long haul. You might not get crazy high CBD levels, you might not get crazy high yields right away, but it's a long game, and that's a philosophical shift and a cultural shift that we want to support, not band-aiding everything, not here's the problem.

[00:07:52] Let's build immunity. I don't want to get too far down that right now, but you know what I'm saying? Like what's at the root? What's the core deepest way we can build vitality and regeneration, whether it's on a personal level, as a community, a culture? So, those things are all parallel. I digressed, but the companion planting, for example, I think in the orchard, they were planting comfrey right near the root.

[00:08:20] And something about the comfrey, I believe, and I could be totally wrong, there's a tap root system that's allowing, basically, this highway of nutrients to go a little deeper or they're planting Daikon radishes in the grass, in the rows between the hemp plants because of that same thing, it has really long root systems. So, looking at at partnerships, associative, like this communal way of growing. And it transcends, actually, into a lot of other things we're working on. But that companion planting, that's the goal there, because when you have a mono-crop, it can deplete the soil. And so, you really got to look at continuing to build that soil health by having all these other elements involved. 

[00:09:06]Luke Storey:  So, I think a lot of people right now are thinking about, at least considering the idea, if not fantasy of homesteading and getting out of urban areas, I'm speaking personally here, into somewhere with a bit more space and a bit more land, and I've just seen more buzz around this, I think, because of current events, people, civil unrest, et cetera, people are not wanting to live in the middle of a hot zone. And so, I hear people saying, oh, I'm going to move here, and move there, and grow my own food.

[00:09:43] And having, at one point, tried to grow some of my own vegetables in this kind of urban gardens, there were these kind of garden boxes, they would deliver them, and they had been seeded, and actually sprouted, and everything. And even taking care of that was a bitch. And so, I can imagine if one wanted to do that, say, set up a permaculture, grow on their land for their own family's sustenance, that they would want to get an expert in permaculture, someone, as you indicated, is certified. I forget the acronym. But to actually have someone come in and do the planning, get it all going for you, and kind of then, you take on a certain degree of training so that you become self-sufficient and can do it yourself. That's kind of an interesting idea.

[00:10:31]Stephen Smith:  Yeah. I think that the permaculture more so than focusing on like—permaculture, in my experience, lends itself to be really relevant in a residential, or family, or producing for your community, or yourself, right? Because it's really designed, in my experience, around, what does the group need or what does the family need? And what's going to be the best for this landscape? So, the permaculture design course is what I was referring to.

[00:11:00] That's a really good way for someone to go get the knowledge to implement that on their own property, or in their own space, or you could bring in a consultant in, whether they're a biodynamic farmer, or a permaculture expert, or anything else take to get someone set up. But yeah, it's a lot of work. And this is one of the things that, our mission statement is to heal the people, empower our farmers, and support the regeneration of the earth. So, you think about teachers, right?

[00:11:26] They're always getting the short end of the stick. They hardly get paid. Farmers are kind of the same deal, especially if you binded this commodity system, where it's like, no, we're not going to pay this amount. We're going to wait. We're going to wait until the end of the year and see what the market price is. And that market price could totally screw over the farmer. So, we're exploring these like profit share, shared equity, associate of economics models where we can actually say, you know what, our needs are covered, this margin is fair as the brand, and then we'll share either in profit, or equity, or something else with the farmer.

[00:12:01] We want to incentivize farmers to farm this way. One of the reasons in my experiences as to why so much of this has gone to pesticides, herbicides, industrial, and commercial is because they can't make it. You've got to either be like a hobby farm and have like agro-tourism, or some boutique brand, or like you cashed out in Silicon Valley, and then you have like a model farm. But what about the people that just want to be farmers? Like we can rewrite these rules. So, anyway, I'm getting a little off subject, but folks that do want to step outside the city and grow their own food, I would say look at permaculture systems, find consultants.

[00:12:43] And the other thing is it's a lot of work, but if you can just like—maybe you have a shared garden where it's a garden on one property, but you've got three or four families or friends working on it, that's huge. What happens when you want to go out of town? Like my farmer friends, they don't. They bust their ass all the fucking time. It's crazy. So, we want to reward that, but also, to someone who wants to leave LA, and go homestead, and have chickens, and butterflies, and all that stuff, do it. But just maybe ease into it, or do it with some help, or whatever. Yeah.

[00:13:18]Luke Storey:  I was driving up—where was I a couple of days ago? Oh, I was coming up from San Diego with my girlfriend, and there was a big agricultural field out there, and there's a bunch of workers out there on their knees picking something. She's like, "What are they doing?" I said, "They're picking strawberries." And she said, "Man, that looks hard." I said, "Yeah. You think?" Like can you imagine being out there all day? Like any kind of manual farming is-

[00:13:44]Stephen Smith:  And we bitch about the cost of food and organic food.

[00:13:46]Luke Storey:  Yeah, it's a lot of work. And so, I like the direction you're going here. And also, not knowing much about the industry, but the whole government subsidy thing, and the overlords at the Monsanto companies, and the companies like that that are controlling the crops through GMO patents and all of this kind of thing, I mean, it's a complex conversation, as it would be kind of a detour for us to get too much off that, but I'm excited about the idea of regular people becoming knowledgeable, and educated, and at least starting to dabble in farming themselves. And if not, like I don't know that I would ever do that personally, but I would work hard doing something else and hire someone to come manage my garden or something like that.

[00:14:34]Stephen Smith:  Or, just start small.

[00:14:35]Luke Storey:  If I sucked at it, yeah.

[00:14:37]Stephen Smith:  I mean, just start with one tomato plant. The beauty of seeing something grow is insane. I mean, it's like you don't have to just move to wherever and buy a farm. We live in a Mediterranean climate, or at least, we're in one right now, I should say. So, if you have a little bit of sun for six hours or more, grow some veggies, grow three heads of lettuce. How much do you need? So, just dabble, experiment. We work with Kiss the Ground. They're a great organization based here in Los Angeles.

[00:15:09] And they do a lot to connect with the public to help connect that gap. There's a huge, huge gap between rural and urban. And I think you can connect in a lot of different ways. There's a myriad, there's a web here. And so, it can just be building your own compost bin. Just start small. If you have a corner of your backyard or if you have like a balcony on an apartment, you can grow stuff in the hanging and grow some herbs on it. They have like hanging pots, like fabric that has these little pouches with little—I mean, even that is a step. It's really attainable.

[00:15:51]Luke Storey:  Yeah. I got excited when I moved in this house. And there's a few kind of built-in little pots in the retaining walls and things like that. So, I went and bought few different kinds of mint, and some rosemary, and stuff like that. And like the yard is on an auto-sprinkler drip system, and within like two weeks, the mint had all died and the lavender. I also tried to grow lavender, too. Yeah, the mint and lavender choked, but the rosemary-

[00:16:20]Stephen Smith:  It is a little shady here for lavenders, my guess.

[00:16:22]Luke Storey:  It is, yeah. I think that was it. But the Rosemary is crushing. So, like one out of three I got so far.

[00:16:28]Stephen Smith:  Cool. You can grow a bunch of lettuce?

[00:16:30]Luke Storey:  Yeah, I guess I could. Actually, I like some lettuces. And on that note, and then I want to move into like the topic of choice, which is this thing that I have in my hand for those that are listening, if you've heard my lighter click, I'm enjoying a CBD joint, which I call decaf weed, which is like, for so many years, dude, after I quit smoking weed, which is like 23 years ago because I was just very habituated to it and it was a gateway drug for me, so I just stopped, as I probably told you before.

[00:17:07] But I remember thinking when I had to quit smoking weed, because it's for my own preservation of life, I was like, when can someone come out with weed that just doesn't have THC, that doesn't get you high? Because I really just like the smell, the taste, the ritual, like I like the whole thing. Twenty-two years later, somebody cracked the code on the genetics and here we have it, what I've always wanted. But when it comes to the hemp industry and all of this stuff, I guess what I'd like to start with is, how and when the hemp plant or cannabis plant was vilified and made illegal? And other than the medicinal qualities of it, what are some of the other uses in terms of food, fiber, building materials, things like that?

[00:17:54]Stephen Smith:  Yeah. Gosh, it's a real sad story, actually. And I haven't done an extremely deep dive into this. But back in the '20s, from what I've read, there were some families. I mean, it always comes down to this shit, this economics, right? Families that were threatened by the opportunity in hemp. So, you've got the Du Ponts, like the Hersh family, some of these people that had real deep ties into the paper through trees, right? So, they really wanted to crush the hemp industry.

[00:18:27] And historically, I mean, we've co-evolved with cannabis. It's been around longer than we have. It's carbon-dated back all the way. And you can look back and see in apothecaries and pharmacies back in the late 1800s and early 20th century that they were using cannabis medicinally. And I think it was in the '20s, they, of course, sadly associated this with immigrant Latino populations and this had this BS propaganda to suppress it and associate it.

[00:18:59] And there was this whole marijuana. They even started using that term, right? And it was sadly a very effective campaign that squashed cannabis, and then hemp. Hemp was more, I think, on the industrial side because of the commercial interests of these big entities. And so, in the '20s is when it really was, I think, outlawed in some capacity. And then, in the 1970 or so, it was made illegal in the Controlled Substance Act. So, it's bullshit. Am I not supposed to cuss? I don't know.

[00:19:37]Luke Storey:  You already said fuck earlier, so we're fine.

[00:19:40]Stephen Smith:  I'm a little fired up.

[00:19:41]Luke Storey:  That's all good.

[00:19:42]Stephen Smith:  So, anyway, that was kind of when things went south. And we are now a part of the resurgence, the renaissance of this ancient crop, this unbelievably generous and dynamic plant. And that segues into the many uses. So, I was talking earlier, my senior high school research paper was on hemp. I was a cheeky little bastard in North Carolina, I grew up there. And I really preferred the effects of cannabis on my body to alcohol. 

[00:20:19] And a little intense, and high strung, and there was a beautiful equilibrium, I found, at a relatively early age. So, I picked hemp because that seemed a little bit more appropriate. It wouldn't get shut down in my quasi-conservative high school environment. And I was blown away. It very quickly became very serious to me, the multitude of uses. Like why are we not using this, right? From bioplastics, to using the seeds for flower and food, to insulation, hempcrete, medicines, it goes on and on.

[00:20:54] So, at an early age, that was 20 years ago, I was really inspired by this. I didn't really plan to get into it, it just kind of came together in the last few years, but I think we're literally, just totally scratching the surface. So, you've got hemp that's basically low THC, marijuana, cannabis, whatever you want to call it. The government calls it hemp if it's under .3% THC, even though it's grown like weed, it looks like weed, it smells like weed, it's all the same, it's just that the THC level is under what some suit in an office wrote on a piece of paper that says it's .3%, right? 

[00:21:33] So, what you're smoking is what you've been dreaming of for 20 years, it's low-THC weed. It's the same thing. But then, you have another version, kind of the cousin of the hemp plant, which is less about the flower and more about the stalk. So, it's more about the woody stalk component of the of the mass and less flowering leaves, but it looks like bamboo. It's grown in these tall stands. And that's the stuff that you use for building material to make Jungmaven shirts and so on.

[00:22:09] And right now, they're two different things. But when our stuff gets harvested and brought in to be shook, and the buds, and the leaves, and the small bits of stem, because we're using as much of the plant as we can, gets chopped up to be infused, or in your case, smoked, that there is leftover. And that mass is something we just don't have the bandwidth to start addressing all this opportunity we're trying, but that was used for bedding for the animals on the farm. It can be chopped up and used as weed suppressant mulch.

[00:22:43] So, I mean, we're literally, I think, just at the tip of the iceberg. And as far as the cannabinoids go, THC was the all-star forever and everything else was considered an inactive ingredient. And now, we're realizing, well, the Israeli folks about 20 years ago that discovered the endocannabinoid system began to realize that we've got over 110 cannabinoids in the plant. And so, when we started finding these anomalies out in the field that have low THC, high CBD, and then we kind of took a turn and explored that route, once again, we're just scratching the surface of what all these components in the plant can do for us.

[00:23:21]Luke Storey:  So, I was hoping you would talk for a second longer.

[00:23:28]Stephen Smith:  Okay.

[00:23:29]Luke Storey:  No, no, I'm just kidding. It's fine. 

[00:23:31]Stephen Smith:  No, that's good for the audio. They're getting the feel of it, the experience. 

[00:23:33]Luke Storey:  Yeah. Amen. Ear. Back in the day, one of the stoner jokes was, what's the most commonly used word amongst the pot-smoking population? 'Ere.

[00:23:48]Stephen Smith:  Don't Bogart the joint?

[00:23:49]Luke Storey:  No, 'ere. The word, 'ere, for pass it. But what I wanted to break down then and get an understanding of, so you have this one genus of plant, which is cannabis, and then depending on what strain it is or how it's been hybridized or bred, it either ends up then being re-categorized as hemp or marijuana?

[00:24:16]Stephen Smith:  Yes. So, within one of the kind of sub-umbrellas because I really can't speak with the highest level of experience to all of the different types of cannabis, but just for the sake of the big, bushy weed plant that we know, the female plant is producing these really beautiful, big flowers in the hope of being pollinated. That's how the whole nature thing works. And there are these massive buds, these flowers that produce oils and they produce a lot of nutrients.

[00:24:51] They're producing all of these cannabinoids. They're producing terpins. And terpins are the things that give weed the smell and the taste. So, when you say that smells or tastes like weed, it's actually a symphony or a grouping of these volatile compounds that are called terpins that exist in other parts of the plant world. So, for example, you might have beta-Caryophyllen, which is in black pepper. So, that exists also in the cannabis plant, whether it's hemp or marijuana. You might have limonene, which is in citrus; pinene, which is in pine; linalool, which is in lavender, right? 

[00:25:33] So, there's medicinal benefits to these terpins and they exist in the things that we're using for rheumatherapy or whatever else. So, anyway, this plant, it's the same plant, except that I think, gosh, it was probably 20 years ago and I can't remember the doctor's name, but he found a plant in his garden that had really, really low THC levels and that started the ACDC strain of hemp. And so, basically, it's the same biology, it's just kind of a different genetic line that just happens to produce lower amounts of THC.

[00:26:10] But here's where it gets very muddy and very strange, if you grow CBD, "hemp genetics", I'm putting quotes here, air quotes, and say, you let it mature, and the THC levels, go over .3%, then according to the US government, you're growing marijuana. And the consequences are very different. So, it's an interesting dance and it's an interesting game. I think everyone's trying to navigate this. I mean, you have to remember, this is not, we're launching a wine brand in an existing market. We're all pioneering this at the same time. 

[00:26:51] So, the rules are being written, the rules are being broken, the rules are being navigated collectively, and we're all just trying to kind of go for it. It's the Wild West, which part of is very freeing and liberating for a small company like ours to just go for it with the best intentions. It also opens the door for a lot of misinformation and a lot of really, really, really bad products. But back to the plant, yeah, it's the same thing. It's just, when it's harvested, the genetics and how it's processed. So, it needs to be under .3% by volume. So, you do a field test before it's harvested, and then you make your plans to harvest accordingly so that you can harvest it under .3%, and then you process it the same way. 

[00:27:34] Now, the processing is a whole other conversation because you have people taking this beautiful plant, and just beating it up, and turning it into a powder, an isolate or you have what we're doing, which we're really keen on, which is a slow infusion process, which embraces as much of the plant as possible. Not here to say what's right and wrong, just what we're doing, what we're not doing. I think the easiest way to look at it is like the isolates are like emergency powder, which has a time and place. And then, what we're doing is kind of like orange juice, fresh-squeezed orange juice. So, the body responds very differently to each of those.

[00:28:08]Luke Storey:  If you are growing a field, a crop of hemp with the purpose of harvesting the flowers for CBD, you go out, and do a field test, and it's, rather than being 3% at the legal limit to still be categorized as CBD and weed, psychoactive, et cetera, what if just things went awry and it goes like to 4% or 5%, do then you have like a product that you can't sell on the legal CBD market and some really shitty weed that like doesn't get you high?

[00:28:43]Stephen Smith:  It's not shitty weed, it's just—so, that's a big issue. And by the way, it's .3%, which is very low, right? The plant naturally wants to be closer to one, even the CBD stuff. So, these rules are like relatively arbitrary based on the biology of the plant and the opportunity for it to express its full genetics, which is kind of the conversation, right? So, this is what's happening. They're literally torching fields.

[00:29:11]Luke Storey:  God, what a shame.

[00:29:12]Stephen Smith:  It's crazy. So, they're burning fields or you're rolling dirty and you have to figure out what you're going to do. But I also will say that you can trim some of the buds and sell just the buds to a dispensary because the concentration of that percentage—sorry, the percentage is attained by a sampling of all of the pieces together. In other words, the concentration of those cannabinoids is in the flower.

[00:29:39] But in our case, because we want nutrients from other parts of the plant, we're using the leaves and some of the stem. And so, that helps kind of bring that ratio down a little bit. So, we've been lucky that we've always just kept it under the legal limit. But yeah, I've heard of folks that have just basically had to pivot, and then sell it as like low THC "CBD weed" in a dispensary or otherwise, or they've got a lot of personal supply or they make a mulch, I don't know. It's an issue.

[00:30:10]Luke Storey:  Yeah. Because you're trying to harness nature and nature has its own propensity to go one way or another.

[00:30:16]Stephen Smith:  And what does it all come down to? It all comes down to the villainizing of THC. God forbid, you get high, and that's not what we're after. We believe in all of the pieces of the plant and we want to honor them. There are amazing therapeutic benefits of each part that we're aware of at this point. But yeah, it's a funny dance and there's a lot of stigma on the storytelling, and the marketing, and the education side.

[00:30:43] Well, I don't want to get high. That's fine. I feel you. I typically, these days, don't either. I have a lot to do and I really get a lot out of the anti-anxiety and the body benefits of CBD, and that, at this stage of my life, seems like enough, but it's a daunting task to educate people and help them feel comfortable trying this. But I will say, it's all happening a lot faster than I thought it would. 

[00:31:09] When we started this almost four years ago, it was like, hey, I remember I called my friend's parents who had experience in this and he's now my business partner, I said, "The consumers, do you think this is going to be a thing? Do you think CBD is going to be a thing?" And here we are, you go to like these natural food stores, and for better or worse, it's all over everything. So, it did become a thing. But I think the dust will settle, the cream will rise to the top. And I hope that people can continue to have this very, very clean, natural medicine as a resource that also comes with a lot of other benefits, all the farming and environmental stuff that we're working on.

[00:31:48]Luke Storey:  Well, the thing that's always struck me, whether or not it's been a time in my life where I used this plant in any capacity, but it's always struck me just how absolutely ludicrous, and authoritarian, and just downright stupid it is for any controlling government agency or so-called elected leaders to classify this particular plant as a controlled substance and to send people to prison for it.

[00:32:22]Stephen Smith:  So dark. It's so insidious.

[00:32:23]Luke Storey:  Dude, it's a plant. Like literally throw some pot seeds in your backyard and couple months later, have some weed. It literally is a fucking weed. I just have always been an advocate for this particular plant. A, I think it holds this place in my heart for really saving my life as a kid. It was the medication that I needed at that particular time to just deal with the realities of life. So, the weed always has a sacred place in my heart.

[00:32:52] But just from the fundamental point of view of just personal liberty and freedom, and if you want to talk about like on the spectrum of things that alter your consciousness, it's got to be the most safe. I mean, I don't know if everyone on the freeway just fully high all the time, you know what I mean, or an airline pilot or something that's got its place. But I mean, by and large, compared with something like alcohol, it's like, are you kidding me?

[00:33:17] Yeah. You could sit here and force-smoke a participant five fucking spliffs in a row, and then give them five shots of Jack Daniels, and watch what happens, you know what I mean? So, it just always has been one of, the rebel in me is just irked by the fact that the regulations have been so strict. So, when this started to emerge kind of on both sides of the medical marijuana, I started seeing the dispensaries pop up.

[00:33:44] And then, the CBD industry, as you've indicated, now flourishing probably to its own detriment in some ways if we can talk about. But I'm like, finally, man, just people are letting the damn plant grow. I mean, and so many plant medicines are like, even mushrooms, I think about it in the same way, it's like, what, who are you to tell me that I can't eat a mushroom that just grew out of a stump or a cow pie? Like what is that? It just is absolutely insane that we ever went along with that overreach.

[00:34:15]Stephen Smith:  Yeah, the control and the use of it as a mechanism for deeper control is, yeah, like I said, extremely insidious, I think. And yeah, a lot of people have been really negatively affected by that. And I think hopefully now, those of us that are in this space, whether it's the THC side, or the CBD, or whatever, it's all the same plant, where hopefully, we're using it as mechanisms for good. I mean, we see that and we make decisions based on that every day.

[00:34:43] We've had a number of opportunities to create some low-quality product at volume, which would have profited us, but we could go on struggling with our mission the same. But I think there's a lot of people doing good with it. But, of course, there's a lot of opportunists and people with money signs in their eyes. And I think those of us that are really dedicated to this for whatever we feel to be the right reasons are kind of hoping that they move on to the next thing and can clear space because I don't know, I think it is opening up more quickly and faster.

[00:35:15] I think if I had thought about this at 17 when I was writing a research paper about hemp, I don't think I would be having this conversation or it would be as open and as accepted. But I think there's something about intuition, there's something about instinct, and there's something in our bodies that that knows this, whether it's really good food or it's how we make a lot of decisions.

[00:35:37] And hopefully, people can continue to become empowered, and trust their bodies, and trust themselves to know that the government or whoever else is telling them, whether it's food, or medicine, or whatever it is, yes, we're very grateful to have the systems we have and the opportunities we have, but I want people to be empowered to trust their body and make the decisions accordingly. Because, like I said, we've grown up with this plant since the beginning of time and this is a true resurgence, it's a true renaissance bringing it back to the people.

[00:36:11]Luke Storey:  I want to ask one question in a brief regression. If a legal CBD product has less than .3% THC, what is a percentage of this like Frankenweed that these kids are smoking these days of this like—I mean, I see photos on Instagram and I'm like, wait, like actually, there's not even any plant matter or cellulose, it's all resin, it's like all crystals.

[00:36:39]Stephen Smith:  Like the dabbing and stuff? Yeah.

[00:36:40]Luke Storey:  Well, I mean, done that, but I mean, just like I sense that since I quit smoking weed in 1997 that it's gotten a lot stronger. So, what's like a really high percentage like flower? 

[00:36:54]Stephen Smith:  Like close to 30%.

[00:36:54]Luke Storey:  Oh, damn.

[00:36:55]Stephen Smith:  Yeah. Like you're cross-eyed, man. Like I mean, I am. Like I just don't mess with it much anymore. And that's the thing. Once again, you've got, where does the plant naturally want to produce it with reasonable nutrient inputs? Right? Like grown under the sun, cow poop spread on it, and really growing right. Okay. Ten, 12, 15, 20, depends on the genetics, and the nutrient soil, and a bunch of other stuff. But when you've got them in these warehouses, which drives me crazy, growing weed inside, I think it's a mess, pumping it full of nutrients. They're going as high as they can go. But that speaks to the same thing. High alcohol, beer, excess, macho, all this mentality of it being over the top.

[00:37:38]Luke Storey:  So, that weed is like the malt liquor of weed.

[00:37:43]Stephen Smith:  Yeah, it's the rocket fuel. And then, you get the weed, and then you go through these extraction processes that isolate and concentrate to these like shatter, I think it's called, into these like trays of stuff that, oftentimes, on the dirtier side, they're using things like hexane and butane, right? So, there's residual solvents. Excuse me. Same with a lot of the CO2 stuff—sorry, the CBD stuff. They're using solvents to get it. So, there's a chance that there's residual solvents. But yeah. The really concentrated stuff, it's mind-boggling. I mean, that'll intoxicate you. Intoxicate me. I can't speak for anyone else. 

[00:38:23]Luke Storey:  If one wanted to go completely on a trail and get as old school with cannabis growing as they possibly could, are heirloom seeds available that have not been hybridized that are just OG like '70s Maui Wowie or whatever?

[00:38:40]Stephen Smith:  Yeah. Yeah, sure. It's all out there. I mean, I don't know. I don't really go to dispensaries much. It usually come straight from our farms, which is something I feel really lucky to have that direct connection. But I think you can buy like starts. So, you can buy small plants, you can buy seeds, some of them have been feminized, which is a process that some people think is not very natural, right? Because when you get seeds, you just plant them, and then you get males and females. 

[00:39:07]Luke Storey:  That was my weed-growing experience in high school. I was like, yeah, yeah, it's two feet tall, and then all of a sudden, what happened?

[00:39:15]Stephen Smith:  It's a dude or it got pollinated by the dude. Yeah. And that's just the natural cycle. But to get the big buds and the big expression of those nutrients, that the female plant is, you want to keep the ladies separate. Yeah.

[00:39:30]Luke Storey:  So, they can feminized seeds now.

[00:39:32]Stephen Smith:  Yes. Yes. But in biodynamic farming, they look at that as not natural. So, biodynamic farming is the highest organic standard. It's been around since Rudolf Steiner gave his talks in 1925 in Austria. And the USDA based the organic certifications off it. Rodale was inspired by it, who is a big mover and shaker in the organic movement. And so, you have a lot of great terms coming out like regenerative, well, that's a description of biodynamic farming.

[00:40:05] It's not a separate thing, but it's treating the farm as an ecosystem, a self-sufficient organism, right? So, biodynamic farming would look at those seeds, and say, no, you've got to do it the hard way. You've got to plant, and then get in there every day, and look for the little balls, look and pull the males if that's your goal. And that's something you have to be really cognizant of, too, depending on where you're growing because your crop can get pollinated by a neighbor. And that's a whole other kind of internal industry, political issue.

[00:40:40]Luke Storey:  That's kind of how crops get tainted with GMOs and what not, too. 

[00:40:43]Stephen Smith:  Sure, roundup and all that.

[00:40:45]Luke Storey:  Yeah. It's interesting. Plants, their goal is to propagate, so they don't know what's your property and another property. It's just like, cool, more earth and sun, here we go. I want to get into some of the growing practices, right way, wrong way. I guess, right or wrong, but just optimal, sub-optimal, maybe we could say it like that. But I'm wondering, with the sort of Wild West revolution in so much of the legalization of the CBD side of it, and the medicinal, and recreational side of it, there seem to be people just growing this plant on huge swaths of land in a number of different states. 

[00:41:28] In fact, last time I was in Colorado, in a God forsaken part of Colorado that I don't care for, which will remain unnamed, so I don't want to offend anyone that lives there, but my dad used to live there and it's just very dry and desertie, not a lot to look at, so I'm stoked he moved back recently to Carbondale. But anyway, we're driving out of Country Road and in afore, not, mentioned town, and I look over, and I'm like, what the, that looks like weed. And I wasn't even aware of kind of it going legal and things like that. 

[00:41:59] It's a number of years ago. And I go, that looks like weed, Dad. Like what's going on? He's like, oh, yeah, they grow hemp all over here, it's a great crop, it's a really successful crop for a lot of these farmers. And so, of course, I realized that was not weed that could get you high, but how many crops gets stolen by bandits that think they're stealing weed to sell on the street for recreational use, and they get home, and they're like, whoops, that truckload full of weed we just stole out of someone's field at 2:00 in the morning was like inert CBD weed, like what I just had.

[00:42:34]Stephen Smith:  But my joints feel better, and I'm not anxious, and I can sleep?

[00:42:38]Luke Storey:  Yeah. 

[00:42:40]Stephen Smith:  It was interesting. I was driving from where my little piece of land is in northeast Oregon to our farm, our partner farm in central Oregon, and along the highway, it's all wheat fields, dry farmed wheat, just rolling, beautifully, hills, and all nowhere, and then you kind of come around this bin, and it's just like, boom, like 20 acres, which is a lot, like that's a lot of oil. That produces a lot. And there were signs up everywhere that had THC with a bar through it. This is not weed, right? 

[00:43:12] So, I have a feeling that that situation you described happened there, because they're like, no, trust us, trust us. But at the same time, you also have people that are saying, yeah, we're growing hemp and it's, for sure, weed. So, you have abuse in that sense, too. But yeah, I'm sure that that's happened. And it's really interesting you talk about these large swaths of land. 2019 was a massive, massive growing season. I mean, everyone and their grandmother was like, I'm going to grow some hemp. I'm doing it.

[00:43:45] And now, you have massive surpluses. And if you were a part of the commodity system, you have really low prices on that kind of commodity hemp, but you also have a lot of people that lost their ass. Like there was some really bad stuff that went down, where people thought it was going to save their farm and they put all their cards on the table. They didn't have relationships with brands like ours. They didn't maybe do their due diligence to look at, where are the bottlenecks in the industry? Where is it going to clog up?

[00:44:12] And a lot of people lost their ass last year really, really badly. So, it's these cycles. And this year, a lot of people aren't. And then, some people are reeling it in. And we're going to see these cycles as the market continues to settle. But that's another reason why we try to pay a fair price to our farmers, regardless of the commodity thing, so that they have some stabilization and incentive to work with us, because they want to feel like regardless of what's happening on the bulk market or on the commodity market, they're going to be taken care of.

[00:44:43] I mean, can you imagine if your costs to grow an acre was X amount, $2,000 and the market at the end of the season, you're only making $1,500? I mean, the margins are slim on any sort of farming, typically. So, that could be devastating. A lot of it just stayed in the field. So anyway, it's just been interesting to learn. I mean, it's been really stressful. It's put a lot of pressure on personal relationships. We've learned a lot. But we're taking steps forward all the time. So, we feel lucky in that sense. But it's unlike anything I've ever seen. And I don't know if, in my lifetime, I'll ever experience the emergence of such a profound industry.

[00:45:25]Luke Storey:  I'm thinking about, now, if I wanted to grow some THC cannabis, I would definitely be getting those signs. CBD only, there's no THC in this.

[00:45:37]Stephen Smith:  Trust me, you don't want this. 

[00:45:38]Luke Storey:  Yeah, that's funny. There's probably a lot of people doing it both ways. You know what I mean? Like you said, people that is black market, like overgrown CBD over here and some of them in the converse. That's interesting. Now, let's go into the growing practices. Give me a hierarchy starting with like worst practices for the environment, the plastics being used. What kind of water they're grown in? What are the sub-optimal fertilizers being used? Artificial lights, like all this kind of stuff. What's like the grimiest of the grow to the most pristine, which would be obviously the biodynamic. But give us kind of a range or a scale there of the different ways in which people grow, fertilize, harvest, extract, all of the production that goes into this plant.

[00:46:26]Stephen Smith:  Sure. Yeah. So, I'm not a farmer, but I can definitely give you this kind of high-level perspective. So, anything that's grown inside typically needs to command a value or a sale that would justify those kinds of costs, right? That being said, most hemp, CBD hemp, especially after the surplus of last year, people aren't going to grow that inside. The cost per pound is too low. So, most of the stuff that's being grown inside is your high-dollar, turbo, super roboweed stuff that we talked about.

[00:46:56] And then, as far as the outdoor, which is everything that we deal with, I think you've got to look at your inputs, right? Like how much does it cost you in energy, labor, time, everything to produce this final product? So, when you want to minimize all of your kind of costs, whether it's labor or anything, really, you're going to look to cut corners, you're going to look for things that improve efficiency. But then, there's a cost to that, too, on the other side, right? 

[00:47:28] So, it seems like most of the CBD hemp that's been grown in the last couple of years is a dirty game. And it's a dirty game because most people are using plastic to suppress weeds. It's called plastic mulch. It's not mulch in the sense of I've got chopped-up bark at the base of my flower bush, but it's a suppressant of any sort of cover, crop, or weeds, or anything that's going to compete with nutrients in that space that you're growing the plant. And this is just one part of it.

[00:48:00] You've got rows, and rows, and miles or however many acres of this rolled plastic that inevitably gets left in the soil. It comes from oil, so you have a carbon footprint of using an oil derivative product. They have some veggie-based stuff, but then that's surely coming from GMO crops and there's no perfect fix, right? So, that's one thing that doesn't really get talked about a whole lot, is the use of plastic. And it's like, hemp's going to save the world, and it's like, yes, but it has to be in a way that's beneficial. 

[00:48:37] We don't want to support the same path, like I said, that a lot of other agricultural industries have taken or have had to take to be viable. It's maybe not that they want to do it, but if you have a family farm, and you're trying to survive, and the market says this is the price, well, you have to do things or you choose to do things to keep it afloat. So, I would say then, at that lower level, you've got large, large plots of mono-crop lands.

[00:49:04] So, land that is only one crop, right? And that's just not nature. And Will Harris, who is a friend, acquaintance at White Oak Pastures, said nature abhors a vacuum. And it's true. You need biodiversity. We need this in the farms to create resilience and vitality. So, if you're mono-cropping, there's a consequence for that. And if you're also planting and you're just taking, taking, taking, basically, from the soil, you have to bring in a bunch of fertilizer.

[00:49:35] So, you have to bring in any sort of input that's going to basically give nutrients to the plant. Because look at it like this, the soil is dead. The soil is a carrier to put the plant in, and then you're feeding the plant directly. This is low-level farming I'm talking about, right? So, you're using a lot of plastic. You're bringing in a bunch of inputs, a bunch of fertilizer, a bunch of stuff to feed. It's like it's on an IV. It's in a coma.

[00:50:03] It's like it's on an IV and it's being fed nutrients directly, right? What we want to do as you kind of go up that, you want to feed the soil. You want to look at this as a long-term gain. You want to look at vitality and regeneration coming from within, coming from within the farm, not being dependent on bringing stuff in, not being dependent on using herbicides and pesticides when, inevitably, the nature is imbalanced, right? You have a predator. Why do you have a predator? Because that animal—sorry, you have a pest because that doesn't have a predator.

[00:50:38] So, what we're looking for is to support nature finding harmony so that we're not constantly putting band aids and patches on stuff, right? So, when you go all the way up to like biodynamic farming, really good organic farming, whatever, we don't want to be dogmatic about these things, but what you're really trying to do, and this goes to the other others parts of our mission statement, the body, I mean, think about what you're trying to do.

[00:51:03] You're trying to support regeneration from within. You're trying to support people having the ability to heal themselves, to bring energy, and positivity, and love, and productivity or whatever to the world from inside. The other side of that would be like that first farm I mentioned, which is, I'm dead, I need a shot, I need coffee, I need all these external inputs because I'm not in balance. I'm not producing vitality. I'm not regenerating from within.

[00:51:32] So, we see the body, the farm, and the earth as these ecosystems seeking balance and can hopefully be producing this vitality from within. So, I would say you've got farms that are just mono-cropping using a ton of plastic, pesticides, herbicides, and whatnot. You've also got farms that are tilling really, really deeply in the soil, which is very debatable. It has a purpose to turn some soil, but then you don't want to disrupt too much of the integrity of the soil.

[00:52:04] So, we have three farms we work with right now, and they all do it a little differently. And we support them because we trust them, and they're producing a great product, and they're doing the right thing. But none of them use plastic. One of them does a light kind of surface till, and then plants a couple acres together. But then, the next plot is veggies, herbs, flowers, then there's polycultures of chickens, pigs, cows.

[00:52:28] So, we're looking at this as this, once again, diversified ecosystem. And the same for the other two farms, they all have animals and they all are growing herbs, flowers, and some food. So, they're not mono-cropping in the sense that I would say less than 10% of their overall planted ground is hemp. So, this also, as a slight segue or deviation, is a model that we can implement with food producers. So, people that are growing food that are selling CSAs, farmer's markets, restaurants, well, that's kind of been hit pretty hard recently, they can potentially use hemp as a bumper crop.

[00:53:06] And in other words, we don't say to our farmers, we'd really love it if you planted everything hemp. That kills the whole purpose. So, we're incentivized to build a co-op and a community of other farms that can bring hemp in and use that alongside these other things. A little bit of a tangent. So, I would say that going on up to organic, of course, you're only using organic inputs or you're not using anything that's an input at all. You can have organic junk food. It's still junk food. You know what I mean?

[00:53:37] So, just because it's organic doesn't mean it's good for you. So, that's the way we look at this. We're feeding these plants whole food diets on the highest level. So, we want to be using nutrients from the farm. So, manure, and then fertilizer also—sorry, compost, and also, rotating, rotating the hemp into different areas so that they can benefit from the nutrient composition of a different part of the farm that had a different crop in it before. 

[00:54:03] So, we're really geeky about crop rotation, inter-cropping, like I said, planting in herbs. Some farms do that, some don't that we work with. And the use of animals is really important because animals are grazing on a piece of earth and they are leaving behind manure, which is, in the biodynamic world, tuned for that place on earth. So, that manure that's left is going to fertilize plants that are right there on that piece of property instead of bringing in stuff from who knows where. Yeah. So, the real goal here is biodiversity, keeping it clean, and yeah, using this system, this diversified system to build soil health, and hopefully, the cleanest and most nutrient-rich product while also having a social and economic impact on the farming community, and then carbon sequestration.

[00:55:00] Hemp can sequester 25 times the amount of carbon per acre as trees. Now, I don't know that "what trees, where in the world", whatever, but it's pulling a lot of carbon out of the atmosphere. All plants are, right? But hemp is pulling a lot out. So, there's a real opportunity to continue to support carbon sinks. So, it's like, it goes beyond just creating good medicine, making sure the farmers are taken care of, making sure the farm is—and the bigger picture, it's a little drop in the bucket, it's a contribution, hopefully, to climate offset.

[00:55:32]Luke Storey:  Wow. Damn. That's really cool. That's very interesting. I'm thinking about the swaggiest farms and the amount of, as you were saying, they use plastic. And I didn't know about the weed cover thing, weed suppressant, but I'm thinking about grows that are done in big plastic buckets, and then also the greenhouses. The clear plastic coverings that could be massive, and all of the plastic tubing, the PBC pipe, all that stuff for irrigation systems, and all that, seems like as a crop, it's got to be one of the most plastic-intensive of all of them.

[00:56:10]Stephen Smith:  Well, I mean, a lot of veggies are started in hoop houses. It depends on the climate. You might be growing it year-round because you're in a higher latitude or it's cold. There's a lot of parts, there's a lot of materials that go into all farming, whether it's hemp or veggies. There's a lot of drip tape. There's just a lot of that. But it's a matter of taking reasonable steps. We use straw from the farm to put down when we were planting hemp instead of plastic. 

[00:56:39] So, it's a matter of just, it might be more labor, more time, but really trying to take these steps wherever we can, and not be lazy about it, and hope that the economics do work out, we don't want to be idealists that are just like, hey, man, it's all good, we got to do it this way, because at the end of the day, we have a business to run and these farms are running a business, too, so we have to be very grounded at the same time. But that's why right now, because it's so new, I think there's a chance that we can write the model in a way that works for everybody. It feels that way. I mean, I'm a skeptical dude. I mean, it's easy to get down on the world at times, and I just feel like if we keep pushing this way, we can do a little part. We can be contributing positively, even in our little way.

[00:57:31]Luke Storey:  Yeah. And that's one of the reasons I wanted to have you on the show. I've done one prior show with Brian Chaplin from Medicine Box, shout out to Brian, about this, but this is going back like three years or something. But he had a very similar view in kind of the long-term vision of this, where could it go and how could this model start to then spill over into other agricultural systems and just all forms of commerce in general.

[00:57:58] It's like when I was a kid, I used to go to dead shows and it was not a sustainable or scalable practice, but you didn't bring money. You brought some weed or you were the guy with the veggie burritos and it was just all barter, I'm sure burning meds, like that to a degree, from what I understand. But I think there is a way of doing business where all parties involved benefit and no one's getting hosed. We have this kind of like perpetrator-victim model of commerce, which is widespread and been around forever.

[00:58:30] But in the business that I'm in, in a similar way to you, when it comes to affiliate marketing or podcast sponsorship, which is how this show is funded and part of my life, not all of it yet, is I share a product with the audience. The audience gets to discover something new without having to go out, and do the work to research it, and vet it, and all of that themselves. They can just live their lives and have some inputs from a show like this, or website, or social media. The audience gets discounts in most cases. 

[00:59:02] And then, the brand gets a new, hopefully lifetime value customer, which is really cool that they might have never reached. And I, as the person who's introducing those two parties, gets a small commission. And that's one of the emerging kind of online business models known as affiliate marketing, or in some cases, podcast sponsorship. And it's a different model even of advertising, going back to TV ads, because when TV ads came out, you couldn't fast-forward them and they were all actors lying about something to market, something to you. 

[00:59:37] You listen to an ad on a podcast, A, you could fast-forward it relatively easy. Don't do that if you listen to this show, please. They're important. But also, it's, generally speaking, something that the host or the person that's selling it to you actually really believes in and uses themselves. And in fact, to the point, I've been approached not many times, but a couple times with products that I would never use services, I would never use it, it's just not a match.

[01:00:06] And there's a part of me in the old paradigm to be like, yeah, but I want that money. But thankfully, I have had the discipline and wisdom to just hold out and politely pass, and then a new brand will come along that checks all the boxes for me, and something that I want to support and get behind. So, in this model also, it's not just services created and rendered or products created and sold, also, there's an opportunity for more integrity and fairness also in the marketing and sales until the end point of sale to the customer, where the customer actually is getting more benefit than just trading some of their hard-earned money for a product.

[01:00:47] So, I think we're in a place right now, and thank you for illuminating a few of the positive things, because God knows, there's a lot of horrific things going on in the world at the moment, but I think there are pockets of commerce like this that are opening up and people are starting to think about it in a different way and having conversations. And even if it's just a few small companies taking on this everybody wins model and marketing them as such, it's only a matter of time before the wildfire, 100th monkey effect kicks in and other people start saying, wow, it's not only ultimately more profitable to do business in an ethical and fair way, but it's easy because it's been proven, there's a model for how you do it. So, I commend what you're doing and your enthusiasm for it.

[01:01:33]Stephen Smith:  Yeah. It's like, what do you really need? Like I barely pay myself, right? But I imagine a time when that will change. But there really shouldn't be billionaires. Why are there such concentrations of wealth? And when I know these people very well that work, they're the smartest and hardest-working people I know, are farmers. Like it's unbelievable. And they're not rewarded accordingly. So, if we can figure out a way that our needs are covered reasonably, we work really hard as well and their needs are more than covered. 

[01:02:08] Like they're thriving. I'm okay with that. It builds a long-term thing. This isn't a get rich quick thing or even a get rich slow thing, I don't think. I don't know. But it's a chance. After the forest fire, there's new growth and there's disruption in the world right now. And after World War I, Rudolf Steiner was working with some folks on these associative economics models of profit sharing. 

[01:02:33] It's not rocket science, but I was talking to Lance about that and that's something that he's really interested in, is finding a way to share in this and incentivize. We want more farmers working this way, right? And so, it is exciting. There's a lot of darkness, there's a lot of challenges right now, but I think a lot of us really feel that there might be some silver linings and a chance to try things a different way. I didn't comment on the processing side. I don't know if-

[01:03:01]Luke Storey:  Yeah. That was my next question. You're good, dude. You're a pro. I don't have to do any work.

[01:03:06]Stephen Smith:  No, I just remember that—

[01:03:07]Luke Storey:  I was like thinking in the back of my mind, wait, what was that threat I was going to go back to? Sometimes, I write it down.

[01:03:12]Stephen Smith:  Yeah, I was as well. So, yes. So, it's like you spend all this time and energy, if we talk about this level of organic, regenerative, biodynamic farming that we're supporting, all this time and energy, so much passion, and care, and attention goes into producing this beautiful crop without using all the nasty stuff, right? Just in its most simple form. So then, it leaves the farm, the biomass, the hemp is ground up until like a tobacco find coarseness or whatever.

[01:03:43] So then, it's like which turn you take, right? You can go in this pharmaceutical-minded, very, very heavy processing, and strip it down to all its little pieces, and then we can make you this much CBD, this much CBG, this much CBN, this mini-terpins because we've pulled that from lavender and black pepper, and they're formulating like pharmaceutical companies do, right? They're mixing these parts. Well, the whole is greater than the sum of all parts. There's gray matter, black matter. There's stuff in between that we just don't know.

[01:04:17] And scientists, doctors should admit that. There's a lot we don't know. So, when you do that, you are inevitably losing something. There is a time and place. It's really great for certain types of very refined skin care, or this, or that, or maybe you get drug-tested and you can't take the risk of having any THC, so you need a broad-spectrum product or an isolate. Cool. So, the isolate is very heavily processed. It breaks it down into, like I said, the emergency powder, like just a single molecule thing.

[01:04:46] So, when you see like a CBD soda, or CBD water, or water-soluble, it's typically this very stripped little part. And there's research out of Israel to support that the efficacy, the bell curve is short and steep. Your body, it works, then it's gone. But what tends to work with a much more profound, longer, and higher efficacy, a longer effect is the whole plant. So, the nutrients together. So, if we talk about like a spectrum of farming practices, we can also talk about the spectrum of processing. So, on one end, you have very processed isolate, and then you would go to something like a broad spectrum, which is usually extracted using alcohol or CO2.

[01:05:29] They're both pretty abrasive in our opinion. They are efficient, and cheap, and all these things. But they might say, well, we're going to take CBD, and some other trace cannabinoids, and maybe have some terpins, but we don't want THC. We certainly don't want chlorophyll, or polyphenols, or all this other stuff. So, that's broad spectrum, has its place, then you'll have like what brands call full spectrum, which, in our opinion, is not full spectrum. If it's clear, if it's yellow, it's not full spectrum. It's not green. That's our take on it. So, they're calling 10 eggs a dozen and that's their full spectrum.

[01:06:05]Luke Storey:  Did you get that from a farmer? 

[01:06:07]Stephen Smith:  I don't know. My grandmother had all these hillbilly terms. It just sticks. So, the CO2 and the alcohol, those processes are probably the most popular for the "full stream" or "full spectrum"—I was going to say, mainstream full spectrum products, right? It's clear, it's yellow, it's got the CBD in it. It might have some other nutrients, but it's not, by any stretch of the imagination, a full expression of the plant. So, I came from natural wine, geeky biodynamic winemaking, think of the food world, right?

[01:06:45] You want to get your nutrients from whole food, right? You want to eat the nutrients as they exist in nature. And so, that's what we're trying to do with our slow infusion process. We literally grind up the stuff you just smoked and we soak it in oil. So, think weed butter, right? Fat bonds to these beautiful nutrients. It's so simple. It's low tech, high efficacy. It's like old-world apothecary infusion-making. So, that's what we do. And that tends to yield a beautiful green terpin-rich product.

[01:07:25]Luke Storey:  When you told me about your extraction, and you guys listening, I'm tasting all of these oils right now.

[01:07:31]Stephen Smith:  Yeah, that's the immunity infusion. Yeah.

[01:07:33]Luke Storey:  This one is freaking delicious. That one, I already-

[01:07:35]Stephen Smith:  That's our first herbal-

[01:07:36]Luke Storey:  I already crushed that bottle, I just found out, because I only got like one drop out of it.

[01:07:40]Stephen Smith:  Oh, yeah. We've got more.

[01:07:42]Luke Storey:  But yeah. This one's rad. I was so glad you sent this in the middle of the scare. What was my question? My question was-

[01:07:52]Stephen Smith:  I was explaining the infusion method, I think at some point, or-

[01:07:55]Luke Storey:  Yes. Thank you. Too much CBD. The infusion method. Yeah. I always think when you described that to me, it's like when you see a bottle of olive oil and it has some rosemary in it, done. You're infusing the terpins and things like that from the rosemary plant into your olive oil and it just gives it a nice, subtle kick, but I can't help but thinking if I'm picturing, I haven't been to your farms or processing plants, but I'm picturing like big vats full of oil. 

[01:08:22] And then, all these beautiful buds thrown in there, and then you separate the oil from the plant matter, I always think, but you probably didn't get it all out. Like I'm always thinking here, like ending up leaving some of the medicine in the buds versus when I think about an alcohol or a CO2 extraction, like you're just zapping everything that's not cellulose out of there. Are you sure that you're getting all this stuff out with the infusion?

[01:08:46]Stephen Smith:  I'm not sure. And that's the thing, some of these things are less efficient. But some of the processes we're exploring are increasing that efficiency right now. I can't really get into it, but we are working with that. But then, again, we're also looking at, well, we've got this beautiful like cakey biomass that has coconut oil or MCT oil in it, can we turn this into animal feed? The nutrient benefits to animals, whatever's left, right? But MCT, coconut, that's not a bad thing for them. We turn this into byproducts, the energy bars, food bars, I don't know. We're working on it.

[01:09:22]Luke Storey:  Right. Because there still is inherent value ensuring what's left over.

[01:09:26]Stephen Smith:  Sure. And that's the dream. The dream is to have this completely, just beautiful, dynamic, vertically-integrated, or at least, like even partner, vertically-oriented chain all the way through and after. But that takes money, and we don't have a lot, and it takes teammates, and we're working on it, but that's the beautiful thing. And that's what keeps us fired up because there's so much opportunity. Like I really think we're just at the surface. But yeah, there's pros and cons to every one of those processes.

[01:09:58] And we're just kind of picking our lane and sticking with the OG infusion, like they've been putting herbs and olive oil since the beginning of time. And that's basically a similar process that we're doing. So, we hear that people say, oh, I use this brand or this brand, 20 milligrams. With yours, I only need 10 or 15. So, that concept of the entourage effect, the synergistic effect of community, of all the nutrients working together, not to get too geeky, but these concepts parallel and transcend all these scales from culture, socially, and into the farm, into the plant. Like it's all about this synergistic and diversified group effect, which is more profound than when it's isolated.

[01:10:47]Luke Storey:  Well, I noticed, I mean, with the exception, the immunity one that I just tried, which has that nice elderberry kind of sweet flavor, but with the original owned in the green bottle, when I first got that from you, whenever it was a couple of years ago, the color of it tripped me out because it really is like this dark, dark green, almost brown. And then, the flavor, it's super strong. It's not even like—Like I've had like some like CBD oil that does have some THC in it for sleep or something like that, and it has like a really strong—it smells super skunkie, I mean, it smells like weed, you know what I mean?

[01:11:26]Stephen Smith:  Terpins, yeah.

[01:11:27]Luke Storey:  But it's like generally kind of yellow-colored and whatnot, so it's a strong flavor, but it's not a broad flavor profile, where with this oil, like you know it's from a cannabis plant, it has that kind of taste, but it also has this really not unpleasant, but quite strong taste that was-

[01:11:47]Stephen Smith:  And you might have had the 3000 mg tincture bottle, which is super concentrated.

[01:11:50]Luke Storey:  The little one? Yeah, I like that one. I go through them really quick, though.

[01:11:53]Stephen Smith:  Yeah. And then, that's why we have capsules, right? Because some people are like, oh, my God, I love this. They mix it in like salad dressing or pesto, like there are ratios in this, like, yeah, you can really have a lot of fun in a culinary context, but you can also just pop a capsule if that's too intense for you. But yeah, what we make isn't neutral.

[01:12:13]Luke Storey:  Yeah. I mean, well, I like that. What I'm saying is I prefer that than you putting like a bunch of cinnamon, or mint, or something in there, and kind of like in the context of wine. I mean, there's a reason why it has that bouquet. It's really nice to experience the plant for me. I'm also someone who doesn't have a strong aversion to things that taste not like candy. I take all kinds of supplements and shit that taste horrific, but they work. Try taking a spoonful of kratom and a glass of water. 

[01:12:42]Stephen Smith:  I think I have.

[01:12:45]Luke Storey:  It's like 500 ground-up aspirin. It's just so bitter and nasty, but I enjoy it because I want the essence of that plant if my back hurts or whatever. 

[01:12:55]Stephen Smith:  There are all sorts of bitter stuff that we take in.

[01:12:57]Luke Storey:  Yeah, I know. I was thinking about that on the way over here. Last time I saw Stephen, we were in a ceremony of sorts, which will remain anonymous at the moment. What else do I want to ask you? I did that. I did that. Shit, man. I mean, I really think we covered everything that I wanted to cover, which is rare for me, because sometimes, these go three hours, but I think we're in such a niche topic here that everything I had on my list has been hit. Maybe I'll close just by asking you, obviously, that you don't want to let like proprietary future business plans out of the bag, but what do you see coming that could be interesting from your company or companies like you in different products that can be made, whether it's building materials, health products, anything that this plant potentially could offer us?

[01:13:49]Stephen Smith:  Yeah, I think it's really trying to consider all pieces. So, the farmer or like the oil, like where's the oil coming from that you infuse it in? That's something we're diving down. People don't talk about the coconut oil or the MCT oil. Is it coming from palm? Is it organic? They don't have that discussion. So, really geeking out on all the pieces of this to try to continue to up-level every aspect of it and looking at really creative ways of integrating it. Because like I said, it's kind of open territory.

[01:14:19] So, if we can do this in a way that is cooperative and is beneficial, does that look like the profit-sharing thing? Does that look like subcontracting a couple acres on a veggie farm as a bumper crop to support the production of food in a community? Is that new genetics that include plants that have really, really big flower, high concentrations of flower, oil, and nutrients, but they also have the woody stalk so that you harvest one part of it for medicine, and the other part of it is for building materials, creating these co-ops of groups that are working together to see the potential of this plant all the way through.

[01:15:01] Yeah, I could go on and on. I think I'd love to include it in more food. I'd love to explore partnering with the fiber component. But there's a lot of not obstacles, but just the infrastructure isn't there for a lot of these things yet. So, it's going to take time, but there's a massive opportunity to really, really embrace and help support this plant, giving every thing it has to give and showing us what it can really do.

[01:15:28]Luke Storey:  Do you foresee for yourself or just in the supplement industry in general there being an opportunity to create products that have a higher level of THC? Not even necessarily for recreational purposes, but like if this oil here had, I mean, I wouldn't want it with like the 30% or whatever, the one drop would like put you on the floor, but like, what if I just wanted a strain of that particular plant that had a bit more THC just for more synergy and just getting more of what the native plant has to offer, do you foresee that coming in a way that's used more medicinally, not you have cancer medicinally, but just daily tonic kind of herb use?

[01:16:09]Stephen Smith:  Yeah. I mean, for us, the big challenge is like all of the legal stuff that comes with selling THC, which is possible, but it's just a completely different side of things. But I personally support folks introducing that. And someone wrote us the other day and they were asking about anxiety and appetite. Well, CBD doesn't really help with appetite, typically, but THC does. So, that would be a case where I would say you could use this product, but you also maybe want to consider a higher THC, whatever you can handle based on the psychoactive effects of it.

[01:16:44] So, really, yeah, focusing on what is THC doing outside of recreation and fun, which is its own thing, but what are the medicinal benefits of THC? And they need to work together. Like ours, there is some THC in our product for sure, it's just maybe not as high as what you're saying. So, I think I don't know what the government's going to do. I think it's going to continue to become more mainstream, and more accessible, and hopefully really good, clean stuff. But it's not something we're actively looking at. We're really excited to continue to launch these herbal infusions.

[01:17:18] So, really looking in the herbal space, and we have a bunch of recipes. In fact, this immunity formula was from three-and-a-half years ago, and I never launched it because we just didn't have the bandwidth and we felt like it was appropriate this spring. But yeah, really, really diving into all of the herbs that are being grown next to the hemp plants at some of our farms, and how can we dive into that? That's a whole world that I'm not extremely well-versed in, but I'm just blown away by the conversations we have with our herbalist partners. So, that's kind of where we're headed. Yeah, it's an exciting time.

[01:17:53]Luke Storey:  One thing that I didn't cover, which is probably one of the most important things for people that aren't familiar with the medicinal use of this particular plant-

[01:18:02]Stephen Smith:  How it works in your body?

[01:18:03]Luke Storey:  Yeah. Like I'm so glad you didn't leave. And I was like, what, I forgot about the most important thing, maybe.

[01:18:09]Stephen Smith:  Right. Why the hell even take it? Right? And we do that-

[01:18:12]Luke Storey:  It's funny, because to me, it's just a given. Like of course, like I'm going to take it every day and I could name the benefits. 

[01:18:18]Stephen Smith:  Yeah. It's super important to remember that. In fact, on our weekly kind of marketing calls, my little team, it's like, okay, yeah, we're talking about planting around the moon and on a flower day because biodynamic farming is very much connected to celestial moon, sun, planets, whatever, you want to pay attention to that if you're into that kind of farming. And it's kind of like, I don't know if, you were a kid, you ever ran suicides, you run up, you run back to the beginning, you run father, you run back. I feel like we do that. We run it up and we're saying, this is how crop rotation, and using animal compost, or—blah, blah, blah, and it's like, okay, we got a little geeky.

[01:18:54] Now, let's go back, hey, welcome, this is CBD and this is how it works in your body and CBD 101. So, every couple of months, our company, we're trying to go back and say, oh, yeah, gosh, don't get too ahead of yourselves and get too fired up on kind of pushing the boundaries here, remember to continue to welcome, and educate, and support new consumers. This doesn't make sense for everybody. It doesn't work for everybody. It's not needed by everybody. But there is a big group of the population that is dealing with anxiety, inflammation, and sleep issues. Those are the kind of the three things that folks are looking to address in their body and the way this works. So, if we have the time-

[01:19:38]Luke Storey:  Sure. Yeah, I want to know.

[01:19:39]Stephen Smith:  Okay. In our body, we have the endocannabinoid system. The ECS was discovered by Mechoulam. I could be totally butchering his last name, but an Israeli scientist discovered this system, and it was like 30 years ago. So, again, still learning about our bodies, right? We haven't figured it all out, obviously. But it's kind of a master regulatory system that communicates with different parts of our body. In my brain, I see the old school operator saying, connecting these cables, right? 

[01:20:10] And so, it's relatively dormant. If you're one of these amazing people that has that homeostasis a lot. I'm not. And so, for the folks that are pretty calm, like always even keel, they're like at center line. Their body isn't really activating or producing endocannabinoids. And that system's not as operation or working as much as maybe other people who tend to have peaks, and drops, and kind of live in this slightly more intense, romantic, or most people are dealing with a lot of stress right now.

[01:20:44] So, what happens when you're kind of popping out of homeostasis and, say, you get a lot of stress, a lot of anxiety, your endocannabinoid system, the ECS starts producing two AEG, two AEG and anandamide. These are naturally-occurring cannabinoids. So, the plant has cannabinoids, phytocannabinoids. The body has endocannabinoids, two AEG and anandamide. And those work with our CB1 and CB2 receptors to help us, I was an art student, not a scientist or a business person, so bear with me, but it works with our body to help us regulate and calm back down, get back to center line.

[01:21:24] Well, there are enzymes in our body that come in and they interfere with the success of this process. They will break down those endocannabinoids. Okay. Some people have a deficiency where they're not producing the cannabinoids at all, and they might have more extreme anxiety, or more extreme depression, or any of these things. And then, there's people that, like I said, are pretty much even keel. So, what supplementing with cannabinoids does, CBD, CBG, CBC, THC, whatever it is that's in these mixes or in these plants, those compounds come in and act as a martyr. They literally say, take me, enzyme. 

[01:22:05] And so, the enzymes are able to attack this relatively-passive intruder, right? We're supplementing with something that acts as a martyr so that our system can function on a higher level. So, for those of us that that can feel this, like within 15 to 30 minutes, if I spike, if I'm really stressed out or I have this load, and I take a 25 milligram capsule or whatever it is, I feel my body calming, I feel it happening, and most of our customers do as well.

[01:22:38] And that's what's happening. My system is functioning on this higher level because I've supplemented with something that acts as a blocker, or not as a blocker, but as a martyr, I guess, is the best way to put it. So, from everything I've read, from the folks I've talked to, that's the best description that I can come up with and has been validated. So, that's what you're doing. You are supporting the function of your endocannabinoid system so that you can manage stress better and anxiety. You can sleep better, calms your brain down. Mine does at least, and also, inflammation. And inflammation is the core of so many other issues.

[01:23:18] So, again, to talk about getting to the root of something versus like patch, patch, patch, pharmaceutical, pharmaceutical, it's all the same parallel, what's at the core of it? And a lot of times, it's inflammation. So, not only for skin, for topical use, like I was in the sun yesterday at the end of the day, and I put some of our stuff on and I just don't get sunburn anymore. And then, inflammation in your gut. So, if you're eating funky foods or you're getting inflammation from a variety of ways, this is helping with inflammation. So, things that are pretty universal in the human experience.

[01:23:53]Luke Storey:  I love that ointment that you guys make.

[01:23:57]Stephen Smith:  The balm, yeah.

[01:23:58]Luke Storey:  Yeah. I just always want like a triple-sized jar.

[01:24:01]Stephen Smith:  Hey, we're coming out with the four-ounce. 

[01:24:03]Luke Storey:  Oh, cool.

[01:24:04]Stephen Smith:  Yeah, the big old tub of it.

[01:24:04]Luke Storey:  I mean, it's good because it makes me not overuse it because it actually spreads very thin. And a little goes a long way. Like one little dollop is like a back rub for someone. Like it's quite dense, but still, I was like, like cherishing that.

[01:24:20]Stephen Smith:  It's like a travel size and we launched that to get started. And once again, our resources are thin, so we're spread, but we're about to do a four-ounce jar. 

[01:24:27]Luke Storey:  Cool. I love it. I mean, I still make mine last. And I do travel with it. I like to bring it on the plane because my back always get sore on the plane, but I never thought of using it for like skin care. That's an interesting thing.

[01:24:39]Stephen Smith:  Right. Because like my mom uses it or other people use it for arthritis, knee, joint pain. But literally, just for skin care, post-sun or rash, I had poison ivy on my arm from my dog and it went away very quickly.

[01:24:55]Luke Storey:  Wow. Cool. 

[01:24:55]Stephen Smith:  Yeah. So, it dropped the inflammation in that. And I was kind of a hater, not a hater, but I was a little like, ah, I don't know about topical CBD. And that was a conversation I had internally with my co-founder, Annie. She's like, let me just make you this stuff because she has a background in cannabis products going back in the day. And so, she made this amazing recipe, which is what we sell now. And I was on a trampoline, acting like a ten-year-old, and doing the egg thing, cracked my neck like last summer, you could hear it. And I just covered my neck in it, and the next day, I was fine. I don't know. It was kind of freakish. I don't know. It helped. So, I was sold on it.

[01:25:33]Luke Storey:  Yeah, I like that stuff and it smells really good too. So, it's funny because I do end up putting it on my face just because I put some on my elbow or some shit, and there's some leftover, and it smells so good. I'm like, I want weed face. 

[01:25:44]Stephen Smith:  And there's eucalyptus in there too.

[01:25:45]Luke Storey:  Oh, really? 

[01:25:46]Stephen Smith:  Yeah.

[01:25:46]Luke Storey:  Yeah. It just smells really good. The other thing I wanted to touch on in terms of benefits is I want to dive into sleep a little bit because I've noticed using different products from the cannabis world that they have a different effect. And I find with the CBD, like the one you guys make, that my deep sleep scores, because I've check my sleep scores with my Oura Ring, my deep sleep scores when I used good CBD oil are much higher than if I don't.

[01:26:18] And I've tested that A, B, C test a million times. I'm guessing like right now, I get usually about two to two-and-a-half hours of deep sleep, which is a lot for a 49-year-old, so I hear. But I noticed if I have a lot of that deep sleep, then sometimes, I don't get a good ratio of REM sleep and I'll be a little light on the REM sleep. I only get an hour, hour-and-a-half, something like that. I've noticed that cannabis oils are products that have more THC in them, tend to hurt your REM sleep, but the CBD with very low THC like yours has no effect on the REM sleep, this is just for me, but really helps with the deep sleep.

[01:27:00] So, what I'm trying to hack now is like what missing medicine out there can help boost my REM sleep. Now, I know one thing is lion's mane. It's been proven to do that. This company, Life Cykel, that is on my site make a really great lion's mane and they did some studies around REM sleep, but I always just forget. I need to put one in my bathroom upstairs or something like that. But what do you know about its relationship to sleep other than just like your subjective, wow, it really relaxes you and that helps me sleep?

[01:27:29]Stephen Smith:  Yeah. I mean, honestly, there's a lot. Most of what we have here are anecdotes. And I can say personally that if I do consume more THC, dreams are next to nothing. And most nights, I have extremely vivid dreams. So, THC will completely cloud—I mean, that's for a lot of people, probably. But for me, it's so noticeably different. But the only kind of data we have is from folks that have done what you've done, which is to record and graph out their kind of sleep cycles and showing that with the use of this stuff, they're getting into a deeper sleep. But I can't comment on REM, deep sleep. I mean, there's, once again, so much more we have to explore.

[01:28:12]Luke Storey:  Yeah, it's geeky territory.

[01:28:15]Stephen Smith:  Send it over. You'll be our guinea pig.

[01:28:17]Luke Storey:  I'm obviously just arm-chairing this just because sleep's always the thing I'm really working on. That's my number one goal in life, is just crush sleep because it's sleep. But I do like to track the ratios of the REM and the deep sleep. And depending on what part of the cannabis plant you use, in my experience, you're going to get different results, or at least, I'm going to get different results. I think the last thing is something that just came to mind was back before the kind of current CBD revolution and even before the legalization of recreational marijuana in some cities, states, counties, et cetera, there was an underground movement of people using cannabis products, truly medicinally. 

[01:29:00] Meaning, for chronic diseases. I remember hearing about this Rick Simpson oil, and I'm talking about people that, well, were and are chronically ill with things like cancer, MS, whatever, and they're taking like mega doses of really concentrated, fully-psychoactive weed. Is that industry kind of still going? What's up with the medical side of it for? I know you're not going to make medical claims or anything, but I'm talking like, objectively, from your purview, what's up with like that type of CBD or THC product?

[01:29:37]Stephen Smith:  Yeah, I think it's still super active, and hopefully, even more so than ever, because as we learn more and more about the benefits of these cannabinoids, we can direct people who are seriously suffering and are going to—I mean, we have a handful of customers that are using our extra strength capsules and tinctures for these kind of things. I mean, Rick Simpson oil is great, a lot of this stuff, the bane focus is it depends on the issue, but it's causing the static.

[01:30:02] So, people that are hoping to shrink cancer cells, and tumors, and things like that are going for really, really, really high-dose stuff. And I think that that's foundational for the whole medical marijuana movement. And I think it's still very vibrant. It's tricky when folks reach out to me and we're starting to partner up with a doctor in Denver who's going to come on and help us in an advisory role. And that's tricky because I just never, in a million years, thought I would be having conversations with people about their family members or them who are really sick and really suffering.

[01:30:36] The upside is that the benefit to even try to give resources, and direct them, and now, bring in a doctor to help on, it's very delicate. We can't make any medical claims, we have a ton of anecdotes, but we can encourage, and support, and give direction, and just kind of say, well, we've got testimonials for this, we've heard this, but it is kind of the Wild West in that sense still. But that's something that we think about a lot.

[01:31:05] If someone's grandmother has cancer or whatever, we would never be able to sleep at night if we weren't giving them or offering them the highest-quality, cleanest medicine. If they're immune-compromised, or they're ill, or they're in a compromised situation in any capacity, it has to be the highest quality. Working in wine, that's kind of a pleasure crop. It's not really medicinal.

[01:31:30] This can be taken for folks who just want to relax, or there's people who are coming out of chemo and they are extremely uncomfortable, or whatever the case may be. So, that's a constant reminder for us to take this extremely seriously, as we always do. But also, that's why biodynamic farming and this level of farming is like, it's the cleanest. So, we can, with confidence, say, yeah, this is the closest thing to the plant. There's other great stuff going on like Scott's juicing hemp.

[01:32:00]Luke Storey:  That's right. Yeah.

[01:32:01]Stephen Smith:  That's an amazing thing at Juice Ranch. So, it's coming in a lot of pure and different formats for people that really need it. And again, it doesn't feel like it should be the government's say.

[01:32:18]Luke Storey:  Yeah, what you can do with the plant. 

[01:32:20]Stephen Smith:  Yeah.

[01:32:21]Luke Storey:  I wholeheartedly agree. And thank you for mentioning Scott Walker, the Juice Ranch at Santa Barbara. Yeah, I forgot about that product. I think just because it's-

[01:32:28]Stephen Smith:  It's unbelievable.

[01:32:29]Luke Storey:  It needs to be chilled. 

[01:32:30]Stephen Smith:  Yeah, it has a little more constraint in how you serve it, and send it, and buy it, and all that stuff.

[01:32:35]Luke Storey:  But it's kind of like wheat grass juice made of weed, and that you can freeze it in those little pellets and stuff. So, I'm hoping that they are able to find a way to scale and ship that's sustainable and profitable because that's a whole other animal there, is taking the whole plant, and cold-pressing it, and getting the juice out of it. It's pretty cool.

[01:32:59]Stephen Smith:  It's very cool. And we're experimenting with the not decarboxylating. Yes. So, decarboxylation is, that's why you smoke or heat weed, hemp, or whatever traditionally, you're converting the acid form of CBDA into CBD, and THCA into THC. So, if you don't heat it, you're left with the acid form, which, in the case of Scott and Erin's juice, you're getting that, which has great anti-inflammation and other benefits.

[01:33:35] And so, that's also something we're experimenting with, is like when we make our oil, not heating it, and just infusing it, and testing out the benefits of that. So, once again, we're just at the beginning of this. So, what does it look like to keep it super raw and just pressed or infused in this case? And we can also press it if we wanted to and not heating it at all. So, there's a lot more to explore in this realm.

[01:34:05]Luke Storey:  Cool man. It's exciting. Well, I'm grateful it is where it is, and so cool to have you on the show, and support you and your company that's doing things in a way that's innovative and good for everyone. And that's like something I really love to be able to do with whatever much reach I have here on the show, which is growing, thankfully. Share this episode with your friends, listening, help it grow more.

[01:34:29] But it's really cool, man. It's such a pleasure to get to know you, and what you guys do, and get to hang out, and kind of follow your journey over the past couple of years. And I know how startups are. I've had one for 11 years. I guess you don't call it a startup after a certain number years, but, man, like bootstrapping it is not for the faint at heart, so I appreciate you staying in the game and getting your hands dirty, literally, out at these farms, and making sure everything's done right, and then coming back to educate us on how the whole thing works, dude. It's really great.

[01:35:03]Stephen Smith:  Yeah, we appreciate it. It's been a wild ride, but we're super grateful. We have amazing support and we have a lot of, we just get charged, we get fed, we get fed by this mission. So, anyway, thank you. We're going to keep at it.

[01:35:18]Luke Storey:  Yeah. And tell us where we can find you on website and social media.

[01:35:21]Stephen Smith:  Oh, sure. It's onda, O-N-D-A, wellness.com. And it's the same for Instagram, but it's @Onda, O-N-D-A, .wellness. And yeah, find us there. We have a blog, cbdplantmedicine.com, snagged that domain a long time ago.

[01:35:37]Luke Storey:  Oh, cool.

[01:35:38]Stephen Smith:  Yeah. And Erin puts out a ton of great content, good education, and we're just doing the best we can to, yeah, do it a way that's beneficial, and inclusive, and yeah, good for the planet.

[01:35:53]Luke Storey:  Who are three teachers or teachings that have influenced you, your life, your work that you might recommend to the audience?

[01:36:02]Stephen Smith:  Well, I would say in the last two years, I've really been diving into a lot of Ram Dass's teachings. That's helped me on a personal side, going through some stuff, and I think hopefully makes me a better partner and business person in a lot of ways. I would say that I'm pretty inspired and I've been geeking out recently on Rudolf Steiner stuff. A lot of it can be really esoteric and whatnot, but I try to really approach these things with an open heart and an open mind, and not really get too fixated on labeling, judging, or setting these things. So, I think I'm just kind of at the tip of the iceberg with some of Rudolf Steiner's teachings, who's also, if you're not familiar, started Waldorf schools in Camp Hill and all that stuff.

[01:36:48]Luke Storey:  Yeah. David Wolfe was recently on the show and he actually dropped a lot of Steiner throughout the episode. Yeah.

[01:36:53]Stephen Smith:  We need to check that one out. 

[01:36:54]Luke Storey:  People were digging it, yeah. Because not only from like environmental, but just in terms of philosophy in general. So, a lot of people, I think, associate his name with having something to do with putting biodynamic farming on the map. But of course, as you know-

[01:37:11]Stephen Smith:  That was the last thing he did before he died. I mean, there was a bunch of other stuff.

[01:37:14]Luke Storey:  Yeah. So, like that's a name I pretend to know more about, you know what I mean? Like, oh, yeah, he's this and that, but honestly, like I've never sat and read a book. So, it's good. 

[01:37:27]Stephen Smith:  And it's true. Having worked for a biodynamic farm for a little while, I just started agriculture, which is the name of his teachings from 1924. I've just finally started that. I've heard all these anecdotes, and stories, and books by like Maria Thun and some of his predecessors about soil health. But I'm just starting that. So, we'll see. We'll see what comes of that.

[01:37:48]Luke Storey:  Awesome.

[01:37:49]Stephen Smith:  Gosh, in the same vein, I've really been inspired by Wendell Berry. Wendell Berry has some beautiful poetry and some really dense writing, but considering kind of the bigger picture of how agriculture culture, how it fits into our lives, and into the country, and to the greater human experience, that's been really, really good to dig into. Yeah. 

[01:38:16]Luke Storey:  Awesome. Thanks, man. Thanks for coming on the show.

[01:38:18]Stephen Smith:  Thanks for having me.

[01:38:19]Luke Storey:  Glad we finally got it done.

[01:38:20]Stephen Smith:  Yeah, appreciate it.

[01:38:21]Luke Storey:  Happy trails, happy smoking. 

[01:38:23]Stephen Smith:  Thanks for all that you do.

[01:38:24]Luke Storey:  Yeah, brother.


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