341. The Kava Connection: Nature's Answer to Anxiety & Mood Management w/ Cameron George

Cameron George

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.

Cameron George, Kava educator and founder of TruKava, talks about the plant's healing powers and its potential to elevate collective consciousness.

In his early twenties, Cameron George developed a severe autoimmune/nervous system condition that rendered him temporarily disabled and unable to work or function at any level without assistance. The condition had also led him to develop an array of debilitating symptoms, such as overwhelming chronic fatigue, severe cognitive deficits, constant anxiety, insomnia, and convulsions that inhibited his ability to recover to any degree.

Cameron spent many years seeing countless physicians, accumulating scientific research, and investigating many therapeutic strategies (including treatments, therapies, modalities, lifestyle changes, and more). These were all desperate attempts to find a solution to his condition and rebuild his health. After seeing little to no improvements from any of the standard or alternative medical approaches that were given to him, he continued to rapidly deteriorate. Eventually, he came across the work of multiple doctors, researchers, scientists, and influencers within the health and wellness field with whom he was able to collaborate. Together, based on scientific research and large-scale clinical experience, they assembled a multi-therapeutic approach to rehabilitating his health. However, through this process, Cameron was still suffering significantly from anxiety and convulsions and developed a heavy dependency on narcotic anti-anxiety benzodiazepine drugs. Desperate for an alternative to these pharmaceuticals, he started researching medicinal herbs with anti-anxiety/anticonvulsant properties that could possibly help to reduce his anxiety and convulsions. This eventually led him to discover the amazing medicinal benefits of "true" KAVA, a powerful plant-based anxiety-reducing nootropic drink from islands in the south pacific. This personal experience led Cameron to become a prominent entrepreneur, researcher, product developer, and world-leading kava expert in the health and wellness field.

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.

Kava is unlike many of the plant medicines I’ve spoken about previously. A) it’s legal, and B) it doesn’t quite send you into another stratosphere of consciousness like Ayahuasca or 5-MeO-DMT. Instead, it’s a subtle, softer, slow burner that can be easily incorporated into your daily routine, like your regular cup of joe you brew in the morning. It manages your mood, health and, as I learned today, neutralizes trauma in the body and environment. 

Joining me to tell you more is Cameron George, passionate Kava educator and founder of TRU KAVA, the purest, potent, and sustainable Kava supplement I’ve ever tasted. 

Enjoy 20% off your first order by heading to gettrukava.com and using the discount code ¨LUKE20.”

12:39 — What Led Cameron to Kava

  • His pain-to-purpose journey
  • Addiction to Adderall 
  • Financial and emotional breakdown 
  • Micro breakthroughs from plant medicine 
  • Transitioning from Benzodiazepine to Kava

43:45 — The Origins of Kava  

  • Where Kava is cultivated
  • Examining plant intelligence
  • Why Kava is not addictive
  • Nootropic effects of Kava 

1:15:24 — What Role Kava Can Play in the World

  • Integrating Kava into modern culture
  • Kava as a gateway tool for physic integration 
  • Why you can’t trust the quality or potency of product in a local Kava bar
  • How Western filtration methods butcher Kava’s natural effects
  • Redefining the market for Kava
  • The multiple benefits of Kava 

1:52:25 —Kava and EMF Protection

  • Kava as a sodium and calcium channel blocker
  • EMF sensitivity and Kava consumption

1:59:14— Debunking the Kava and Liver Toxicity Myth

  • How pharmaceutical companies tried to imitate nature – and failed miserably 
  • Regulation risks

2:14:46 —Cameron’s Kava Vision 

  • Creating a palatable and effective Kava product
  • Revamping Kava bars and integrating Kava into a modern framework
  • Tru Kava oil 

More about this episode.

Watch it on YouTube.

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. Cameron George, good to have you back, dude.

[00:00:27]Cameron George:  Awesome to be back, man.

[00:00:28]Luke Storey:  I'm excited to have this conversation.

[00:00:31]Cameron George:  The world has changed a little bit since the last time we did this.

[00:00:34]Luke Storey:  Oh, my God. Dude, it's getting crazier and crazier.

[00:00:38]Cameron George:  Yeah. 

[00:00:38]Luke Storey:  But we're going to help people learn how to be sane. Funny thing is, I realized today, as we sit here in Austin, Texas, where I have my new home, the very first conversation we had was also in Austin at Paleo f[x] a couple of years ago.

[00:00:52]Cameron George:  Yeah.

[00:00:53]Luke Storey:  And so, it's interesting that we ended up back in the same place having a conversation about the same thing, but in a different way, because I know there's been a lot of developments with your research into this niche topic known as kava.

[00:01:09]Cameron George:  Yes. 

[00:01:10]Luke Storey:  So, for the people that are going to be listening to this today, I want to let them know that on Episode 219, we went pretty deep into your back story, which is an incredible story of healing, redemption, and someone who overcame some major obstacles, mental health, physical health issues, autoimmune, all that stuff. So, I want to direct people back to that episode, because I think we spent about the first hour on that wild ass ride, which was, I think, really good, because it's incredible story. And anyone that's out there suffering from similar kind of issues likes to hear that you can overcome it. So, in the interest of us really wanting to dig into the depth of kava that I want to do today, perhaps you could give us a truncated version of your origin story, like what led you down this path to begin with?

[00:01:59]Cameron George:  Yeah, exactly. You're right. We did spend about an hour on it last time, because it really is a long story. And usually, whenever I do one of these more long-form podcasts, we go into every detail of it, because it is important to have some context as to what brought me here, and what this sort of company and this project was all founded on, and the significance of what, I guess, sort of some of the underpinning mentalities that sort of led me through or just so relevant to anyone who's embarking on the healing journey in and of themselves, and trying to sort of transform pain into purpose, right? 

[00:02:36] And so, that's why I think that it's really important. But just like so many people in this sort of the circuit that you and I both reside in, the health and wellness, and even outside of that. Today, people looking for answers, trying to improve their lives, just like so many people who get into this sort of these influencer positions or heads of companies and stuff, it really is a pain to purpose journey, for me. I mean, it was a tremendous pain to purpose journey.

[00:03:03] I mean, a lot of the discoveries that I made and the paths that I was forced to go down, I was just that, I was forced to go down them, because my back was seriously up against the wall. And I spent the better part of a-decade-and-a-half in just absolutely incomprehensible amount of pain and horror. And it was a tremendous nightmare, sort of ascent into a hellish chronic disease process that was so life-limiting. It was about as life limiting as it could get in a person still be alive, basically, right? 

[00:03:39] And at the time, it's like while you're in sort of the epicenter of it, when you're in the eye of the storm, it seems completely insurmountable. It seems impossible that you could ever get out of something like that, right? It's like I remember thinking day in and day out, just having the constant thought process going through my head, that it's like, just the word insurmountable just kept coming in my mind, and just what would it even look like? I almost even forgot what it even looked like to feel and to be able to live normally.

[00:04:08] But I had such a deep, deep desire and a love for life, and I just valued every aspect of it, just everything coming for my core, basically, that I made a decision pretty early on in the process that I was going to persist no matter what. No matter what it took, I would scour the planet, I would scour every single resource that I possibly had, and I was going to fight it with everything that I had, because I just had this deep underpinning sense that it was worth it on a fundamental level,

[00:04:46]Luke Storey:  What were some of the issues you were experiencing, just as a refresher? I know you were dealing with anxiety and ended up getting on Xanax, and autoimmune stuff. What was the scope of your issues? And what ultimately do you think was the cause of it?

[00:05:03]Cameron George:  Exactly. So, the situation I ended up in is something that a lot of people today can resonate with. Basically, what I ended up in, in my early 20s, I ended up in one of these pseudo-unexplainable, unexplainable by the standard allopathic framework, anyways, it is explainable, but it was unexplainable at the time with the resource that I had. So, one of these unexplainable sort of autoimmune neurotoxic-induced spectrum illnesses, right? That's a mouthful.

[00:05:28] But basically, what that means is one of these overwhelming, unexplainable syndromes that can't really be labeled by sort of any one name, obviously, right? So, it wasn't like I went to a doctor and I could run a blood test that's like, well, you have this. I had one of these chronic diseases that really manifested in a whole slew of different symptoms on the surface that over the course of almost a decade, I ended up receiving from standard practitioners, traveling all the way around the country and stuff, probably 20 or 30 different diagnoses, right? 

[00:06:06] I was diagnosed basically with Crohn's and ulcerative colitis. And doctors thought that I had MS, and doctors thought I had early cognitive decline. I even had physicians thought that I had the early onset of Parkinson's. And it's just like you get label after label, and then every psychiatric condition under the sun. But basically, how it manifested or how it looked symptomatically, and how it was limiting my life is I ended up in this situation where my health completely collapsed. 

[00:06:32] Over a period of time that it got to a point where it reached critical mass. And I was in my early 20s. I was a high-functioning person at this time. I was actually an elite endurance athlete, and was running in college, and racing marathons, and doing all of this kind of things. And also, was working multiple jobs. And so, I was a very high-functioning person and started to get fatigued. That fatigue turned into more severe fatigue. That more severe fatigue turned into depression, not being able to get off the couch.

[00:07:06] And I just thought I was over-training, so I sort of backed off. It didn't get better. Things started to spiral out of control even more. I just started to get more overwhelmingly fatigued, and then started having crazy autoimmune sort of inflammatory symptoms, crazy reactions that I was developing, and eventually devolved into this process where I ended up in a psychiatrist's office, because I was directed there sort of through the standard allopathic framework, because that's sort of where the unexplainables go. 

[00:07:34] Oh, well, it must be psychiatric illness, right? Because we can't categorize it. You have all these symptoms and you say that you're sick, but through their framework, obviously, the standard allopathic framework, it's more of sort of a disease framework and sort of like a true assessment of the level of health of a person, right? And so, basically, if you're not dying, if you don't have a tumor or a lesion that shows up on a CT scan in your brain, then you must be 100% well, because they don't have the tools or the metrics to really be able to make an assessment to quantify the level of health, like the loss of health.

[00:08:08] So, I was completely riddled with disease, but they couldn't categorize it. So, I ended up in a psychiatrist's office. I got prescribed a whole host of psychiatric meds, the main one being an amphetamine-based med that most people are probably aware of called Adderall. And in my very vulnerable neurotoxic state, which was the vulnerability of my system that was already void of energy, which that's what most of these conditions come down to, is like they're metabolic diseases where the mitochondria get attacked and inflammation leads to the inability to produce energy, then you don't have the currency to run your whole body and disease tends to fester. 

[00:08:45] Lack of health, right? So, I was completely fried, and that's where the fatigue was coming from, and all the psychiatric lack of brain chemistry. So, they ended up putting me on this amphetamine drug, which is basically like an override button to the system. It's like putting jet fuel in a car engine that's already very vulnerable. And basically, it blew out the system, but before it completely blew out the system, it basically hijacked my personality and turned me—it brought out the absolute worst version of me in a number of different ways. 

[00:09:14] And so, I basically was a high-functioning person, devolved into this state of extreme chronic fatigue, got on these psychiatric drugs, because I didn't, at the time, take control of my health, find my own answers. I gave up responsibility to someone in an authoritative position and a psychiatrist's office. They gave me this drug, told me it was a miracle drug. And within three months, I was living the life basically of a meth addict, because that's what Adderall, just packaged in a different form, less of a concentration you get off of smoking crystal meth or something.

[00:09:44]Luke Storey:  So, you were taking radios apart and never putting them back together?

[00:09:48]Cameron George:  I was doing everything from going on insane buying sprees, charging hundreds of thousand dollars of credit. Thank goodness, a lot of times under amphetamine-induced forms of psychosis, it ends up bringing sort of your innermost impulsivities to life. And because I didn't have it in me to be like a criminal or anything like that, I don't think—thank God, I didn't do any—I did things that are mostly self-destructive, charging all this money and credit. And every impulse that I had inside of me sort of festered into some crazy, devolving sort of explosive catastrophe. I went and bought handfuls of exotic animals all charged on credit. And I was in college at the time and I had this.

[00:10:33]Luke Storey:  You were the precursor to the Tiger King.

[00:10:35]Cameron George:  Exactly. Right. It was like a cross between Tiger King, Ace Ventura, Breaking Bad. Throw in Breaking Bad in there, because as you start to devolve into this sort of drug-induced state, obviously, both psychologically and energetically, we know this, that you start to connect with people that are on that similar sort of headspace or frequency. There's an energetic component to it, but most people understand that, right? Whenever you become a drug addict, you connect with other people that have a similar collective mentality.

[00:11:03] And then, you get this sort of—in the same way, if you're in a much more healthy, inspired state of mind, you end up creating synchronicities where they create greater and greater opportunities. You connect with likeminded people, and I call it the synchronicity turbine, right? But basically, it's like a feedback loop. The same thing with drug addicts. It's why drug addicts tend to fester and grow this sort of snowball catastrophe of a collective circumstance.

[00:11:30] But I ended up in that situation. I had never spent any time, I was spending my time around athletes and people that had structure in their lives, then I got in this drug, and all of a sudden got all these exotic animals, charged all this credit. I'd be up at 2:00 in the morning cleaning my floor with a toothbrush. I'm tweaking out. And this was just not me at all. This was totally a manifestation of the drug. So then, all these unhealthy circumstances came about where I ended up around all these drug addicts. They were in my apartment. I had all this really nice stuff, right? 

[00:11:59] And I was a college kid, but I had ways of actually legally making money. I was working for an electronics store at the time. I was buying things at cost, and reselling them, and these kind of things. It's like, it was just like I was on this weird sort of amphetamine-induced hustle, if you will. So, I ended up being in that mentality and surrounded by—at any given time, I had my apartment full of not only very nice stuff, but animals and a lot of drug addicts. Drug addicts I didn't even know. I'd wake up in the morning, there's a drug addict eating pizza on my floor, this kind of stuff. You think of like, I say, like Breaking Bad, there's like an episode where that happened, right? It was that kind of thing. 

[00:12:40]Luke Storey:  I remember that. Yeah. In real life and on the show.

[00:12:43]Cameron George:  Yeah. No. Exactly, right? And so, you know these things devolve into just complete chaos, right? And they just tend to amplify themselves. So, basically, I ended up in this just absolutely nightmarish catastrophe of a circumstance. And it was really phenomenal how quickly things accelerated in the negative direction and laden me to just totally crash. So, obviously, being physiologically sick going into it, and then overriding my body by taking the drug without the artificial sort of approach of, basically, what you're doing when you're taking a drug to cover up a deficit.

[00:13:20] It's like borrowing from tomorrow to pay for today with your chemistry. You take a drug like Adderall, it gives you this massive release of dopamine, and norepinephrine, and this kind of focusing neurotransmitters, and these energy things, but it's not creating any more of them. It's just using up your stores, your energetic stores. Like pulling in, it's releasing, right? So, it's like charging credit. It's like you're bankrupt, your brain chemistry is bankrupt, and you charge on credit, and eventually, it catches up to you, and you go off the drug, your bank account's empty, and that's called withdrawal, because you don't have any of your own chemicals basically available and your synapses for you to actually maintain even a normal level of stability, and happiness, and just the normal emotional framework that comes from a healthy set of chemistry. 

[00:14:05] And it's catalyzed back the cellular level and even beyond. So, basically, I ended up in this circumstance where not only would my life break down from a financial standpoint, and from a physical standpoint, from a mental emotional standpoint, because a whole host of things happened. People came into my apartment. I had thousands of dollars like stolen from me at that time. And I had all this stuff charged. And my life just got wiped out. So, I ended up, basically, my health completely crashed. 

[00:14:36] And I'm left in tremendous debt. I'm left with absolutely nothing. I'm left with a truckload of emotional trauma, and all because I was really just trying to feel better and I ended up in an allopathic sort of psychiatrist's office trying to get help. And so, I didn't intend for any of that to happen. But I ended up in a situation where I had literally nothing. The only thing I did have was I had a tremendous support system. And that's what I was blessed with the most in this life, to where I had a support system that sort of came together as a team.

[00:15:05] And that's sort of what we do when one person is down. We all come together, and we figure it out, and everybody has their role. And the other thing that I did have is that I happened to be wired in a way just as I was willing to push forward to try to find an answer and went in the wrong direction, I always did. I had that. And part of this came through my upbringing and part of it came through earlier discoveries in unhealthy contexts with plant medicine, like psilocybin, experience with psilocybin and other DMT-containing substances, that gave me a level of perspective that just made me value life on such a fundamental level, right? 

[00:15:47] And that just sort of instilled within me sort of a sense of the sacred, and how important it is, and how we live in this beautiful, amazing, majestic sort of garden of a planet. And we're so gifted just to be incarnated in a human body or however you see that, and that it's worth giving every breath, everything that you have at any moment to fight for it and to fight to be here, to fulfill the greatest purpose that you can to make a contribution, which I discovered through my process is really, it's the vector to actual happiness. 

[00:16:26] These impulsive things that you can do, the difference between happiness and pleasure, right? I mean, pleasure is excitement. It's just doing things to feel in the moment, usually because you're numb and you're retreating from trauma and things. And this is a Tony Robbins thing. I've heard Tony say this before, that what you accumulate in life won't make you happy, but who you become and what you contribute will. So, growing and giving are the two things that bring fulfillment, which I believe, throughout my process, that's where true happiness comes from, is obviously, you grow so that you can give, because you can't give what you don't have.

[00:17:04] And I've been completely bankrupt at every level, physically, psychologically, emotionally through my process. And because of experiences that I had that were instilled within me, thank goodness, which there was purpose to all of it, I think, at a higher level of reality, but it seemed like a perfect storm that made no sense, and when I ended up in this position where I had nothing and it looked like my life was over on paper, because I didn't think there was any way I was going to be able to pull myself physically out of this, where I ended up.

[00:17:43] But it actually was a perfect storm from the positive standpoint, because I had everything that I needed and I had all of the pressures to pull out of me, what was really inside of me and what's really inside of all people, I believe, at our core, is just this amazing potential and this amazing inspiration for what we are fundamentally. And I sort of had that awoken within me not only from experiences. Like I said, I had through plant medicine and different things leading up to me getting sick.

[00:18:15] But then, also, when I had everything taken from me, there's something about being backed into a corner and pressure squeezing that out of you that necessity will do. And I just had the right combination of events and I was wired in a certain way. Maybe it came from being an endurance athlete, and having that persistence and everything, and that just sort of go, go, go, and just wanting to just succeed and everything.

[00:18:38] But once I ended up in this position, I was willing to do whatever it took. So, basically, I ended up in a situation where, eventually, the amphetamines brought me to a point where my body was completely fried. I couldn't even get out of bed. I really couldn't walk. I mean, I could physically walk, but I could barely support my weight. My brain was so fried. I even got a spec scan later on that was comparable to like 80-year-olds with dementia, what the radiologist said, similar to what Daniel Amen does. 

[00:19:05]Luke Storey:  Yeah.

[00:19:06]Cameron George:  Yeah.

[00:19:06]Luke Storey:  He gave me not that bad of a diagnosis, but yeah, he said, your brain's not doing so well. But I was shocked actually, after all the stuff I've done. I was like, what? How is that possible? But I think I fixed it since then. So, yeah, those scans are a trip though when you get those, because you get a realistic view of what's happening in your brain, circulation-wise. 

[00:19:28]Cameron George:  Circulation, metabolism. And so, you just get to see, and you're like, I've got work to do still. And there's plenty available, especially today, especially with the resources that like the people like you and I have come across and things. But yes, so I was in the situation where my worst dysfunction was my brain dysfunction, because for whatever reason, I mean, those drugs are toxic to anyone, but I had about the worst outcome you can have and still survive, where basically, it fried my brain metabolism and it created a lot of micro blood vessel damage in my brain from the toxins I was exposed to, from the animal.

[00:20:06] I mean, a lot of exposures that even led up to me being that susceptible to going after that, right? It's never just one thing. It's this litany of different things. But I had cognitive dysfunction that was so bad that at points right after the whole Adderall escapade, and I sort of realigned my perspective, and there was a few things that came together that sort of got me out of it, that got me to stop taking the Adderall and changed the trajectory. And it was actually plant medicine, another experience in psilocybin, where it sort of allowed me to objectively see everything on the table and everything I had done, and giving up my responsibility to this, and understanding where health came from.

[00:20:43] I had this amazing experience that at the drop of a hat made me quit Adderall the next day, and leave that entire life, and say, no, I'm going to get this thing back. It was just so profound. That was really the first time plant medicine had saved my life. And kava did later on, which I'll get to. So, basically, of course, I was in the situation where I had a newfound perspective, but my faculties, my physical faculties, I had no resources physically, because I was just completely shot.

[00:21:13] And so, this autoimmune spectrum illness that I was in, my cognition was so bad at one point that I could barely recognize people in my family. Like I would have these lapses where I was not recognizing people. I couldn't leave the house, because I'd get lost in my own. I had to move back in with my parents. They were like taking care of me. I'd go out in this neighborhood I grew up in 20 years and I'd get lost. It was terrifying, but yet I had my cognition in place, certain parts of my brain, which I found out later from the scans, were intact to the point to where I was fully aware of what was happening.

[00:21:46] I always had this awareness of exactly what was happening. So, at least, that gave me the means to fight, but every second was like torment. The kind of cognitive dysfunction, the confusion in trying to navigate that made the simplest tasks like monumental tasks. There are times where brushing my teeth, I would get confused and it was just a complete nightmare. So, that started the whole odyssey of like I spent all of the energy that I had, all the cognitive energy that I had to just scour medical and scientific literature.

[00:22:15] And because I already was somewhat savvy on the human performance level or I had an interest because of being an endurance athlete and stuff, and sort of knowing the basics of nutrition. And I realized that I didn't know near as much as I thought I did, being a young kid at that time. But yeah, so I spent just years scouring medical and scientific literature, traveling around the different doctors, exhausting the rest of the allopathic model, pushed away drugs as much as I could, even medications. 

[00:22:45] Eventually, obviously, got no help. And so then, sort of spread out into the functional medicine sort of integrative model, went around that circuit, eventually got integrated with the network of doctors where I formulated a multitherapeutic approach that really made sense to me from a foundational standpoint, but couldn't tolerate anything that I was doing, because by that time, I'd become so sick and inflamed that I was having these crazy autoimmune reactions to almost everything that I was eating or coming into contact with, which was horrific. 

[00:23:14] And they got so bad that I was having like 10 seizures a day from various different stimulus in the environment. I was having anaphylactic reaction, so I would eat a bite of food and I would go into anaphylaxis. And so, obviously, I continued to get weaker and it would just turn into this disaster where I couldn't get leverage over my reactions to even be able to do the things that now I knew would have a likelihood of even giving me a chance of making it out of this.

[00:23:39] And that's how I came across kava, basically, was I was on heavy doses of benzodiazepines against my will, by the way, because at this point, I'd been through the whole drug thing. I didn't want to. But to control the seizures won't do anything, and benzos are one of the most pernicious, addictive, egregious pharmaceutical substances that we have, like in the modern pharmacopeia. And we hear a lot about the opioid epidemic, which is a huge problem, a massive problem.

[00:24:05] But the benzodiazepine epidemic is almost just as big. And benzos, and alcohol, and opiates, but benzos and alcohol especially are the two drugs that you can really die from the withdrawal process. I mean, you can go into full blown seizures. And so, when I was taking these drugs, it was very scary, because I knew they were going to lose their effectiveness. And once they did, I was already having seizures, and they would stop, and I was weak, and the seizures were becoming lethal.

[00:24:32] So, I was in this period of time where I had to find a strategy out. And I had only a few shots at this, because it was like a race against time, right? Because I was deteriorating very quickly, spending long periods of time, not even being able to eat or period of time not be able to drink water, days at a time, almost died from dehydration, because of the reaction. So, I was working with one of these doctors in our network and trying to find—I knew at this time, I'd spent years just going through, and trying, and doing everything before I got that sick from end of Adderall to like this whole thing, it was like eight years.

[00:25:05] So, I'd gone down the road of plant medicine, and every adaptogenic herb, and every herb for this and that, and gone through and read Christian Ratsch's Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Plants, and done all kinds of research into mechanisms and things. And I was like, I need to find a plant-based analog to a benzodiazepine, so I can sort of transition off of this. And I didn't really expect to find it, something that powerful. But I went down the list again and obviously tried the medical cannabis route. 

[00:25:34] And CBD kind of was barely making it into the scene at that time, as far as like even being known as something separate or different. None of that worked for me. I mean, it worked mildly, but THC had an opposite effect on me. It was very inconsistent. It was too stony. It would make me react in all kinds of stuff. And then, obviously, the standard herbs, most of them just weren't—they're good for average everyday circumstances.

[00:25:56] The things that bind to the same receptors as benzos and alcohol, it binds this pathway called GABA in the brain, which is basically most people, a lot of your listeners probably know, it's the brakes of the nervous system, right? Glutamate is the most excitatory neurotransmitter. GABA is the most inhibitory or calming. And they're like this seize-on. It's very carefully balanced, regulated. They're both important. But whenever you're sick, you go sympathetic, and you get primed, and reactive, and inflamed.

[00:26:23] Your body favors these reactive glutamate states. And when it gets out of control, it damages and creates this toxicity, and that causes seizures at its greatest, and at a much lower level, just disease. So, yeah, so I was trying to find something that could prop up those receptors that could be like an off-ramp for me that wouldn't be addictive and toxic. All the standard compounds, valerian root, passionflower, lemon balm, and any of those things. I mean, that, like in my situation, was like trying to take down an elephant with a BB gun.

[00:26:53] It's like shooting a BB gun in a freight train. It's like, it is not happening. So, I come across kava before, obviously, but I had had the stuff from the health food store. In the United States, a lot of people who have heard about kava have seen it in the form called kava kava. And I got in touch with an indigenous person from the South Pacific. And this is where the home of kava, where it comes from.

[00:27:17] And so, kava is a plant-based anxiolytic compound that does bind to these GABA receptors that you prepare it from the roots and you prepare this sacred drink that's been drunk for 3,000 years in the Polynesian islands, Fiji, Vanuatu, Tonga, even Hawaii. So, I came across a source in the islands and was talking to one of the indigenous people, and they're like, well, you absolutely should try kava. That's like the obvious choice for this, even though they couldn't explain it on the scientific level and there's an understanding there.

[00:27:48] And I said, well, I have tried kava. And said, what did you try? I told them, and they laughed, and they said, okay, that's not true kava at all. That's not real kava. That's a westernized cutdown version, and they're calling, it's a kava-like product. It's basically a fraction, maybe 5% of what you'd get from like real kava. So, I was like, well, okay, great. And so, I had them send me some of the powder. They sent it to me in a totally sort of primitive form like they prepare. 

[00:28:18] It's this bag of root powder, and they put it in a strainer bag, and you have to knead it into a bowl of cold or hot water for 30, 45 minutes. And I ended up with this bowl of muddy water, which you've had, we've all had before, and it tastes like hell. But I was actually glad to have it, because once I started using it, within two weeks, I was just totally blown away by it on so many different levels, what it did for me psychologically, what it was doing for my nervous system and everything.

[00:28:52] And after two months, I was virtually completely off of benzodiazepines, and my seizures and convulsions were done, right? I mean, 85% to 90%, and within a short period of time after that, never even had another one, like to go from that level of severity and that kind of situation. And so, to be able to taper that quickly off of something like a benzo that normally takes minimum a year, year-and-a-half if you're successful, and to be able to do it with ease whenever, it was like, it was just a miracle, right? 

[00:29:23] It was almost as if the intelligence of nature had provided a direct answer to this problem. And these things sometimes tend to surface in the public consciousness at times in which they're most needed. And kava, from a mechanistic standpoint, is really a protective substance. It's a substance that helps to process and neutralize trauma in every form, chemically, physically, psychologically, emotionally. It plays that role in the environment. It's protective in the environment.

[00:29:54] So, it develops the chemistry to be protective across all of the natural ecology, across all of biology. So, when we take it into our body, it transfers that sort of essence to us from a philosophical perspective. And we know that from the scientific literature that that's absolutely correct as well, too. So, it was absolutely amazing for me, and that's really how I came across it, which I know we were only going to do a small synopsis of the story.

[00:30:17]Luke Storey:  That's alright. Dude, it's such a great—and I'm sure the first time was a different version anyway, but it's such a great—and it was more in-depth even, it's such a great story, though. And like you, I've overcome some pretty nasty stuff. And many of the listeners still deal with some of these issues. I can tell from emails I get, and direct messages on social media and stuff where people have these mysterious autoimmune issues or they're dealing with anxiety, especially in the era that we find ourselves in now.

[00:30:46] So, I think it's a really great setup and important for people to hear, man, because I know there's someone listening to this right now. Well, not right now. They'll be listening to it in a few weeks. But someone is going to be hearing your voice going, oh, my God, there's a way out. There's hope. I mean, whether or not they take the exact route that you did, but it's incredible to know that the human being's resilience capacity is what it is.

[00:31:12] And it's that 100th monkey thing, where enough of us start finding a way out through the alternative means that you just discussed after hitting brick walls in the allopathic realm and psychiatric realm, that I think if you hear enough podcasts of someone like you or someone like me that's really made it out of some really dire circumstances, more and more people are going to go, it sounds crazy that you can just take some plant that's going to fix you, that that's kind of the way out for all of us.

[00:31:41] And also, love what you said about how—and even though I consider myself pretty woo-woo and definitely spiritually minded, I've always kind of had a strange time resonating with this idea that the spirit or intelligence of plants would dictate where and when they're going to appear in a culture, right? Many people in the psychoactive plant medicine space will say, oh, you are called to do ayahuasca or ayahuasca wants to come out of the jungles of South America, and enter Western society, and sort us out.

[00:32:18] And I've always looked at that like, well, I mean, does the plant really know like what it's going to do? But it's interesting how you framed that with kava, where it's not only what it's done in your life, but just how it interacts in its own native ecology. I think that's really interesting, that that plant kind of has its role in its own ecosystem. And then, that model, I guess, as you described it, can also be transferred to the human body ecosystem, which is really, really interesting. It's a very compelling idea.

[00:32:51] Give us a little bit of the history of its use. You mentioned that people have been using this for three thousand years. What are the records like in terms of, is it just those few islands, or has it been found anywhere else? Was it something that was traded in the spice trades and things like that, or is it really just kind of segregated to those areas? And how far back does it go? And are there any other uses for it that these people are growing it for? Does it have any other utilitarian purpose or has it always been just a mildly psychoactive healing plant?

[00:33:27]Cameron George:  Yeah. As far as where it grows, I mean, kava, it's pretty much exclusively isolated to the South Pacific, because of the role that it plays in the natural ecology and its very specific conditions to grow and survive. It takes five years minimum to get a mature kava plant that can actually play the role that it needs to play, which is very different than hemp in that regard, right? And many other plants that are very popular. And obviously, kava plants, they kind of age like wine.

[00:33:58] So, if you're drinking kava that's harvested from a plant that's 11 years old or 20 years old, then you're going to get a more robust biochemical profile with more depth of the overall experience, the protective and the psychological underpinnings that it gives you from a subtle angiogenic standpoint, which I'll touch on as well. But yes, so mainly, it grows in Hawaii, Fiji, Tonga, Papua New Guinea. These places that are all sort of this island chain in the South Pacific.

[00:34:25] And we really don't find it anywhere else, because it takes so long. It's a perennial plant, so it needs to have these perfect conditions for a long period of time, which really exists near the equator and these places that it ends up growing. And the soil conditions and stuff, too, just like with anything. We've experimented, and I know a lot of people who've experimented trying to grow it, bring plants, and grow it in Costa Rica and different places, it's difficult, because there's a complexity of just like most everything else in the modern sort of dialogue and discussion that ends up being oversimplified.

[00:35:02] We think we can just take this one chemical here in this, it's going to solve a problem that's enormously complex underneath, especially interacting with human biology, which the whole thing is an integrated system through which we barely understand. We understand certain sort of edge line aspects of it, the human body, and plants, and the full ecology. But it's an intelligence that it's sort of like a single neuron inside of the brain trying to comprehend the complexity of the entire brain, right? 

[00:35:28] If you kind of see like from the Gaian principle, the Earth is being a giant, living, breathing, integrated, intelligent organism, system, which even going back even for a second, just interesting point, even the idea that certain plants can surface at different times. It does kind of sound like a woo-woo concept whenever you think about it and it may very well be, because it's not something that we can objectively be like, oh, this is happening. It's more of an interesting thought exercise or from a philosophical perspective.

[00:35:59] But if you buy in intuitively to the idea that we are living on this living, breathing, intelligent network of an organism, and if you buy into the idea that basically, the living organisms are like individual neurons, just like in a brain system, right? And the whole system has an underpinning intelligence through which is interconnected. There's no separation. The separation is an illusion. We all know that even quantum physics, that we're all energy, we're all an expression of energy that takes this sort of experiential form of solidity and that we all are connected through this sort of base sort of energetic fabric or framework. 

[00:36:35] And if that is the case and if a plant were to surface at a time of great need, it would be in the same way that a new brain cell would surface at a certain time in which there was an injury, right? Because the whole system is sort of orchestrating this from underneath, right? And so, there's an intelligence there that collectively, through various signaling processes, that resonate through the entire collective consciousness that possibly could orchestrate things happening, right? And of course, I'm not saying that that is the reality. It's just an interesting-

[00:37:08]Luke Storey:  That's a badass analogy, though. Actually, that makes a lot of sense.

[00:37:13]Cameron George:  Yeah. And so, for people who sort of just resonate sort of with the Gaian principle, that there is no separation between anything. And a lot of people have these same consistent experiences like, say, under plant medicine, states of consciousness where you get this dissolution of boundaries, and you get this undeniable feeling that we are all one collective sort of energetic vibrational consciousness that has taken form, and sort of orchestrated itself in this perfect synergy on this plane, and this place in space and time that we all sort of resonate in.

[00:37:48] So, from that perspective, it makes perfect sense to me as a possibility, that that could happen. And certain medicines, I believe, from that. And I think I've heard individuals who are enthusiasts for the therapeutic application of these psychoactive medicines, like Dennis McKenna and others talk about this, that certain plant and fungal compounds are just an expression of that system.

[00:38:15] And they're sort of appointed just like the body appoints certain cells to orchestrate different processes to fix and balance things out in a time of great need, or it's a living organism. Certain individual organisms could be appointed as the spokesmen that could communicate with other organisms, just like one brain cell communicates with another, but not through verbal language, right? Because higher vertebrates do that. That's just our way of existing.

[00:38:37] They could communicate to us through chemistry, because these things contain human neurotransmitters, the same signals that reside in our brains, like with the psychedelics, the tryptamines, right? So, they plug in like a lock and key, and they could open us up, open our brain antennas up from the perspective which a lot of people within this framework subscribe to, is the brain possibly being more of like an antenna, more than a generator of consciousness, where if you can lift these sensory-gating mechanisms that can get lifted while you're under the influence of certain plant medicines or these organisms, then you can jack in and you can communicate more to the whole underpinning substrate of the entire intelligence. 

[00:39:19] Just as a cell in the body, like it's connected to the underpinning intelligence, and it knows which cell to coordinate with, and it knows how to coordinate to build new tissues. And it's the same reason why your heart automatically can beat and you can breathe, because all of these trillions of cells are coordinating inside of a field, basically, a communicative intelligence that's underneath it. And they just instinctively jack into this collective intelligence that's sort of organizes and harmonizes, right? 

[00:39:47] And so, from that perspective, under the influence of certain plant medicines, I think it's perfectly possible that we might be able to open up a greater connection to the foundation, the underpinning of the energetic fabric of where we come from, which is why a lot of people have experiences where they, all of a sudden, after they go into these states, whether it be from plant medicine or disciplinary practices, where they can easily start to manifest more what we call synchronicity in our lives. 

[00:40:22] And if you think about what synchronicity is, it's like you've connected to the underpinning framework, that substrate of reality source, whatever you'd call it, God even. And if you're connected to that, that thing of which we all are, it's like we're like the apple on the tree, and that whole thing, it's like when you connect to that, the whole thing, it's working for you, right? If you're aligned with it, then you can sort of go into these sort of what you're trying to get into when you get into flow states, where the needs of, I guess your highest self can more easily manifest.

[00:41:03] And then, you can create the circumstances by connecting with other aspects of the environment, people, places, circumstances that bring about the necessary opportunities. And from that theory, if that could be the case, and consciousness was not localized to the brain and there really was a collective consciousness that, under these states, we jack into, all intelligence, right? And so, if we're all connected, that's where the idea of just being able to access your higher potential, or what in religious circles we would call connecting to God, and getting divine inspiration, and getting tremendous ideas that you can retrieve from the deepest parts of yourself. A lot of people feel as though that's made possible whenever you do that. So, I know that's kind of a little rabbit trail, but I thought-

[00:41:55]Luke Storey:  No, I love it. It's brilliant. I was sitting here, your dad's in the room, and I'm thinking, man, if you're my kid, I'd be so proud of you. This kid is smart. Really, man. That's a really amazing, amazing breakdown and a way to look at that. And I think you might have just convinced me of this inherent intelligence when you look at it from a system. And I think that's where I've sort of been blocked as I look at this plant here, and I'm going, this plant didn't decide to end up in the living room, or into my life, or in my stomach, or whatever the case may be.

[00:42:29] But looking at the systems approach of that, how there's one synergistic one thing, the Vedic allness, the everythingness, and then there are just single points of consciousness or awareness coming out of that substrate that then manifests as a thing. And so, when we see that thing, we think, well, that thing can't do anything, because it's just over there doing it's one thing, but in fact, there's an interconnectivity of all things. And from that perspective, that makes a lot of sense.

[00:42:56] That's very cool. I'm going to mull that over. I think that's pretty amazing. Now, what I'm wondering about with this kava, like many people are wondering, is the potential risk of addiction. If you're taking something like a benzodiazepine or an opiate, of course, nobody wants to be addicted to something and need something. But when we come up with a substitute, there's the risk of addiction, such as with the other great plant medicine, kratom or kratom. A lot of people pronounce it different ways.

[00:43:28] I learned from a person from Thailand, they call it kratom, but people call it kratom, kratom. Now, I've never gotten addicted to it, and I use it somewhat regularly, but I've heard many people have gotten addicted to it coming off opiates, and they start taking kratom, because it's legal, and just less destructive and toxic. It's totally natural. But then, they get dependent on that, and then have withdrawal symptoms from that. So, with kava, is there any historical record of any addiction potential with that, or is this something that one could use as like a tonic herb and be totally risk-free of ever becoming at least physically dependent on it?

[00:44:07]Cameron George:  Right. So, no, basically, kava has literally never been documented to elicit any level of addiction whatsoever, both from an anthropological assessment standpoint or in the scientific literature. It's well-known as a very non-addictive substance, which is really interesting and has to do with how it works from a modulatory standpoint. And that goes back to plant intelligence, even everything that we just went into there.

[00:44:35] It's actually really relevant even and it's a good sort of underpinning your understanding of sort of how the natural ecology can structure things to perpetuate life, to create sort of a symbiosis and sort of a homeostasis that brings about these complex living systems that live, right? Everything in reality is all about survival and adaptation. And then, also, on a deeper level, purpose and generating the high expression of what we would call life.

[00:45:07] And so, with these plant medicines, the main thing that differentiates them from pharmaceuticals and the reason why a lot of them are not addictive, some of them can be, like you mentioned, with kratom. And even kratom, its level of addiction is a far cry from what you get with synthetic opiates. It's not like everything in nature in this sort of—there's not like a kumbaya reality where everything in nature is totally benign and we just eat it all. We know that this is not the case. 

[00:45:34] Just like every person in the world is not someone you want to form a relationship either. I like to think of any plant that you're using or taking into your body is forming a relationship with it, right? And just like there are some people that are not ready to have a relationship with them, or they have defense mechanisms up and they're not someone that you can really connect with, they'll fight you or whatever, and they're just someone who's better off left alone, plants are the same way, right? 

[00:45:59] They're available and they're living organisms. And certain plants, we can form relationships with. And certain plants have developed adaptive qualities in the environment. And I do believe from the conversation earlier that certain plants possibly can surface to have a purpose both in the natural ecology that can transfer to other species like us in the planet. But that being said, because they're living organisms and because these plants that are available that are more compatible with people, they've coevolved with people and with organisms in their environment, they are complex living system, just like the human body is a complex, intricate living system as well, right? 

[00:46:39] So, they just have a wide variety of active living constituents that form this sort of matrix, which, it's a system. It's a subsystem. And our body is a system, and the systems came out of the same underpinning, the same intelligence, and so they're system-compatible. The reason why addiction happens with pharmaceutical drugs is mainly because most of them are rip-offs of what we have in nature. 

[00:47:00] So, it's kind of like the idea of going back to even that principle of like we live on this planet, and we're like individual neurons in the mind of this living system or this living world, and we think that we're going to go off, and try to take a massive shortcut by isolating something that's living from the environment, and creating sort of like a deviation-isolated form of it, and there not be consequences to it. Because when you hack it, it's sort of like, that's kind of like a hack that actually can be useful.

[00:47:30] Like pharmaceutical drugs are useful in acute circumstances usually. I mean, some are totally not useful, but some can be, like general anesthesia, or even opiates and things, acutely, after you have a surgery or something like that. Antibiotics. There are all these drugs that can be useful, because they are acute interventions that are single molecules. So, what's happened is, usually, how you produce a pharmaceutical is you take something from a plant medicine.

[00:47:57] You say, what's the most active constituent that a pharmaceutical company will usually isolate, synthesize, and then patent? And they'd like to change it, obviously, because then it makes it patentable. It's part of the business structure. And then, that makes it very, very potent. But the problem is it's taken away all the checks and balances in that whole living system. It's like if you were to isolate one cell or one hormone from your body, and give it to a person, it's very, very different than if you were to take out a full matrix of, say, stem cells and give it to a person, right? 

[00:48:27] It's a very, very different thing, right? Because now, you're not giving a full system that has all the checks and balances to protect it from doing too much, you're going too far in the body, taking away the system modulation. You've taken away the intelligence. You just sort of isolated one thing from it. And basically, a benzodiazepine is a totally synthetic substance. An opiate is a derivative of opium, obviously, and they've made synthetic versions of it.

[00:48:51] So, it's one molecule with one linear mechanism. It goes inside the body and it sort of pushes the entire system like an assembly line. If you think of like the chemical reactions in your body is like assembly line, one thing is handed off to the next. There's a chemical reaction in this. It starts with the cell, then it ends up in your symptoms, right? The opioids reduce pain, and benzos calm you, and amphetamines give you "energy". It's like you've intervened at one step in the middle of the assembly line downstream and just hacked that receptor.

[00:49:21] And everyone who's working on the assembly line is like, whoa, it throws off the entire thing. Like you get your result, whatever you're wanting from that one step, so that one chemical release, but then it effects all the other systems below. So, it's like hacking a computer system. You hack one line of code, but that's wired into every other line of code. So, it's like you get your result that you want as a hacker, but then it ends up slowing down the entire system, and distorting, and creating a bunch of potential havoc.

[00:49:49] So, that's a general sort of explanation. Like that's a synthetic drug. Compounds like kava have that sort of full spectrum, sort of biologically compatible, it's a living organism, right? And it's one that humans can form a tonic relationship with, which is really, really amazing and cool. So, it's always been documented to be non-addictive, because basically, it's able to powerfully affect all of those systems in the brain, like the GABA system, like the dopamine system.

[00:50:18] And the main effects that you get off of kava are basically mood, relaxation, and mental clarity. Those are the three lowest hanging fruit. Like if you take a benzodiazepine, it's got that linear mechanism that not only does it hit those GABA receptors, but it kind of dumps the chemistry that you have, like I was talking about earlier. And then, you end up depleted and horribly addicted. And because it's not like modulatory, it calms you down, but then it can make you really stupid, and make you tired, and can affect all of your faculties at the same time.

[00:50:49] And you don't remember things. You do things you wouldn't have never done. Kava has this amazing ability to hit on those receptors while propping up many other receptors that help increase cognition. So, kava kind of brings about this state of calm, enhanced focus, and it also affects these systems like classic psychedelics do in the brain as well, too, but in a subtle way that doesn't take you into an altered trip state.

[00:51:14] It's like an enhanced state of natural sobriety that we even know, the kava increases communication between left and right sides of the brain leading to this kind of systems, thinking people try to get off of psychedelics, except for it's tolerable by pretty much everybody. It's completely legal. It has these effects on anxiety at the same time. So, there's no chance of going into a bad trip or a trip at all, like from a classic definition,

[00:51:39]Luke Storey:  You brought me some of your in-development product, those little bottles, and I took one before we recorded, and I feel great. I feel really good. What if I drink 10 of those? I mean, would I not want to drive? I mean, can you get high off kava if you tried to?

[00:51:55]Cameron George:  Very good question. Yes, this has actually been pretty thoroughly studied, too, because it's been a question that once it started to get more modernized. Indigenous people for years, before they had cars, they didn't care. So, basically, the answer is in 99% of cases, no. Now, if you have a lot of kava, like if you get full-blown kavafied, like if you were to take down 20, what we call shells, or 20 servings like of, say, like our shop product. Only our shop product, because the shop product kind of keeps intensifying to a certain point.

[00:52:29] Our base sort of oil product that we have doesn't have the active enzymes that keep the cumulative effect, so it kind of levels off. And so, anybody can take it, even kids, at any time of the day, which we designed it specifically like that. It's like a food product. But the shots like you were talking about, yes, if you were to take 20 of those, you can get to a point in which you could be so relaxed where it could be a little bit distracting, but you never go into an altered state in which the studies show that you really get no decrease in your overall faculties, or your working memory, or even your depth perception. 

[00:53:01] So, it's very interesting, most people never experience anything like this. They know the really powerful synthetic substances include alcohol in that, and they know the really powerful natural substances, both of which, it's like, I don't want to be taken five grams of mushrooms and driving. That's a bad idea. Set and setting is important. And even with cannabis as well, too. I mean, those things take you in an altered state through which we consider a deviation from sobriety, depending on your definition of sobriety. 

[00:53:32] Even though you feel more alive in a lot of ways, it's distracting to a certain point. It's very visual. It can take you to a different space in which the environment has changed. Kava is not like that. So, at very most, we do have disclaimers of like, well, if you take pass a certain amount of it, go ahead and wait about a half-hour before driving or operating heavy machinery, just as a basic sort of disclaimer. And a lot of that is being worked out to set those recommendations with the regulatory agencies. But all in all, there have never been, not even that I'm aware of, any recorded cases of serious accidents from kava use.

[00:54:12]Luke Storey:  Well, I think it's really interesting that it has this nootropic effect of the hemispheric synchronization and assisting with focus, because the synthetic benzos, which I also take a bit of, I used to take those 10 mg Valiums, just like one of those candy Pez, like Tic Tacs, just pound those things. Me and my buddies back in the day, when we were young and dumb, and we used to call them brain erasers, because we'd be drinking, and we wanted to push it a little bit further, and take a few of those Valium.

[00:54:47] And it's like no one had any idea what happened. You don't know where you're going to end up. The next day, you have no clue what you did, where you were, even worse so than like on a real like pure alcohol bender. So, it's interesting as you break down that chemical, the synthetic kind of copy, carbon copy of what the pharmaceuticals are trying to get out of a plant like kava versus the whole plant, because the plant's intelligence, as you so brilliantly described, kind of knows how to round itself out. I think that's really interesting.

[00:55:19] So, if there's no potential for addiction, no potential for a kind of overdosing and accidentally getting super high on it, it makes it very unique in the space, because again, I always kind of go back to Kratom, which is another illegal plant medicine that doesn't really require any special preparation or anything like that. There are extracts of it that are quite strong, but that does have the risk of being taken too much. And if somebody is kind of sensitive, or they just don't like the feeling of being high, or they're someone who's sober and doesn't want to be high at all, that's kind of off the table for them. 

[00:55:53] So, I think this one's really interesting. And to the point of the potential for the addiction to kava, I guarantee it's not addictive, because I have a pretty addictive personality. It's gotten better. I've healed a lot of the underlying issues that I think caused that to be the case. But I actually forget, and I love the kava blocks, the oil bottles that I got from you a while ago. I love those. But honestly, I forget about them. And I don't forget about things that have that thing.

[00:56:26] I don't forget to take coffee. I don't forget to have a nicotine gum or whatever. So, it's interesting that something like that can really make you feel good, but at the same time, you don't start to habituate to it where you need it. I never walk around the house, going, oh, man, how much kava do I have left? Where is it? Did you take it? Someone stole my kava. It's like, even this morning doing this interview, I thought, I think I have one of those somewhere.

[00:56:48] And it was on the counter with all my mid-move supplements. And I thought, well, I'm going to be talking about kava today. I'm going to take something. I took probably like a quarter of the bottle, pretty big dose, I didn't even use the dropper, but I'll probably go home and forget about it, because it doesn't have that pole. It's not calling to me in an addictive way, which is super cool.

[00:57:08]Cameron George:  It's there when you need it and it's so fascinating. And I mean, I've worked pretty extensively with almost every known psychoactive and even non-psychoactive modulatory plant medicine that we know of in the pharmacopeia. I mean, I just experiment with everything, everything from the basic tonic herbs to all the fungal medicines, and everything into the pseudo psychoactive substances, the really psychoactive substances to the psychedelics. 

[00:57:29]Luke Storey:  Bufo? 

[00:57:29]Cameron George:  Actually, no. That, I have not. So, I would say plant, right? So, Bufo is a little bit-

[00:57:29]Luke Storey:  That's not a plant.

[00:57:29]Cameron George:  Yeah. Exactly.

[00:57:29]Luke Storey:  I know. I never know how to categorize Bufo, because people call it a plant medicine. It comes out of a freaking toad. So, it's not. And you can't really call it a psychedelic. I mean, I guess it is. But anyway, that's a whole other topic. I've done other shows on it. But anyway, you've experimented a lot.

[00:57:59]Cameron George:  Yes. Regular DMT, for sure. 5-MeO is different. But no. So, yeah, but out of everything that I've worked with and come across, I can't honestly say that I've come across one plant compound with a better therapeutic effect to drawback ratio than kava. It doesn't mean that it's the strongest one. It means that it has the best sort of tonic and plus acute therapeutic use sort of combination one-two-punch profile.

[00:58:30] And I can't think of one that's, in that sense, adding in safety is one of the factors, and just ease of use and ability to spread around the culture, and versatility. I can't think of a single compound that's more even relevant in today's climate, because kava, its sort of imprint, if you will, right? Its characteristic is a protective substance, basically, against all forms of trauma and even helping to process the trauma.

[00:58:59] But something that's even more, I guess, interesting about kava specifically, whenever you compare it to all of these other sort of plant compounds is that it's starting to be referred to sort of in the scientific community and sort of ethnobotanical circles is not only not a drug or not only not addictive drug, but as really one of the most powerfully known anti-drugs.

[00:59:22] And the reason is because it gives you sort of this natural, elated state of sort of natural sobriety that's just enhanced, where it has these powerful effects on dopamine without being addictive, right? And dopaminergic substances, if they're depletory, they're addictive, right? Its powerful effects on dopamine, especially in these forms, like the forms I just gave you, you take higher doses of them, its very, very highly nootropic effects and very, very conversationally induced effects, has effects on serotonin as well.

[00:59:49] It increases empathy and increases your sense of connection to people. And so, it's always been sacred in the islands for bringing about a sense of community. In fact, it formulates the key foundational fabric of the foundation of the social framework of these islands. And they see it as their most sacred substance. It's their number one export in Vanuatu and one of the main ones in Fiji?

[01:00:16] And they have access to other compounds, even psilocybin mushrooms, but they have a perspective that the best medicine is not necessarily the one that hits you over the head the hardest, but the one that can be taken regularly over time, that the lessons that you get from it can be regularly integrated in a soft manner. So, if tryptamine classic psychedelics like psilocybin shout a message that you, kava kind of whispers it in the background. High doses, they whisper a little louder, but there is something to be said about that. 

[01:00:49] Not to take anything away, because all of these living compounds, all of the psychoactives especially, have a tremendous sort of imprint, have a tremendous sort of essence to them, if you will. I mean, they all have their place, right? They all have their place and time. There are times to work with certain things, and you're drawn to certain medicines and others. There are times you're drawn to an ayahuasca experience, because of the sort of the way that sort of the guided feature that seems to be built into those effects. And the protection against abuse while you're going through something, you need that sort of substantial intervention that smacks you in the face type of a thing.

[01:01:26] So, it's not about this or that, or one's better than the other, or anything. They just all have their place and they're different tools to use in a variety of different contexts. When we live in a world in which, I believe, part of the pathology of what we experience, and there's a lot of positivity that's going on at the same time that is sometimes overlooked in times of trauma, is just a huge deficiency in perspective, a huge deficiency in the connection to who we really are. And like we talked about earlier, from my perspective, a connection to source and the intelligence that we have sort of residing inside of each and every one of us that helps us to be able to not only see through nonsense. 

[01:02:07] But to just sort of come to more, I guess, evolutionarily wired perspectives based on the collective intelligence that sort of resides in all of us outside of any kind of multiple layers of indoctrination and conditioning that happen consciously or unconsciously in the society whenever we sort of start to manifest what some people in the industry who I've heard call nature divorcement syndrome, which I would say is probably the key underlying pathology or the syndrome that leads to virtually every form of disease, degeneration, and death, and disconnection problems, just in general, is that this misalignment with the nature, with the under fabric, with the intelligence of us as individuals and even farther back of our natural ecology and such, which is why whenever we have cultures that uphold sort of these altered states or these experiences that help to align you with the collective sort of intelligence of the natural ecology, they generally don't manifest mental illness and these sort of mental neuroses that we have come to see as so common in the West and in sort of modern culture. 

[01:03:24] At least, not anywhere to the degree that we see them today, right? And they don't manifest chronic disease as much. In indigenous cultures, you have more people dying, especially hunter-gatherers that we still see exist in places, more people are dying just from accidents, and infections, and things that are more acute illnesses. But with kava being in that very, very specific, very, very special place, I think that there's a huge opportunity with it.

[01:03:50] And this is sort of like the belt that I've been ringing with it as far as just, and what's really sort of been put on my heart, what I just sort of have felt throughout the entire process, and really just having experience with it, observing the indigenous traditions and Lipmann, scouring the scientific literature, and putting this whole puzzle together of what context and what role could kava play in the world.

[01:04:13] And I truly believe that it's a tremendous tool that can be integrated into every layer and form of modern culture in the same way that coffee has been, because it's tolerable by almost anyone, especially in certain concentrations that can be standardized. And it's a way of getting people some of these—at least entry level into these sober, introspective, and reflective states of mind.

[01:04:42] It's a little bit of help that can help a person as a tool to reintegrate themselves with the depths of their psyche and with just sort of these, I guess, deeper, more, like I said, reflective states of mind that can bring about a perspective that's more aligned with who we really are as humans. And it's like everyone has like psychedelic experiences and they want everyone to have those experiences, but once you get back down to the practicality of it, that's just not possible, especially for—I mean, odds are grandma is never going to take psilocybin.

[01:05:21] I mean, unless you have a really cool grandma, right? It's like, those experiences, they need very specific context and they need to be extremely respected, in my opinion. And in order to get a good outcome, they can be transformative, and amazing, and powerful. But I think kava has a huge context, especially in the conversation of the entire psychoactive plant medicine sphere, as not only something that could be used as an alternative for people who want that sort of entry level, or they don't even know that they're getting it, even if you know it or not, in the indigenous cultures of the South Pacific, they know that you're getting it.

[01:05:54] That's why the indigenous cultures have always talked about kava for its psychological effects way more than its physiological effects, because they believe, and this seems to play out as we study kava more and more, that it has a net positive transformative effect on the psyche over the long-term use, because it brings about these integrated states of mind where you can more see the big picture internally of your life and all of its circumstances.

[01:06:18] So, instead of being an alert problem-solving consciousness, get things done, like a beta state, like stimulants would put you into or just most of us are pushed into by being in the rat race of society, where we kind of are streamlined into seeing pixels instead of pictures, right? And sort of like we're in the middle of it all and we can't see like how everything relates to everything else. And it's like, oh, wait, I'm in the middle of this. And this is not a good trajectory for me.

[01:06:41] And how did I get here? And our brain has a very good way in order to survive, especially in order to feel good or especially when we're running away from trauma and so many things to create these compartmentalized sort of parts of our psyche that we kind of like cocoon ourselves into. Addicts, this happens naturally, where you totally live in this alternate reality through which is normal to you and crazy to everybody else, because you're running from trauma and you've been disconnected from a deeper part of yourself and you've become so numb that you're trying to get back to that more authentic part, and you don't know how. 

[01:07:16] You just know that whenever you take a drug, it sort of simulates a feeling that you also get when you're truly inspired. And so, you try to get back to that, and then it's like, it's a negative feedback loop, because it melts in your mouth like cotton candy. When you take the drug, it's like, oh, it tastes good, and it's gone, and I'm left empty and still hungry. And that whole process is just sort of this negative feedback thing that just can proliferate forever.

[01:07:43] But yeah, I mean, as far as kava is concerned, I really think that these introspective states of mind are crucial. I mean, in the world and the time that we live in, obviously, in the traumatic time where there's so much confusion, where we really just need to sort of like reset everything, and we need to spend time not just with plant medicine, but in disciplinary practices, and to really become grounded to who we really are to keep our sanity, to get out of the rat race, to get out of our mind a little bit.

[01:08:15]Luke Storey:  So true, man. I was reflecting on that in meditation this morning, because during this move, I'm very fortunate to have the job that I have and I don't have to be anywhere at a certain time in the morning. So, meditation practice is pretty easy for me and I really love it, but during this move, I mean, there were days where I had to get up at 7:00 AM, and just go, and not get my meditation, and I've been fine. But today, I got to do a solid hour. And I'm in the middle of it, just going, I just love the void. I love taking a break, and just stepping back, and getting out of that myopic, task-driven, accomplishment-driven-

[01:08:54]Cameron George:  Hamster wheel. Yeah. 

[01:08:54]Luke Storey:  Yeah, the hamster wheel or even just that negativity bias, thinking about what's going to go wrong. I need to be worried about something. I mean, I've gotten a lot better with that. But most of my life, I mean, any given minute of the day, my mind was preoccupied with what was currently wrong, or what was about to go wrong, or what happened wrong five minutes ago or five years ago. But in that meditation this morning, I was really reminded of that, just how critical that is for me to be able to adapt to not only the changes that are present in the world. 

[01:09:30] And there are always changes and sometimes we perceive them to be more negative than others, I would say. From one perspective, what we've been through in the past-year-and-a-half or so has been largely negative for most people. But to get that perspective is so important, just as a sense of grounding and sanity. And as I came over here today, which is a 10-minute drive, I just thought, God, what a different day I have from just taking that one hour.

[01:09:54] That one hour gives me 12 extra hours of feeling pretty good about my life, myself, and even the world, despite appearances at any given time. So, that's such a critical point. And I think whether we're using any sort of plants or other assistance, as you said, disciplinary practices, whatever it is, I don't see how anyone could live their life with any fulfillment and hope for the future if we don't find a way to really unplug, and disconnect, and get in touch with who we really are.

[01:10:29] And so, I think that's one of the reasons I was so excited about this conversation, is I'm always looking for tools that assist with that. The biohacking stuff and all that, it's great. I mean, it's great to not have a disease, you know what I mean, and have metabolic energy, and functional mitochondria, and a great immune system, and all of that stuff, but that's kind of just a small piece of the puzzle when it comes to how we're psychologically adapted to our environment and experiences that we have in the world. 

[01:11:00] So, I love your perspective. We could riff on this forever, but I do have some notes I want to get to. I've noticed over the years, in certain cities, these like kava bars have popped up. I was in Sedona a few months ago. I saw one there. I think I heard there's one in Austin. And after our first interview, I never even go and have kava at those places, because I've had your stuff at home. And if I feel like taking it, you even sent me a couple of big bags of the ground kava and taught me how to prepare it, and I was making that at home. 

[01:11:31] I think I still have some of that actually in the garage and storage from the move. But I remember you kind of breaking it down, and from that, and it's not just like you were trying to sell me your product, I mean, you just explained the reality of the preparations, the strains, et cetera. When we drive by these kava bars, is there a chance that any of them are using a quality product to begin with? And if so, are they preparing it in a way that's going to give us the most bang for our buck or is it all just kind of useless?

[01:12:03]Cameron George:  Well, there's a huge percentage that's pretty contaminated.

[01:12:08]Luke Storey:  Oh, I didn't even think of that. I was just thinking, does it work?

[01:12:11]Cameron George:  Oh, okay. Well, yes. Okay. So, on the-

[01:12:14]Luke Storey:  That's another piece of it.

[01:12:15]Cameron George:  Yeah. There's a potential quality issue, like a potency and a purity, right? There's potency, purity thing. A lot of it's contaminated for the same reason that there's mold and mycotoxin issues with coffee, but also, certain islands like Fiji and some others spray a lot of chemical pesticides still. And they douse these plants with glyphosate. They do a lot of chemical agriculture.

[01:12:36]Luke Storey:  Oh, are you serious? 

[01:12:37]Cameron George:  Yeah. Now, Vanuatu uses none. Everything is 100% organic, which is where we sourced basically all of our kava from. And anything that we do in Fiji are isolated farms through which there's no chemical agriculture being used on them.

[01:12:48]Luke Storey:  They spray glyphosate on it?

[01:12:50]Cameron George:  Oh, yeah, Well, they spray glyphosate all around it to kill everything. And there are some horrendous practices, and a lot of the farmers don't really even know how to even properly use it. So, if you were to see it, it's pretty disastrous. So, first of all, we do everything, and we partner with our own farms and everything, and everything is done organically, of course. And every plant is matured for at least five years to ensure that it has a potency.

[01:13:13] We know single strains, which most—so most of the kava in the world comes from a collection of different brokers that just take collections and huge bushels coming from an assortment of different small farmers in these islands. And they can't tell you, all the kava's mixed together, so they can't distinguish individual strains or even tell you, so there's no consistency. You go to a kava bar, you order the same thing two times in a row, and it may be slightly different or maybe completely different. It may be one that gels with you that's more of a daytime kava. And the next time you get it, it's like too relaxing, or it's too this or that. But the effects, it's like, there are hundreds of different strains of kava, right?

[01:13:53]Luke Storey:  Wow.

[01:13:54]Cameron George:  Just like cannabis and stuff. So, some brain express different ratios of the actives in them. So, some are more of like these daytime ones that have more of like the dopamine enhancing effect that we talked about, more of the get your wheels turning, kind of the introspective sort of the stuff that still puts you in that amazing state for like creative writing, or for introspection, or conversation, or board meetings, even, brainstorming all that kind of stuff is phenomenal with it, or just reflecting.

[01:14:19] And then, some are just straight up very, very heavy, and very, very sort of, you can take them right before bed and you'll get the best deep sleep of your life, right? You wake up super fresh in the morning. And there are some that are in the middle that are very calming, but not sedating, but then give you that very calm, centered focus. It's great for meditation and even great for functioning.

[01:14:40] Because a lot of people with anxiety, that calm focus is really what you want. You want more of that Alpha state instead of more of that Beta-driven sort of stimulant-induced state, if you can. Some people do totally fine with—not even to dog on, because a lot of people do fine even mixing kava oil with coffee. It goes great, because it increases the uptake of each one. The caffeine gets more of the kavalactones into the brain, get more potent experience. If you put MCT in there, the MCT is the same thing. 

[01:15:06]Luke Storey:  Really? 

[01:15:07]Cameron George:  What we've been talking about a lot is like a further upgraded bulletproofed style coffee, where we really believe that kava oil has a huge application as being in that mixture, in that sort of powerhouse mixture of kava oil, coffee, and MCT. It makes this amazing synergy, because it suppresses appetite. Kava also suppresses appetite, and increases fat burning, and induces cellular autophagy. All these things that people are trying to get with bulletproof coffee to increase the ease of their fast, kava takes us off to a next level.

[01:15:38] So, that's kind of like a side note about it. But as far as like the quality and the differentiation between strains, the problem with going to a kava bar is most of the kava bars don't have consistent supply. They're not working directly with farmers. They're not growing their own kava. So, they're getting just random mystery batches a lot of times of different kavas. Usually, they're trying to find the strongest, hardest-hitting kava as possible. 

[01:16:00] When you do that, first of all, you can get kavas that are closer to wild kavas and you want actually more domesticated kavas. In a lot of ways, we like wild plants, but just like you don't want to ride a wild Mustang, you'd rather ride a Mustang, or you'd rather use a husky as a sled dog instead of a wolf, right? It's the same kind of thing. Like you want plant medicines that still have enough of their wildness to where they have the potency, the vigor in the medicine in them, but you want them tamed to a degree that they're not so wild that they have so many of these defense mechanisms that can cause side effects and roughage.

[01:16:38] And that's a possibility. If you get exclusively like very wild kavas, which a lot of them farmers, unscrupulous farmers and stuff, they're not supposed to. They're supposed to have a certain chemical composition, which means that they go in sort of a framework that they're certified for daily use. And in fact, there's an international quality standard that's being put together and put in place by the WHO that outlines these criteria to allow kava to be classified as a food if it meets these daily use criteria.

[01:17:06]Luke Storey:  Really? 

[01:17:06]Cameron George:  Yeah. 

[01:17:06]Luke Storey:  Interesting.

[01:17:08]Cameron George:  So, this is happening in the future, yeah.

[01:17:09]Luke Storey:  So, the WHO is aware that kava exists and that there's a niche industry around it?

[01:17:13]Cameron George:  As strange as it is, yes. 

[01:17:14]Luke Storey:  That's wild.

[01:17:15]Cameron George:  It is true. And that's something that's very positive that's happening, right? And we can touch on, there was a debacle with it, where people thought that it was unsafe, because some of this unscrupulous material is being used years ago. So, basically, you've got the quality issue. So, you go to a kava bar and you don't know exactly what you're getting. You may get something that's pretty good, but you go back the next time and it's not so good.

[01:17:37] And the two main deterrents of people trying to integrate kava in any large scale context into the retail setting or even in kava bars is the taste and the preparation. So, the only way that you're going to get the full kava effects is if you prepare traditionally. So, it's a drink, obviously, and it's prepared like we talked about earlier, where you have to knead it into a bowl of cold water, do a water extraction with pressure at certain pressures, certain temperatures. So then, you get all of those living constituents in there that give you this huge depth of effects.

[01:18:11]Luke Storey:  And this is why when I would go to Whole Foods or something, and buy like the kava kava capsules, it did absolutely nothing.

[01:18:17]Cameron George:  Right. Just like I was talking about, when I first came across it, and the guy laughed at me, and that was because when you extract kava through sort of westernized lab methods that they think are more efficient, because they get more of this one thing in them, that works to some degree with some compounds in nature. You're always going to get a little bit of a shortsighted effect, but with kava, it totally destroys you, because kava heavily relies on this entourage effect, this symbiosis of this sort of living symbiosis. And the first thing that happens if you extract it with a classic solvent like ethanol, or God forbid, a worse one like acetone, or hexane, or some of these organic solvent residues.

[01:18:56] Well, first of all, you can get the residues in there. But even if you use ethanol, it binds to a kavalactones and leaves the rest of the supportive constituents. So, basically, you end up with something that cuts down almost all of the effects, all of those entheogenic effects, all of these nootropic effects, the amazing effects on the emotions and the mind are pretty much gone when you do that. You won't ever get that from taking one from Whole Foods right now. I'm not dogging on Whole Foods as a company or anything like that, but it's just that's what's in the marketplace right now.

[01:19:24]Luke Storey:  They would probably add canola oil to it also.

[01:19:26]Cameron George:  Right, exactly.

[01:19:27]Luke Storey:  I am doging Whole Foods.

[01:19:30]Cameron George:  Right. Okay. Yeah. 

[01:19:31]Luke Storey:  Just for that. The canola oil, I can't do it.

[01:19:34]Cameron George:  Oh, yeah. Totally. Yeah. So, if you get those just kava kava extracts, they're going to be basically akin to taking a cup of camomile tea. It's something, I mean, but it's not kava, right?

[01:19:46]Luke Storey:  Have you guys ever thought about entering the supply chain for select kava bars where you can ensure that they're getting the high-quality product, and the correct strains, and instruct them on how to make it, or are you just going to make it yourself and supply kava bars someday, or are you even doing that?

[01:20:08]Cameron George:  Well, right now, we're exploring virtually every aspect of integration into the marketplace. My main goal is to establish a cultural context and a quality standard for kava in the modern world. So, not to just try to take something, like a lot of people will try to just, and a lot of these kava bars are trying to do a good thing, but they end up being streamlined into this very niche sort of context, where they keep it in its totally sort of traditional context where it's the muddy water and it's prepared right there. And it still has all of the gunk, and tannins, and root fibers in it. 

[01:20:44] And if you're an indigenous person, you're used to that, or if you're a connoisseur, like you or I like, okay, but to reach the masses or to really, really sort of sneak it in to where people start to get the effects in sort of a refreshing way that fits into the modern sort of cultural context, to popularize it to where it could become a commodity like kava, it's not the way to do it, right? And sow, what we're trying to do is to try to capture the amazing effects of the traditional kava experience at several different depths and concentrations for different applications, standardize them, and then create trustable branding around that basically to change the marketplace and to create a market for kava that's accessible to most people.

[01:21:38]Luke Storey:  Is there enough of it to have it become popular worldwide?

[01:21:44]Cameron George:  Yes. 

[01:21:44]Luke Storey:  Like something like Bufo that we mentioned before, the risk of sharing, to me, that's just the ultimate inhuman experiences. And it's hard not to talk about it. But when you talk about it, people start to go explore it. And then, next thing you know, you've got an extinct species and it doesn't exist anymore, right? So, is there a limitation in terms of scalability of kava farming? Those islands are quite small, relatively speaking. 

[01:22:10]Cameron George:  They are, but there's a huge amount of land that's dedicated solely towards kava growth. And this is something that we've been anticipating for years and that's sort of why I spent years developing this project before we ever launched a company was making sure to ascertain a scalable supply of these daily use premium strains to where it was totally practical and totally applicable to integrate into the mass market as we go up. 

[01:22:40] And as we're going forth, more plants are being put into the ground at massive scale, basically, week by week, so definitely, it will be there and it already is at a place right now where it could be a challenge if one hadn't navigated these issues, and secure them and stuff, but we took extreme care in making sure that we had this. Because without quality, without safety, without purity, the reason why kava isn't already an American and world international staple like coffee is because it's so easy to screw up.

[01:23:17] You can screw it up, you can use the wrong parts of the plant even, you can create these crappy extractions, it screws up the whole thing. It really takes this really synergistic set of circumstances for an individual or a group of people to bridge these different specialties from the scientific community, from the herb extraction and engineering, from the supply relationship side, from the indigenous people side, and to understand the cultural context of how it actually takes hold, and sort of the movement setting behind it, which is what we're trying to do, is to start basically a movement around kava use, because sort of like I touched on before, I do believe that out of all the plant medicines that we have available to us, they all are going to have amazing applications. 

[01:24:01] And we're in the middle of this explosive plant renaissance right now where we're seeing even the legalization of virtually all of the major plant medicines that are medicinal to the psyche, and of course, an increase in popularity in all just the physiological plant medicines, the ginsengs, and the reishis, and all of those, where people are hungry for this, because we have a hungry, traumatized world that's trying to reintegrate in a time of great need, right? 

[01:24:24] And perspective, it's like, one can only make a profound change in their life or one can only create something new if they can first conceive or perceive of doing so, right? So, every profound change in a person's life or collectively in a culture has to start with perspective. So, although it's not like, in my experience, it wasn't just kava that got me well. Kava was the leverage point that allowed me to tolerate things, and then to do all these amazing therapies, and nutritional strategies, modalities.

[01:24:56] But the perspective that I got from plant medicine and other practices started this chain reaction for me that led to an increased interest in basically everything that we've discussed here, and just the appreciation for life and sovereignty, and taking responsibility, and just growing as an individual. And these plants make a great contribution. It's not the only factor.

[01:25:23] But if you look from an anthropological standpoint, from a historical anthropological standpoint, if we look at indigenous cultures throughout history, a lot of their highest values that make up their value structure and perspectives are largely contributed to by the altered states of consciousness that they choose to collectively engage in, because every culture throughout history goes into altered states. So, whether it be through using medicine or whether it be through various practices.

[01:25:51] Any spiritual practice involves altered states, whether it be meditation or these types of deep breathing, going into a cave. These are all different types of altered states, because we have to get out of our minds, like you said, to get out of the rat race to be able to sort of reset to reconnect. Now, the quality of those experiences, it makes a huge contribution when we look historically from an anthropological standpoint, and what manifests in the collective mentalities and behaviors of cultures, right? 

[01:26:19] So, whenever we see indigenous cultures that highly prize same practices, disciplinary practices, or say, plant medicine that is very conducive towards connecting themselves with the underpinning of life in the natural ecology and each other, then they have a very different value structure and they don't develop a lot of these neuroses that lead to depression and things like what we discussed earlier.

[01:26:41]Luke Storey:  Holy shit. That's so true.

[01:26:43]Cameron George:  Yeah, exactly. And whenever-

[01:26:45]Luke Storey:  If you look at the introduction of alcohol into those indigenous cultures, I'm thinking of Native Americans and their sacred use of peyote, and then Europeans pile on, and be like, here, try some vodka, you know what I mean? It's like, whoops, totally disrupts that whole cultural foundation, right?

[01:27:05]Cameron George:  Yes, exactly. 

[01:27:06]Luke Storey:  That's so interesting. Wow.

[01:27:08]Cameron George:  Because human connection and interaction is one of our highest aspirations as living beings. We need it. It's as much of a nutrient as almost any food is in order to stay sane, right? We have to meet our basic human needs. Just like, I heard Dave Asprey talking about this the other day as he's doing promotion for his book, Fast This Way. He talks about like the three Fs, right? The fear, obviously, run away from scary things to stay alive. You've got to get your food, obviously.

[01:27:34] And that's another evolutionary point, a need. And then, the other one is the other F word, fertility, fornication, or whatever you want to say, because those are all things that have to be taken care of. Those are the needs. But then, those are taken care of so that we can get to the fourth F, which is friend, which is the aspiration to human connection to elevate each other to the highest expression of ourselves, to create a profound, amazing life experience, to have a greater realization of ourselves in the collective, and to do amazing things, to be the highest expression of ourselves.

[01:28:12] If there ever was a purpose, it's like, that, in my view, would be part of the story there. But yeah. So, these perspectives are tremendously, tremendously important, especially like in this time that we live in, where we're just absolutely inundated with probably the most traumatic, confusing time that any of us have ever experienced, where we have this acceleration of a lot of different things, technology and a whole host of other different, possibly even nefarious circumstances that are going on.

[01:28:48] And in order to navigate that, these altered states are so valuable, just like they were to these indigenous people, right? And I think in order to have a grounded set of consistent values and not devolve into this chaotic thing that ultimately ends up leading to like an anything goes mentality, because you're so confused that you're just like, eh, whatever, anything goes. 

[01:29:09] The craziest ideologies, and the craziest thoughts, and the craziest ideas start to surface out of this collective device, the divide and chaos type of circumstance that we see. If we're going to move forward adequately, then I think getting back to fundamentally what we are and mimicking what a lot of these indigenous cultures to create these amazing sort of communities that we have seen, some historically, that were sort of void of these mental neuroses, had other problems, but avoided these, is something really interesting to look at.

[01:29:44]Luke Storey:  That's incredible.

[01:29:46]Cameron George:  And so, whenever I talk about it, it's like, I love to go in and to talk about like in the sake of the conversation with kava here, the more practical, low-hanging fruit is obviously the reduction anxiety, the increase in mood, the fat-burning stuff. It's been heavily studied as a very, very interesting compound that could be relevant to fight cancer and things. It has a huge amount of literature on that, because of the cellular autophagy and different things.

[01:30:12] So, it's got all these amazing applications that are low-hanging fruit, but for me, kava's greatest application is the net positive effect that it could have when integrated into the culture, because I look at plant medicines as a potential pharmacological intervention that could create an opportunity to harness a more grounded sort of all-encompassing, connected perspective that's more of what I would consider to be sane, because I believe nature is sanity, right? You get back to the core of who you are and this is where sanity comes from. That nature divorcement syndrome is what leads to just these neuroses.

[01:30:48]Luke Storey:  I like that nature divorcement. I still call it, what I learned from Daniel Vitalis, who I know we're both a fan of, the domestication. Anytime I drive around, like I was driving around in the neighborhood where our apartment is and an extra big hospital. And I was just looking up at that hospital, going, that's so weird. That hospital wouldn't be needed if we didn't live inside houses. Like literally, if we ate off the land and lived outdoors, there wouldn't be hospitals.

[01:31:16] There'd be a medicine person, woman or man, in the tribe that would sort you out if you got jacked up. And if you got too jacked up, attacked by a bear or something, well, maybe you'd check out, but I think the mental illness that we see and so much of the degenerative disease is literally, we're just eating food that's not food, drinking water that's contaminated. We're cut off from sunlight or indoors, buying fake light, blue light, EMFs. Everything that's wrong with us as a species has to do with that thing. 

[01:31:47]Cameron George:  Especially all of the chronic degenerative diseases. 

[01:31:49]Luke Storey:  Or, at least the foundation of what's wrong with us. I mean, I guess there's a lot wrong from one perspective.

[01:31:54]Cameron George:  But I think that the greatest transformations I've ever seen in individuals coming back from horrendous circumstances, where they've been totally out of their minds, and somehow, they were able to pull their lives together and become an inspirational figure that just is like this totally different thing. We all know those people. We've seen those people. A lot of these people become very influential. And the real ones, right? Not the ones that are fake, or charlatans, or whatever.

[01:32:22] These are people that in some way, shape, or form, they've been cut down by their adversity, their experiences, where the layers of their ego have come off and they've realigned themselves at the core of who they are. And that's where human genius is, I believe. And that's really nature, because we're all just extensions of nature. Just like an apple is an extension of a tree. It's like we're all part of this thing. It's like the neuron metaphor, right?

[01:32:43] It's like we're part of this. And I do believe that realigning ourselves, not just getting out, because you can go out in nature, doesn't mean you're aligned with it, right? You can go out camping and you could drink it at the river, get in a fight or whatever, you could do all kinds of things, but I mean, actually, life circumstances, whether it be plant medicine, whether it be disciplinary practices, or whether it just be through trauma and being forced into it, realigning yourself with the foundation of the source of where all of you comes from, right? 

[01:33:15] And I do believe that that comes from this living collective intelligence that we all reside in. And the information is there. It's not any one of ours. Anybody who I know that's brilliant is not actually brilliant. They've just aligned themselves to be able to be a vessel for the collective intelligence that's available to all of us, in my view. That's my view. I truly believe that. I think that genius and intelligence outside of crazy illnesses that don't allow the brain to even sink into that if someone is very damaged or something.

[01:33:52] But outside of that, I think that genius incompetence and true power, what I would call true power, the true altruistic power of the warrior from a Native American standpoint that lives for the betterment of other people, that's available to all of us. And we can do tremendous things if we just are able to dissolve these layers of our ego, and get out of these fear-induced states, and to heal our underlying traumas. Basically, everything about this conversation or the last 10 years of my life has been all about processing trauma. 

[01:34:27] And that's sort of what led me to kava, because another quick, interesting thing just about kava and aside from even just the perspective standpoint, is the reason why the indigenous people saw it as so sacred is because if you can spend long periods of time in these tolerable sort of introspective states that you can tolerate, and still stay grounded to reality, and not go out and everything, having that experience over a period of time is going to lead to a changing in the wiring of your neural framework and perspectives.

[01:34:58] That's sort of why what we see rewiring with all of these entheogenic experiences. But because it's also lowering limbic system, it allows us to not only reflect and to have this change in perspective that can rewire sort of these positive associations with all the circumstance in our lives, allows us to reflect on our past experiences from a place of complete limbic safety. So, it holds down the limbic system while we're reflecting, which over time, you spend enough time reflecting, it creates new neurological structures in your brain, and can reprogram and shift the negative limbic active sort of stress association to past processes that access this. So, a lot of the research-

[01:35:38]Luke Storey:  Wow. Dude, that's badass. That's very well said.

[01:35:41]Cameron George:  Yeah. I mean, a lot of the research going into the future with kava, I believe we're going to see some of the most tremendous effects on PTSD. It's protective on every level of human biology that we know of. So, it affects the GABA receptors. These psychological effects through this retraining of the brain, and this sort of harmonizing of the hemispheres and stuff over time, it's not something that happens overnight.

[01:36:09] It's something that happens over—which is the why the indigenous people have always seen it so sacred for transforming the psyche and being medicine to just make a person more empathetic and introspective over time. They saw this as making a person wiser, and being able to come to terms with their past experiences, and integrate them, and process those traumas. But it also has all these physiological effects through the GABA system. The GABA system is a protective system, because it shuts off the excitation.

[01:36:38] It did for me with the seizures and everything like that. It's protective. It shuts off the glutamate toxicity that happens during autoimmunity. It's also a COX inhibitor like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory without being toxic. It's a sodium calcium channel blocker, which is basically one of the pathways that gets activated by exposure, these large exposures to pernicious electromagnetic fields. We know this from Martin Paul's work. It creates this influx of calcium into the cell, which hyper sort of activates the cell and basically leads the production of all these free radicals and inflammation.

[01:37:14]Luke Storey:  That's funny. I was going to ask you about that, because I was going over the notes, and I saw that calcium channel blocking, and I thought, hmm, I wonder if this could be a small piece of the puzzle of EMF protection. I know obviously, you can't make medical claims or I don't even know if that is a medical claim, but I'm always wary of saying things, protect you from the EMF. Like the protection from the EMF is like get rid of all EMF. That's the protection. But the calcium channel thing is one of the most problematic issues with EFF exposure, and not to mention that, as you indicated, is the depletion and dysregulation of your magnesium stores, right? Because magnesium and calcium are like this interconnected-

[01:37:56]Cameron George:  Opposing. Yeah.

[01:37:57]Luke Storey:  ... opposing partnership, right? And that's the one-

[01:38:00]Cameron George:  Because they affect the electrochemical gradient, the electricity, basically, of the cell. That's why they're called electrolytes.

[01:38:06]Luke Storey:  Right. And one of the things that I do just intuitively, and I don't know if there's any basis in science for this in particular, but I always pound magnesium. I mean, just because you need it and you can't get it from food much. But I always have in the back of my mind that the calcium channel opening of EMF, because that's just everywhere. So, if I'm going to go into a really high-EMF environment like a plane, or a long car ride, or concert, or populated area, I'll like double-load or even quadruple-load the magnesium if my belt can handle it. And at least, it gives me some idea that I'm helping that process. I don't know if that's true or not, but I wonder if kava has that net effect as well, like as an added bonus. What do you think of that?

[01:38:54]Cameron George:  Yeah. It is very important that we don't make any claims about specific diseases or disease processes, but we can say is that whenever we have research, we have scientific literature that show that there is a support on a certain mechanism, then we can refer to that, right? And we know from the literature that kava is a very powerful sodium and calcium channel blocker, and it helps modulate that. And from direct experience and experience with working with a network of several thousand functional medicine doctors and seeing it in their practices, we deal with a lot of people with EMF sensitivity. 

[01:39:23] And myself, one of my sensitivities that I had tremendously when I was sick, I had bad EMF sensitivity. You couldn't turn on a cell phone around me, which at the time, no one was even talking about this. So, like everyone thought I was crazy. Like I was like, don't turn on your phone around me. They're like, what the hell? But what I noticed, that was one of the things that like when I had lost pretty much everything, and I was having the seizures, and everything, I couldn't even communicate with people. I was quarantined. I couldn't even communicate, because I couldn't use a phone.

[01:39:53] And after I built up the effects and sensitized the receptors to these high-dose kava protocol that I was on, that I sort of put together, one of the first things I noticed was a massive reduction in my EMF sensitivity. Now, could that just be the cascade that induces the stress hormones that lead to the actual symptoms or could it actually be from the reduction and the damaging effects of it? Because the symptoms could be a little bit different than just the damaging effects that are occurring at the cell, because a lot of people don't have symptoms from EMF, they're getting all kinds of cellular damage, most likely, right? DNA damage, and things, and hydroxyl free radicals, and all this stuff that could be happening.

[01:40:32]Luke Storey:  I'm so glad you know some of that, because I'll research something about EMF, and it's just kind of the way my brain works, remembering details and scientific studies are not my strong suit. I sort of look at it, and go, okay, that's legit, and then I just remove that information from my hard drive. But I like that you're able to recount it. It reminds me the other day, I was watching Elon Musk on Joe Rogan, and I was like, so annoying. They were asking him about EMF, and cell towers, and the satellites, and stuff like that, and he said, there's no basis and science at all whatsoever that EMFs are bad for. You could strap 10 cellphones to your head and it wouldn't do anything. Live right next to a cell tower, and they're totally harmless, it's all just made up, and people are just paranoid.

[01:41:18]Cameron George:  Yeah. Oh, no, I heard the episode.

[01:41:20]Luke Storey:  Did you want to punch him in the face?

[01:41:22]Cameron George:  It's just one of those things that a lot of people assume that because an individual has tremendous expertise in a specified area, that that expertise extends beyond their line of sight into many other aspects of science and mathematics or whatever they're trying to engage in. And a lot of times, those people are convinced of that, too, or maybe it's just an opinion, and he doesn't really know, and maybe he was just kind of saying, that he was having fun or whatever, I don't know.

[01:41:49] But there are a lot of people that are in technology, and mechanics, and things that take liberties with making claims about biology through which they have absolutely no basis or reference for whatsoever. So, they are experts in building these machines, but they have absolutely no clue how those interface with biology, which is why I think we're going to run into a tremendous amount of issues whenever individuals start really pushing forward a lot of these projects to integrate different types of technology into the human body. I think that a lot of what's not being taken into account is the autoimmunity that's going to ensue from it very quickly.

[01:42:30] And I know that even from just being around people with severe autoimmunity from just basic implants of various surgical things. And we know that there's almost always a mass cell activation when you put something metal foreign in the body as well, too. And that's just the start of it. Not even the manipulation of the electrical systems and a whole host of other different things. And this is nothing against Elon Musk, because, that's probably a complex discussion around him, but there is a difference, I think, between when you talk about trajectories in ways that people want to take certain things, there is a difference between knowledge and wisdom.

[01:43:05] A lot of people have a lot of knowledge in certain substances and certain aspects, but not so much wisdom. This is something that I heard Dennis Prager talking about that I really resonated with, it's like, wisdom is the ability to see and play the long game, and understand the entire system and how one micro decision affects everything else. You can have knowledge of one step in a system, and do it well, and create something that looks awesome, right? It's like engineering an H bomb takes a lot of knowledge, but it's not very wise, you know what I mean?

[01:43:37]Luke Storey:  Yeah, great example.

[01:43:39]Cameron George:  So, it's one of those things that people always have to be wary of whenever they are listening to people to try to ascertain. And they have to make their own sovereign decision on where they really believe that that person's expertise begins and ends, because they may be very, very good in one aspect, but then another aspect, maybe no different than anybody, right? And you can look at credibility and stuff, but really, you have to look at the content of what they're saying, and if it checks out and take some investigation.

[01:44:09]Luke Storey:  Agreed. Well, I appreciate you pointing out some of the low-hanging fruit of the EMF issue, because it drives me crazy. I think because I'm super sensitive to it and some people aren't, and so I feel like I'm in a burning building, going, hello, the building's on fire, stop putting out these goddamn towers everywhere. And people are like, what? I got great service now. How many megabytes am I getting? I'm like, dude, really? How fast do you need to watch a movie?

[01:44:35] Like they work fine. Turn on your Netflix. It's fine. But anyway, that's a whole other conversation. I did want to ask you about something, because this is something that people bring up around kava, and that was this 2001 claims connecting kava to liver toxicity. And from what you're saying here, I don't hear any counter indications, or any potential for overdose, or organ damage, or anything like that. What's the origin of that story? And is there any truth to it?

[01:45:06]Cameron George:  So, a lot of times, I actually even lead off shows with this just because it's so important. This is probably one of the most important points that we can even touch on with kava, because when people are looking at anything they want to put into their body, what's most important because of how we're wired from a survival standpoint is, is it safe? And then, I'll look at, is it effective? Right? 

[01:45:24] And just like almost any plant medicine or most of the compounds that are popular today, sort of in the health and wellness or biohacking sphere, there have been some non-nuanced liberties that have been taken sort of in the education around it, right? It's like, all these medicines where you go to cannabis, or psilocybin, or even far less controversial ones have always had strikes on the reputation or been misunderstood, because these are complex. Like this whole discussion is unraveled.

[01:45:58] These are complex discussions in about context on when to use, how to use, how to prepare, all of this, how to form a relationship with plants. And a lot of times when we try to take an over simplistic sort of dominant approach, I mean, obviously, nuance is part of becoming an intelligent, mature human being, right? Because the devil's in the details, right? And, again, another thing that's missing from the collective conversation today is people tend to take extreme positions, and to totally dismiss someone based on one little thing or dismiss this based on this and not be specific. 

[01:46:33] So, it's like, when people ask me, is kava safe? I read something about potential liver toxicity. I said, well, what are we talking about? It's like, that would be like, are humans safe? Well, it's like, well, which humans? It's like you're safe, but I may run into someone on the street that wants to kill me. So, that's kind of a way of thinking about it. So, kava has been drunk by virtually 90% of the population of Vanuatu and Fiji, and most of these other islands daily for 3,000 years.

[01:47:03] Okay. So, even just if we start from there, from a commonsense standpoint, indigenous cultures don't keep doing things for 3,000 years if they're dropping dead from it or even noticing small devastating effects on their health from it. Okay. We have no reports of liver toxicity in any of the anthropological accounts going back as far as kava has been looked at in their context. In 2000, kava was starting to make its way out, even in its subtle extract form, and there was about to be a big kava boom around the world. 

[01:47:35] Pharmaceutical companies were looking at it like pharmaceutical companies tend to do. They were wanting to create a patentable drug version of it. And so, they were trying to create an isolate of one of the main new kavalactones, the active constituents called kavain and a few of the other ones. But they were wanting basically isolated extracts. They thought they were going to get something more potent.

[01:47:53] And they were also looking to cut their costs and get the cheapest kava material that they could, because they were just looking to see if it had kavalactones in it. They weren't seeing if it had any other waste products or anything. So, basically, this one pharmaceutical company from Germany created one pharmaceutical product that by definition, is not kava, no more than a synthetic caffeine pill is coffee, or cocaine is coca tea from Peru.

[01:48:15] They created this pharmaceutical product, put it into some studies that were basically based around alcoholics that we're coming off alcohol that had very, very poor liver function already, and they gave this pharmaceutical product that was extracted with chemical acetone solvents, we think, now, which would have concentrated the toxins in it. And the toxin, sorry, the toxins in it came from the fact that they sourced waste product as low-quality kava products.

[01:48:48] They were sourcing leaves and stems of the kava product. So, I kind of touched on it earlier that traditionally, the indigenous people figured out millennia ago that you only consume the roots of kava. It's kind of like rhubarb. There are parts of the plant that are very toxic. There are parts of the plant you make a nice pie out of. It's benign. There are certain mushrooms that will kill you in 30 minutes if you eat it. There are parts of different plants and parts of the ecology that you're not supposed to eat and parts that you do.

[01:49:16] The leaves and stems of kava have these plant defense alkaloids in them that are not adaptable to the human digestive system. Like they can actually make you pretty sick. And still, we don't have any records of them really harming anyone or killing anybody, right? But they know that you feel very sick whenever you eat them. They stop eating them millennia ago, but they still have kavalactones in them and they're very cheap. And there are unscrupulous farmers that will sell their waste products to people who don't know any better.

[01:49:43] And that was essentially what was uncovered to have happened here, is that there was this one pharmaceutical company. It took these products that were not these certified daily use, the thing that people have been drinking every single day, then extracted it with these chemical solvents, created a pharmaceutical out of it, then now, it's anything but kava. It's a pharmaceutically derived wrong parts of the plant. And they gave it to these people. And it really only even hurt a few handfuls of people in the entire history of the use of the kava.

[01:50:13] But it got a bunch of press. There were stories written about it. And once media gets behind something, it starts proliferating. And then, countries got scared, and a few countries banned it around the world. And America never banned it. I mean, FDA didn't, because they knew there was insufficient evidence. They just issued a disclaimer. It's like, you may want to be careful, basically, was the situation. It was basically like, you may not want to consume regularly or something. 

[01:50:38] But this whole process has been heavily studied, heavily investigated over the last 15 to 20 years. And so much so that it's been totally vetted out that there is really no dispute in the scientific community anymore, that it's very clear that this was a quality control issue. So much so that even the WHO, which, I mean, usually is pretty rigorous, I mean, they're not known for being tremendously lax on a circumstance like this, has taken an official position through which there's official documentation for through a subsidiary organization called the Codex Alimentarius Commission, which basically is a subsidiary that sets world quality standards for food products.

[01:51:21] And they made an official statement saying this was a quality control issue. Traditional kava has been consumed regularly by indigenous peoples in the South Pacific as a food. If you abide by these quality standards, then kava is a safe food product, right? So, that's what this international quality standard that's going to be established here in the next year is going to be what we're going to go off of as we start to integrate a cultural context. 

[01:51:43] It's like, we test to make sure that it meets all of these criteria, meaning we test to make sure it has 100% root material. So, we can test for chlorophyll. If it has chlorophyll in it, any chlorophyll basically, then it's not 100% root material. We test for mycotoxins. We test to make sure that they're these daily-use varieties. We test to make sure it doesn't have pesticides and anything. So, we meet all these criteria, and in the future, we're going to be able to move towards full food classification just like coffee, if it meets all of those things.

[01:52:12] So, this has been vetted out. It's just still hovering around the internet, some, because once, people have been saying it for so long. Virtually, every country that elicited a ban on kava—and it was just a ban for import. It was never scheduled or made illegal. It was just like there were some bans, because people weren't sure. Virtually, every country that had bans has either lifted them or is in the process of lifting those bans. So, it really is a non-issue. It's just hordes of people still believe it, because it's just like been said. It's just like, how long did it take for people to understand the difference between the male portion of hemp, and just CBD, and like 30 to 1 THC to CBD, marijuana.

[01:52:52]Luke Storey:  It doesn't sound like it, but is there any potential risk for regulation like has happened, I think, a few attempts by the FDA to classify kratom as a drug and make it illegal? My suspicion is that it's so effective at helping people get off pharmaceutical opiates that lobbying powers don't want it to be readily available like it is. Do you see that happening or not so much, because it doesn't have addiction potential as we covered, but it also doesn't get you super wasted and cause a teenager to run his car into a ditch or something? 

[01:53:30]Cameron George:  With anything like this, that's always a concern, obviously, because the way that industry and allocated power within industry is structured, obviously, you worry about that type of like crony capitalism and different things. But kava has a unique protection against that. It's very different than kratom. Kratom has always been known to be kind of a double-edged sword. It's not a plant that you can form a tonic relationship with indefinitely, just like cannabis, honestly, outside of CBD. But just like cannabis or even stronger psychedelics, it's more of an acute medicine. It's tremendous for transitioning someone off opiates.

[01:54:01] You take it over a long period of time, it can knock you off your center. It's not that kind of a relationship. It's not tonic in that way. Kava has already been classified as a dietary supplement. Kratom wasn't. It was always a not for human consumption grey area product, which the FDA can go after it. If there's enough lobbying support, then they can easily push into—once something has already been classified as a supplement, which kava was ushered in, in '94 as a dietary supplement, and now, with this international quality standard, we're moving towards food classification. So, it's moving in the opposite direction,

[01:54:30]Luke Storey:  Which is even safer. I mean, in terms of industry.

[01:54:33]Cameron George:  Yeah, full like coffee level classification.

[01:54:35]Luke Storey:  Wow. Speaking of coffee level, now, I want to put some in my coffee. When you said that, I was like, hmm, this makes sense.

[01:54:43]Cameron George:  It's amazing. It's amazing in coffee.

[01:54:45]Luke Storey:  And for those listening, it's hard to describe the taste of kava. I mean, I guess there are many different preparations in the bottle that you gave me. It actually tasted good, because there's other stuff in it, but it's not an herb or plant that I would necessarily crave, or be like, oh, that tastes delicious. When you mix like the oil you guys make, and is it KAVAPLEX? Is that oil? 

[01:55:08]Cameron George:  Yeah.

[01:55:08]Luke Storey:  When you mix that with coffee, does it disappear that kind of weird, bitter, numbing taste?

[01:55:14]Cameron George:  Well, it still has the numbing taste, but it gets rid of a lot of the excess muck, and the tannins, and the root fibers that create that kind of bitter, kind of nasty, muddy taste. And it's so well-refined without getting rid of the medicine. That was the trick in forming these products, is developing and literally patenting extraction-stabilizing infiltration methods that leave all of the medicine in there, but refine it into a very palatable, very tasty, ready-to-use product that's not going to dwindle in its potency.

[01:55:42] That took years of development to really dial in. And that's really the magic of it. If you can capture it right, then it's this amazing medicine that I truly believe we can integrate into the culture. And I do believe that it'll make a very, very positive net contribution along with this plant renaissance that's taking place right now. And I truly believe that. And I truly believe that it's an opportunity. It's just another tool, right? There are many tools that are important.

[01:56:06] But sometimes, if you can give somebody something that they can feel and open up some doorways, then it gives them that spark of inspiration to then fill out the rest of their puzzle, right? It's like we've always talked about that like food is a good entry point to like reclaiming personal sovereignty. It's like when you realize that you can actually be in control of the amount of energy and the life force that you have as a person, and what you put in, it creates this deeper connection with you and sort of your existential core that leads to a level of inspiration, that leads to a shift in the way you approach life in almost every other way, your friendships, relationships.

[01:56:45] So, these are entry points. I'm never going anywhere selling, this is going to fix all your problems or one word. It's always a multi-therapeutic approach. It always is to change your life. But I think that leverage tools like this are tremendous in a time where we so desperately need tools to where we can deviate from some of these more pernicious, addictive interventions, as well as are looking for a tolerable way to optimize our consciousness as well too, and to sort of disconnect from the rat race. 

[01:57:21] And kava is just so tremendous at bringing people together. And the most interesting conversations I've ever had happened over kava, because it is amazing at connecting people. Like alcohol, but instead of like connecting in a more primitive way, like alcohol tends to do in high doses, it brings out just sort of like the depths of like who you really are, right? In the islands, they have a saying, a man who drinks alcohol becomes a beast and a man who drinks kava becomes more of who he really is.

[01:57:53] And they always sort of knew that. And I never want these conversations to be just like a running commercial for—I got into this through tremendous pain and I truly believe in the therapeutic application of bringing sort of these natural parts of the ecology into our lives, and that sort of nature realignment principle, and just to really find ourselves, and to just create the framework that we can take responsibility, and just start to put our lives in order. I think that's what's really needed today.

[01:58:29]Luke Storey:  Because I'm totally on board with this, it just makes sense intuitively, and looking at indigenous cultures present and past, and how they've used plants in community, as you've so beautifully explained, to get in touch with their innate intelligence and true essence, and then share that with one another. But each time I've had an experience with plant medicines and things like that, while I'm in it and shortly after, I think this is the answer to all of our problems. We need to give this to everyone.

[01:59:11] And I know that's not logical, or appropriate, or smart, or anything, because those things, as you said, require the utmost care, but I am starting to see more and more as these subcultures emerge that there's an awakening going on, as strange as things are. As someone who's been into spirituality for a couple of decades now, it used to be a bit more sparse on the landscape. You wouldn't so often meet someone that you could have a deep conversation with about these things.

[01:59:43]Cameron George:  You had to really work and dig to find other people who shared a lot of those sentiments.

[01:59:47]Luke Storey:  Yeah. And so, I really think there's something happening as these plants and their intelligence find their way into Western culture, and sort of emerge out of the shadows of being suppressed, or hidden, or just kind of forgotten and lost, or undiscovered in some of the smaller indigenous cultures. So, I think there is really something to this. So, I'm wondering, apart from someone just procuring their own kava supply from a guy like you, what do you see in your vision for us having a way to communally do the kava thing the right way? If the kava bars kind of are largely uninformed, and perhaps not getting the best quality, and preparations, and supply chain, and all that, do you see a way to kind of create an elite level community of kava users or to educate the kava bars so that they can be a place where we can have those empathy-filled, synchronized brain conversations?

[02:00:48]Cameron George:  So, our goal is basically to approach this in sort of a multilayered sort of fashion, right? What we want to do is to continue to create standardized and provide a palatable, ready-to-use forms that still hold the therapeutic value of kava, that can be scaled and integrated into different markets, the stronger ones for the more recreational connoisseur markets, and then ones hopefully in the mass retail market, where we can actually reach as much of the culture as we possibly can in the existing infrastructure. 

[02:01:22] So, if you talk about restaurants, and bars, and things like that, of course, like that is something that's available, that's standardized that can come in forms that they can integrate into already existing social frameworks. And then, also, I mean, we work and know tons of people who build kava bars and integrate those, trying to revamp that too as well to where we can offer our products to them, to where they can start to integrate it into their more sort of niche, because a lot of the kava bars are trying to recreate the island experience and stuff.

[02:01:53] And I think there's a place for that, because people like that. But then, there's also a place for just integrating kava into the modern sort of social framework and the infrastructure as it exists, right? So, basically, anywhere where you would see sodas or beer, any of those places, I envision a world in which kava is one of the main commodities that we integrate, that is kind of like this sort of, in many ways, it's an answer to those things. 

[02:02:19] But it doesn't have to be. I'm not necessarily like going against any of those things. It's just another opportunity, especially for people that want something that has a little more therapeutic value across the board as far as like the psyche, and it's sort of safe, and all of these things, right? And I do believe by sticking these things in, indigenous people have always known that even if you're not trying to get these sort of these psychological and emotionally balancing effects off kava, it happens, right? 

[02:02:47] So, even if you're taking it just because you're just an average person who just wants something that help relax you and things like that, and you don't want to go to the alcohol route, that it still can have these effects on you, where it can have really positive effects on your emotional framework. And the indigenous people have always, always recognized that. So, what we want to do is to not try to necessarily—I mean, there are opportunities possibly to build new infrastructure, obviously, to integrate it into. But usually, when you inject kava into existing infrastructure, it changes the way people connect and it changes the environment of the infrastructure as well, too, which is what I have full confidence in.

[02:03:26]Luke Storey:  Awesome. That's a great plan. And what do you guys have coming up in terms of product development? Is there anything interesting going on with different types of drinks or formulations and whatnot?

[02:03:36]Cameron George:  Yeah. So, we're working on a few different things, but we're still formulating our strategy on when we're layering these things, obviously, into the market. But right now, we've got the kava oil, which, it's the KAVAPLEX oil. It's the base entry level product that's at a concentration that it's not overwhelming or anything. And it gives you sort of all of these basic effects, but at a concentration or potency that almost anyone, even kids, can tolerate at any time of the day.

[02:03:59] You can put it in your coffee. You can get a lot of these effects that we're talking about, unmined optimization, and just relaxation, and enhanced and deep sleep is what a lot of people see on their sleep scores, people who wear Oura Rings like us and things. But just to get more restorative sleep, which is something that's huge right now, too, as well. So, you have the KAVAPLEX, which is more like a food grade, and we see that as being another thing in the marketplace. Kind of like MCT oil that can be an additive to anything, for ketogenic purposes across the board, and then all the other things that we've touched on as well.

[02:04:30] And then, we have the existing shots, which are kind of like a step up from that, to bring a little bit more of the depth, but are still kind of mass-market-ready. They're still pretty controlled in their effects. And then, we have one that I gave you today, obviously, which was a prototype of our next drink and shot line coming out that's really more of the full-blown effects of dried traditional kava, both in sort of a carbonated drink form that we're looking at, trying to produce, and in a shot form that we're sure we're going to be rolling out. And so, there are different tiers of effects that you can get. But it's still very simple, basically. 

[02:05:07] We basically will have a shot in the oil as being the two main things. And we look for options, obviously, as basically carbonated drink product that's more of sort of like the social integration, just like you would have a beer or a coffee with somebody, something that you would drink it just on taste alone, but you can integrate it and get these amazing social enhancing sort of relaxation therapeutic effects off of doing it as well. And in the future, we're working on means of making it even more potent and closer to what you'd get fresh kava in the islands, which is even more potent for extreme therapeutic application, which is something that you can only experience currently if you pull a plant right out of the ground and have it right there.

[02:05:49]Luke Storey:  Really? There's not much difference, huh?

[02:05:50]Cameron George:  Oh, yeah. If you go to Vanuatu, and you go into the village, and you pull a kava plant right out of the ground, it is undeniable. There is no subtlety or even building up the effects, which, it's powerful. And so, you do have a ceremony there. It's a very, very empathetic connective entheogenic experience. But still, you still have all your faculties, which is so amazing. So, for people that are not wanting to go into altered states, or any weirdness, or bad trips, or any of this stuff that brings complication to it, it's this just amazing, very smooth sort of embracing experience.

[02:06:25] It just feels like someone's wrapping a warm blanket around you and gives you this sort of introspective space where you can connect with people and not a way that even has to be guided. But then, it brings people together, likeminded people get around it, and the best conversation, the best brainstorming happens while you're doing it. We have people in their boardrooms, obviously, that are strategizing with it.

[02:06:46] And I think better strategies will come out of being in states like that, if we're integrating it into sort of like the business sector as well, too. That's why I like it. I've always seen it as not the most potent hit you over the head medicine that's out there, but one that can be integrated into every layer of culture. And I see possibly an even greater positive net impact than some of the even stronger ones.

[02:07:12]Luke Storey:  Wow. So cool, man. What a great conversation, dude. Thank you.

[02:07:17]Cameron George:  Dude, this is one my favorite places to be.

[02:07:19]Luke Storey:  I love this stuff. Every time I have one of these, I just think, God, I'm so lucky. I would want to just sit here and have this conversation that we just had anyway if it wasn't being recorded, because it's just like getting all of these ideas, and I'm all inspired, and hopeful about the future, and hopefully, people listening are having the same experience. In closing, I'm going to ask you a question I've asked you before, and hopefully, you didn't prepare for it, because I love to stump people, but who have been three influences in your life, teachers or teachings that you might share with us that have helped you become who you are?

[02:07:56]Cameron George:  Yeah. And I remember this question last time, and I said, but yeah, I'll definitely give you different answers this time, for sure. So, the last time, I said the obvious ones. I used up two of the slots on my parents, because they were my rock and my ultimate support system, and nothing could have happened at them. That was literally a gift from God or the divine, and whatever you would see the source as being. There's no question that I've been blessed with a tremendous support system that helped saved my life and inspired me.

[02:08:26] And they're my main heroes. And other parts of my amazing family as well, too. And that's an easy one, right? So, that's kind of like an outright, somebody would use that. And then, I remember saying Alan Watts is the third one whenever you asked me as well too, because I mean, come on, it's Alan Watts, right? And so, that was an easy one, too. But I'll be more specific here with these more, I guess, modern things. And a lot of people have said this, the work of Weston A. Price was something that changed my perspective on how we can integrate ourselves with the ecology and food as well.

[02:09:00] That was a good one that led to an interest in people like Rudolf Steiner, and Viktor Schauberger, and those people. So, I could definitely say that. But more importantly, I think the perspective of just psychologically and just sort of getting a trajectory or a sense of purpose on how I even approach anything, or what even drives me, or why I'm doing anything, right? As of late, in the last few years, I really respect Jordan Peterson. I love that guy.

[02:09:34] I mean, a lot of people do. He's exploded in popularity. And I guess a lot of his perspectives come from Carl Jung, which I also am just fascinated by, because there's such a powerful message about finding meaning. Not to pursue happiness, as you would say, pursue meaning, which we kind of touched on that earlier, right? Because happiness is not pleasure. Happiness is fulfillment. That's really what happiness actually is.

[02:10:04] And the most profoundly fulfilling things in life are not things that perpetually feel good, right? For example, having children, having deep relationships, starting companies that do good things. All of those things, none of those things are pleasurable like most of the time. Those things are grueling. Those things are tough. Like no one has kids and he like just lives in bliss every second of the day. Like hell no. 

[02:10:31]Luke Storey:  Or like you said, a business owner. A lot of people complain about their job. And I'm always like, try to run your own business. It's no party. It looks sexy from the outside, but in the internal operations of it, it can be quite challenging.

[02:10:45]Cameron George:  But the thing is, is that there's a fulfillment that comes in some of the deepest, darkest. Even you can be in tremendous pain, but if you're aligned with something that instead of you having to push yourself through, if you're aligned with a greater part of yourself that's connected to whatever you see that source that we've talked about as being, that collective intelligence, what we really are, fundamentally, your core. If you're aligned with that, then you can be completely happy even if you're in tremendous pain. 

[02:11:13] You can be fulfilled, right? That's what we're all really seeking. And that's why whenever we choose to pursue pleasure instead, it ends up being this sort of negative feedback loop that's not fulfilling, because meaning is the sustenance, right? Meaning is the reason why all these survival mechanisms are in place for us to reach and to remember who we really are, and manifest the greatest level of potential that we possibly can collectively, and find what we actually know to be as truth, and love, and all of the things that can become cliche terms by new age approaches.

[02:11:48] But there's a reason why, is because those things in their truest form, what they actually really are, are just like the meaning of what all of us really want. And so, pursuing meaning, like, say, if you have a child, people who have children, most people that are halfway balanced, and have themselves together and have children say it's the most important thing, nothing even comes close to it, right? Because the meaning they get through that connection, and bearing that child, and allowing that child, and protecting it, and allowing it to flourish in the world, it doesn't even matter how hard it is. They go through hell raising children, but it gives you something that drugs do not.

[02:12:28]Luke Storey:  Your dad's over here nodding. Classic. I saw him nodding out of the corner of my eye, he's like, damn straight.

[02:12:36]Cameron George:  Exhibit A, yeah, as a witness. Yeah. No. And so, that's why I would say people like Carl Jung and Jordan Peterson that I think what we need a lot right now, there's a lot going on in the world right now that is embracing the victim mentality, and that is embracing this sort of the pursuit of pleasure and retreating into these sort of states that feel good, but that aren't really pursuing personal responsibility and meaning, right? And meaning primarily comes through adopting responsibility and doing things that bring you closer to making a contribution to growth, personal growth and giving, like we talked about earlier.

[02:13:14] And so, I really, really think it's like, when I noticed this, because I had a million opportunities during my process of descending into hell, where becoming a victim felt really good of like, oh, the pharmaceutical industry destroyed me, my doctors destroyed me. No one was helping me. And I'm screwed because of it. But it didn't take long to realize that that wasn't a solution and that wasn't the place in which my heart wanted to go at all. There is no solution in victimizing yourself. We're all victims to some degree, right?

[02:13:48] We have been a combination of victim and victimizer, but we can have a choice on whether we want to become that victim. And the worst thing you could ever do to someone is convince themselves that they're a victim, right? So, that's really just a short explanation there of like, why I would choose like a Carl Jung or a Jordan Peterson. And then, I would probably say, outside of that, not even thinking of a third, I mean, we could just say Weston A. Price or something for the third one, because that's a secondary thing. But yeah. So, those are some-

[02:14:19]Luke Storey:  Great examples. Yeah. I love Jordan Peterson. He's so, what's the word, he's got like that grumpy old man kind of energy, you know what I mean? He gets so annoyed with people. I just find that very endearing. But what I really like about his approach is it's extremely simple, and it's just logical and pragmatic, which I think is why he's so polarizing in many ways, because he doesn't appease to the emotions, right? The emotions to him seem inconsequential. It's like, just get that out of the way.

[02:14:53] Not that, there isn't value in emotions, and feeling them, and expressing them, obviously, because if you suppress them, then you have problems down the road. But I like his approach to just like logic and common sense. And it's very spiritual. I think that that approach to life that you just described and kind of laying out part of his model is very spiritual. That's reality. There are fundamental and universal truths that exist and really make up our experience. And if we can find out what they are and adhere to them, life gets a lot smoother and we're able to overcome adversity.

[02:15:37]Cameron George:  And that's why his book is called 12 Rules for Life, his first one, An Antidote to Chaos, right? It's like order to the chaos, yes, it requires intuition, and it requires openness, and it requires introspection that would come from more of this right side of the brain mentality that would be more dominant on, say, what we would call like the left, right? But then, it also requires the discipline, the structure, the integration, the analysis to ground it for execution that you would get for more what we would call the right side of the spectrum.

[02:16:06] And so, that sort of fusion of those two things and understanding that both of those mentalities are two sides of the same coin that create sort of a full, all-inclusive perspective and recipe for success is why I think people like him have become so popular. And I think that that's sort of at the foundation of what the world really needs, is a perspective of integration that dissipates a lot of the division and understanding that both of these sides have part of the answer.

[02:16:35]Luke Storey:  Hot damn. You should run for president, bro. That's what this country needs right now, man. Balance. Balance, emotion, empathy, compassion, logic, facts, truth. Yeah. Anyway, dude, thanks for joining me on the show. It's really great to catch up with you. Like when I interviewed you before, you were a wealth of knowledge, extremely inspiring, and you've just like taken it to another level. So, it was really great to catch up with you.

[02:17:04]Cameron George:  Man, thanks so much for having me. This is great. This is my favorite form, just have a great conversation.

[02:17:11]Luke Storey:  Likewise. And thank you for the work you're doing, man, and the vision. I think your vision has also matured since we spoke last time, where you're like, no, I want this to be just everywhere, right? 

[02:17:22]Cameron George:  Yeah.

[02:17:22]Luke Storey:  And seeing that relationship with plants, and consciousness, and evolution, and hopefully, the survival of the species that we are a part of.

[02:17:32]Cameron George:  And thank you so much, dude, for your podcast. I love the identity that it's taken on. Everyone, not just in this industry, but people that, we all know a lot of mutual friends, and we go to events, and we know a lot of people, really great inspirational people, and every single time your name comes up, every single person is like, I love Luke. I think the term that comes up is like, he's a solid guy, right? He's exactly the same whenever the camera's on and whenever it's off, and you want to talk about the stuff, you're just trying to figure it out and find answers. That's what we're all trying to do. And these long-form just like open conversations are just great. 

[02:18:16]Luke Storey:  Well, thank you. That's a really kind compliment. Thanks.

[02:18:20]Cameron George:  Yeah. Man, I love what you're doing. I love the podcast.

[02:18:23]Luke Storey:  I appreciate that. Awesome. Well, now, you can listen to your own podcast, and be a fan of both of ours. Where can people find you on social media and websites, et cetera?

[02:18:33]Cameron George:  Yeah. Okay. So, our website is gettrukavacom. That's get, T-R-U, not T-R-U-E, kava.com. And you can find us @TruKava on Instagram, and then TruKava on Facebook and everything. And of course, you can look at my personal profile, I do a lot of stuff, Cameron George, and @CameronGeorgeKava. And that's pretty much it, easy to find from there.

[02:18:54]Luke Storey:  Awesome. Thank you so much. I'm ready to go pound another one of your drinks. I feel really good, honestly. I'm like, huh, because I'm thinking, what else did I do? I mean, of course, there's a stack of a bunch of stuff I took this morning. I did an injection of GH3 in my butt cheek, took a bunch of piracetam, and probably, a few other things, but that definitely was like a nice topper. So, looking forward to getting to know more of that. So, thanks for coming on, dude. Appreciate it.

[02:19:23]Cameron George:  Absolutely, man. Anytime.

[02:19:24]Luke Storey:  Best of luck and continue on with the great work.

[02:19:27]Cameron George:  Awesome. 



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