Even with the growing use of plant medicines, many people are still hesitant to try out these alternatives to healing – owing to the fact that we simply haven’t fully understood it yet. When thinking about plant medicine and CBD products, people get so hung up on the images of stoners and other misconceptions, overlooking the many health benefits that they offer. Sponsoring this episode, Jason Wrobel and Whitney Lauritsen are with Rellies and its creators, Ryan and Jacob, to guide us deep into the power of plant medicine and tuning into your body. They give us a better understanding of the topic, in particular, the role of terpenes in powering experiences with CBD and other cannabinoids, especially in relation to their mental and emotional benefits. Going further, Ryan and Jacob also provide a great view on the history of some common drugs, how it is being regulated, where they fit into therapy, and so much more.

Listen to the podcast here:

Powering Your Experiences With Plant Medicine With Rellies’ Creators Ryan And Jacob

One of the most wonderful aspects here in the show is the pre-show banter. Sometimes we hit record and flow with it and other times to get into it with our guest. We touch on all manner of random subjects before we start recording. Before we started rolling here with Ryan and Jake, we were talking about obscure world records for who has been able to pee the longest and who has the world record for holding their pee the longest. This is the randomest. Welcome to our minds, dear readers. If you are curious since we’re on the subject, the current world record was held a few years ago by a nurse who held 2.5 liters of liquid in her bladder for two-and-a-half days. The current world record for the longest duration of consistent urination is 508 seconds. If you were wondering what the conversion is in minutes, that’s over eight minutes long.

Life is fascinating. I think this is one of the reasons why we started the show because we are students of life. We’re curious about life. We want to learn things consistently. We always want to do the most random obscure things. I can imagine going out on dates when society opens back up. You’d be out on a first date and being like, “Tell me about your life.” “I do have a Guinness World Record.” “You have a Guinness World Record in what? Skydiving? Saving the most kittens from burning buildings?” “No, I held my pee the longest.” Someone is out there leveraging this as a chip in the dating world. That’s how we start this episode.

We’re excited to have Ryan and Jake from Rellies here on the episode to dig into a subject that we have not yet talked about. Whitney and I have touched on our mutual affinity for CBD, THC, cannabis, hemp and all the wonderful benefits of those glorious plants and their role in mood regulation, anti-anxiety and mental health, as that is one of the major subjects we love to cover here on the episode. I want to kick it off with Ryan and Jake. You have wonderful personalities. We were laughing so hard before we started this. The first thing that I’m super curious about before we dig into the nitty-gritty of what are in your wonderful products, Whitney and I have both been enjoying Rellies. I’m curious. What is this name all about? You have these products based in these wonderful terpenes that we’ll get into in a little bit. What the heck does Rellies even mean? Where did that name come from? How did you all even come up with this?

Be willing to do trial and error to tinker with what works for your body. Click To Tweet

This is Ryan. To be honest, Rellies was an alternate for our first name. The first name that we wanted to try out was Calibrate. We were super in love with that name. We found out that it already had a trademark on it. We were looking around for something that we felt was a good name. I think it was Jake. You were the one that found it.

We were trying to come up with something that would have multiple meanings and work in multiple facets. We were looking around for things. We’ll get into what terpenes are but the thesis behind the business is they have a standalone benefit and also, they have benefits when paired with other cannabinoids and things of that nature. There’s a relationship there. We started looking around for what are synonyms for relationships-related. Rellie is a slang term for related. That’s the impetus of the name. There’s a lot of different things that Rellies can relate to. The terpenes that we use are sourced from nature. They’re related to your everyday life. They have benefits when paired with other products, so there’s an inherent relationship. That’s where the genesis came from.

When we first hit on it, there’s a lot to the connotation that we liked. We’d gone through a ton of other names. I’m sure you’ve talked to a lot of people who are working on trying to come up with a brand name where you go through a lot of, “What about this? What about that?” It’s about somewhere around 1,000 where it clicks and you’re like, “Thank God, that’s over.”

It’s hard to come up with the name.

I’m glad you’re sharing that with us because I had been sitting like, “What does this even mean?” I’m showing my age in the sense that I had no idea that Rellies was even a slang term for relationships. We’re excited that you are sponsoring this episode and sponsoring the show. Whitney and I have been enjoying taking these products. We’re always big fans of trying out new things. One of the big things that I suppose is a guiding principle for our brand and everything that we do is being life experimentalists. In modern life, one of the things we highlight is the amount of stress, anxiety and mental health issues that not only we’ve personally dealt with but that we see in our friends and society.

We’re always looking to experiment as biohackers, new technologies, new products using ourselves as test subjects to see how things vibe. For us, it’s been a relationship with things like CBD, cannabis, hemp. We’re into natural products and trying out different things. For me as a chef, I know aroma, flavor, fragrance and feeling is something that I’ve experienced in things like hops, lemongrass, pineapple, basil and herbs. My experience with terpenes on a level has been more in the food sphere as a chef in how to flavor foods and make things taste good.

The bottom line for us when we’re promoting foods and we’re talking about the health benefits of food is if it doesn’t taste good, the aroma is not there and people aren’t having their senses engaged with something, they’re not going to eat it. I’m not super familiar with them. I’m sure that our readers, unless they’re super deep into the technology and the science of this, may not be familiar. What the heck are terpenes from not only a scientific perspective? Where do they come from? More importantly, why should we care? What are the benefits for the human body in terms of consuming them?

MGU 195 | Plant Medicine

Plant Medicine: Terpenes are already deeply integrated into our lives. When you smell plants, fruits, and vegetables, terpenes are doing a lot of that work.

 

There are a few things that people should know about terpenes. Number one is, to your point, they’re already deeply integrated into your life. When you smell plants, fruits, vegetables, terpenes are doing a lot of that work. When you talk about the experience as a chef that you’re trying to deliver, you’re partnering with terpenes to deliver that experience. People are interacting with terpenes in that way. What fascinated us at the outset was the versatility and the impacts that terpenes have that people aren’t aware of. People weren’t aware of their impact on smell but they also weren’t aware of the standalone effect that they have on your body and they are for more than flavors and smells. They’re studied for how they work with your endocannabinoid system and how that system impacts your body’s self-regulation.

To quickly define your endocannabinoid system, as your readers know, your body has multiple systems working together at all times to produce what you’re feeling, what you’re thinking, how you’re experiencing things. The Endocannabinoid system affects a lot of other systems in your body, whether it be your endocrine system or nervous system. When those are working together in tandem, terpenes and the amount of terpenes that you have in your body are parts of the regulation for that. The standalone effect of terpenes can have wide ranging impacts in your body. What people who know about terpenes tend to know is how they work with cannabinoids. They can be THC or CBD.

A lot of the studies that have been done on terpenes have been directly related to how they amplify the effect of what you’re feeling and experiencing when you are consuming THC or CBD. For the benefit of your readers, there are a lot of cannabinoids outside of THC that have no intoxicating effect. CBD, CBN, CBG, those are some of the examples that people are becoming more aware of. For any of those, including THC, the ability of terpenes to amplify or emphasize what you’re experiencing with those has been a big common theme of exploration for people who study the substance.

Terpenes, to your point, are found in everyday life. They’re found in things like fruits, vegetables, spices, things of that nature, things you interact with. They’re being studied for benefits on a standalone basis that Ryan touched on as well as the amplification properties that they’re being studied for in connection with the relationship with cannabinoids such as THC, CBD, CBG. They’re often seen as the driver of the experience there. The terpene profile will dictate your experience when consuming some of those cannabinoids. One cool thing about it and one thing that Ryan and I were excited about is from a regulatory standpoint, you can buy terpenes anywhere because they are botanically derived from non-cannabis, non-hemp type of sources. It’s not the same level of restriction with a marijuana or CBD type of product.

Jason, what’s surprising to us was that people hadn’t had a consumer product available that was just terpenes. Many products out there take a look at this CBD product that’s fortified with terpenes, look at this THC product that has terpenes added to it. To us, our natural mindset is we see value in CBD or THC and what it can do for you. Rellies is about taking control of what you’re experiencing, your mood, your mindset, your experience with a cannabinoid or independently. What we were surprised by was that there wasn’t the option for you to choose how much of the actual terpene was in your system. That was why we started Rellies was to give people that control.

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It’s interesting because you talked about taking control of our mood, our state of being and as someone who’s into consciousness. One thing that Whitney and I discuss a lot here is the history of human consciousness, self-awareness and that being an intrinsic part of our mental health conversation. We started this show to try empower people to explore different solutions to take control of their mood, take control of their mental health and find more natural solutions. This conversation of endocannabinoids and plants that have the ability to interact with the human body to alter consciousness, this is something that humans have been doing for years if we go back to look at peyote ceremonies, Ayahuasca, Iboga or a lot of other plant medicines that are out there.

It is interesting to observe how a lot of plant medicines are starting to come more into the mainstream conversation. This might be a little tangential but I find it fascinating. I researched and I’ll shoot Whitney articles sometimes about different studies that are going on with Psilocybin, MDMA or Ayahuasca. There are places like Johns Hopkins and things like the State of Oregon legalizing Psilocybin and MDMA for clinical usage. The thing that’s interesting about this is this might get a little bit esoteric for a second but we’re going to go there. Governments and federal agencies have this desire to regulate certain substances but have others be legal. I think about this a lot.

We have things like tobacco, alcohol or pharmaceutical drugs that are perfectly legal to use that alter our state of consciousness. Anyone who’s ever used tobacco, alcohol or pharmaceuticals know that they will alter your state of being. They’ll change your state. There are these other categories that are either illegal or highly restricted that also change your state. From a human behavior perspective, it’s fascinating to me why certain higher powers, if you will, in our society are like, “You can take these drugs but you can’t take those.” To me, on this journey of life as we’re trying to explore things, open our consciousness and maybe heal some trauma, that’s certainly one of my motivations. To have more access to these plant medicines I think is so important.

I’m going on a little bit of a tangent but some of my family members back home when I talk about CBD, THC or even terpenes, they’re a little bit like, “I’m not going to take that.” I was like, “Why are you afraid to explore these plant therapies that have been shown to be super beneficial?” I guess it brings up a larger conversation of people’s resistance to these things. My curiosity goes into why do we think people are so afraid to try new things or demonize certain substances of like, “I’ll try this thing but that thing over there, that’s scary and bad. I’m not going to go there?” I find that aspect of human psychology would be so interesting.

The thing that rises up most for me is this notion of a state of consciousness. I think when people look at natural remedies versus pharmaceuticals that are available to them, from our perspective, a pharmaceutical that you interact with, a lot of times it’s a sledgehammer approach. A lot of times you’re interacting with that not from a state of maintenance but from a state of correction. For products that we’re interested in and certainly for Rellies, we’re looking to help you steer rather than help you avoid a crash that’s appeared on the road. Jake talks a lot about this notion of micro-dosing that people have begun to introduce so that there’s more steering involved in our lives rather than more jerking the wheel to left or the right to avoid a catastrophe. We’ve let maintenance get out of whack.

Even with THC and cannabis type of products, you see more and more of the low dosage type of products hitting the market. Those are some of the ones that are most popular. I think it goes back to what Ryan was touching on. Most of the time, people aren’t looking to be in a completely altered state. They’re looking for help getting towards a certain mood or mindset. That is the approach that we’re taking. We feel the broader market and society is pushing in that direction.

MGU 195 | Plant Medicine

Plant Medicine: The ability of terpenes to amplify or emphasize what you’re experiencing with CBD has been a big, common theme of exploration for people who study the substance.

 

We both go to the doctor. We both have a lot of respect for how your doctor helps to guide your health. I also think that you are your own first line of defense in maintaining your mindset and maintaining your bodily function. Your body is your best partner in that. When we talk about cravings and wanting people intuitively eating or finding what you want to put into your body because your body is telling you, “Here’s what you need,” a lot of that is driven by your sense of smell, your sense of taste, your sense of what is going to take to satiate that craving.

From our perspective, terpenes are a fundamental part of that. If your body is telling you, “I want something that smells or tastes like this,” an integral part of that is how can that be met by terpenes. You’re ingesting terpenes plenty in your daily life whenever you’re consuming plants, vegetables, fruits. It’s also not targeted. For us, offering a terpene product that has a tailored mixture of terpenes is a way for people to take more control, do more direct maintenance and get ahead of the curve rather than try to fish through things and then end up having to address things more drastically later.

Going back to Ryan’s point, there was a few things to unpack there going back to the nature of having plant-based medicines be taboo, I totally agree with you in the sense of it. It’s fascinating as to how do you make that distinction, where do those societal rules and regulations come from. The one thing I’m most encouraged about is it feels like a lot of those taboos are in the process of lifting. I think we’re a lot closer to them being widely accepted than we were even years ago. It’s an exciting time to be discussing some of these things because from everything that we’ve read and we’re seeing, there’s a lot of benefits to be had from some of these items that you mentioned before, Jason.

I want to dig into more of the story side and hear more about your personal stories and stories of people who have used products like yours and how that’s impacting their lives to bring it back to that whole experience. I have felt confused about terpenes. Honestly, I still do. I think that’s an important thing to explore. I still feel confused about CBD even though I’ve been taking CBD products for years. Going back to Jason’s point, there are different levels of awareness. It takes a long time to fully understand something that feels complex because the way our brains works is, we need to have information shared with us in clear ways and relevant ways to our lives. We’re also going against a lot of things in the media. For many of us, we have been told for years that hemp products are illegal, dangerous or bad.

We have a lot of negative associations with it, which I think clouds are thinking around this. Even if we can understand it in logical level like we can read about things like CBD, terpenes and all these different options for us and take the products. Sometimes it’s hard to grasp because for me, terpenes and CBD have been subtle. Sometimes they step back and think like, “I don’t know. Is it making a difference?” Sometimes I feel like it is and sometimes I can’t tell. Let’s dive deeper into this. How is this affecting each of your lives, Ryan, Jake and Jason since you’ve been taking the products too? What stories have you been hearing about people that have been taking them? How was it changing their lives?

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I often find myself looking for natural ways to help tilt my mindset into certain directions. I think much like yourself and Jason, I’m experimental when it comes to products on the market. Generally speaking, I’m not looking to get all wired and jittery from my ten cups of coffee when I’m trying to get through a long workday or trying to relax at the end of the day, pop melatonin, take NyQuil or something like that. Those things inherently impact other parts of my life that I’m trying to solve for. I’m looking for more subtle aid to get to the mindset that I need to be in in order to accomplish the task at hand whether that be to focus on certain things, calm down at the end of the day or try to give myself a little bit of kick in the right direction.

I’ve done that through a number of different products. I know some of my family members have also been using things like CBD. My mom, for example, it’s tough for her to sleep. She’s not full-blown insomniac but she has found CBD to be a nice alternative to a Xanax where it enables her to subtly wind down at the end of the day and wake up not groggy and not relying on some pharmaceutical to get the sleep that she needs. I think that there’s a lot to be said about the benefits that some of these kinds of plant-based more natural medicines have on helping guide subtle shifts in your life.

I’m not trying to talk about Jake’s family’s experience but I think you bring up a good point in that. It’s core to our philosophy. It goes back to this notion of there is a time, a place and a context for strong pharmaceuticals. If you take something that is a pharmaceutical grade sleep aid, it is going to shut off your state of consciousness. It’s going to turn you off. If you’re intervening from a maintenance perspective, you’re moving yourself to a position where your body and your mind are ready to sleep. That goes back to my interest in terpenes and supplements. My personality type is a bit different from Jake’s. I tend to be a more cautious person. I tend to digest things before I make a move on it overly. For me, that factors into how I use natural supplements. It generally tends to be on the calm side.

Another thing about me is I tend to get stuck in the zone where I happen to be operating. As someone who’s trying to build a brand or trying to work on a business, a lot of times that’s in zeroed in mode, looking at a to-do list, focusing. At the end of the day, the transition for me is not immediate. I believe it’s important to have a rest period at the end of your day, a period where your mind is moving towards the place where it’s going to reset for the night. For a long time, for me, that was a challenge. My perspective had always been your issue is not getting enough sleep. It’s getting ready for sleep, getting ready to do the mental cleansing that happens at the end of the day. That’s been my experience.

To touch on your point, Whitney, about not sure about CBD, not sure about terpene, sometimes you feel it and sometimes you don’t, I think that’s part of the beauty of the natural supplements. They don’t hit you in the face like a sledgehammer. They don’t impact other areas of your life. You may not always notice the subtle shifts. I’d be willing to bet that if you stop taking those supplements in those instances, you may notice yourself a little bit more wired or a little bit less able to focus. That’s how they come into play. They aren’t necessarily always right in your face in terms of effect. It’s more subtle than that.

Without trying to jump to analogies that relate directly to being high but the way I like to talk about it is, if you’ve got a pilot who’s piloting a plane correctly, you’re not going to notice so much your journey. It’s going to feel like you’re in the right place. Whereas if things are going poorly, that’s when you notice movements. When you know that you’re doing correct maintenance, you end up where you want to be with a minimal amount of disruption. If you’re taking something that shuts out the lights five minutes later, there’s going to be a payment for that on the other end. From our perspective, we’re trying to get you to your destination with a minimal amount of whiplash, panic attacks and grabbing the oxygen mask.

I feel like that’s what folks are looking for. I know that’s what I’m looking for is something more subtle.

I love this because I think it’s reminding me how many people are looking for that quick fix and they’re looking for something that they will be able to notice quickly. They want results fast. That’s part of our human nature yet nature can take a while. We have to constantly remind ourselves that things take time especially if we want them to be sustainable. If we want a benefit that’s not going to have any major side effects, it might take some time for our body to build up to it. That’s part of what’s going on here is becoming more in harmony with ourselves, becoming more aware and better understand the plants. That’s an ongoing thing and part of our interest.

The subject matter is Jason and I are into plants. We’re into plant medicine yet there’s a societal idea that plants are weak. Plants have been part of our lives as human beings as long as we’ve been alive. People consumed plants and not even recognized them. There’s this idea of marijuana. That’s cool and what bad people do. Bad could be like bad as in negative or bad as in cool. CBD I think is becoming cool but it’s still confusing. This is coming from the same plant. It’s powerful and yet there are all these different perceptions about the strength. Plants, in general, changed our perception of them because for so long plants were viewed as weak except for in the usage of drugs.

MGU 195 | Plant Medicine

Plant Medicine: Rellies really is about taking control of your mood, your mindset, and your experience with a cannabinoid.

 

The way you outline how we react to the notion of plant medicine is a perfect discussion for maybe one of the shortfalls in how we look at health in general. A lot of plants can be refined multiple times into a potent form and then packed at high concentration that what you wind up with is a pharmaceutical. There’s a time and a place for that. To your point, there’s also the maintenance that can be done on an ongoing basis. It means that you’ve got to, number one, be more in tune with your body. You’ve got to pay attention. You’ve got to be intervening along the way rather than trying to avert a disaster with a drastic remedy.

You have to be a lot more in tune with yourself to know. It’s a trial and error thing to tinker with what works for you. It’s a little bit more work as an individual to get the plant-based medicine to be strong for you. With the right focus on it, I feel like you can use natural remedies to touch on a lot of the effects that you’d like to be the outcome.

I want to get into the origin story of some common drugs because we’re talking a lot about it. Not necessarily in a way to be combative about this but pharmaceutical options versus more holistic natural options. I know holistic and natural is a broad umbrella but this tripped me out. I learned about Tylenol. I feel like everyone knows what Tylenol is and the active ingredient in Tylenol being acetaminophen. I think Tylenol is one of the most popular pain relievers and has been since it came out in 1955. I had no idea that Tylenol, the acetaminophen, is produced from coal tar. Coal tar is this thick, sticky, viscous liquid that’s produced when oxygen deprived coal is subjected to super high temperatures. We’ve been consuming as a society this product for pain relief that has come from fossil fuels, that’s come from petroleum. That trips me out. For half a century, America’s favorite pain reliever is not even natural, where some other pharmaceuticals are derived from plants.

There were some interesting studies around acetaminophen that the University of Wisconsin is starting to synthesize acetaminophen from plant sources. They’re moving away from coal tar. I’m bringing this up because there are so many things that we grew up taking. We see our mom, our dad, our family like, “You’re in pain. Take a Tylenol. You’re doing this. Pop this pill or do this thing.” As individuals, I think it’s so critical to do the research and find out where things come from rather than taking things at face value and being like, “This is what I’ve seen on TV, movies, my family and people in my church.” This goes back to one of the original things that we talked about in this episode, which is taking responsibility for your health and being self-empowered. A big part of that is doing the damn research and finding out where this stuff comes from. When I found out Tylenol was made from coal tar, I’m like, “I’m never taking Tylenol again because I don’t want coal in my body.”

A lot of people have been trained to take what’s given to them but not understand the relationship. What effect is it going to have on your body? We have cursory conversations sometimes about side effects and we’re focused on an outcome. We don’t want to engage with more difficult questions of what is the whole body impact of what we’re overtaking is remedy. When we talk to people about the role of terpenes, we try to reiterate a lot that. We’re believers in Western medicine. We believe in the power of medical interventions. We believe in the power of vaccines. All the things that a lot of technology and a lot of innovation have given to us, we think that there’s a ton of value. At the same time, we want to make sure that people include in their toolkit is every day maintenance. When you’re doing that everyday maintenance, it’s up to you to understand what you need, what’s going to have a good impact and what the effects are going to be.

It’s on you to do the research on what you put in your body. The good news is I feel like people are becoming more and more aware of that fact. You look in food, for example, the amount of emphasis that’s put on clean label food organic ingredients, non-GMO certification, all of those things. That whole industry has been exploding. The entire grocery store has been turned over with healthier alternatives because of that fact. I think there’s more and more of that happening outside of food and into things like supplements, vitamins and even clothing. People want to know where their products are coming from, if it was sourced in a healthy way that’s for them, if the ingredients or something that they think makes sense to put in their body or put on their body. We’re going to continue to see those trends accelerate going forward.

What’s the responsibility of a brand? What’s the responsibility of a product? For us, it’s clear communication and then living up to the promises you make through what you’re communicating. Whether it’s testing to make sure that your product is free from solvents and heavy metals and pesticides whether it’s testing to make sure that you’re delivering a safe food product. The challenge that brands in the wellness space, in the food space, in the beverage space especially functional food and beverage, we got to think about our responsibility to the consumer. When we talk about them doing their research, they’re doing their research on us. The way that we meet the consumer halfway and build that relationship is that we tell them here’s what we’re about. If that’s what you’re about then you can count on us to deliver our half the package and you can incorporate us into your routine. We want to make sure that when someone’s doing research on our brand, they know what they can expect and they know what they’re putting into their bodies.

I want to loop back to something you mentioned earlier, Ryan, about the course of your day and your personality and your work ethic and some of the things you briefly touched on. We have a lot of conversations with friends that are entrepreneurs and business owners. One of the biggest things that we find that people are reticent to talk about are the challenges with self-care when you are running a business. This is something that Whitney and I are both encouraged by seeing more articles and more interviews with well-known entrepreneurs and them coming out about their mental health struggles. They’re coming out about the fact that they work twenty hours a day and might get a few hours of sleep each night. There’s become this rhetoric and this bar that has been set by people like Elon Musk. Not him necessarily solely but I feel he’s someone we talk about a lot in terms of his direction and him being an architect for a lot of entrepreneurs to look up to of sleeping on the assembly line at the Tesla plant and taking Ambien to sleep at night because he’s working so much.

There’s a lot of pressure when you are running your own business as we do, as you both do. I want to get uncomfortable for a second and dig into a little more nitty-gritty with you. What’s it like for you in terms of your self-care, your mental health, your relationship to caring for your bodies and your minds as you are running multiple businesses? Everyone thinks entrepreneurship is this glamorous thing on Instagram. “It looks great. You’re on private jets. You’re buying Lambos. You’re taking all these vacations and all this shit that gets thrown around.” The reality of it is running a small business is tough. What are some challenges that you face on a personal level? How do you maintain yourself care being entrepreneurs in the world?

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The perspective that I want to get out there is I think Elon Musk is a great example of what the potential is when you compare someone who’s brilliant and works hard. What’s going on with Tesla is this massive success story from those two themes. The way it gets echoed back is illustrative of some of the problems that happened with human narrative building. What we do is we attach to large themes and we create a simple template for how to digest it. Work hard and use your inherent gifts to create something and it can be a great success. Those are all great themes.

What happens is sometimes it gets out of skew. What we don’t remember is that there’s a time and a place to be working twenty hours a day and there’s a time and a place to be sleeping on the factory floor. That’s unsustainable. I don’t think that anybody who builds something great is going to be doing it by doing that behavior indefinitely. It’s a much harder message to digest to say you are responsible for knowing when it’s time to dial up the intensity. You’re also responsible for taking care of yourself in a way that’s going to give you the resources and the energy to get through those times.

There’s so much uncertainty in that. Are you making the right decision? Are you investing enough? Is this the time when you need to be restoring your resources? At least for me, that’s always the question that’s running around in the back of my head. What else can I be doing? Something that not often enough for me on the table is you need to be reinvesting in yourself. You need to be stopping and reading a book. You need to be getting an extra hour of sleep. You need to go outside and get some fresh air. You get this myopic vision of the answer is always something else for the business. It is a challenge. I get spun up and stuck in the zone and then I forget about other maintenance items. For me, that’s the big challenge.

When running a small business, as you know, there’s always more that you can be done or that you can do. To Ryan’s point, when you draw that line on a daily basis, on an hourly basis and then thinking about things long-term. To me, the hardest part is the unknown. That’s the exciting part but it’s also the scariest part because you’re doing all of these things to try to create something that you hope will grow into this big, beautiful thing or your child will grow up here and be a successful member of society. There’s a bit of a walking blindfolded aspect to being an entrepreneur.

For me, one of the things that I certainly try to do that I feel like that’s helped me a lot more lately is trying to make 30 minutes, 45 minutes, 5, 6 times a week to exercise. I find that to be tremendously helpful. I’m not one that historically has been going to the gym seven days a week or historically hasn’t been a huge part of my life. Lately, I feel like it’s benefited me in all facets of my life because it gives me a chance to work through certain things in my mind while I’m doing it and then re-approach work. I may exercise at night from 9:00 to 10:00 and then go work another hour or two because I feel like I’ve got the mental cognition after working through some thoughts while exercising. Little things like that go a long way.

What Jake said about walking blindfolded is a big challenge. You’re also walking with earplugs in sometimes too, especially in the environment we’ve been offered in 2020. I don’t know if you have talked to some of your other guests about this. I feel like in a COVID environment, you have a lot of stuff available to connect with people over Zoom. You run great events. It’s different from being able to be in an actual physical setting with folks and ping ideas off of each other, have natural conversations in a group where you’re not using the mute button to figure out who talks. Being able to talk about the entrepreneurial experience or your life experience that flows out of being in this position, it’s been different for 2020. Being able to connect with people and digest your own experience in the context of what they’re going through, I’m eager for that to return.

Whitney and I talk a lot about the balance between introversion and extroversion, how many events we’re used to going to and interacting with people face-to-face. That’s going to be an interesting integration. I’m not sure if you are planning on attending The Expo East Trade Show, one of the things that we’re super passionate about. Ryan and Jake, you have both been in our Dolphin Tank Room on the Clubhouse app. For you dear readers, you can also join us in the Dolphin Tank. You both have attended. One of the reason we started that room with our good new friend, Greg Fleishman from Foodstirs is that we wanted to create a container for that familiar connected interaction that we’ve all been missing not just from trade shows but other live events. We’re hopeful that Expo East happens in September in Philadelphia. Since we’re on that note about human interaction and getting together in some semblance of community, are you planning on going to more physical events like that and introducing yourselves to people, connecting with community? Have you ever been to the Natural Products Expo? Is that something you’ve done before? It’s amazing.

MGU 195 | Plant Medicine

Plant Medicine: Most of the time, people aren’t looking to be in a completely altered state. They’re looking for help getting towards a certain mood or mindset.

 

We’ve walked the floor at expos. We’ve never had a table. It was certainly to see a lot of value. To your point, we’re looking for opportunities in the future when it’s safe to do so to get out there, talk to people about Rellies, talk to them about what’s going on with them. The reason that we’re in the position we’re in is because we get engaged by hearing people’s stories, hearing what they’re excited about. It gives us ideas. It brings more energy into how we approach our projects. We’re looking for opportunities. I don’t know if it’s Expo East, Expo West. I don’t know where those opportunities are. We’re at the stage with this brand where we’re trying to have people get to know us and we’re trying to get to know people, what they like about a product and how they’re integrating it into their lives. We’re looking for those types of formats to connect with folks.

Expo West or Expo East are phenomenal events. You can’t take away or replicate the magic that happens at those trade shows in a Zoom world. We look forward to being able to attend those types of events. I got an email saying that they were going to do a full-blown in-person Expo East here. Expo West was going to be a virtual, which is a bummer. The human interaction is an important part of building a brand. In general, I think once it returns to normal, we’re all going to realize how much we missed it even more than a lot of us already do.

In expo, there are a lot of people connecting on a lot of different topics. What I like about the event that you guys put on in the Dolphin Tank is one of the core questions that gets asked is how can anybody in this room help? It’s about people who are building brands, people who are watching brands being built, people who are connected to the industry. Asking each other, “How can I help you? What can I do to get you further along in your mission?” That’s something that we like to see. It’s a question that people need to be asking each other as fellow entrepreneurs a lot. We’re glad going to those events not just to get help but to hear that it’s a proxy for one of the biggest challenges people are facing in a new environment. We get sparked by those conversations.

I’m newer to Clubhouse and it’s been so cool to get on there because it does feel a deeper connection than like a Facebook, an Instagram or TikTok. You’re communicating with the people on a live basis. It is a cool app. The room that you set up is certainly fun to be a part of.

I love that point about asking how I can help you. That’s something that has started to come more naturally to me overtime but it doesn’t come naturally to everyone. It’s important for us socially, especially as event start to open up hopefully. We start interacting with each other more in person. It’s going to take an adjustment for us to get used to not just focusing on ourselves. Maybe that’s going to be one of the most interesting elements of the state of the world is that we get so self-focus. We’re at home. We are not seeing people that much. We might see them in virtual settings. There’s so much data that the way we interact virtually isn’t incredibly different from how we interact in person. It’s going to take more practice to be present with people in person and to get off our devices. I think that’s the major downside to the state of things.

We’re trying to stay connected but the best way for us to do that safely at the moment is through our devices. Our devices have a lot of challenges for us mentally and emotionally. We have to compromise that in order to stay connected because that’s also so important to us. It isn’t cancelling out the pros and cons of socializing and doing it through a device. Clubhouse was challenging for me on an emotional level not just as an introvert. I’m become a little bit more extroverted in platforms like that. It was impacting my sleep. I was constantly thinking about Clubhouse and the socializing. My brain was struggling with it for the first month. Finally, as of early February of 2021, I have been able to sleep better. I didn’t know what to do. I was taking every supplement possible, including the Rellies Calm at night because I wanted to relax more. I wanted my brain to relax.

It's on you to do the research on what you put in your body. Click To Tweet

We can’t always force it. It takes time for us to adapt. We’re in this new period with a platform like Clubhouse that can be shocking to the system. The same thing is going to happen when you start socializing in person. It’s going to be a bit of a shock and adjustment period. It’s going to take some time to become less self-centered for us to become more extroverted again or to balance our energy levels. One thing that I thought was super interesting in TikTok, which is where I stay in touch with the world aside from Clubhouse, is somebody was saying how our bodies physically, mentally and emotionally have become so used to not doing a lot. We forgot the way the life was a year ago when we would go to work and then socialize afterwards, go to the grocery store and run all these errands. Every day was full of hustle, full of the productivity.

During COVID, especially in the beginning days from any of us that we’re able to work from home, we suddenly realized that was a lot of energy. It was taking a lot for us to go to work, to take care of our kids, to go to the stores, to run with every errand and socialize with friends all in one day. Many of us don’t have that amount of energy anymore. We are lucky if we have the energy to run one errand in one day. The importance of plant medicine is going to become bigger and bigger as we continue to adjust because we need that support. When you were bringing up events like the Natural Products Industry that Jason and I went to, we relied on products like CBD to get us through those events. There’s one time in particular years ago that we loaded up on CBD because that was the only way that we could physically, mentally and emotionally get through four days of nonstop events. If I do go to Expo East in 2021, it’s going to be difficult because I’m out of practice.

I wonder what you and Jason think about this notion of our energy level in terms of going through your daily routine. It’s like any other muscle that we exercise and train. To your point, we’ve become accustomed to everything can be done on an app and in pajamas. We try to invest in things like maintaining our friendships. We’re still trying to bring our A game to work. It is a different energy level. It’s a different type of interaction and the social energy that it takes to do everything that we had previously been doing in public and navigating what it takes to do these things in person other human beings. It’s something that maybe we haven’t been practicing and using as much. When you say, “What’s going to be like when we get back out there in the world? You’re going to have to recondition yourself. You’re going to need the tools that will help to push that redevelopment back along.” It’s a good question. I wonder how you are thinking about the need to invest and being ready for a situation where that’s going to be expected of us again both from work, from family, from friends that we’re going to be part of that in-person structure again.

For me, you can’t downplay from a sheer perspective of the physical exertion of being at our homes, sitting in our offices for hours a day like Jake on your marathon Zoom calls. For instance, going to Expo East in September 2021. We’ve clocked on Whitney’s iWATCH. Some days we would walk 10 to 12 miles a day to go from being semi-sedentary to all of a sudden going to a trade show and walking 10 miles a day. If we’re not prepping for that and we’re not working out, stretching and moving our bodies in a way to go from sedentary to 10 miles a day is going to be a rude awakening and a painful awakening for a lot of people. I’m saying that to remind myself to get my ass in motion so that I’m not all of a sudden like, “I forgot what it was to walk 10 miles a day.” It’s a real thing.

We talk about our hacks for trade shows and events of wearing the right shoes, making sure your posture is correct. As Whitney said, taking the right plant remedies to regulate things. I’ve had panic attacks and anxiety at these trade shows. You go from being mostly sequestered in your home to I have no idea how many people might show up. At the peak, Expo West was 80,000, 90,000 people. Imagine going from us being in our little environment to being around 80,000 people. There’s going to be a lot of people struggling with things like anxiety, panic attacks, mental health issues because we’re not used to being around tens of thousands of people.

Granted, we don’t know if that many people will be even allowed in an event like that anymore.

I’m saying this because I want to prepare. I want to get my body and my mind in a certain condition. Even if it is 10,000 people, the idea for me of being around 10,000 people feels a little bit overwhelming. I think this is a good call not only our industry colleagues that might be reading but any readers. When we’re reintegrating back into things like sporting events, giant concerts, Coachella, trade shows, we’ve got to take care of ourselves. To go from being sedentary to diving in these experiences could be harrowing and damaging for people. I don’t think it’s something to take lightly. It’s something we need to prepare for.

It’s great to use the notion of sedentary. When you started laying out the challenges of going back to that environment, we started by talking about walking. People naturally can see the connection to being sedentary in this environment. Being socially sedentary or at least at a lower level of a social requirement, it’s something that everybody’s going to have to prepare for. Right now, you can stop your interaction by going on mute. You can stop your interaction by turning off your screen. If you’re walking around a trade show with 10,000 people, 50,000 people or 90,000 people, you’re having a new conversation and managing a different relationship every minute, every 2 minutes, every 5 minutes. We’re sedentary in exercising that muscle being able to connect with different people at a fast rate over a long period of time. We’re on the couch when it comes to managing those relationships. Later in 2021, if everything goes well, we could be running marathons in that sense.

I have a few questions that I don’t want to forget in terms of going back to terpenes. I’m sure this is a question that’s going to come up for some people because it came up for me in my mind, which is why I’m asking it. Is it possible to overdose on terpenes?

That question is fundamental to why we brought Rellies to market in the format that we did. You have a lot of B2B products out there that are super concentrates of terpenes. It’s essentially industrial strength. People can buy those but the people who do that, the next step for that consumer is to do careful calculations on what the proper dilution is. They need to buy the medium for it. They need to buy equipment to dilute it, mix it and then consume it. To us, it goes back to what I said earlier about how we were scratching our heads in terms of what was on the market. If you look at terpenes the way we do, we see inherent value in terpenes themselves to be incorporated into your daily routine or to be taken with a cannabinoid that’s working on your endocannabinoid system something like CBD, CBN and CBG.

If that’s true and you say, “I believe in the potential for this. I want to use it as part of my maintenance,” what we saw in the market was stuff where you’re going to be having to do a lot of work before it’s ready for you to use. To answer your question, you can overdose on water, Jason. There are toxic levels for everything in the market. The thing that we wanted to address was providing a product to the market that had the same use case as you do for your any other natural supplement, which means if you use the product according to recommendations, then it’s a completely safe consumer product to use. We wanted to put terpenes in a format that made them just like you’re taking a ginseng pill or an apple cider gummy so that it’s easier for folks. It’s something that makes the burden of self-maintenance something that’s manageable for a consumer who’s got a busy life to lead.

MGU 195 | Plant Medicine

Plant Medicine: If you’re intervening from a maintenance perspective, you’re moving yourself to a position where your body and your mind are ready to sleep.

 

The other question that I have is something we’ve heard from other colleagues of ours who have natural products companies. They’ll become their own test subjects to the point of taking copious amounts of their product to see how it affects their bodies. I’m curious when you were both working on the formulations for this and putting the different terpenes in, did you say, “We’re going to down a whole bottle and see what happens to us.” Did you do any personal testing to gauge the amount or the efficacy of the product? If so, what things did you experience?

First of all, we worked with suppliers for terpenes. These are the people who have extensive knowledge and who have studied what’s out there to come to us and work with us on a targeted outcome and say, “Here’s how we’re going to craft this.” I think it’s a common story for a lot of entrepreneurs. Not only are we our own guinea pigs. This is going to get me in trouble. I was working with my grandmothers and I was like, “I’ve got a new batch in. Will you try this with me? Tell me how you feel, how it tastes. What do you think as a general consumer?” If you’ve got the money, you can go out and hire a bunch of people to do product consulting tests and do focus groups. Jake and I aren’t the people that are going to be in a position to do that. We started the bootstrap way. You try it yourself. You see how you feel. You see how it tastes. Would you, as a consumer, want to do it again? You rope in family members and friends and you say, “Try this.” You find out who likes you that are like, “Sure.”

I love that you admitted that you made your grandmas Guinea pigs.

They were game. It’s funny the conversation you have with your friends and your family and you say, “Try this.” Some people are like, “I wouldn’t trust you to buy my groceries.” Especially when it comes to your grandparents sometime, they think that you can walk on water. You’ve got to be a good steward of that trust. It’s great to work on these things with your family and your friends because it’s another way to be involved in each other’s lives. It goes back to what we were talking about earlier where as an entrepreneur there are a lot of chances to create misery for yourself by doing things alone. There are a lot of chances to let things get out of whack by not remembering the bigger picture.

Part of the entrepreneur’s journey is using this as an opportunity to connect with your family and friends as well, involve them in your life. Not everybody’s going to want to be a guinea pig. I had a lot of conversations with my friends and my family about what’s going on. Sometimes whenever we come up against a big challenge, we reach out to our family and friends and we say, “What do you think?” It’s another chance to interact with people in your life.

Going back to the product testing for lack of a better term side of things for Ryan and I, we’re looking to build something sustainable. The only way to do that is to build something we feel confident in that’s going to lead to consumers having trust in our products with. It was definitely important for us to try the products ourselves and test them out on ourselves first and then to Ryan’s point, friends and family before we made it available to the broader public.

You are giving that value out for anyone who is running a business or thinking about running a business to not only do it from a financially sound perspective by having the support of friends and family. That’s a great way to overcome a lot of the feelings of isolation that can come from being an entrepreneur of thinking that I have to do it all on my own. I have to do everything or in some cases being reticent to ask for support. It’s wonderful from an emotional support perspective that you brought that up. I wanted to loop back quickly to something Whitney had asked a while ago about my experience using the Rellies products.

To be fully transparent. I’ve been struggling with insomnia off and on for the past few years for a variety of reasons. It’s been tied into a lot of my challenges around depression, suicidal ideation, anxiety and a lot of my mental health issues. To loop back to what we were saying, I’m open to experimenting with new things, to try and help with the challenges of life. I even texted Whitney. I said, “Can you lead the fellows through the optimization because I didn’t get much sleep?” Out of the three products I’ve been using, the Calm has been wonderful. Being the research freak that I am and not knowing about the specific terpenes, I went down the rabbit hole on Myrcene. I was like, “What is it about this particular terpene that’s supporting my sleep and supporting my nervous system?”

I went on and saw that there is some interesting research around Myrcene as one of the big terpenes around, being an antidepressant, being a sedative, helping with depression and muscle relaxation. That one in particular has been something I’ve been stoked about as adding to my sleep hygiene regimen. I’m a huge fan of what you are up to. The Focus has been great. It’s all like a domino effect. If I don’t use the Calm and I don’t get enough sleep then I’m going to need the Focus during the day. I’m stoked that you have these three different formulas with specific targeted terpenes you’re talking about. My body is sensitive to things like flower essences and these terpenes. I’m giving you kudos for a product that I’ve been enjoying that’s helping with my sleep hygiene and helping me figure out what is going on with my body.

For the dear readers, we want to point you to a resource you can use to try out these great products. Our website is Wellevatr.com. Click on the Show section. You can access everything we talked about with Ryan and Jake. We are going to have a custom link where you can get 20% off your order for which will be applicable to all three of the Rellies tinctures, which again is Focus, Calm and Joy. That 20% off link will also help you save on their shots. They have mood support shots that are also great. It’s awesome that you are offering this. We’re happy to be partnering with you.

We try something and it’s something we feel good about that resonates with our bodies and our minds. We’re big brand evangelists. That’s why we started Dolphin Tank. That’s why I wanted to have you here. When we find good people who have their hearts in the right places and that are making functional products that work, we want to champion those things. We’re so appreciative of you both being on here and educating us about terpenes, educating us about why you started the company and how this can help our readers and our fans.

Jason, first of all, a sincere thanks for sharing how Rellies is part of how you’re doing your maintenance. When we think about wanting to offer folks a chance to try the products, we’re big believers in the best thing that you can do when you’re starting a new brand like this is get the product in people’s hands and then let them tell their experience stories and that’s how you succeed. We’re glad that there are products that we have that you’re able to integrate that helps you again. For us, we believe in maintenance before intervention. For people who are focused on doing maintenance for themselves, we want to make it easier and we want to make maintenance more prominent than intervention.

Maintenance before intervention. Click To Tweet

It’s interesting that you mentioned Myrcene. There are tens of thousands of terpenes that occur in nature. I don’t know if you had come across that in your research. Only a few of them have received a lot of study in terms of what impact they have on your body’s systems, Myrcene being one of them. You were talking about using Calm that’s had an impact on you. You have a sensitivity and receptivity to some of the floral essences. Linalool is another primary ingredient in Calm. That’s derived from lavender. What they’ve studied that for is its ability as an analgesic, as a pain reliever, as a sedative and also its impact on your sympathetic nerve activity and your parasympathetic nerve activity.

Your sympathetic nerve activity is what takes over in periods of stress and periods of danger. It’s what drives your fast twitch reflexes. People have looked into, “How does linalool down regulate that and promote parasympathetic nerve activity, which comes into play during times of rest, times of recovery?” Anything that we can do to help people smooth out the amplitude of the bumps in our life, whenever you are trying to steer towards what’s going to help you get through your day or get to the part of your day where you’re relaxing, we’re interested in providing that. We want more people to have experiences with the product. We’re excited to hear people’s stories about it.

We appreciate you not only creating these products but doing the work to educate people about the benefits of it. In addition to that custom link for you, dear reader, to save 20% on your Rellies order, we have links to some research documents and some articles for you to do more research on terpenes. There are so many out there and we want you to be fully educated so you know what you’re putting in your body and you can feel fully empowered to start experimenting with these great products. Until next time, dear reader, thanks for being here on the show. Ryan and Jake, you are amazing. Thanks for all your love. Thanks for all your support with our health journey and creating this products to help everyone smooth out those bumps in the road. We will catch you again with another episode. Thank you so much.

Thank you so much for having us. We appreciate it!

Thanks!

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About Ryan and Jacob

MGU 195 | Plant MedicineJacob and Ryan are friends from business school where they both studied finance but talked a lot about consumer products. They both love natural foods and supplements and over the years would tell each other about new products they tried that helped them live healthier, more balanced lives. Ryan and Jacob were astounded by the growth in the CBD market, and were surprised to learn about the role of terpenes in powering experiences with CBD other cannabinoids. The self-proclaimed nerds and health nuts saw an opportunity to offer standalone terpenes for mood support that can be taken with cannabinoids or alone. Ryan and Jacob are excited and hopeful that Rellies will be a success and that the Lakers will finally overtake the Celtics for total championships!

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