Sacred Sessions with Tawna

Cannabis 101 + Restorative Yoga with Tawna of Lotus in Bloom Healing Arts

+ What is whole plant medicine?

Whole plant medicine means the entire plant is processed when making an oil. King Harvest does not make whole plant medicine, instead they focus on processing only cannabis flower. The highest concentrations of polyphenols (plant anti-oxidants) and cannabinoids (healing compounds like CBD and THC), are found in the buds or flowers of the cannabis plant. When you process an entire plant, you get more quantity of oil, but quality and efficacy diminishes with the decreased concentration of those potent compounds. King Harvest does believe in whole molecule medicine, however. We know that cannabinoids are synergistic compounds, meaning that that work most effectively when paired together, so by not isolating compounds, you’re left with a more complete and effective medicine that’s minimally processed, as nature intended. King Harvest makes whole molecule medicine, meaning that the healing compounds are left in tact, not heated or compromised through caustic and often toxic extraction methods, which are typically used in lower-quality products. Ingredients like butane or isopropyl alcohol should not be in your oil, or go into your body! 

+ What are the biggest healing properties of cannabis?

Cannabinoids, some of the plant compounds found in cannabis, are so similar to a hormone our brain releases called anandamide (stems from the root word “ananda” which is Sanskrit for bliss), that our brains and bodies can’t tell the difference. Anandamide is absorbed through the nerve synapses, as are cannabinoids, slowing and calming neurological responses. This can do anything from alleviating pain, to reducing stress levels, to increasing appetite. Different strains have different effects on the body, this is why strain-specific “treatments” are so important.  

+ What got you involved with cannabis and why do you think there is a stigma when it comes to cannabis?

For me, cannabis was originally a recreational thing. I enjoyed the uplifting feeling I experienced, much more than I enjoyed the depressive nature of alcohol. As I grew, I started to see cannabis in a different light. It made my stress fade at the end of a long day, my body aches become less noticeable, and my mind become more quiet. When I was 19 I broke my neck in a boating accident and was lucky to have survived. Doctors wanted to perform surgery, and prescribed me narcotics to ease my discomfort. The pills made me so ill and incoherent, I stopped taking them the first day, and turned to cannabis, yoga, and bodywork to work through the pain instead of mask it. It was then that I realized cannabis is an amazing healing herb, when it effectively treated much of the physical and emotional pain and trauma I was experiencing. I also quickly learned that quality matters when it comes to medicinal cannabis. 

When my dog Diesel became sick with Addison’s disease and hypothyroidism, I followed doctors recommendations and put him on pharmaceutical meds to “regulate” him. His health declined despite treatment, and after 2 years of roller-coaster health, he hit another low. I made the radical choice to take him off all his pharmaceutical meds and start dosing him with cannabis. I had recently met Bridget Scordo, co-owner of King Harvest, and the interaction felt so serendipitous. I gave the medicine to Diesel and immediately began to see improvements in his demeanor, eventually leading to physical improvements as well. My dog is alive and thriving today thanks to King Harvest, and he has been pharmaceutical free for 2 years. His Addison’s Disease is now “non-detectible,” and his hypothyroidism has disappeared. The Synergy PM is his daily ingestible, and Blue Emu topical helps alleviate his chronic arthritis and inflammation. His quality of life has improved exponentially thanks to the oils.

Few things frustrate me more than the stigma that comes with cannabis use. It all started with political ploys in the 20th century, when cannabis threatened to usurp several of the core American industries at the time: oil, textiles and paper. Hemp could be used to make all of these materials, yet it was a weed, easy to grow and difficult to control or regulate. The mindset was, if you can’t control it, illegalize it. The psychoactive compounds in cannabis weren’t really explored much by modern civilizations until the 60s, during which time cannabis because the poster-child for the conscious revolution. Again it was demonized, this time as a gateway drug, while hippies began to experiment with other more potent psychoactive substances, cannabis took a bad rap. In modern day, cannabis has taken on a role of pop-culture rebelliousness. It’s the cool illegal thing to do, because it’s “not that bad,” in comparison to other drugs. Currently, cannabis is becoming more accepted in society, but very slowly and reluctantly, sometimes met with backlash from uninformed citizens. The image of the pot-smoking hippie is outdated. Cancer patients, athletes, professionals and everyone in-between have started to pay attention to the potential benefits of cannabis. As the benefits start to make themselves more known through independent research and “patient” testimonials, perception of this sacred plant has started to shift back to where it should be. We should honor and respect the benefits and effects of cannabis, not abuse and demonize them. We are moving forward, but very slowly. 

+ What is restorative yoga? 

I often call restorative yoga the art of surrender. It’s a passive practice that involves props like blocks, bolsters, straps and blankets, and practitioners hold postures for 5 minutes at a time. Breath and a present mind are the focus of this practice. Stretches can be intense when held for long periods of time, so restorative is as much a mental game as a physical. The goal is to be physically still, despite discomfort we may experience in some of the deeper stretch variations. My restorative practice is very hands-on, with healing touch and massage utilized throughout each class or sessions. Yoga philosophy is also a strong focus in my restorative classes, as practitioners are in postures for 5 minutes at a time and often need something else to focus on. 

+ What are King Harvest oils all about and what can you expect to feel when consuming them?

Being a cannabis consumer for over 10 years, I have seen it all. Excellent and downright dirty products, and everything else in-between. King Harvest has by-far the best product on the market, according to my own personal experience. The whole product line is exceptional, and I challenge anyone to find a more effective and clean product. Depending on the product you choose, your physical experience will vary. With CBD isolate products, you’ll feel a sense of relaxation and reduction in stress, with no psychoactive effects. With THC-containing products, you can expect a mild to moderate psychoactive effect, depending on your dose and level of sensitivity, along with a relaxing and stress reducing effect. For people with depression, Uplift helps to boost mood and energy levels. For people with insomnia, Unwind will reduce energy levels and settle the mind and body. It all really depends on the desired result and the product used. 

+ Why King Harvest over other products out there?

- King Harvest is organic, whole molecule, solvent-free medicine. There are no thinning agents or chemicals like butane or isopropyl alcohol added, unlike many other products on the market. The story of Lee Simpson’s miraculous recovery from addiction and illness thanks to cannabis oil, is touching and raw, and you can feel his love for his product. He and his team are at the forefront of the industry, finding innovative materials like emu oil, to continuously improve and diversify their line of products. Consultations are free, and “treatment” plans are fully customizable for each “patient.” The whole experience of King Harvest is what makes it special, but what makes it worth it, is the quality of the product they put out. 

Kenzie Vath