Philip Wolf – Terpenes, Social Consumption and the Cannabis Experience

Philip Wolf - Cultivating Spirits


In this episode, Joe interviews Philip Wolf founder of Cultivating Spirits, a cannabis pairing company. The talk includes topics on Terpenes, Social Consumption and the Cannabis experience industry.

3 Key Points:

  1. Terpenes are the component in cannabis that produce the aroma and ‘mood’ you will be in after smoking.
  2. As more and more places legalize cannabis, the market opportunity for combining food and cannabis grows.
  3. Cultivating Spirits is a cannabis experience and tour company that offers small-batch cannabis, fine wines, and locally sourced gourmet meals. They are a leader in cannabis-infused experiences.

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Show Notes

About Philip

  • Philip has been in the legal industry of cannabis in Colorado for 9 years
    • Cultivating Spirits started in Breckenridge, Colorado in 2014 after legalization
    • He went to a wine experience event and had an epiphany of bringing the cannabis experience to the ‘soccer mom’
    • He walked away from equity in multiple companies because he believed in it
    • Cultivating Spirits is the first company to offer a cannabis pairings experience
    • After learning about terpenes he learned about pairing foods with attributes of cannabis


  • There are 3 components in cannabis that give you certain feelings
    • THC gets you high, gives a euphoric feeling
    • Flavonoids
    • Terpenes produce the aroma of cannabis and it determines the ‘mood’ you will be in after smoking
  • Terpenes are produced in all plants and produce, they attract pollinators and help fight disease within the plant
  • THC-A is non-activated THC, meaning it needs a flame or heat to activate it
  • Michael Pollan’s book – Botany of Desire
  • At the base genetic level, our goal is to reproduce and expand
    • “Are we the workers for this plant?” – Philip Wolf

People’s Reactions

  • They are loving it!
  • The average age for a  person who attends Cultivating Spirits is 45
  • Cultivating Spirits focuses on parties and events
  • Old folks are some of the best clientele, they don’t have jobs and they are done with all of the hassles of making a family and working hard for their job, etc.


  • Microserving is one hit
    • Holding cannabis in longer doesn’t get you higher, it’s about the surface area of your lungs
    • So if you expand your lungs very lightly, you will get less high than if you would if you fully expand your lungs when taking a hit


  • Cultivating Spirits operates all over Colorado
    • They are working to expand to Las Vegas
  • They also opened up Cannabition
  • They are taking this business to other places with good heart

Cannabis Nightclubs and Social Consumption Lounges

  • Cannabis isn’t the reason for the decline in alcohol sales, but the desire for new experiences
  • Philip believes it will happen first through coffee shops
    • Everyone needs food, so it’s a great market to integrate into
    • “I use cannabis like I use a cup of coffee, I use it, but I don’t use it all day” – Philip Wolf

Cannabis… Psychedelic?

  • There is a psychoactive part to cannabis
    • Philip says he uses cannabis to deepen his meditation and yoga practice
    • He is a Certified Yoga Teacher
    • Although he is certified to teach, he did it for himself and to learn tools he can use during his whole life
  • Cannabis is a mirror – it’s what’s inside already but getting amplified

First Dinner Approved by Municipality

  • The opening of X-games in Aspen, CO in 2015
    • 5 courses, 5 wines, 5 strains of cannabis
    • A DJ from Thievery Corporation deriving beats from where the food dishes come from
    • Jessica Catalano – Infusion Chef

Learning More


Cultivating Spirits Website
Cannabis Wedding Expo

Check out this FREE online course, “Introduction to Psychedelics”Navigating Psychedelics: Introduction To Psychedelics (101)

About Philip Wolf

Philip Wolf is one of the world’s first pot sommeliers, an expert and pioneer in the field. In 2014, he opened Cultivating Spirits with a mission to show mainstream America how cannabis should be treated. Setting tables with forks, wine, and pipes, Wolf’s pairings are grounded in the science of interpening, which the institute calls “a method used to identify and understand cannabis variety [by] interpreting … terpenes and flower structure.” Wolf can sniff a bud, identify the strain and terpenes, and interpret both the flavor profile and high. The protocol for his dinner with bud pairings is puff, eat, drink.

Maria Carvalho and Helena Valente – Kosmicare, Boom and Psychedelic Emergency Services


Today in the show, Joe talks to Maria Carvalho and Helena Valente, founding members of Kosmicare, a drug testing, and harm reduction service at the Portugal Festival, Boom. Joe talks to Maria and Helena on their personal backgrounds, how they got into Boom, research on recreational use, what harm reduction looks like, and what populations are underserved. Drug use is decriminalized in Portugal, and the focus of risk minimization has been useful in getting the population served versus putting people in prison.

3 Key Points:

  1. Kosmicare is a harm reduction and psychedelic emergency service starting at Boom music festival in Portugal. Working to support other events in Europe.
  2. Boom is in Portugal, where drugs are decriminalized and drug testing is legal. Drug policy has directly affected the number of emergencies that Boom has had.
  3. The Portuguese drug policy has resulted in fewer overdoses, drug-related deaths, and HIV infection. Other countries like the US should consider a drug reform with the current opioid crisis.

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Show Notes

About Kosmicare

  • Kosmicare is a non-profit organization that looks to transform nightlife culture through humanistic, comprehensive and evidence-based policies and interventions
  • They work toward a world where drugs can be used with liberty and wisdom
  • Making festivals safe in Europe

About Maria

  • Psychologist, graduated in 1999 at University of Porto
  • She started working in the field of problematic drug use
    • Growing up in a difficult neighborhood was her purpose for getting into studying psychology and drug use
    • She began focusing on recreational use
    • Her younger brother was into the Electronic Dance scene and positioning himself with using substances
    • She was interested in studying other motivations to use drugs than just using drugs to feed a problem
  • She heard an announcement by MAPS in 2008 recruiting volunteers to do work in psychedelic emergency at Boom
    • It was the perfect match considering her interest in psychology and drug use in recreational environments

About Helena

  • Helena is a Psychologist who was interested in drug use
  • She wanted to have field experience, and she volunteered in a needle exchange program
    • She began working for a harm reduction project to work in recreational settings that needed volunteers
    • She became interested in the potential that drug checking has in the harm reduction strategy
  • They are working toward a ‘drop-in’ where people can show up to a permanent space for drug checking and harm reduction

The Numbers

  • Over 20,000 people showed up to Kosmicare’s information session
  • This year for the first time, Kosmicare had an HPLC (High Performance Liquid Chromatography) to identify LSD and pills
    • They tested over 700 drug samples in 6 days
  • Maria says half of the Boom population gets in contact with Kosmicare
    • They serve 1% of the Boom population for psychedelic emergency (about 350 cases out of 35,000 attendees)
    • The episodes usually have to do with psycho-spiritual situations versus just an emergency about the drug taken

Psychedelic Emergencies

  • Boom is a transformational festival that hosts attendees from over 50 countries
  • Boom is different from Burning Man in that Boom is in Portugal which has a much more legal framework which helps with the services that can be offered
    • Drug policy has directly affected the number of emergencies that Boom has
    • Joe states that there are numbers of regulatory police at Burning Man
    • Kosmicare is included in the entire setup of Boom, which helps reduce the number of scenarios that would cause an emergency at the festival, such as providing shaded areas all over
    • It gets up to 43 degrees Celcius (108 Fahrenheit)
    • But there is a water element so people can refresh themselves
  • In the largest dance areas at the festival, they included medical emergency Teepees so attendees could be helped as quickly as possible

Recreational Drug Use

  • They did a survey on recreational drug use and most of the respondents said they use drugs in a beneficial way that doesn’t interrupt their lives in a bad way
    • Similarly with Boom attendees, most of them want to use harm reduction techniques so they have positive experiences and don’t develop problems with their drug use
    • Mat Southwell “drug users are calculated risk takers”
    • “The legal framework has a terrible influence on people’s relationship with drugs” – Helena

Lessons Learned

  • Maria says they have had many groundbreaking challenges
  • In 2016 they had someone die on them while having a psychedelic emergency
    • It made her really question why she was doing this
    • Her first impression was that she was doing this work to save the inexperienced user
    • She was caught off guard by the person who died because they were an experienced user and didn’t taking unadulterated substances
    • “People may go over the top for a wide variety of reasons, it was the biggest lesson I learned working for the Psychedelic Emergency services” – Maria
    • It’s hard to determine people’s ability to calculate risks
    • If the person had collapsed in front of an urban hospital in the city, the Hospital couldn’t have done anything more than what they did at Kosmicare


  • Kosmicare has a collaborative relationship with Zendo
  • MAPS was hired by Boom to direct the harm reduction services
  • They use a lot of Stan Grof techniques for transpersonal psychology
  • They are partnered with many other organizations in Europe that are trying to deliver the same type of psychedelic emergency and harm reduction services

The Risks of Drug Policy

  • Joe points out that there are so many festivals happening without these services
    • The Rave Act prevents companies from attending festivals because it “harbors” drug use
  • In Portugal, the fact that drug use is decriminalized, it opened up a legal framework around harm reduction
    • Portugal is one of the few countries where drug checking is allowed by law
    • The Portuguese drug policy has resulted in fewer overdoses, drug-related deaths, HIV infection, tuberculosis and other things
  • Helena says that the US should rethink their drug policy considering the opioid epidemic
    • In Portugal, there were only 12 overdose cases with heroin and opioids

Portugal before the Drug Policy

  • In the 80’s, there was a heroin epidemic, which had an epidemic of high infection rates and HIV. This motivated the policy change
    • It was evident that prohibition was not working
  • Usually when it affects only poor people, no one cares, but the fentanyl crisis is affecting all sorts of populations



Check out this FREE online course, “Introduction to Psychedelics”Navigating Psychedelics: Introduction To Psychedelics (101)

About Maria

Maria Carmo Carvalho, Kosmicare Manager, Boom Festival, Portugal, is a Lecturer at the Faculty of Education and Psychology at the Catholic University of Portugal. She researches if the field of psychoactive substance use and has completed a MSc and a PhD at the University of Porto on the field of psychoactive substance use, youth and recreational environments. She is Vice-President of ICEERS and Kosmicare Boom Festival manager since 2012.

About Helena

Helena Valente began working with people that use drugs in 2004, focusing in nightlife settings. Helena has a vast experience in coordinating national and European projects in the drug field. At the moment she is a researcher and PhD. Candidate at the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences of the Porto University and founding member of Kosmicare Association.

Lori Tipton and Shari Taylor – A First Hand Report of MDMA Therapy for PTSD


In this episode, Lori shares her first hand experience of MDMA Therapy assisted by Therapist, Shari Taylor. Shari Taylor is a PhD, MSN and RYT(Registered Yoga Teacher).
Both from New Orleans, Lori Tipton was Shari’s MDMA patient who suffered from traumatic life experiences and PTSD.

3 Key Points:

  1. Lori shares her heartfelt story about her experience in healing her PTSD in MDMA Therapy
  2. Before her therapy, Lori says she struggled with loving herself, and the fact that she loves herself now after her healing is the reason she is alive today
  3. Lori says she wants people to understand that this is a legitimate form of therapy, and wants this to be accessible to everyone

Support the show

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Show Notes

About Lori

  • Lori has a love/hate relationship with social media
    • She saw on Facebook that they were opening the phase 3 trials for MDMA therapy in New Orleans
    • Sent an email on a whim and Shari replied
    • They looked for people who suffered from significant traumatic events in their lives
      • Lori lost her brother to a drug overdose, her mother killed two people and she was the one to discover their bodies, and she was raped by someone she trusted and got pregnant and then had an abortion
    • Lori says there was an extensive screening process and psychometric testing
      • “You become more of a manifestation of the disorder, and it starts to become who you are” – Lori
      • She felt so ‘untethered’ and removed from everyone and everything because of her PTSD

Day one of Therapy

  • There are many sessions before even taking MDMA to get to know each other first
    • Set and setting are so important
  • Lori says she went in with an open mindset, but was so skeptical
    • She had seen psychologists, psychiatrists, endocrinologists, dietitians, taken anti anxiety meds and antidepressants, went vegan, became a yoga teacher, and even saw a witch doctor
    • But she was nervous that she was going to go into the sessions and come out a different person, which had her start to question who she really was

Taking the MDMA

  • She was offered the MDMA, and she accepted it
    • She lied there, started to feel the effects, listened to the music playing and it reminded her of a film she had seen
      • Buddy Boulden a trumpet player, who passed away at 30 at a mental institution in Louisiana
      • So this just popped into her head and then she told Shari about it and then next thing she knew she was telling her about her mother and her rape
  • The way that MDMA worked for her in the first session is that when she had a memory, she could feel it, and she hadn’t truly felt the feelings from those memories before
  • As the session ended, it was anticlimactic
    • She said it was like dipping the corner of a towel in water, the water would eventually cover the whole towel
    • The amygdala is getting shut down in therapy, so you’re able to bring up these memories without getting overwhelmed

Days Following Therapy

  • Lori said after the first session, it was awesome! She went and got pizza and it was the best pizza she has ever had in her life!
    • The first session of MDMA allowed her to experience life in a way she hadn’t been in years
    • Her partner noticed her enjoying the world, and noticed the changes the most
    • Lori wrote a lot before going into the sessions, and writing has helped her with her healing

The Second Session

  • Having PTSD led her to repress her feelings
    • When she locked up her fear and anxiety, she unfortunately locked up happiness too
  • In the second session she took more MDMA, and it really helped her
    • She felt she was able to really separate herself from her memories and feelings and emotions
    • “It was like taking off a pair of foggy glasses and it was so empowering” – Lori
      • Joe mentions that after his one and only ayahuasca session, he got a strong message that he needed to reconnect to his family
      • He says MDMA is so special in that it allows you to feel love in such a strong way, unbounded
        • Lori says she struggled with loving herself, and the fact that she loves herself now is the reason she is alive today
      • She says her experience is proof that MDMA is not a schedule 1 drug
        • Joe says he hopes that the testing goes well to move MDMA into an accessible space
        • Lori agrees and wants this to be accessible for everyone in her life
        • She believes its revolutionary for psychology
  • After the second session, she didn’t want to run away from her feelings, she didn’t want to kill herself
    • Healing isn’t always pretty, sometimes it looks like crying on the couch for 6 hours of the day
    • She knew she had to be with those feelings
  • Her therapist and her tarot card reader both said she would be more of herself after the therapy

The Third Session

  • She believes in the power of the drug, but it was also the support of the therapists. The combination of the two is where magic happened
  • After walking into her mother’s death, she couldn’t remember so many parts of those moments
    • In that third session, she revisited that memory, and was more present in her memory than what she saw in that moment in her real life
    • She remembered things she wasn’t able to remember from her life from over a decade
    • She was able to have such empathy for herself in that situation
    • In that moment, she would have been full of so much shame or blame and she was able to empathize with herself and forgive herself
    • “These types of experiences transcend words of how it feels to release that pain” – Lori
  • With the feeling of the release about her memory with her mother, she then began to talk about her rape and her whole demeanor shifted
    • She was talking about it in an angry tone
    • She had triggers post rape, when trying to have sex with someone she loved and it felt like a tiger entered the room, just frightened and in fear
    • Certain yoga poses also triggered this PTSD response
      • In the therapy session, Shari asked her to try entering into the yoga poses that gave her those feelings
      • Lori was overcome with anxiety, fear, she cried, and felt like she was in hell
      • Shari asked “what are you feeling?”
      • Lori said she felt afraid and full of fear
      • And Shari looked at her and asked “what does that feeling need?”
      • Lori responded and said “it just needs to be heard”
        • After that moment, she felt this huge release
        • “There are very few moments in my life that are so profound and beautiful and meaningful to me” – Lori
        • Joe said there is some magic in yoga to unveil certain energies when working through PTSD


  • She stayed the night each time after a session
  • The morning after she had an integrative session
    • She felt like she accomplished more than she even thought was possible
    • There was not a part of her that understood how magnificent her experience was going to be
    • She has been given the gift of being present in the moment
    • She now has the ability to be with the people she loves, it changed her life
  • To a therapist, who really wants people to be their best selves, this has to be a beautiful thing to see
  • Joe says we are seeing movement with this kind of therapy
    • With trials, publications, and people coming forward with their stories, its changing the mental health narrative
    • Lori wants people to understand that this is a legitimate therapy
    • “To deny this therapy is a disservice to human kind” – Lori

Life for Lori After MDMA Therapy

  • Startle response is so low
    • She works in a bar, and things are dropped and she used to jump at everything, and now she doesn’t anymore
  • She’s less quick to get angry because she’s not thinking about all of the horrible stuff that could happen at the next moment
  • Her ability to be present in the moment has helped her raise her son
  • She doesn’t have triggering moments when she is aroused
  • She is feeling joy and happiness in a way she hasn’t felt in over a decade

Shari’s Thoughts

  • Hearing Lori’s story gave her a new passion in her field
  • Chipping away at the barriers through MDMA therapy is so remarkable
    • Therapists create a safe environment with trust and the ability for patients to allow their barriers to fall down so that their inner healer can come out, to help them heal themselves
  • She feels so lucky to be a part of this type of therapy
    • Stan Grof – inner healer
    • The same way that your body knows how to heal a wound on your hand, your mind also knows how to heal your psyche
  • After Hurricane Katrina, suicide rates tripled
  • Shari gets hundreds of emails from people wanting to be in this study, she hopes or it to become more available for people in the future
  • For people who are more interested in learning about these trials, get on the MAPS mailing list
  • Joe says or someone with PTSD symptoms, it’s not always the best idea to go down to Peru and do ayahuasca, they could get re-traumatized
    • Joe hopes for expanded access sooner than completion of phase 3 testing
  • He says for therapists interested in MDMA therapy, he really hopes they dive in and learn a lot

Final Thoughts

  • Having discussions like this, storytelling, has the ability to change many people’s mindsets
  • Taking MDMA away from counterculture will be the quicker we can see drug reform
  • Whether we see decriminalization, or given expanded access, we need to be aware of what that looks like so everyone can have access to this experience
  • It’s important to break the stigma of psychedelics so people are more open to their benefits

Main Goals

  • We want doctors to be able to use these drugs
  • We want people to to use these drugs without going to jail
  • We want a flourishing underground provider network that are skilled
  • We need to keep working toward re-scheduling



The Mind-Body Project

Check out this FREE online course, “Introduction to Psychedelics”Navigating Psychedelics: Introduction To Psychedelics (101)

About Lori Tipton

Lori Tipton is an MDMA Assisted Therapy patient who suffered from traumatic life experiences and PTSD.

About Dr. Shari Taylor

Dr. Shari Taylor holds a PhD in Psychology from Northcentral University, a Master’s of Science in Nursing from the University of South Alabama, and a Post-Master’s of Science from the University of Wisconsin-Madison specializing in the field of child/adolescent psychology. She is a Registered Yoga Therapist and teaches yoga both privately and in a class setting. Dr. Taylor is an avid participant in the art, music, and culture scene in New Orleans, Louisiana. She is continually enrolled in courses and workshops to expand her knowledge of nutrition, psychology, wellness, and spirituality.