05.22.2017
wellness

Immerse Yourselves In A Cannabis Influenced Sensory Experience

There is no experience quite like driving down California's Pacific Coast Highway. The feelings of open-road-induced excitement intensify as you careen through Topanga Canyon and up into the mountains en route to an elevated sensory experience. 

On a recent Saturday, I was excitedly anticipating Immersion, a cannabis-influenced event hosted by Sasha Perelmen and Anya Matusevich of Higher Beauty and Katie Partlow of Little Face Events. 

Like most of the people in attendance, before arriving, we really didn't know what to expect, and part of the allure was the notion of entering the unknown, trusting the hosts to deliver the unexpected, and just allowing myself to be present in the moment without having to know what would be coming next. This anticipatory act of letting go was an exercise in freedom, openness, and being cognizant of things outside of my own control.

Our lovely hostesses' intention of Immersion, was to, “immerse the guests in an engaging experience," where we were invited to "focus on our surroundings and interactions with people.”

“Since education is such a huge component of our company, we wanted to create an event where cannabis culture meets medical cannabis, and people learn and experience cannabis through their five senses," says organizer Anya Matusevich.  

As I entered a gorgeous Malibu mansion situated on top of the Santa Monica mountains and surrounded by 360 degrees of scenic ocean and mountain views and epic sunsets, I couldn’t help but lose myself in the environment that was created for me (and the 75+ other guests). This is a good thing.  

Photos courtesy of Alanna You

After a quick introduction, the event organizers split attendees into groups and we were off to immerse ourselves with the help of cannabis and in the spirit of connectivity. The goal was to activate each sense via experiential activities.

The first one I tried was "Sight," which was lead by artist Shirly Keren. The cannabis pairing for this activity was provided by Bloom Farms, who had setup a vape bar on site. The divine Blue Dream strain––a personal favorite––served as a perfect catalyst to tap into a creative mindset, and channel my inner artist. During this activity, we were instructed to choose a card from a Tarot deck containing a word and paint what that word meant to us on a collective canvas. My card read "gratitude," and man, was I feeling it! 

Our next stop was "Taste," and I was really excited to try this one as the food smelled divine.

Chef Gladys Nyoth lead the African-cuisine-inspired culinary experience first by blindfolding us, and serving us with course after course of delicious bites. The meal consisted of fall-off-the-bone-tender meat, plantains, puff pastries, and rice, each element brought to life by spices and sauces that delightfully surprised every tastebud on my tongue. The chocolate dessert and infused cocktail was provided by Medicine Box, and I was really happy that by this point, we had some non-medicated options to choose from, as I’m a bit of a lightweight.

With a full tummy, eager heart, and a great buzz, I was ready to experience "Smell," which was led by Cindy Lu of Malibu Essential Oils. I looked forward to this portion of the event specifically because we'd be learning about the different aromatic elements of cannabis. 

Once again blindfolded, we were left to our sweet smelling devices and allowed to immerse our faces into bags full of OG Kush flower from Lowell Farms. This familiarity really allowed us to tap into a deeper understanding of the plant's terpenes and the different scents of various strains. During this divine, olfactory exercise, we learned about how the smells interact with the endocannabinoid system, and how certain smells can stimulate our parasympathetic nervous system.

Moving on to "Touch," we sat outside just before the sun set over the mountains, meditated and did some Qi Gong, with Papa and Barkley ReLeaf Balm. This portion of Immersion was lead by Eva Huie, who took us through a self-actualized meditation session. As we laid on the mats and became deeply in-tune with our bodies, we stimulated our skin cells by using a dry brush, and released stagnant energy as we moved in a synergistic flow. 

It was truly rejuvenating!

Lastly, was "Sound." For me, this sensory experience is the one that really transported me out of my body and into different realms of being. We entered a room located just off the main house, and laid down on pillows and blankets in the dark. This wasn't the typical sound bath experience––if such a thing exists. This experience was ceremonial, incorporated a myriad of instruments, including the didgeridoo, and took me on an inward journey that completely blew me away! Once it was over, I had to really focus on coming back down to earth. It was the perfect way to complete the overall sensory immersion.

Upon our return to the here and now, attendees mingled, snacked on the remaining food, and discussed our individual experiences, exploring what ways cannabis can act as a sensory catalyst. 

Events such as Immersion allow one to learn about which senses actually stimulate one's internal vibrations and feelings most. I've always considered myself to be a visual person, but this event made me realize that sound and smell are the ones that resonate the deepest within me. 

As such, Immersion was a game changer, and in regard to any other marijuana-focused events, a tough act to follow.  Cannabis is an experiential tool and can truly enhance your life if used properly. The combination of providing the experiences in a mindful setting with an educational touch really reverses the stigma attached to the plant. I’m looking forward to seeing more events like these become mainstream as the normalization movement gains momentum.

All photos courtesy of Alanna You.

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