How weed, coffee, and exercise can put your brain in its most productive place

How weed, coffee, and exercise can put your brain in its most productive place

Curated via Twitter from Mashable’s twitter account….

This expert was Nevada weed guy, aka multi-bestselling author Steven Kotler, who founded a company, the Flow Research Collective, formerly the Flow Genome Project.

All respect to Snoop, but the true headliner of the talks was an expert in the fascinating brain state for which the company was named: flow. (Some say "in the zone," musicians talk of "the pocket," but we all know flow: that moment where time has no meaning and your ego vanishes and you just accomplish, effortlessly.

But for those that do know how to limit themselves, and can mix in the right amounts of caffeine and exercise, then Kotler’s science suggests the benefits of flow — a frontier of perfect productivity — may await.

Endorphins should come first, Kotler emphasizes: Ideally, you should exercise for a good 20 minutes or more to trigger the flow state.

Kotler also headlines Flow Kana’s first podcast, hosted by National Geographic channel’s Jason Silva and released this week.

"Action sport athletes for years have been combining exercise, coffee, and cannabis into a ‘hippie speedball,’ and they’ve been using it as a performance-enhancing chemical," Kotler said.

"Everyone’s flow triggers are different," he says, and he is constantly pointing out that more research is needed. (He’s particularly excited about the portable MRI machines now being developed, by ex-Facebook executive Mary Lou Jepsen among others, which if they pan out will turn the cost of multimillion-dollar flow studies into "pennies on the dollar".

Looking around the Flow Kana Institute, listening to the earnest talks that followed Kotler’s, it was hard not to believe it.

The talk opened with an arresting anecdote from the 1990s, when Kotler was a reporter covering extreme sports. He found himself at 7 a. m. one morning in windy, 10 below zero weather at the top of the terrifying Palisades, the steepest peak in California’s Olympic wintersport Mecca, Squaw Valley, with eight world-class skiers.

Studies have shown that being in flow spikes levels of creativity and executive productivity, often for days after the flow state; DARPA says it lets you learn new things 490 percent faster.

The pot company is Flow Kana, which pitches itself as an organic farm-to-table service — a weed middleman, basically, and a rising star in the cannabis world.

I’ve watched Flow Kana’s expansion up close, ever since I met its gregarious Venezualan-American CEO, Mikey Steinmetz, at his 2015 launch party at a home in the Berkeley Hills where the generous trays of joints and the excited conversations of VCs spoke of an industry being born.

Not only do we know what flow looks like in the brain, thanks to the wondrous MRI machine, we know exactly what neurochemicals are present when we enter that mystical state of perfect productivity: dopamine, anadamide, seratonin, and endorphins.

Brain science has taken giant leaps forward since flow was first identified in the 1970s by renowned psychology professor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (appropriately, his name is pronounced "chick sent me high").

As he does this, Nevada guy explains why weed, alongside the other drug we had that morning at camp, the psychoactive bean juice commonly known as coffee, provides a way into a brain state prized by athletes, monks, and every creative person ever.

And down from the Saloon on a vast stage-tent setup, the centerpiece of a new content-first plan: Flow Talks, the weed industry’s answer to TED.

Answer: Performance enhancement, combined with exercise, was chemically indistinguishable from the state of flow.

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