This past weekend I had the pleasure of spending a few days in Ojai and getting to experience part of the Cannabliss Retreat, created by Sari Gabbay and co-hosted with Lori Barron, Karina Vottchall and Stephan Gardner. This retreat was so highly anticipated that even Seth Meyers gave it a shout out on The Late Show on May 12th. “It’s a five-day marijuana festival that lasts ten days,” the host quipped.
I was invited to take part in a Cannabis and Intimacy panel alongside Molly Peckler, founder of Highly Devoted, and Mathew Gerson, CEO of Foria. Our panel was at 4pm on Friday, so I drove up with my lover B that morning so that he could see me speak and get to meet some of my fantastic cannabis industry colleagues. After checking into our off site AirBnB, we headed over to Black Walnut Ranch, the stunning venue that Sari chose for the retreat. We weren’t sure we were at the right place but then we spotted the Foria van and knew we’d found it. As we made our way inside, we ran into Sari and Lori and I received a gift bag filled with delightful goodies from Papa & Barkley, Apothecanna, ChakraChews, Zen Stix, Medicine Box, Mellows, 4.20 Bar, Torii Re-Leaf, and of course, Foria.
Since it wasn’t quite time for the panel to begin, we made our way to the Grassfed bud bar, hosted by Dan Braunstein himself. There were VapeXhale and Firefly options for vaping the ample flower from Flow Kana and Humboldt Brothers. I enjoyed a balanced hybrid strain from Flow Kana right before my panel and, although I don’t get nervous speaking in public, the strain allowed me to feel an extra layer of calm and focus during the presentation.
Sari moderated the panel superbly, allowing Molly, Mathew and I to each share our insights on using cannabis to deepen intimacy in relationships and enhance sexy fun times—solo or partnered. I gave a quick pleasure-based anatomy lesson of the vulva with my plush vulva puppet and explained how to properly apply Foria Pleasure, the THC-infused coconut oil spray. Molly shared the story of how she and her husband Marc got together in college, bonding over a joint, and how cannabis has become an integral part of their relationship. One of my favorite examples is one she shares about the “peace pipe” in their house—when they get frustrated with one another (as all couples do sometimes), they pause, pack the peace pipe and smoke together to calm down—promoting both presence and compassion.
After the panel there was some chill time and yoga, followed by a cacao ceremony, a sound bath by sound healer Marco Amarante, and finally an infused dinner created by Chef Gladys Nyoth. Her cooking is an explosion of flavor and a feast for the senses—not to be missed if you can ever attend one of her meals. Before B and I left, we had time to sit with Chakra Khan, founder of Esoteric Edibles, for an anniversary tarot card reading. It was spot on and we were both wide eyed with our mouths hanging open by the end.
The offerings throughout the week were a diverse array of cannabis and plant medicine enhanced experiences. Panels, exercises, group activities, personal development time, body treatments…it was masterfully curated. I hope to make it out for the entire five days of the retreat at the next one, because it’s clear that Sari Gabbay and her cohort know how to cultivate a rich tapestry of sensory delights showcasing the magic of plant medicine. Even the short time I spent there will stay with me for a long time to come.