Seibo Shen is the co-founder and CEO of VapeXHale.
A former stuntman Seibo began a crazy quest to find the best vaporizer. After trying hundreds of vaporizers he finally gave up and decided to make his own. He posted his plan online and got over a million views to his site that documented his quest to make the perfect vaporizer. The end result is the VapeXhale.
Hear about Seibo’s quest and why athletes from MMA and the NFL seek his advice on how to effectively use cannabis.
[3:27] – What is VapeXhale?
[5:07] – Seibo’s background and starting VapeXhale
[10:01] – Seibo talks about his high-tech career
[13:30] – Seibo talks about passion in business
[17:33] – Seibo talks about his blog that started the VapeXhale journey
[18:57] – Developing VapeXhale
[26:11] – Concentrates and VapeXhale
[31:58] – Seibo talks about working with athletes
[42:01] – Tweaking cannabis for athletes
[46:55] – What sports benefit most by using cannabis
[49:29] – Seibo answers personal development questions
[1:00:40].0 – Contact details
Learn more about the VapeXHale and get a discount at:
If you’re like me, you look out into the marketplace and see an ocean of vaporizers. However, there are few that really stand out. One company that goes to a near obsessive level, producing top of line desktop vaporizers is VapeXhale. I am pleased to welcome Seibo Shen, the Co-Founder and CEO of VapeXhale, to CannaInsider today. Welcome to CannaInsider Seibo.
Seibo: Hey, thank you for having me. I’m very excited to be here.
Matthew: Give listeners a sense of geography. Where are you in the world today?
Seibo: We are in San Francisco, California. That’s our headquarters, and yesterday we were in Los Vegas, doing something called the ASD Show, which is the world’s largest retail show, and it was one of the first that wasn’t a cannabis oriented show. So we were really happy to represent our company there.
Matthew: Cool. So that was like a general technology-type show.
Seibo: No, it was actually… ASD was for retail. So believe it or not, they had a little bit of everything for everyone. There was furniture, clothing, just knickknacks that you could import worldwide, but most importantly, they started doing what they call Culture Plus, which I guess was euphemism for cannabis, without saying cannabis.
Matthew: That’s funny. That’s a funny way of getting around that.
Seibo: Totally, and what was interesting was, and sorry to go on a tangent, is they had things that would be in a gas station, and then they had things that would be in the highest end head shops. So anything from (1.56 unclear) to male enhancement pills, all the way up to $20,000 Quave bongs. So, it was just really interesting to see such a wide variety of people, with varying levels of knowledge of cannabis look at all these things for the very first time and listen to us talk about why our vaporizer and our technology is head and shoulders above others.
Matthew: I like how you said male enhancement pill there. Wonder what you mean by that? Could you elaborate? I’m just kidding, but I do always ask when I’m at a gas station, I always ask the cashier, I say, you got a lot of knickknacks all over by the corner here, the counter, what sells the best? I’m just curious, because they have so much stuff. It’s like right there, it looks like for a reason. I’m just curious, and they’ll tell me. It’s just interesting to understand the patterns of what people want.
Seibo: Yeah, I mean, what’s even more interesting is I went up just to see what the sales pitch was and the first thing the guy says is, you know the male erection is a very complicated thing. I almost walked away at that point, but I listened to the rest, and it was your regular kind of sales pitch about how the ladies would be more attracted to you, more satisfied and ultimately why you would be like the hero of your own movie.
Matthew: Oh wow, they really paint a picture there. That’s good.
Matthew: Give us a really high level view of what VapeXhale is, so people can understand.
Seibo: Yeah, absolutely. So just a high level overview. We really tried to designed a vaporizer that was really optimized for not only the health aspect of vaping, which most vaporizers do, but also to put an emphasis on the user experience. And what I mean by that is the flavor, the smoothness of the vapor and the efficacy of the activation level and efficiency of transferring the cannabinoids from a solid state into a gascious state. And because our methodology or our ideology was to create a vaporizer that really promoted a really high user experience, we ended up finding out that many of our customers tended to be very aspirational people, people that were in the top one or top five percent of whatever field that they were doing, whether businessman, artist, athlete.
Through that we were able to meet a lot of high performing individuals that were utilizing cannabis to improve their life. And we’ve really kind of settled on this mantra of promoting responsible cannabis use, and trying to help people utilize cannabis in a positive way that doesn’t take away from their lives but really enhances it. And we like to call, it’s not a pro-cannabis company, but more of a pro-responsible cannabis use company. And that is all the way from how you use it to how you’re ingesting it.
Matthew: You have an interesting background. Can you tell us a little bit about your background, and then why you got so obsessively involved--I say that in a good way--in creating VapeXhale, what you saw in the marketplace and why you started.
Seibo: Yeah absolutely. So if we just kind of rewind the tape back to 1997 when I first discovered cannabis, I was 21 years old, in college. At that time I had worked a couple years as a stuntman. I had been accumulating quite a few injuries, and my roommate was a fellow stuntman who consumed cannabis every single day. And for some reason for me it wasn’t that I was anti cannabis, I just looked at my roommate who had all the promise in the world, and he seemed to really lack motivation, and I thought it was because of the cannabis.
And ultimately one day, after I had swallowed another eight ibuprofens and was complaining about my stomach, he turns to me and said, Seibo, this stuff is awesome for muscle pain. You’ve been complaining about this a long time. Just try it once and see how it works. So I finally gave in. I tried it once and it was through a water pipe. And not only did I enjoy the physical sensation, but me and my roommate we just laughed. We talked about a whole bunch of different things that were kind of outside of my normal sphere of conversation, and I really enjoyed that intellectual stimulation.
I actually began becoming a much more sympathetic and empathetic person because of it because I don’t want to say like singularly focused type of individual, but I had this idea that I would some day become a profession athlete, and everything around my life from my diet to my training was leading to become a professional athlete. Never mind the fact I was only 5’7 and 125 pounds and my sport of choice was football, but there was just a little bit of delusion in that. Once I started consuming the cannabis, not only did it dissolve the pain, but like I said, it started dissolving my ego where I started understanding hey I’m doing these things because I’m actually a small, insecure guy trying to be macho.
Before I used to just think I was just a macho guy, and I was a little guy that knew how to kick ass. But it was really a lot of that confidence was really hiding the insecurity. The cannabis, in a weird way, it revealed it to me in a way that it almost made me paranoid, but once I got over it, I started seeing there’s a lot of self-discovery that could happen with cannabis. As we’ve been looking and working with other athletes, we started seeing a very tight linkage between emotional pain and physical pain, and started experimenting with how cannabis could be utilized to not just reduce physical pain but emotional pain through conversations and basically peer groups to help people feel like they’re not isolated or for whatever reason. We work with veterans and athletes.
The idea is how do we use cannabis, not to just promote physical health, but also because there’s so many emotional benefits that you can get from it. Help people better understand how to properly utilize cannabis without abusing it, if that makes any sense.
Matthew: Sure. That makes total sense. Now did you have an epiphany at all the first time you consumed cannabis where you said hey maybe these stoners who I always looked down on they were right. They were right this whole time.
Seibo: I definitely became an instant evangelist. I went from pointing to the frying pan with the egg in it to saying that we’ve been suppressed this whole time by our government. And I’ve basically gone to the other end of the pendulum, and about that time, I think, broadband internet started coming into proliferation so I was just spending so much time on the internet. And I guess, that’s a really good segue into well, I had all these amazing benefits from cannabis, but smoking it, there was still some sort of dissonance within me to smoke something that was going to make me feel better.
So I stumbled across something that was called a vaporizer. It was essentially a heat gun that you bought at Home Depot with some glass components that allowed you to channel the heat from the heat gun into some shredded herb and vaporize it. And instantly I felt like I was on to something and from 1997 to 2010, 13 years, I probably bought easily 125 vaporizers, just out of curiosity and that being my hobby. And finally after 2010, my wife looked at me and was like, you know what, instead of working on high tech, I think you should design one of these. You obviously have a lot of passion for it. What was interesting was it was something that I had been thinking about for quite some time and once my wife, verbalized it, it was all that I needed to kind of get off and just start sprinting towards creating this vaporizer.
Matthew: What were you doing in the high tech arena there in the Bay Area?
Seibo: Yeah, so really interesting story, and I’ll keep it short, is I worked in high tech. I was mainly in sales and business development roles. I had also worked for five companies as employee ten or earlier, and just really learned about not only how to sell software, but how to grow and scale companies. And after I saw that five times, I decided I think it’s time where I feel confident to run my own company, despite being a sociology major.
Matthew: Yeah, so I was just going to ask you, you’re a sociology major. You worked in sales and business development at tech companies, and then getting involved in developing vaporizers is quite different. Requires, I guess, some mechanical engineering, definitely electrical engineering. I mean, how do you cross that bridge? Is it just you’re so interested and passionate that you just delved in and just learned whatever you need to, to make it happen?
Seibo: You know, that’s definitely one part of the equation, and the great thing about living today is the internet is such an awesome resource for information. And I watched YouTube videos. I read a bunch of blogs, and ultimately what I ended up doing was I noticed that things like Twitter, Facebook, social media was becoming very prevalent and people were utilizing it as a way to either disseminate a lot of information quickly or to get a lot of feedback quickly.
So I started a blog called ‘The World’s Greatest Vaporizer’. And it was just a blog saying, I want to create the world’s greatest vaporizer. I’m a sociology major, although I work in high tech and I’m Asian. I am not an engineer. I need help. And within the first year we had over a million views, probably over 50 different actual engineers were contributing to all these ideas and essentially I just collated the ideas and brought them to a mechanical engineer who had a little bit of expertise in electrical, and he put together the first prototype for us that we took to Cannabis Cup, and we ended up winning.
Once we won Cannabis Cup, I was able to raise some money and really bring this thing to market. But the truth of the matter is a lot of the information that I did not know, I don’t want to sound like a hippy, but I just reached out to the universe of the internet, asked the question, and like I said, before the first year ended we had over a million views on that website. I like to think that’s why the vaporizer turned out the way it did, and it was because it wasn’t designed by one person or one team. It was designed by over 2,000 people that were actively participating in this thread, and I just had the wherewithal or the stamina to read through all of it and just kind of collate and pick out the best information and put that into the VapeXhale EVO.
Matthew: I’m sure a lot of people listening think that the destination of having a successful business is where it’s at, that’s where all the juice and energy comes from, but I have a feeling when you were going through this process of iteration and on this quest to create VapeXhale, you were probably in a real deep flow state, trying things over and over, thinking about them all the time. It’s like having a great book you can’t wait to pick up again. Was it just that sensation of ah, I feel like I’m on to something here?
Seibo: Oh man, the way you just described it, I had goose bumps because ever since I was little, I mean, I know that I have at least average native intelligence. I actually thought I was like a gifted individual when I was younger, regardless of the fact that I haven’t accomplished anything. I was just like I’m special. And as I became a 20 year old, as I graduated college and just started working, I really started like falling into this rut of okay, wait, I’m not special. Everything that I said wouldn’t happen to me. I will never be like my dad. I’m just like my dad, and I started seeing all these things where I was like, you know, actually I think I’m just a normal guy.
Ultimately once, my wife told me I could make vaporizers, another part of my brain just activated. It was almost like being in college again. Everything was exciting and new, and it really kind of taught me. I thought I knew what it meant to be passionate about something, but what I realized was all of my previous passions in life was just something that I was really interested in. And you are absolutely right. I mean without this passion for vaporization, there were at least, I can count, probably 20 times where I was ready to quit. Throw in the towel and just say I’m going to go back to my day job. I mean, I was making a quarter million a year working 40 hours a week.
I wasn’t stressed out. By that time I had figured out the code of how to just, I don’t want to say coast by, because I was in a sales position, but I figured out a formula that worked for me where I wouldn’t be stressed out at the end of each quarter trying to make my number. Without that passion, I definitely would have given up because it was much easier. I mean, I still make less now than I did before, but I’m much happier, but without that passion and that kind of fortitude, I definitely would have thrown in the towel many times. When I stumble upon other entrepreneurs or there’s other entrepreneurs that want to hear my story, I tell them it’s really important just to go all in on whatever you’re doing because if you don’t go all in, and you feel like there’s some sort of excuse, then there will always be that excuse in the back of your mind, especially if you fail.
So for example, for the first three years of this company I still worked my day job and I was justifying that I had a family and I had to feed the kids and blah, blah, blah. But in reality I was really just holding the company back because, you know, 40 hours of my work week was going towards my day job, and whatever I could contribute to VapeXhale would be what I could contribute. And ultimately when I decoupled from my day job, I mean, in the first six months we made more traction than the first two and a half years. And it really did kind of just cemented my brain that it’s really important to find what you’re passionate about, and then when you find it to really kind of attack it all in so that you don’t give yourself any type of excuse for your success or for your failure, and that’s the great thing.
It’s become very binary. Now I know this success happened because of my effort. This disappointment happened because my lack of effort. When I work for someone else I used to make all these excuses like, oh well my manager just made a bad call and because we were following his orders, this didn’t go through. Now I just realize that was a lot of just excuse making. And what I love about being an entrepreneur is the amount of accountability you have to have over yourself, and now I’ve been able to transfer that into my personal life as well and have much more engaging and rich relationships with my wife, my kids and my friends.
Matthew: That is great. That is a form of lifestyle design. It sounds wonderful.
Seibo: Thank you.
Matthew: Let’s jump into some of the specifics of you started this website, ‘The World’s Best Vaporizer’, first I’m just curious, how did you get traffic? How did people find out about it?
Seibo: So we actually linked it to a popular website. Maybe popular is a bit of a stretch, but it was a very popular underground website called ‘Fuck Combustion’. When I’m describing this to investors and they’re like what’s the name of the website. I’m super embarrassed to say the name of the website. As you can imagine, you know, they are anti-combustion people and really love vaporizers. So they had actually really good traffic despite that it was such a niche thing back in 1997, but yeah just through that we were able to kind of pick up and utilize their platform to get more eyeballs on what we were doing.
Matthew: Yeah that site is still around today. It’s definitely like the Fight Club of vaporization. I mean, these are committed folks there. So that’s cool. Okay so, you start this in a really public way and you get all these people coming to your website. I love the honesty that probably attracted a lot of people that can help you. What were the kind of things that jumped out to you early on, on how you wanted to make VapeXhale different or the problems you wanted to make sure you avoided that other vaporizers had in common?
Seibo: Yeah, so there were a few challenges that we wanted to address. As I said, I have been vaping since 1997 and became a huge evangelist of it. I’ve been really trying to get, you know, most of my friends, we’re all over 35 now, to convert to vaporization. And I had very little success, and what they told me was vaping isn’t as potent as smoking. Vaping doesn’t taste the same as smoking. Vaping also, like when you’re filling a water pipe, vaping is like drinking skim milk, if you’ve been drinking whole milk your whole life. It’s kind of the same, but it’s not the same.
So I went into this really trying to attack the user experience. I really wanted to address all those issues that people had about potency, about flavor, about the actual visuals of the vapor as well. So one of the things that I really ask the people was is there a way that we could improve the efficiency of the sublimation process of turning the THC crystal from a solid to a gas. And different things were talked about like increasing air turbulence within the air path, creating a vacuum to lower the boiling point of the repository of the flower.
So we took a bunch of these hypotheses. Another one was like doing Venturia Effect [ph], which is forcing a larger volume of air into a smaller chamber, and that also kind of tricks the boiling point of the cannabis or whatever is in that repository. So we did a combination of all those things to improve the opacity of the vapor. Once we did that we realized oh my goodness, this vapor is so thick right now that it’s making it difficult compared to other vaporizers to inhale because of the concentration of the vapor. So we ended up creating these hydra-tubes or moisture conditioned mouthpieces that sit right on top of the vaporizer that allow you to, or not allows you, that actually smoothes out and moisture conditions the vapor so that it’s much cooler and doesn’t dry out your throat, that way you can continue to medicate at the level that you want to without any throat irritation to get in the way.
I understand that. Some people listening might be like wow you guys need to consume that much cannabis to get to that medication level. And surprisingly the answer is yes. I mean, I’ve worked with a lot of NFL players and for me I may only need a tenth of a gram to get to the medication level that I need, but these guys that are over 300 pounds, I mean, I watched one of them take five dabs the very first time he ever dabbed, and he could handle it. And what we’ve come to understand is the more pain that you have in your body, I believe, there is some correlation between how much cannabinoids you can actually ingest as it bonds to all your CB1 and CB2 receptors to deal with the pain.
It’s a bit of a hypothesis right now, but like I said, we’re always trying to kind of think, you know, one step, two step, three steps ahead of what everyone else is doing because this is such a fascinating plant that I think just applying air to heat and then taking that heated air and applying it to the flower or the oil, yes, that is the basic nature of vaporization, but there’s so much more that you can do to ensure that the flavor tastes better, the potency is intact, and that it’s super smooth for the end user. I love Apple, and I understand some Android phone, you know, functionality-wise do have some more features, but the one thing about Apple products, what I do love is that, the design aspect is so great that something as complex as your iPhone, even Generation 1, it didn’t come with a large instruction set.
That’s when I started realizing the user experience is super duper important. How the person feels when they’re utilizing it. So we wanted to make sure that when someone used our vaporizer, because it is a plug in model and it’s not a portable, that they would just get so much of a better user experience. The way I like to describe it to people is like if you like to watch sports on your smartphone, think of that as using a portable vape, and when you get home do you ever watch sports on your smartphone. No, you turn on the HDTV. So we like to say our experience is more like an HDTV. It’s not better than a portable. It’s compatible. It’s actually, I don’t want to use the word synergistic, but they work together. It’s not binary one or the other, and that’s what we’re really trying to improve on. How do we keep making the user experience better for the user.
We are coming out with a lineup of portables, and I’m sorry to drone on and on about this question, but I think that this last part is going to make a lot of sense is when we started designing the VapeXhale EVO, initially, this was back in 2010, there were already several portables on the market that worked fine, but what we realized is with all technologies, things get smaller, cheaper and more affordable. And if you created a portable from the start, you would have that intellectual property of how it works, but the next generation would be smaller, longer battery life and probably a little bit cheaper. So we’ve seen that with the Pax1, Pax2, Pax3 or with the Firefly1, Firefly2. I mean, they’re essentially like the same device, but with extended battery life and smaller.
So for us we really wanted to understand the science behind mixing air with heat and applying it to flower and oil, and now that we’ve mastered that, now we can create portables that are leveraging this intellectual property and technology and really make portables that are head and shoulders above what the competition is offering, and we believe that just like our home unit has been widely anointed the best desktop unit, when our portables come out we’re going to see a similar quantum leap in performance for portables as well.
Matthew: Okay, so you’re working on portables right now?
Seibo: Yeah, we’ve been working on them for the last three years. So we just wanted to make sure that when we came out with a portable it would very much be like when Apple decided to make the iPhone. Something that was just so much different than the status quo that people would have no choice but to at least investigate what this new portable is like, but once they use it we’re very, very confident that this new technology will be one that really kind of changes the landscape of how people view portable performance and what to expect out of a portable.
Matthew: Now what do you tell people in terms of how to think about concentrates and combustion for the VapeXhale? I mean, do you have a concentrates extension and then you have a flower extension? How does that work?
Seibo: Good question. So you are right. It is one device that has two repositories. One for flower, one for oil and where I believe we really hit a homerun with the oil is that if you look at most of the oil consumption devices, whether it’s a vape pen, or a dab rig with a ceramic or titanium (26.31 unclear) you are essentially putting the oil right on top of the heat source. So you’ll either heat the titanium (26.38 unclear) or in the case of a vape pen, put the oil right on top of the nichrome wire heater. In both instances I like to say that’s more like frying your concentrate, and we’ve come up with the world’s first convection or hot air based way to deal with concentrates.
Previously I don’t think anyone had explored the concept of using hot air with concentrates because oils get viscous. Once it becomes viscous, it gets running and it can get dirty and sticky all over the place, but we knew that when flower vaporizers went from conduction to convection there was so many efficiency gained. So we really spend a lot of time to try to figure out a way to do “hot air” dabs, and as you can imagine, when you are using hot air versus frying your concentrate you use a whole lot less. It tastes a whole lot less smoky, and you feel a lot better because the vapor to smoke ratio is much higher in a convection based placed platform than conduction. And for anyone that is exploring concentrates that is graduating from the vape pen crowd, I really urge you guys to explore what we’re doing here because the convection based methodology, like I said, I believe that our device is just the very first version of this next generation of hot air based convection concentrates delivery tools because the efficiency gains just by themselves, let’s forget about the health claims.
Due to the hot air extraction, our customers are telling us they’re using about a third of the amount to achieve the same medication effects. So because of this we’ve created an ROI calculator on our website that allows you to enter in how many grams you consume a week and how much you paid per gram, and on average our $450 device pays for itself in 2.7 months. Sorry for this long-winded answer to your question about concentrates, but I do believe that in order for concentrates to be socially accepted, we have to get away from dabbing on a hot surface. And the whole reason why we created this hot air convection based concentrates consumption methodology is because I had some other parents from my school come over. They saw my dab rig, and that was the last time we ever had play dates with their kids.
They said that looked like a crack device. They didn’t know what I was doing. I could say it was for cannabis, but that didn’t look like any cannabis they had ever seen. And I just realized, after I started doing surveys, I have not met anyone that is outside of the industry over the age of 30 that has a wife that allows them to have a torch and nail or electric nail in the house. The only people that I found are people in the industry. So I saw this as a huge issue, and honestly, I mean, my wife was like you got to get rid of this dab rig. So I really started working over drive. I love dabbing. I need to figure out a way, and that’s when we came up with that concept for the VapeXhale. So part of the ingenuity was due to necessity as much as my entrepreneurial spirits.
Matthew: Yeah, there’s some truth around that. It’s like one thing if you’re in your twenties and you’re single and you pull out a dab rig, it’s another thing, like you were saying, it’s like parents come over for a play date and they see that thing and they’re like, what is Seibo into. Yeah, it’s a little crazy. I know what you mean. I’m glad you’re taking care of that problem though.
Seibo: Yeah, and you know kind of the next phase of what we’re really trying to work on here is how to help people come out of the green closet, because there’s many people like you, me, high performers that are cannabis enthusiasts and many times, obvious, the image that they portray of us is one of lacking motivation, sitting on the sofa, getting really good at role playing games on the video game console, but the fact of the matter is cannabis users are just kind of like you’re normal demographic of the country. It’s high achievers, low achievers, everyone in between, but I really wanted to highlight that there seems like there is a very high, an inordinately high percentage “successful” people that consume cannabis.
And I just want to really help them have consumption devices that are congruent with where they are in life. Just like, I loved Denny’s in college, but I don’t love Denny’s anymore. I like food that’s better. And I wanted to create consumption devices that were congruent with people’s palates as they grew in sophistication and wanted different ways of consuming their cannabis.
Matthew: That’s a good time to segue to you talked about high performing athletes just a little bit ago. Now you’ve said you’ve worked with some high performing athletes. When did you first discover that… what was their initial reaction when you started working with some of these guys and a light bulb went off, some of these athletes? What was happening there? How did they find you, and how did they come to start this initially, consuming cannabis for health reasons and recovery?
Seibo: Yeah so, interestingly enough, if you look at the price tag of our vaporizer, it’s $450, so obviously those that purchase it either really, really love marijuana or have expendable cash. And early on, every time an athlete would get busted in the news for cannabis, I would just Google them and learn more about them, and then just one day I started just checking our database to see if that name existed. And I was like, whoa we’ve got some NBA players, some NFL players that’s customers. Who are these people?
And obviously I’m just thinking, a huge kind of sports nut so I started emailing them, just introducing myself and saying hey, I’m the founder of this company. Thank you for buying this. I know that you can’t talk about this publically, but I’m just curious, why did you buy the device? How are you using the device? And about 80 percent of them were saying, not only were they using the device for recovery, but they were actually consuming before practice, before games. Some of these guys are UFC fighters. Some of them were consuming before they were punching and kicking each other in the head. And I had always consumed cannabis more on the recovery side.
Sometimes I would train on cannabis, but it just wasn’t for me at the time, but as I spoke with all these high level athletes, I really started thinking, well my first thought was okay these are just a bunch of young guys that like to get high all the time. No big deal. I’m not judging, but as I started speaking with them more, I started realizing, wow, these guys are actually performing better than when they are… we call it activated. I don’t say medicated. I call it activated, and essentially they are doing, kind of by accident or on purpose is, and you brought up this word earlier, flow state, is they are encouraging flow state while they’re training.
For some people they just need more focus. For me, when I’m doing Jujitsu, someone could be choking me out and I’ll still be thinking, oh, I need to return an email to Matt because I’m going to be late tomorrow. You really should be present when you’re doing these things. I asked these guys, can I come train with you guys? Can you guys show me what you do? And a lot of it was very non-structured. They just get high and start doing stuff, and then I started noticing, like hey guys when we take one dab and you guys do this, you guys seem to be a lot more focused, less horsing around. Let’s just stick with one dab instead of two dabs.
So I started being the numbers guy for these guys and started plotting and taking down the data like how much they were consuming, how they were performing and ultimately we started coming up with this template, and I wanted to see… Okay, so we were able to help high performing athletes perform better, and a lot of people were like well, they’re 19, 20, 21 of course you work with them, there’s going to get better. They’re at that age where they’re just supposed to get better. So at the age of 38, I decided hey I want to start competing with the Jujitsu teams.
So I started training, utilizing the techniques that we were talking about and really getting into flow state while I’m grappling. And I started competing, like I said, with the team. I’m undefeated. We all compete in an activated state. Six weeks ago we took home 10 of 14 gold medals. I have all the videos to prove this. We also have a documentary that shows us consuming right before the event. And most of these events in martial arts, they don’t have any specific rules. It’s more about steroids and things like that, but even if you don’t have the performance enhancement, the CBD, all the anti-inflammatory properties, they’re so good for your body anyway.
So we know that 100 percent of the athletes could benefit from utilizing cannabis for recovery, and about 70-75 percent of the athletes we’ve been able to successfully teach how to utilize the EVO to help them dose and titrate their cannabis, and then to compete at a higher level, whether it’s gymnastics, boxing, ballet, dancing, all of the above.
Matthew: So you mentioned a template there. I mean, we don’t obviously have time to go into a whole template, but you mentioned one dab, not two. Is there any other kind of quick bullet points you could mention as kind of optimization techniques?
Seibo: Yeah, absolutely. We have two different things. We have a CPA and CPF, not a certified public accountant, but a cannabis performance assessment and cannabis performance facilitation program. So during the cannabis performance assessment we get a base line of how you are when you’re sober. How fast you can run, how dexterous and coordinated you are. Jumping jacks, cartwheels, we have you do movements that are kind of challenging and difficult and kind of get a base line of where your physical abilities are without cannabis.
Then we start administering various amounts of cannabis and redo these tests and kind of see does it make you looser, does it make you more self-conscious and almost paranoid. And a lot of people physiologically react differently, and what we found is cannabis seems to invoke a state of homeostasis. So when you’re really amped up it can kind of calm you down. When you’re really tired it can kind of perk you up. So what we realized it because of this we needed to get the whole team to be on the same consciousness level initially.
So we started doing these breathing exercise called Breathifier, which is taken from Kundalini Yoga that is about five minutes of rapid breathing in and out of your nostrils. And by the end of five minutes, your brain, your blood is super oxygenated. You’re a little bit light headed from hyperventilating, but you’re very sharp and aware. Then when we administer the cannabis it allows you to… it’s like you don’t want to be so aware where you’re tense. You don’t want to be so loose where your reflexes are slow. So it’s kind of like this really delicate balance that we’re trying to achieve, and yes sometimes we miss the mark, but like I said, we’ve been pretty good at getting 70-75 percent of the people to be able to just relax and perform better.
And one of the things that is really simple to show someone is, okay can you touch your toes. Okay if you can’t touch your toes, are you close to touching your toes. A lot of people that are close to touching their toes, once we administer a little bit of cannabis, they can touch their toes, and then we let them know. We’re like look, you’re holding a lot of tightness in your lower back and your hamstrings. You’re probably not aware of that normally, but now that you’ve consumed some cannabis, pay special attention to your lower back and hamstrings and feel how tight they are. Many times once someone’s aware that they’re tight in a certain area, then they can start stretching it out more, working it out more and really kind of make the necessary changes.
Many times, believe it or not a lot of these athletes who are sensitive to their body, I think because they’ve been so conditioned to deal with pain, they don’t know what is pain versus what is an injury. We really kind of utilize cannabis to help them be objective with the way they’re feeling and to help them , like I said, not only improve performance but improve healing so that they can train more, which then improves performance. So it’s a really kind of awesome circle of life that we lead them through, and like I said, the reason I can speak about this so confidently is I’ve done it myself. I’ve gone through the program and, not to keep patting myself on the back, but I’ve competed four times now. The first time I competed sober. I went for about six minutes, I lost. The next three matches I competed in an activated state. The combined three matches was 1 minute and 52 seconds.
I just ended up destroying these people because I was able to not think about the text messages, the emails, my kids, my wife and just let my body go into flow state and do everything that we’ve been drilling for repetition, and it just comes out. And I like to tell people, for me, Jujitsu, I like to call it kinetic chess. And most people when they play chess they have maybe, set up traps one or two moves ahead and that’s kind of how my Jujitsu game is like when I’m in my normal state of mind. When I’m activated, my decisiontry and flow chart of moves it just exponentially increases and I’m able to see things that aren’t normally there. Like oh, there’s a pawn that I could take. I’ll take that. Oh, I’ll take that rook.
It’s really hard to explain, but once we help people achieve it, and they feel it for the first time, it’s easy for them to become believers. We actually had one really big skeptic. He was an ex-water polo player from Stanford. He actually wrote a scathing article about cannabis and athletics, and someone put him in touch with me, and after just two days, I helped him run a personal best for an eight mile run. And now he’s a huge proponent of this, and now we just got to back this up with more data so that it just doesn’t sound like a bunch of guys in a gym just doing whatever they want and maybe they win some tournaments here and there, but really get the imperical data so that we can speak about this intelligently and really kind of show the naysayers that this isn’t people just getting high. This is about increasing physical performance, and more importantly, the cannabinoids a neuro protectant. So if you’re in a high impact sport, your guy should be taking this anyways to protect their brain.
Matthew: You mentioned about anecdotally about 70-80 percent of people that are doing this CPA or CFA are getting the desired results, but for the people that aren’t is there any kind of insight you can provide around that, the 20-30 percent? How can you try to stay out of that 20-30 percent and stay in the 80 percent that are getting the desired outcomes?
Seibo: Wow, what a loaded question, but I’ll do my best to answer this one. Okay so, this is more a little bit of bro science and arm chair quarterback for me. Number one is I do believe that a very small percentage of people’s biochemistry just does not allow them to enjoy cannabis in this way where I could improve their athletic performance. But the remaining 20 percent or so people or 19.5 percent or so people I 100 percent believe it’s a psychology issue. Having worked with athletes, entrepreneurs, artists and just listening to them talk about what makes them tick and really looking at the high performers versus the middle of the pack and the low performers, you know, I kind of self-believe is a huge important factor.
If you look at any of these athletes, you ask them who is the best athlete, they’ll most like say themselves. The number 200 ranked fighter, if you ask him could he beat the world champion, he will say yes. Many times it’s not rooted in logic, but there is this really strong self-belief. One of the things that we really try to encourage is objective accountability. And there is no magic to what we’re doing. The magic to what we’re doing it just being objective and being accountable. So being objective is did this help me or not. If it’s not helping me, let’s stop doing this.
Being accountable is if I lost, was it because the coaches didn’t train me well, or was it because I didn’t put in the effort. There are just tons of people always making excuses for this, that and the other, and ultimately most of the people that can’t take advantage of the cannabis, they will always give me a million and one reasons why it won’t work, and very few reasons why it will work. And ultimately I’m like well, if you’ve conditioned your mind to think it won’t work, then it won’t work. One study I always draw upon is a few years ago, they had a bunch of famous sommeliers drink wine and try to tell the people where they thought it was from and what the quality of the wine was.
They took the expensive wine, put it in the cheap wine bottles and the cheap wine and put it in expensive wine bottles. As you can guess the sommeliers were just wrong about everything. They were super embarrassed and they asked for a second test. During the second test, they actually put some sensors on their brain, and they saw that when the sommeliers were about to drink an expensive bottle of wine their pleasure receptors started going into overdrive. So this kind of showed that the anticipation and belief that something will be good actually stimulates some sort of neurochemical change in your mind.
Ultimately I am a believer that with the proper mindset, anyone could almost do anything. Obviously there are limitations. Like Shaq will always dunk on me. It doesn’t matter how much I believe I could dunk on Shaq, that will not happen. A lot of these things about self-belief and performance, and that’s why I do believe the sports psychology or psychology in general is so interesting because as I’ve grown older, I’m 40 years old now, one of the things that I’ve really come to discover is most of the things that were getting in my way or that I thought were getting my way was just a mental issue that I thought all these people were judging me. No, no one was even looking at you Seibo. That was all in your head. Just little things like that.
We’ve kind of taken those experiences and really tried to distill it down. Like what I said, to distill it down we call it objective accountability, because we believe that if you could distill something down to those two things and be objective and accountable for yourself, then you can start making the improvements that you need to make, either in your athletic career, business career or personal life.
Matthew: Yeah. Great points there. I think one thing that would be helpful too is if there was some test that would show us how we metabolize cannabis. Are you a fast metabolizer or slow metabolizer? If there was some objective way that we could start to hone in on that, that would really help. If that exists out there someone, let me know. Just email me at feedback(at)cannainsider(dot)com, but I think that would be a super helpful way. Is there a particular sport that… I mean, it sounds like you’re into the Jujitsu world. So perhaps you see the most in Jujitsu, but is it football, mixed martial arts? Is there one or two sports that comes out as having the most cannabis users that benefit from optimizing or recovery with cannabis?
Seibo: Yeah very good question. So you name those two sports, football and mixed martial arts. Kind of more broadly I would say anything that has high physical impact, either to the body or to the brain. Obviously the cannabinoids have shown neuroprotective qualities. Where the numerous research studies that have shown this, I had always thought that is why, despite being a very disciplined person, I just always wanted to smoke weed, especially when I was boxing. And my hypothesis is that my body was kind of like pushing me towards doing something that was good for it even though in my mind I was like, don’t smoke anymore weed. Only once a month.
When I was first introduced to week I was super scared about being addicted so I kind of gave myself these weird limitations. And more recently, Reggie (47.50 unclear), who is the chief scientist at Steep Hill, we had a discussion and he was telling me that in these preliminary studies they have shown another cannabinoid, CBG, to not only be a neuroprotectant, but showed neuroregenerative properties, and I know that’s a huge claim. So this was just some initial research that they saw. The impact is something potentially being neuroregenerative, it’s huge, and that’s why I do believe a lot of athletes that are in these high impact sports where there’s CTE or traumatic head injuries, a highly disproportionate percentage of them use cannabis.
At least for myself is that when I take CBD before exercising that also increases my capability to recover quicker. I used to just take it after practice, but now I’ve been taking it before practice as well and just noticing that, you know, it’s almost like the tin man who gets his joints lubricated. I just feel like, wow, I ingested this. I have an extra 15 degrees of extra stretching in my shoulders and different areas, and it’s really remarkable. Like I said, the main thing is we want to capture this empirical data so that we could speak from a place of data versus just anecdotal stories.
Matthew: Seibo, I like to transition to a couple personal development questions to let listeners get to know you a little bit better personally, although I feel like I know you personally after this interview already, but let’s jump into those questions. Is there a book that has had a big impact on your life or way of thinking that you would like to share?
Seibo: There’s a couple good books. One of them is the 48 Laws of Power. It discusses office politics, but I look at it as a book more about human nature. And the reason why I love this book is that even though it discusses office politics and talks about how people would be trying to get over on you to get ahead, it really just talks about human nature. For example, if you and a coworker are up for a promotion, and you’re a single person, but he has a wife and three kids, even though he might be a nice person that likes you, because this will benefit his family so much, he may go above and beyond to compete against you where you might think this guy is betraying my trust.
In reality, all he’s trying to do is make a better life for his family. It kind of really put office politics into context because I had always thought people were colluding with each other like let’s “F” this guy by all of us get together and make his life hell so he quits, but it’s usually nothing like that. It’s everyone is super busy, everyone protects their best self-interests, and they operate that way. So once I got to that, I started realizing these things that people do, despite some of them being negative towards me, they’re hardly every personal for personal reasons. So there’s no reason for me to take offense to them. So that’s really helped me kind of deal with all the different personality types I have to deal with while running this company.
Now the second book that I really, really like is The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. This is almost like the exact opposite of The 48 Laws of Power. This is a book about how you need to love yourself, how if you never love yourself, you can’t really give yourself the full version of yourself to other people. It was like a self-improvement book without being a self-improvement book, if that makes any sense. And it was only a 70 minute read. It’s pretty big font, but it was so impactful. I mean, when I was reading it, I don’t ever cry, tears were just coming down my eyes because I was just thinking man, I’ve been leading this weird Type A, alpha male existence for what? For what, to impress other people.
The Four Agreements really started shining a light. If you really work on yourself and you make yourself the best version of yourself, they you can really start impacting the world in a positive way, because you’re doing it with some sort of clarity, with some pureness and it’s not just… For example, when I was younger I saw Bill Gates, and I was like, I want to be like Bill Gates, but I wasn’t too sure exactly why I wanted to be like Bill Gates. I just knew he was super rich and famous. Through reading this book it really helped with a lot of self-discovery. Okay, this is what Seibo likes for these reasons. This is what Seibo thought he like because of these false reasons, and it goes back to being objective and accountable. I think these are just little lessons that I’ve learned from each of these books.
I really encourage your listeners to pick these books up because they’re short reads, probably just a couple hours each, but have really benefitted me as far as reducing my stress levels, The 48 Laws of Power. And then The Four Agreements, to be able to love myself. I know it may sound weird, but I kind of just really disliked the version of myself when I was younger, and I think that’s why I was always striving to be the best because I was not satisfied with what I was. After reading that book I realized, what I am is very special already. Let’s just foster the best version of Seibo. Not Seibo trying to be like Steve Jobs, not Seibo trying to be like Bill Gates, but Seibo just being Seibo.
What I found is once I started doing that, I don’t know, it’s just like the universe just started giving me stuff. The right people enter my life. The business transactions start happening better. There’s a lot of transparency in what I say. People don’t feel like I’m saying one thing and doing another. It’s just a wonderful feeling to live in a life that way because I had always been so concerned about image, especially being an entrepreneur now. I had learned about The Four Agreements before being an entrepreneur, and then I found being an entrepreneur, brought me back to that whole phase of my life again where I gave a fuck about what other people thought of me and place such a big emphasis. And that was causing me to make some really bad business decisions and I had to reread The Four Agreements, and rebuild that confidence. Like, Seibo, you know what you’re doing. You don’t need to impress these people.
These people are telling you all this stuff because they have limited data points to make their decisions. So, just believe in yourself. Be yourself again, and once I started doing that, the company started rocking and rolling again.
Matthew: Yeah, great suggestions there. Now is there a tool, web-based or otherwise, that you consider indispensible to your day-to-day productivity, other than VapeXhale?
Seibo: I was going to say, my VapeXhale, but I think most people will talk about some sort of productivity tool or something that really helps with efficiency, but for me, not to sound hokey dokey, but I use a meditation app called Brain.FM. It has four settings like nap, sleep, energize and meditate. And they range anywhere from 10 minutes to 30 minutes. And typically in the morning that’s the first thing I do, like a 10 to 20 minute meditation. At lunch I will do the same, and then right before bed I do the same. And I do believe that the practice of having that, it really just allows me to recharge my batteries.
I eat healthy, I exercise, and I do a lot of the physical things that someone would think would keep you healthy, but I really found being able to exercise the brain or just not think about anything other than that guided meditation that you’re listening to has been instrumental in helping me feel rested. If I do that routine and only get a few hours of sleep, I feel 100 percent. If I don’t do the routine and get six or seven hours of sleep, for some reason it just seems like the level of sleep is not the same unless I have that practice. So I really highly recommend anyone, especially living in this crazy day and age where just expressing a political opinion, 20 people jump down your throat, that you really need to spend time by yourself and kind of have that self-development time for yourself so that you don’t just get caught up in the business of this world and get taken away.
What I’ve found is by doing that, I started getting some of my own consciousness back. And I mean that when I’m very busy I almost feel like I’m on auto pilot. I’m just this autonomous robot that does sales calls, that does meetings, that gets on an airplane. It’s just like very formulaic. And by doing this, it’s like oh okay, that’s what Seibo does during the day. He does love it, but Seibo still needs some hippy smoking time, and just meditating and just thinking about anything I want to think about or nothing at all, and really just watching myself evolved from an objective point of view. Now that my wife has joined me, I mean, our relationship is so much better than before.
I mean, we’ve always had a great relationship, but now that we practice this together it’s like we have a deeper connection. So there’s so many benefits, I think, from having a practice like that where it’s individual. It could be with other people, and ultimately I believe if you know yourself and treat yourself and love yourself very much, then your purpose on this Earth becomes much more clear to you.
Matthew: Normally I only ask two personal development questions, but I got a third one for you. Is there any public figure, actor, politician, anybody, if you could pick only one person that looks like they probably don’t consume cannabis and you would like them to take a huge rip off of VapeXhale, who would that be?
Seibo: This is such a great question. So this individual has never publically spoken about it. I do have a hunch he may consume cannabis, but it was be the astrophysicist, Neil deGrasse Tyson.
Matthew: Yeah that’s true.
Seibo: He’s the guy that really got me into science. I was basically a sociology major. But the way Neil deGrasse Tyson could break down complicated topics and talk about so simply that a layman could understand, he really blew my mind. I had read so many books on quantum physics, and after reading ten pages, I’m like, what did read. None of that stuck in my head. And when Neil deGrasse Tyson would explain it, it was just like oh okay. He would use normal things like this is a shoe. Just imagine the shoe was the universe and the shoe laces are the energy that’s expanding and contracting in the universe.
Just these weird analogies, and I was like, man, if I could ever sit this guy down and enjoy one with him, how awesome would that be. We would have probably… I could ask him all of my alien questions and then he could use his astrophysicist background to tell me, yes, that’s plausible or that’s completely idiotic Seibo.
Matthew: Gosh, he would be a good choice. I hadn’t thought about him. I watch the NetFlix series, Cosmos, where he was the narrator and walks you through everything, and he does do a great job of explaining very difficult concepts very easily. Visually stunning show too. I don’t know if you’ve had a chance to see that, but it’s incredible.
Seibo: Oh, it’s one of my favorite shows. I mean, I remember seeing the original with Carl Sagan when I was younger. To be honest, there were times when I was watching that show non-activated, and the universe itself is just so fascinating I felt like it was getting me high. I was like whoa, just getting goose bumps, just hearing him explain these concepts. Fact is definitely more strange than fiction, especially if you watch Cosmos, it will just, like you said, blow your mind with just the way the universe works.
Matthew: Well Seibo, this was a great interview. In closing, can you tell listeners how they can find out more about VapeXhale and follow you?
Seibo: Yeah absolutely. The best place is our website, www.vapexhale.com or the word “vape” and then the word “exhale” after it. The company that we work with the athletes for is CannaAthlete, and you can find that at www.getcannaathlete.com. And our social channels are just VapeXhale and CannaAthlete, and if you guys are ever interested, I answer every single email. My email is email@example.com. I love hearing people’s feedbacks. Like I said, I answer every single email. I want to know what you guys think about what we’re doing with cannabis and athletics, what you guys would like to see in future products, and I really like to be engaged with our customers as well because like I said, the first model was created by the people for the people, and want to really continue that tradition because cannabis technology is moving really quickly and we want to make sure that we produce products that are really hitting the requirements of not just the patients, but also the rec users, as well as anyone aspiring to be the best versions of themselves.
Matthew: Seibo, thanks so much for coming on CannaInsider today. We really appreciate it. Good luck to you.
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