We’ve partnered with Humble Bloomon A Men’s Session: Achieving Homeostasis in Vulnerability, Wellness & Cannabis Consumption and gather at The Assemblage and discuss as a part of a men’s community about how the plant is a conduit for larger discussions of wellness, modern masculinity and liberation from stigma and stereotypes. We’ve asked each of the panelists a series of questions around who they are, their relationship with the plant, their community and more.
Introduce yourself and talk about your path to starting your company?
My name is Nick Hoge and I’m the founder of Aurelian. We create organic, high-powered CBD products for life’s adventures.
I discovered CBD after years of suffering from panic attacks. I had gone down the route of pharmaceutical meds and therapy, which worked to varying degrees, but then I discovered CBD about two years ago. Immediately I felt a sense of ease and balance after supplementing for a week. As I began to learn more about CBD and hemp-derived products, I eventually landed on organic, sun grown, pesticide free options and that’s when I really felt the difference. I was super inspired by many of the female owned and female focused cannabis brands that were offering thoughtful products, messaging and branding that were really geared to reducing the stigma and making cannabis more mainstream. I saw an opportunity to create a brand that felt accessible to not only women but also men – like a gift to my younger self – a brand that I wish had existed a decade ago when I first started having panic attacks.
What does masculinity mean to you in this modern era we live in?
I see masculinity as something that is individual and unique to each man. Real masculinity is directly connected to authenticity and personal truth to me. I think the trap we get into as a society is feeling pressured to conform and celebrate these very narrow, stereotypical ideas of what being a man and masculinity is. I think opening up the breadth of what masculinity can be shows that all men have a wide range of feelings, vulnerabilities, passions, fears, dreams, and all of it encapsulates being a man. I think it’s time to explode the narrow constraints of traditional masculinity and look at the depth and variety of what is really going on in each of us.
What is your relationship with cannabis – how and when did you first experience it and how do you currently use the plant?
I used cannabis occasionally in high school but it never really became part of my lifestyle. All these years later CBD is an integral part of my day to day life and I also use THC for all different purposes – for relaxation, inflammation relief from exercise, creativity, and balance.
Mental health is a topic that people are becoming more and more comfortable discussing, share ways you go about clearing your mind or maintaining your focus in your daily routine?
The main one for me is exercise. I do calisthenics 4-5 days a week. I think positive habits are a huge part of mental health. Along with exercise I’ll always make sure to splash cold water on my face 10 times every morning, drink two large glasses of water, occasionally meditate when I’m feeling overwhelmed, and journal about things that are on my mind. It’s a combo of working from the outside in – you do something physical to change your inner state and also the inside out – you express something that’s inside you and put it out there on a piece of a paper or verbally.
What are your thoughts on NY State and legalization and what this can mean for you and your community?
I work as an actor together with running Aurelian. My last theater job was with The Public Theater’s Mobile Unit, where we toured around correctional facilities in the metropolitan area, performing a play for inmates. The experience was profound and inspiring, and one of the things I’m most eager for when legalization occurs, is somehow bridging the gap between cannabis, storytelling and the communities that have been or are incarcerated due to the decades long war on drugs. At the very basic level it’s giving back and looking out for those communities who have been treated unfairly, but there’s also so much opportunity, education, and community to be gained by doing that work.
On another level, legalization will lead to more information being discovered about cannabis and the endocannabinoid system since it will open the gates for more well-funded scientific study. I think that’s incredibly important because understanding the complexities of the cannabis plant and how it works in our bodies helps reduce the stigma and the confusion. When you have more than just anecdotal evidence to prove it, it removes a lot of fear for many people.
What can men in our age group (25-35) do to take better care of our health?
Arguably we’re living in some of the most stressful times in our existence. The amount of information, speed at which it travels, social media, technology, climate change, these huge, bustling cities of concrete we live in – as human beings we’re surrounded by environments that aren’t necessarily conducive to our natural state.
I think moving your body through exercise is incredibly important. Eating real food – my rule is if people didn’t eat it 100 years ago, then don’t eat it. Taking time to disconnect from tech and city life, having a relationship with the natural world. Taking your attention off yourself and putting it on to other people. So much of our suffering comes from thinking about ourselves first, and so much of our happiness comes from thinking about others first. I stole that quote, but it’s pretty accurate.
We each are involved in the cannabis industry which remains largely racially marginalized, as legalization continues progressing – what needs to change for this industry to flourish properly?
Don’t allow big pharma to take over and wipe out small businesses.
And as small businesses we should set the example by organizing community outreach events, employ people from marginalized communities, and have diversity be a pillar of our business model. Treat it like a basic practice of being an entrepreneur in the cannabis space – if you have no plans to give back in some way, you shouldn’t be in this space.
There’s plenty of cannabis product targeted to women for a numerous health treatments, what are some male-centric products that you use if any?
I use our Palo Santo Calming Scented Oil every day. It’s a full spectrum CBD topical infused with an essential oil blend we created in house. You can use it like a traditional topical on areas of the body experiencing pain and/or inflammation, but you can also use it as a calming unisex fragrance since it has an elegant woodsy, smoky scent. I use it around my neck – smells amazing and loosens up the area after long days at the computer.
As Aurelian grows, I’m interested in creating more topical blends, geared toward specific purposes like post-sport, sleep, focus, that would have scent profiles that feel truly unisex.