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Riley Cote

Spiritual Pain, Cannabis, + Psilocybin with

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now when I hear the word pain, I think of different dimensions of pain. The mental health component.

After over 250 fights on the ice, 4 years in the NHL, and 7 total surgeries between his nose, eyes, wrist, knee, and even his fingers, the former left winger and enforcer for the Philadelphia Flyers, Riley Cote, is no stranger to physical pain. A longtime consumer of cannabis, since the age of 15, Riley believes cannabis helped him manage more than just the physical pain from the brutal demands of his sport. He also believes it aided him in coping with the mental struggles and anxiety resulting from amping up his nervous system in anticipation of fights before games, and the spiritual aftermath of inflicting pain on others. “I turned pro at 20 and started fighting. It cranked on this different level of anxiety, as you can imagine. I mean, performance anxiety, just daily stress and anxiety, but then all of a sudden now you’re fighting regularly and preparing to fight the next night. I realized then, it (cannabis) was really helping with my anxiety but then also my sleep, you know, just comes hand in hand. I didn’t really identify the anti-inflammatory properties until later on in my career when I started learning about the science behind it.” Riley is now retired from the NHL, but still involved in the sport of hockey on several levels, but with different goals in mind.

Since retiring from his professional sports career, Riley has created his new path as a powerful voice of reason and inspiration for healing the body, the mind, and spirit, while also being environmentally conscious. “I’m trying to make a difference,” says Riley, and he’s doing a lot to live up to his word. Riley is the Founder of the Hemp Heals Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit promoting cannabis and hemp as a viable renewable resource. He is also a cofounder of another not-for-profit organization called Athletes For Care, where they are dedicated to creating a community where athletes can find support, opportunity, and purpose in life after careers in sports. In addition to his leadership role, he is the organization’s NHL Ambassador, while also sitting on the Pennsylvania Hemp Industries Council board, and his passion for healing is what really inspired him to start his own product company, BodyChek Wellness. A line of hemp-based personal care products with a mission to optimize everyday performance and challenge individuals to rethink the healing process; it’s a brand that reinforces his passion to help individuals discover safe, nontoxic methods for pain management and self healing.

When asked about what comes to mind when hearing the word pain, Riley says, “If you’d asked me this question 10 years ago, I think immediately, I would have thought of physical pain, right? I mean, just general inflammation, the standard pain most people associate the word with. But I think now when I hear the word pain, I think of different dimensions of pain. The mental health component. It’s the emotional pain and the spiritual pain, suffering that people are going through that you can’t see. Pain is subjective, but it’s very real. And me being a meathead in my former life, I know a lot about physical pain, but I also realize towards the end of my career that there was probably a lot more emotional and spiritual pain going on than physical.” This reflection gave him “a new appreciation for it because pain is a symptom, the red flag that you have to address instead of suppressing it. I think once you address it, whether it’s physical, emotional, spiritual, that’s when the healing begins.” 

His journey as a healer began with healing himself, in order to be able to help others, and it started when he was given an opportunity to step down from playing professionally by accepting a coaching position, but his decision wasn’t an easy one. Riley thought, “This is like giving up on my NHL career to begin the coaching. It wasn’t exactly how I envisioned this going down, but I got off the phone, and I just knew where my head was at. I didn’t want to go down to the minors and fight. I knew I was probably going to get sent down the next year the way it was going the past year. I didn’t want to go down there and fight everybody. I was tired of the party. I was tired of just that whole emotional rollercoaster of jacking yourself up and fighting and all the emotional turmoil that comes along with it. So I was almost like, okay, now this is my opportunity to get out of playing but stay in the game.”

Psilocybin is just a tool.

It was at this same time Riley realized, “Now this is me, embarking on this quest of holism, finding myself, healing and all these things encompass. It wasn’t just one thing that I was seeking. As I started reading, I always kept coming back to the cannabis plant, hemp as an industrial resource, mushrooms, Chinese medicine, and these few things kept popping up.” 

On top of educating himself about the healing benefits of different plant medicines, Riley tells us, “One of the biggest things that I did, was transitioned from an animal-based protein diet to a plant-based protein diet. I got into the hemp seed, hemp seed protein, and got off all the whey. I wasn’t drinking milk at the time, but I basically eliminated all the dairy and in those moments I realized that it was inflammatory, mucus forming, and acidic, and all these things that were actually working against me. Then I just started to put my head down these different rabbit holes and became extremely passionate with the plants. I mean, how can you not? And then in those moments I also started realizing this different dimension of cannabis as medicine.”

At this point he, “just felt the need to spread the good word, because in between this (cannabis) and mushrooms, in my opinion, they are the only two things that have the ability to save our planet. In the sense of remediation, whether is phytoremediation or micro-remediation, public health, local economics. They help people, but help the environment and economics and well.”

Riley mentioned mushrooms, and in addition to cannabis, he also believes strongly in the medicinal benefits of psilocybin mushrooms. Whether it’s cannabis or psilocybin, he tells us they are both tools and need to be consumed responsibly. “I think these two things can help because they are coping mechanisms and if you use responsibly and respectfully and mindfully, they’re very powerful tools. I think that’s what we need to be teaching, is responsible, mindful use, where we can actually not just help our physical bodies and our minds, but increase the spirituality and lean on these as spiritual tools.” When comparing this natural plant medicine to other substances, like alcohol, Riley makes an excellent point. “It’s a conscious forming drug versus an unconscious forming drug. I mean, one creates awareness and mindfulness and the more you drink, the more you lose consciousness until you black out. So, you know, totally polar opposite. So what it actually does to the human brain and spirit, alcohol extracts spirit and essence out of things, plants, people and whatnot, and in my opinion, cannabis and psilocybin, it’s like they inject spirit back in. That’s why they help so much with anxiety and depression and a lack of identity.”

I think that’s what we need to be teaching, is responsible, mindful use, where we can actually not just help our physical bodies and our minds, but increase the spirituality and lean on these as spiritual tools.

For newcomers wanting to utilize the benefits of these plant based tools, Riley recommends, “I think the most important thing is always being responsible, knowing what you’re getting into and respecting the substance. Then having a proper intention with it. You know, what are you trying to accomplish and how are you gonna go about it? What type of delivery system? What is your vision and how you’re doing it and are you in a comfortable setting? Setting is important and this goes for both, especially if you’ve never tried either. Obviously, if you’re going to be dipping into psilocybin it’s a little bit of a different animal, but being around people that you trust and being in a comfortable environment is, in my opinion, probably the most important, especially for psilocybin. I feel like both the medicines talk to you more when you’re quieter. So set and setting, the level of comfort and just respecting the plants or the fungi is important.”

Riley shared with us how he’s been consuming psilocybin mushrooms for the past few years, which have grounded him in his spirituality, and path as a healer. “I feel like the connection component of what mushrooms do is the most important. It really grounds us and reconnects us to the things that matter and puts things into perspective. I think if everyone just tried it once, it would change their perspective on life almost immediately, to some degree. And the beautiful part is, we can always go back and learn more. You know what I mean? That mushrooms are always there to teach. I think it’s a great instrument to use for self-reflection. You know, a lot of people are limited in this bubble, and they know they think that they’re on the right path. They’re suppressing their emotions and then they’re all suffering until the mushroom kind of slaps them around a little bit and says listen, you’ve got to change the direction a little bit. It’s amazing what they’re trying to teach you, but if you can’t listen because you’re too distracted, you’re not going to get the message.”

Mushrooms have “ancient power and wisdom. It’s passing through the mushroom to me. I know it sounds deep and almost weird for some people to talk about, but it is what it is.” Riley’s psilocybin practices over the years have included both micro and macro dosing. With “micro I’ve been going through different phases of trial and error and self-experimentation. I go four days on, with a hundred milligrams with a few other mushrooms in the capsule. Then you go off for four or five days and kind of go through cycles like that.” When it comes to macro dosing, Riley says, “I found myself doing that a lot more, going into that space with different intentions. It’s more about me tapping into those spiritual growth components, tapping into the self, and observing thoughts. Then there’s other times where I go into the space more for creative purposes and just trying to gather ideas and sort out certain things. I really do find that helps with that visionary component.” He does this “maybe once every two months or one and a half months or something like that. And I go deep, you know, five, six grams or so. Usually by myself, and then every now and then I’ll bring someone in and go with the intention of helping someone else with it.”

With all this being said, it’s clear, Riley has been on a serious path of healing himself, and sharing his experiences to help others. He wants us all to know, the most important takeaway about everything he’s shared with us, is to “really talk about the emotional and spiritual pain and suffering, because the body reflects mental health. You look around this country, we’re not well right? I mean, there’s the obesity crisis, the heroin crisis, and you’ve got a mental health crisis. It’s important to keep pushing this conversation about the emotional and spiritual pain, because that, to me, is a real true crisis. I think cannabis is just a tool. Psilocybin is just a tool. They do certainly help, but I think the bigger component here is, we have to do our work too, right? I mean, it’s our job as human beings to be accountable for our own lives and take actions.”

I feel like the connection component of what mushrooms do is the most important.

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This Week | Oct 22

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GRAM has gone LIVE! Featuring writers, scientists, government officials, plant medicine specialists, celebrities, front line workers, cannabis experts, hemp farmers, researchers, and so much more through fresh video content. COVID 19 has caused us to think outside the box until we can put our magazines into stores again, we bring you GRAM LIVE!


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On this episode of GRAM This Week, we sit down with the one and only – Keith Stroup. He is the founder of NORML – the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. listen in as we discuss policy and the upcoming election. Be sure to tune in again next week for part 2 of this interview!


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This Week | Oct 15

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GRAM has gone LIVE! Featuring writers, scientists, government officials, plant medicine specialists, celebrities, front line workers, cannabis experts, hemp farmers, researchers, and so much more through fresh video content. COVID 19 has caused us to think outside the box until we can put our magazines into stores again, we bring you GRAM LIVE!

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GRAM This Week is sponsored by…

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Chef Sebastian Carosi – https://www.instagram.com/chef_sebast…
Primal Therapeutics – https://cannabismassagecolorado.com/
Trichom Health Center – https://www.trichomhealthcenter.com/
The Grateful Veteran – https://www.facebook.com/thegratefulv…
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Magical Butter – https://www.magicalbutter.com/
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This Week | Oct 1

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GRAM has gone LIVE! Featuring writers, scientists, government officials, plant medicine specialists, celebrities, front line workers, cannabis experts, hemp farmers, researchers, and so much more through fresh video content. COVID 19 has caused us to think outside the box until we can put our magazines into stores again, we bring you GRAM LIVE!

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GRAM This Week is sponsored by…

ReleafApp – https://releafapp.com/
Frere Cheramie – https://www.frerecheramie.com/
Nugtopia Art – https://nugtopia.net/
Chef Sebastian Carosi – https://www.instagram.com/chef_sebast…
Primal Therapeutics – https://cannabismassagecolorado.com/
Trichom Health Center – https://www.trichomhealthcenter.com/
The Grateful Veteran – https://www.facebook.com/thegratefulv…
Mr Boomers Magic Kitchen – https://www.instagram.com/cannabenoid…
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