Into The Weeds — A Different Take on Cannabis Podcasts

Into The Weeds — A Different Take on Cannabis Podcasts

Musicians, Puff Digital and Hello Cannabis launch a different type of Cannabis education podcast… Into The Weeds…

Toronto-based creative agency Puff Digital has partnered with Hamilton-based medical cannabis educator’s Hello Cannabis to help launch “Into The Weeds”, a long-form interview podcast, that discusses how it’s subject’s were introduced to cannabis. The show engages with a variety of CEO’s, musicians, actors, medical professionals, cannabis industry professionals, and athletes. The aim is a noble on, de-stigmatize a plant that has been maligned and help listeners reimagine what a cannabis user looks like.

Into The Weeds or ITW for short, was conceptualized by host, musician, producer and lifelong cannabis advocate Ben Rispin ( The Video Dead, Saint Alvia Cartel, Rules ). He is joined by two of his best friends and co-hosts, Bubba Nicholson, former Movember strategist/spokesperson and President of Hello Cannabis, and Efrem Shulz, a native of California who is best known as the frontman of LA-based punk bands Death By Stereo and Voodoo Glow Skulls.

The Struggles of Creating a Podcast

Gianni Luminati with co-host Ben Rispin
Gianni Luminati with co-host Ben Rispin

When asked, Rispin, who also co-created the Mass Nerder Podcast, had this to say about the hurdles of producing INTO THE WEEDS.

“To be honest, we started brainstorming on this a few years ago while Efrem and I were working on something else in LA. I noticed that there were no top level, quality, informative, educational, cannabis podcasts available, and the ones I did like, were inconsistent with release. The first iteration wasn’t what we were aiming for. that version was topical, something that is very difficult to execute in an industry that evolves so rapidly.”

Cannabis is a rapidly evolving landscape. Attitudes are changing and so are laws, policies, and discussions. For cannabis enthusiasts, this is great news. However, for those in cannabis media, this can present a unique challenge.

“In cannabis, if we held off release of an episode for longer than two weeks, with constantly changing legislation, the episode may become completely irrelevant by distribution time.”

Not willing to abandon the medium he loved, Ben was able to innovate and conceive of the sort of podcast that would be timeless and add a valuable perspective to the conversation.

“Loving the medium, as well as long form interviews, and after my previous attempt, I knew I still wanted to somehow combine theses ideas. This left me with the task of how to build a quality show, that’s educational, helps combat stigma, while maintaining legacy listening. I also didn’t want to produce more “420 bro” cannabis content. There is enough of that out there, and some of it’s really great. However, I personally didn’t want a ton of joint smoking, or over consumption, and wanted to rely on the plants natural communicative qualities, rather than exploit overconsumption.”
Rispin was keen to differentiate Into the Weeds from the other sorts of cannabis podcasts that are out there. But high brow doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t have high times. The host was candid about the crew’s use of cannabis as a natural performance enhancer.
“We do get what I like to call, “activated” before recording, but as a life long cannabis user, I’ve always thought big weed leafs and fake Rasta hats were tacky, and that’s not what this show is about.”
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A Common Goal

Host Bubba Nicholson talks cannabis
Host Bubba Nicholson talks cannabis

The media has been keen to focus on negative aspects of the plant, even going so far as to parrot negative propaganda about the plant. In reality, cannabis has played an essential role in the lives of many. The Cannabis Podcast focuses on these stories.

“I decided I just wanted to learn people’s stories and ask them about how they were introduced to cannabis, no matter the circumstance and “Into The Weeds”, a play on political speak, was born. “

It can be difficult to find adequate cohosts and other dedicated participants for a podcast… especially a cannabis podcast. Rispin had a unique approach to finding the right team for Into the Weeds. In a way, the cast came together naturally.

“Well, Efrem was always part of the plan. He started aggregating guest ideas and reaching out to potentials long before we found any funding. It wasn’t until I saw how well Bubba was doing with patients, legislation, and the knowledge he accumulated in a short time at Hello Cannabis, that I realized he was the missing piece. I wanted Bubba’s counter balance, not just as a trusted friend, but from the perspective of a primarily medical user. But I digress, Bubba’s story would actually make a great Into The Weeds episode!”

Bubba’s own cannabis story is a unique one. What began as an on and off relationship saw cannabis become an essential medicine for the Into the Weeds cohost. When asked about the Bubba’s cannabis experience, and why he wanted to contribute to ITW, he had this to say,

“I’ve gone from being a very activated recreational user in my teens to someone who didn’t touch cannabis after Jerry Garcia died, And now to someone whose life revolves around it. It’s been an interesting journey, to say the least. I was brought back to Cannabis through illness of a family member. I began growing medicine to try to help offset the effects of chemo and radiation, jumping in with both feet. I was brought on to the Hello Cannabis team to head up the business development.”

After a devastating injury, Bubba was able to rebound, and kick opioid and anti-inflammatories utilizing cannabis medicine.

“After a crippling injury that resulted in limited mobility and a subsequent over prescription of Opioids from doctors I was able to see first hand the powers of Cannabis as a medicine. I was able to eliminate all Anti Inflammatory pills and 6 Hydro-morphine pills daily, by titrating myself with oils and flower to treat the chronic and acute pains. After my 3rd surgery, I quit all opioids cold turkey. Again using Cannabis Oils and Flower to help me get to the other side of my unfortunate opioid addiction as a result of my injuries.  Everyone has a Cannabis story, we’re here to capture them.”

Into the Weeds is currently recording their first season in Hamilton, Los Angeles and Toronto. For booking inquiries email

You can now stream full episodes of Into The Weeds at

ITW logo for cannabis podcast

Read episode guide below

ITW: S1E1 – Sarah Hanlan – Big Brother Canada
ITW: S1E2 – Jacqui Childs – Naked News
ITW: S1E3 – Britney Guerra – Cannabis Culture
ITW: S1E4: Gianni Luminati – Walk Off The Earth
ITW: S1E5: Mathew Gerson – Foria
ITW: S1E6: Money Mark – Beastie Boys
ITW: S1E7: Justin Swartz – Pro Surfer
ITW: S1E8: Opie Ortiz of Long Beach Dub Allstars & Sublime
ITW: S1E9: Ophelia Chong – Photographer &   Owner of Stockpot Images
ITW: S1E10: Heavvy – Comedian / Producer
ITW: S1E11: Billy G – Biohazard / Powerflo
ITW: S1E12: Adam Garone – Movember
ITW: S1E13: Mike Camby – LTF Clothing
ITW: S1E14: Tony Reflex – Adolescents
ITW: S1E15: Jim Baudino – Merry Jane
ITW: S1E16: Heavvy – Comedian
ITW: S1E17: Rick Thorne – X-Games BMX Champ
ITW: S1E18 : Riley Cote – Athletes 4 Care/ Philadelphia Flyers

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