Learning about cannabis for the first time can be daunting. While canna-curious consumers can scour the internet in search of general tips on how to start using cannabis, nothing really beats hands-on guidance from a trusted source. Which is why Lexi Kafkis created New Rituals as an essential resource for new consumers, where she acts as a guide to educate and mentor those who want to try cannabis but aren’t sure where to start.
Kafkis’s experience as a certified cannabis health coach, yoga instructor, as well as freelance creative director and brand strategist, led her to two important realizations. First, that cannabis has been used by ancient cultures across the world for thousands of years, and second, that most of today’s cannabis brands aren’t providing proper guidance that beginners need.
Through offering one-on-one virtual sessions tailored to individual consumers’ needs, as well as occasional in-person wellness classes in Los Angeles, New Rituals helps educate people on how to embrace cannabis and everything the plant has to offer.
From Ancient Rituals to Modern Day Wellness
During Kafkis’s yoga teacher training, she was immediately fascinated by evidence of ancient cannabis use. Cannabis is mentioned in sacred Hindu texts known as the Vedas, she says, and cannabis-consuming groups such as Shivites, or holy men who worship Shiva (also sometimes referred to as the Lord of Bhang or Lord of Ganja). Further evidence of cannabis use in places such as Africa, Israel, and China, also opened her mind to its universally praised properties and the long-recognized benefits in plant medicine.
Today we’re seeing the tail end of more than 80 years of prohibition, which Kafkis describes as a “blip” in the grand scheme of human history, compared to the thousands of years that cannabis was once commonly used.
“The plant is everywhere, and it’s been used for thousands and thousands of years, and OK, we had prohibition, [and] a lot of those traditions were erased. We’ve lost a lot of that knowledge,” Kafkis says. “But how do we keep that reverence as we move into commercialization and commodification of this product?”
Kafkis has worked with many brands during the seven years she’s been involved in the industry, but eventually she began to notice a trend.
“I started to just notice a massive discrepancy between how brands were creating products and speaking to their customers,” she says.
She emphasizes that personally, “THC has been one of my biggest tools and spiritual allies,” but says the advertisement style for high-THC products simply didn’t resonate with her as a consumer.
“There’s still this really like masculine consumer approach to this product that’s very like, you know, high-THC,” she says. “I’d go to conferences and it’s just touting like, the crazy high 30%-plus [THC] concentrates and dabs and hash-infused rolls.”
In response Kafkis shifted her focus to working with CBD brands that align with her passion for plant medicine and wellness instead.
“I really want to see a more feminine approach, and I don’t just mean more women in cannabis, because yes we need that, but just a softer approach,” she says. “More microdose, more guided experiences, more pairing, like yoga and breathwork that people are already doing behind closed doors.”
A New Ritual
Kafkis saw an opportunity to bridge the gap between cannabis of the past and the plant we know today. Her mission is to create a resource for people who are seeing cannabis as accessible for the first time, and provide vital information to consumers who live in states that have recently legalized the plant.
“I feel really passionately about helping people and guiding them to the right product in the right dosage and the right way to use the plant,” she says.
As a certified cannabis health coach, Kafkis assists new consumers on their journey to using cannabis by educating them on the many facets of the herb, such as how cannabis interacts with the human body, determining proper dosage, maintaining their endocannabinoid system, and more, through three different types of sessions.
New Rituals’s “One-Hitter Session” is a one-hour meeting and general introduction to cannabis. It gives Kafkis a chance to assess people’s needs and address any questions or goals they might have, such as recommendations and dosing suggestions.
Second up are the “Sapling Sessions,” which include two 60-minute virtual sessions that lean into a more comprehensive education on plant history and science.
“That [session] really goes into not just finding the right product for you, but really understanding how the cannabis plant works, leaving them with enough resources that they can go and shop for products on their own,” Kafkis explains. “So they’re not always having to rely on recommendations from me or someone else.”
Finally the “Full-Spectrum Sessions” are offered as six one-hour sessions that cover a variety of information. It includes the information shared with previous two session types, but Kafkis takes it a step further by guiding the consumer toward how to maintain their ECS in general, both with cannabis and through other methods.
“So we do a whole week on the diet. So what dietary substances help promote the endocannabinoid system,” Kafkis explains. “Breathwork and movement, both [are] things that supplement the endocannabinoid system. So I’ll give them either some breathwork exercises or some movement exercises, whether it be yoga, or just stretching, or maybe they want something a little bit more active.”
For now, consumers can connect with Kafkis through New Rituals’s virtual sessions, with occasional in-person events hosted in Los Angeles. But she is eagerly awaiting what the future holds as more states continue to legalize cannabis, and more consumers begin to see it as a wellness tool.
“I think cannabis is the first step towards a more global acceptance of plant medicine, which I think is so beautiful, and it’s going to only help the society at large,” Kafkis says.
This article was originally published in the May 2023 issue of High Times Magazine.