Like the world of weed, Tyson Griffin has gone through transformations during his life. The former MMA athlete and now a turned trainer, is taking on a new venture as a licensed Holistic Lifestyle Coach under the C.H.E.K Institute with cannabis as a catalyst. Similar to a good NUG – there’s more to Tyson than meets the eye. Beyond his tough-guy and sculpted figure, lies a deep understanding of the world. Including the key to wellness through body interactions and care.
Which is why NUG teamed up with the athlete and coach as one of our premiere brand ambassadors. Tyson’s outlook on the quality of what goes into your body and its connection to the mind is why he chose NUG.
Recently, we had the chance to catch-up with Tyson to get his insight into cannabis today – like it’s’ mindful awareness, overall promotion of wellness and of course, the NUG connection – including his favorite goods.
So transform your cannabis perspective with a new point of view this new year. Keep reading and join our conversation with Tyson, to see how he did as well.
NUG: First thing’s first – we know you’re a MMA fighter and now a trainer, how did holistic lifestyle coaching get added to your resume?
TYSON: I guess it’s been a lifestyle that I grew up with, whether I realized it or not, I grew up with it. I grew up with a grandmother that was Quaker, so she was a little bit more connected to the earth and they have a more simple view. Like God being within everybody and there’s no one Great Leader like that – everyone’s kind of equal. She grew up in the garden, growing her own tomatoes and even had her own compost. So she taught me how to cook when I was younger.
So I guess this is something I’ve always done and growing up in the same way – like playing sports in high school. Seeing things like supplements and going to GNC and reading the labels that were ‘not FDA approved’. You know, none of this stuff is tested and approved or anything like that. I just kind of decided to go natural and focus on how I can perform best.
I just kept staying on that holistic path. From MMA fighting to coaching – trying to figure out how I can help more people outside of just me. It made me realize that all the MMA fighters and everybody really needs a holistic lifestyle coach. The human system is so complex and complicated that you have to have a multi layered approach when it comes to, performance, health, and healing
NUG: In terms of life inside or outside of the octagon – athlete, or non-athlete – what is wellness to you?
TYSON: Wellness is really just the ability to face adversity. Be able to sort of bounce back from this or that and be well. Not react, but to be able to respond and build relationships. Integrating environments, hobbies, habits. Whatever it is – that’s really what wellness is. Not really needing anything – wanting things, but not needing them. That’s really what wellness is.
NUG: So thinking of wellness, and using cannabis to promote overall good feels… before we go further – on the daily, what do you use cannabis for?
TYSON: On a daily basis, I use cannabis for anxiety and inflammation. Depression too – or really, just mental health. I’ve worked a lot in my life and I have a lot of scar tissues and a lot of pain. So pain and mental hurdles are really the the main reasons that I use Cannabis
NUG: Have you used cannabis for wellness your whole life? Or what was your pivotal pot moment?
TYSON: Pivotal Pot Moment for me was when I had nerve damage towards the end of my career. I had been using cannabis as you might say ‘recreationally’ my whole life. I grew up around it, I used to smoke before going to high school. I think it kind of helped keep me in class and helped the ADD if you will. Helped me sit there and pay attention. Even to going to play sports, I couldn’t wait to get to playing sports after school. That was my main focus, but then later when I had nerve damage towards the end of my career I was trying to figure out the best way to help myself heal. I ended up finding Rick Simpson oil (RSO). Which is pretty focused but also has THC, so is full spectrum and strong. I had smoked cannabis and got to the point where my tolerance was so high that it didn’t matter how much I smoked. I wasn’t really getting rid of my nerve pain or anything.
So when I ate Rick Simpson oil, and I was foam rolling out – I just got a crazy deep connection in my body. I noticed that different things were happening when I ate RSO, so I started eating it every night. That’s what I really noticed the most medicinal changes going on in my body and the healing happening.
Everything from gut bacteria changing, to muscle spasms relaxing or opening up, and cannabis has even been linked to neurogenesis. That’s the growth of new neurons and brain cells and muscle cells and every cell – technically. So something that’s scientifically proven now used to be sort of an old wives tale, that you’re only born with so many brain cells and you’re going to lose them all and eventually die. But cannabis can actually expand your mind and increase your awareness.
NUG: Right, and your training & coaching links mental and physical health too. So how do you find cannabis lends itself to helping both?
TYSON: Well, I think the biggest benefits of cannabis is that it can help knock down your ego. More so, your egos depending on how well you understand the human psyche. We’ve got multiple layers of egos inside our brain that are fighting all the time to win. If we consume some cannabis it can help knock down some of those egos. For martial arts that’s something that’s super important, especially nowadays with fighters. You know they’re trying to sell themselves and be tough and whatever it may be. But you’ve got to have a healthy relationship with your ego and be able to integrate that, and I think cannabis can help knock that ego down. Whether it be for recovery work or trying to figure out what you gotta do to fix yourself…Sometimes you just gotta stretch out and cannabis is gonna help open up your mind in that way. To knock your egos back and let your soul come through – let you see who you really are, if you will. It can also help you flow and get into a good flow.
NUG: So speaking of good flow – even with growing legalization, there’s still a stigma around cannabis use. As a pro athlete and holistic user alike – how do you address new clients or part of the population you connect with who still frown upon cannabis as a natural stimulant or supplement?
TYSON: At the end of the day, everyone’s welcome their opinion and their judgment. It’s just, I always argue with people you can’t knock it until they try it. ‘Like, have you tried it? Oh, you just had a bad experience and you know, ate brownies when you were younger.’ We need to try something different. But again, don’t be scared to try new things. Do something from a different perspective. If you had a different experience years ago, go online and read some of the stories, or watch the videos of how cannabis has really helped people. Children with epilepsy and seizures – things like that. At my gym in Albany, California, we have a group of Parkinson’s boxers – a program called Rocksteady boxing. A lot of them use cannabis to help with their neurological disorders – as its neurogenic to a neuro degenerative disease.
NUG: Like the purest form, you’re right. So, you mentioned Premium Jack – but, what are some other favorite, or most recommended strains for achieving wellness?
TYSON: Purple punch…and almost all of the team. Strange, but it’s really just that good. I like Chem 4, that is really chill and doesn’t get you up and crazy. Gorilla Glue, I like to use mostly for recovery in the evenings, after a hard training or a long day – it just depends on what I’m trying to do. What I’m trying to use it for. All the OG strains, too.
NUG: Of course, as the industry grows, so does the selection of cannabis products other than flower. For wellness, what is your go-to or on-the-go NUG products for daily use?
TYSON: My favorite stuff to consume is NUG’s dark chocolate bar. It’s pretty much no sugar, and made from organic chocolate. From the holistic perspective, it’s nice to have organic ingredients before sugar loaded gummies, or something like that. They even have their NUG pops now that don’t have any cane sugar, they use agave and those are good too.
Personally, I use the concentrates and put those into my own food. I like NUG’s Banana OG, that’s a really good concentrate as well.
NUG: Right – so now on your cannabis journey, you’ve been an advocate of NUG and their products. Why NUG, and how does the brand help you achieve your personal and professional missions?
TYSON: Honestly, the reason that I was attracted to NUG, was the quality of their products. That’s something I think is huge in the industry, and now knowing what I know about their CEO. A lot of these cannabis companies, believe it or not, are hiring business people from Ivy League schools to try to run these companies, because of the cannabis boom. But NUG actually focused on quality. When it comes to creating real medicine and medicinal strains, NUG has medicinal strains that time over time, have been proven to be beneficial to me. Like, the Premium Jack.
They create quality cannabis with their conditions and create the cannabinoids and terpenes that are most consistent with the genetic profile of that strain. That is something that’s not always easy to do. The truth about cannabis is that the best cannabis medicine is outdoor grown cannabis. So to recreate those conditions and and have the proper profile come out – that’s something not every company is doing. And, something I noticed when I was consuming cannabis – going to the dispensaries and just figuring out you know what strain was the best for me in my own medical medicinal sort of journey.
One of the coolest things for me is they’re huge in concentrate, manufacturing, and distributing as well. It’s a process – but it’s literally the best medicine that you can you can pretty much find. It’s free of all the plant material which has free radicals. So it’s like one of the oldest ways to consume cannabis. In India, they used to rub the buds with their hands and get the crystals off to make a hash. People don’t realize that – they think it’s just some crazy, you know, concentrate thing or whatever. Concentrate is the technological way to make old school medicine…without having someone put their hands all over it.
NUG: Totally – and lastly, as someone with an insider look into athletes and the lives of the common population – what do you see for the future of cannabis & its benefits for wellness?
TYSON: I see it just balancing out – where I think it’s going to go full circle, and it’s going to be accepted again. I think before it was legalized that it was just a battle people were fighting for – cannabis to be used and those people that were getting arrested for it. I feel like it’s going to come back to that in a legal way where it’s not going to be looked at negatively. It’s just going to be looked at like, ‘yeah, cannabis, everyone smokes cannabis, it’s all good.’ I think it’s going to be used sort of like a daily vitamin where it’s consumed on a daily basis and different doses – just different strains. Everyone’s going to understand, it’s like food. You know, everyone’s gonna know they’re sort of cannabis diet. Like ‘I consume once a week’ or ‘I consume twice a week’ or ‘I consume every day’ – or whatever they do. They’re going to have their own little, you know, relationship with it.
NUG: Is there a difference in your cannabis use for before a work-out or after?
TYSON: Personally – I’m not a huge fan of using cannabis for workout. Unless it’s something that I like for pain right? But for me personally, I really like using it after. If I’m going to use it before I like to use it hours before – I don’t like what I call ‘fresh baked’. When you first smoke and you get that, you know – extreme euphoria. I don’t like to be fresh baked when I’m working out – especially with martial arts. You know, you got people maybe trying to choke you or twist your arm or punch you or kick you, like…I don’t want to be in that place or ‘yeah, whatever man’ you know (laughs). But if I do, I would use a sativa strain to be more outward. During the day (or my workouts), I use a sativa dominant strain and during the evenings, more of an indica – like the Purple Punch. Experiment with it, play with it. Be your own doctor – don’t just listen to somebody and take the same. You gotta take it into your own hands and see how it works.
NUG:Right, and routines.
TYSON: Routines, exactly. I think that’s something that’s really important to that. If you’re using cannabis as medicine, it needs to be used in a routine. It’s important to try to use it at the same time during the day. You’ll figure out your dosage and how long it lasts. Try and consume it on a regular basis and help build a relationship with life – not necessarily take life so seriously. When you are like me, or have PTSD, or whatever anxiety – you see those things from different perspectives. You’re like, ‘man, normally that would wind me up and get me crazy, but that’s kind of funny that it used to actually make me mad. Damn, that’s not that serious…’
Want more? Join Tyson at our NEW TO NUG sessions – for cannabis newbies, seniors or curious consumers. Our premier sessions are being held Monday January 13th at 10 AM and Tuesday, January 14th at 6 PM. No sign up necessary (21+ only), just join NUG at our San Leandro storefront to open your mind for NEW NUG possibilities.