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How I Use Zeno: Bret

LA-based screenwriter Brett tells us how he uses low-dose THC to find more joy in his work, and more openness in his social life — all with a gentle, natural supplement.

Why did you start taking Zeno?

Curiosity, mostly. The idea that there was something natural I could take that would help me be a bit more open, but also focus a bit more on work throughout the day — that definitely appealed to me. Especially because it wouldn’t be as intense as something like Adderall or some kind of prescription drug.

Nice. How’s it going so far?

I love it now, but there was a slightly rocky start. On the very first day, I felt a little, what's the word, not “sedated,” but I felt like, “I'm not sure how into this I am.”

But then the second day I took it, I was like, “Oh, okay, this is good.” I was more focused, more at ease, and without really noticing it the way I did on day one.

Have you ever microdosed with anything else before?

I mean I’ve smoked cannabis before, although not in a while, but this is the first time I've ever experimented with microdosing anything, let alone THC.

Where do you feel like it’s been most helpful?

Like many people in our generation, I do a ton of different things for work. I just finished a full-time grad school program, wrote two different films, and had a few other gigs along the way. I was just doing a bunch of different things, and I still am.

So juggling work is probably the biggest benefit. Zeno just helps cut down the chatter in your head a little bit, allowing you to focus on what's important.

So it sounds like “focus” is the key word there.

Yeah, but in a way that's not too obvious. Like, I've never been prescribed Adderall, but when I was in college I bummed some off some friends from time to time—you know, when you have that paper that's due the next day and you need to read half the book. So when I did that, it was obviously amazing for focus, but at the same time, I was always conscious I was on medication. Like, “This is not reality.”

Zeno isn’t like that. I'm not thinking about the supplement all day, and I don’t feel like a different person. Maybe a few hours after taking it, I'll think to myself, “Oh, maybe I was a bit more productive, or maybe I handled that interaction better than I otherwise would have,” but the whole day doesn't become about the supplement.

So Adderall was a mixed bag then.

Oh yeah. Your mind is on “focus overdrive.” Like, if you're not focusing on your work, you're focusing on something else with equal intensity. It might be, you know, the girl in the library that you've always wanted to talk to. And then all of a sudden you're locked into that for an hour. And you've never been more focused in your life than on that conversation. But now you have to steer the ship back because the paper's due tomorrow, and your mind is running really quickly. So it’s a lot to deal with.

If Zeno is so different, where does the “focus” come in?

Good question… I think “efficient” isn’t the right word to describe it — that’s more Adderall. Maybe “clear” is the word I'm looking for? Reduced brain fog for sure.

I feel normal, but I can tell that I'm a bit more calm, a bit more at ease, a bit more balanced in my interactions and in my work ethic. There’s kind of a levity to the situation.

Levity. That’s an interesting word.

Yeah, levity. Like, I'm working on a book project right now, and it requires me to read through a dozen transcripts that are each 20 pages long single-spaced.

Normally, that would feel like a daunting amount of work, but with Zeno it's not stressful at all. I’m just completely unintimidated by it. I just go with the flow. So I think that lift in my attitude toward work is kind of a noticeable effect. I’m more positive about it. I’m more “into” it, if that makes sense.

It almost sounds like the focus comes indirectly. Like, you have a less anxious attitude around your work, which makes you more willing to do it.

A hundred percent.

What about outside of work?

As in socially? It’s similar, actually. Like, I went on a hike in Runyon Canyon last week, and I crossed paths with this guy on the trail. So, you know, we said hello. But then when I got to the summit, he was there too, and we wound up having this great conversation and chatted for like 40 minutes. It's one of those things that, in regular interaction, you might just feel like, “Okay, I'll talk to this guy for 20 seconds and then do my own thing, whatever, nice to meet you.”

But there's something about it that makes you more open, more like, “Oh, this is a cool opportunity.” And I think that that’s a pleasant effect of microdosing THC. Usually we avoid talking to strangers because we're self-conscious about it. Or we just want to do our own thing. But with microdosing, there’s an openness of attitude.

You’re more at ease with people.

Exactly. Like, in this conversation, I can give you a less filtered answer because I’m not self-conscious talking to you. If I wasn't taking Zeno, I might think, “Okay, I have no idea what this is.” But when I picked up the phone just now, I was like, “All right, let's have fun with this.”

Or after a long day, my partner says to me, “Let's go to my friend’s happy hour in his backyard.”

But I'm not thinking “I'm too tired. I don't want to go,” which I might have otherwise. Instead it's like, “Okay, sounds fun. Let's go.”

And you just take one Zeno tablet a day, right?

Yeah, just one. I’m pretty responsive to cannabis I think, so one is good for me.

I also like taking it in the morning because the other ingredient in Zeno is one of the active compounds in green and black teas — the amino acid L-Theanine — and it’s why tea famously doesn’t make you feel as fritzy as coffee does.

So it takes the edge off.

Exactly. And it’s all-natural too.

So at the end of the day, what would your advice be to someone curious about trying Zeno?

Definitely worth trying it, at the very least to see if it has the same effects: bringing less anxiety and more engagement to your work, and opening up a bit more socially too. It’s really so subtle: it’s not like “Hey, whoa, I’m in an altered state.” On the contrary, I just feel a little more even-keeled and a little more at ease with myself. Basically, I feel more like me.
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