The founder of Zen & Kush, a bi-monthly cannabis event in Los Angeles, is definitely on a higher plane.
By Nancy Won
Ask Lizzy Jeff what she does and the answer is, well, complicated. “I’m not into labels but it’s the first thing people want to know, especially here in LA,” she says. The truth is she does a lot, from being a bud tender at a Venice Beach dispensary to recording music as a rap artist to organizing cannabis-themed events and pop-ups around the city. “What I like to say is that I’m a medicine woman and in that role I can share my gift of healing through many different creative channels and modes of expression.”
Zen & Kush, the bi-monthly cannabis event Jeff founded in 2017 (the name is a play on Snoop Dogg’s “Gin and Juice”), is the her take on the ultimate healing mecca. “I wanted to create a safe space where people can gather and learn, elevate consciousness and just open up to ritual and ceremony and higher vibrations,” she says. “It’s basically a curation of my lifestyle. I’m all about being mindful of what I put in my body, eating fresh organic food, smoking the finest organic ganja, staying hydrated, taking it easy, just living my best life. So at Zen & Kush, I have raw vegan organic food, there’s a reiki healer, tarot, massage tables, lots of lounges and pillows, and the music is specifically curated for the vibe, so you can sit back, roll up a nice herbal something, sip on some ginger and damiana tea, and just relax in a fun, artistic spot. It’s about presenting this culture and community to people and hopefully enhancing their overall sense of wellbeing.” Case in point: the next event, which is slated for May 5, will be a CBD-infused topless yoga experience.
We recently sat down with Jeff to talk herbal remedies, favorite strains and how cannabis has the power to heal the world.
How did you first get into herbs and self-healing?
I think a big part of it is how I was raised. My grandmother and my great grandmother were very into natural medicine and they taught me a lot about remedies. But it’s also just who I am. I’ve always been really tuned into what I put in my body, like, I went vegan when I was five—no one else in my family was even considering that.
What!? How did you decide to go vegan at five?
I think about that all the time and I don’t know, I was just really tuned in. But I think children know what they want. I’m pretty sure if kids really understood what meat was, a lot of them would choose not to eat it.
Okay, so you went vegan at five, you were into natural remedies, learning about herbs, how did cannabis come into the picture?
I definitely always enjoyed using cannabis, but it was only after I became a bud tender and started working closely with different strains and seeing the impact it had in people’s lives, that it really became the platform of my life. On a regular daily basis, I meet people whose entire existence has been changed by cannabis. I recently had someone comes in who would go to the ER once a month for her migraines—she started using a CBD-infused tincture in her tea and she hasn’t gone in three months. There’s another young woman whose daughter has these really intense seizures—she’s three-years-old! The only thing that helps is the Strawberry Lemonade we have at the shop. Mainstream cannabis culture right now is like cute girls and fat blunts, which is cool but that’s been the story for so long. For me it’s all about serving the community, not only on a physical level, but also mental and spiritual.
Have you always brought this level of mindfulness to your cannabis use or is that something that developed as you got more involved in the industry?
I always thought of cannabis as medicine, but now that I know more about the different strains and how they make you feel, it’s allowed me to really bring intention and ritual to my practice. So even if I’m out with a group of friends and we’re about to watch a movie or go dancing or something, I could easily just spark up a joint and be like, “let’s smoke some weed!” or I can gather their attention, bring the energy to the present moment, and let them know, this is some organic Fruit Loops, super sweet, uplifting, very creative and it makes you feel very elevated and happy. Let’s set a new intention, let’s open ourselves up to the vibration of clarity, creativity, abundance, whatever this medicine has for us, let’s really tune into that and allow that energy to flow through us. And me just putting that out there, at a random wherever we are, it really makes people aware and just tuned into that higher frequency.
Okay wow, that sounds like such a beautiful way to smoke a J! It’s also cool that you take the time to explain what it is you’re smoking, because I doubt a lot of people even think to ask.
And we have to know that! Like some people are super hyper already so they might not want a sativa that’s just gonna make them even more hyper and paranoid, and then they’ll be like, “I’m never smoking weed again!” Maybe they just needed a nice, chill CBD, like some Skywalker OG or a little Blackberry Kush. And that’s the thing, you gotta experiment! I always tell people, go explore, don’t take one person’s experience as your own. And don’t let your first time experience stop you from trying something else. I used to work at a bra store and sometimes we’d have to try on like 25 bras before we found the right one. But when we found it, it was perfect. It’s the same with ganja.
For people who might not know where to start, what are some of your favorite strains?
I’m always on the go so I love a sweet-tasting sativa hybrid like Forbidden Fruit to keep me energized and creative. After a long day of gettin’ it, if I just want to relax and like sink into my body, I’ll smoke some Blackberry Kush and do like 2-3 sprays of the Apothecanna Spray. It’s a CBD-infused oil that I put on my neck or lower back and it just gives me the ultimate vibes. If I’m on my cycle and I have a migraine, I’ll have 20 mg of CBD. I take my tinctures with me everywhere. I even have a freakin’ THC lip balm. And a lot of this stuff doesn’t make you high. It’s more about being tuned in and connected to the Earth. You see the trees more, you notice the birds singing in the distance, you feel the breeze and how good it feels on your face, you want to love more and give more and be more compassionate.
With the industry growing so quickly there are a lot of female entrepreneurs getting into the business. Why do you think women are so attracted to the cannabis industry?
Women are natural healers. We are the medicine women. If you think about the roles that our ancestors played, it makes total sense. And as we enter into this new era of the divine feminine, women are tapping into their divinity, self love, encouragement and really digging deep to give ourselves the healing that we need. And cannabis is a female plant. So naturally with cannabis on the rise, women are on the rise. And alongside the force of the plant itself, the community is really coming together to lift each other up.
For me, just having this platform, it’s about education and building community. It can impact change in a profound way, especially for communities of color. Especially for women. This industry is set to have the most female billionaires of any industry ever! So, there are a lot of women doing some powerful shit. And that’s how it begins.