Self-Healing Through Art, Music and Plant Medicine with Zen & Kush
Lizzy Jeff knows cannabis is more than a plant. It’s an herb, an experience and healing. We recently sat down with this modern day medicine woman to learn about Zen & Kush, her plant ritual and what it’s like to be a sacred activist with a goddess flow.
What is Zen & Kush?
Zen & Kush is an experience, it’s a vibe. In January, I started an event called Zen & Kush. I wanted to curate an environment where people can learn about cannabis but in a safe, sacred way, and also connect that with healing. I offer crystal healing, different herbs, music, art… Zen & Kush originated as an event inspired by gin and juice, but I wanted to do my own thing with cannabis and make it more sacred.
What inspired you to start Zen and Kush?
The name of my first mixtape was “Zen and Kush.” The inspiration came from working in the cannabis industry and also doing music. For the past few years I’d been throwing parties. I sat down and said, “parties are fun, but I can’t throw parties forever. How can I make these more meaningful?”
I decided to fuse the three together. Create an environment where I can perform my music, have other artists come out and perform, invite healers and enjoy cannabis, but conscious cannabis. The idea of Zen & Kush was to present a community of conscious cannabis brands so people know who they can go to for medicine.
Great point, what is conscious cannabis?
For me, it’s all about — you think about the mainstream. The mainstream culture around cannabis. For a long time, it’s been fat blunts, smoking weed, nail dabbing and cute girls. Ok, that’s an experience but how can I tell my experience? I work in a dispensary, we have crystals, we’re goddesses serving medicine. We’re healing. How can I tell that story in a really dope ass fun way? That is conscious cannabis.
When did you get in to the industry? What inspired you?
I worked in Venice Beach across from my current shop. People came in all the time and I started learning about the Green Goddess. The managers often stopped in and a manager said I would be perfect. That’s how it physically manifested. From working there and hearing peoples’ stories — people who found relief for seizures, soccer moms, grandmas, people with migraines for 15 years, people who just found out they have cancer — it was important for me to tell their stories.
How does cannabis help with your creativity and music?
For me, ever since learning the medicinal value and properties of cannabis, I like to explore. I might smoke some Orange Sherbert or AK Haze for creativity when I go to the studio. I really like sativas and sativa hybrids because it gives me that burst of energy and ability to get out of my head, yet tune into a vibration where I can just allow the music and words to flow. I love cannabis, it’s a ritual for me.
Yeah what’s your ritual like? Do you feel herb helps you connect spiritually? If so, how?
First and foremost, the herb is spiritual for me. It’s all about connecting to the plant. The earth provides for us. Trees, plants, flowers, that’s all here for us. Whether it’s for us to adore the beauty or to actually connect with the plant. For me, cannabis is sacred because when I break it down I use my hands. While I’m rolling it up I set intentions. When I smoke it I’m very mindful of breathing, practicing pranayama while inhaling deep. It’s a beautiful thing, especially when I get into my zone on the full moon and write out new moon intentions or affirmations. Cannabis allows me to open that door for everything to flow.
What are your favorite Marley strains and why?
I really like the Black Jack, it breaks down so wonderfully between my fingers. There’s a nice perfect touch of frost with all the trichomes. The overall experience, the effects are exactly what I need. I’m always doing shoots, in the studio, in a creative zone. I recently tried your CBD and it’s really amazing. I usually blend CBD with a sativa to make a nice combo, but the Marley CBD provides such a beautiful effect. It gives me this overall sense of well-being and total peace so I don’t even have to blend it with anything because it’s perfect.
Why are you an advocate for the herb?
In everything I’m doing, especially as I become more popular within the cannabis industry and my events, I want people to understand what inspires me to do this.
A lot of times I’m at different cannabis events to celebrate the herb and I think about all the people who came before us. People who fought and lost their lives so we can be here to celebrate this. For me, in those moments of celebration, I’m doing it for everyone before me. I think back to my ancestors, my grandmother, my great-grandmother. She cleaned houses in 1907. My grandmother didn’t make it past the 8th grade. Being a part of that street life, it wasn’t until I realized my power, the fact I can be saying and expressing myself so freely, especially with cannabis where it’s so frowned upon. People don’t understand.
It’s important for me to do this work and be a living, breathing expression of what people before me never had the opportunity to experience. People died for it. Being a black woman in this industry and how the war on drugs impacted the black community, where 90% of people put away are black and brown. Look at the statistics of the cannabis industry. Less than 1% of dispensary owners are black. Even in my own shop.
So, for me, I’m here, I have this influence, I have this role. What am I going to do with it? I’m advocating for the future of this plant, but also teaching people the history behind it. With the racial divide, for me cannabis is the gateway to the healing we need across racial lines. Across economic classes. Across everything. I’m happy to be there and be a representative of that and to help protect the sacredness of the plant.