It’s Okay Not to Be Okay: Honoring Mental Health Awareness Month

Mental health has received much-needed attention this past year. Now more than ever, it is essential to realize that it is okay not to be okay.

If you or someone you know is having an emergency, call 911 immediately. If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to talk to a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area at any time. 

We’ve all been through a lot in the last year.

The escalating stress of the pandemic, along with economic uncertainty, civil unrest, political turmoil, social isolation, and our nation’s reckoning with systemic racism, has had a deeply profound impact on the mental health of millions. 

May is National Mental Health Awareness Month. As we continue to push through and persevere, all of us need to do our part in raising mental health awareness while reducing the stigma often associated with mental illness for far too long.

You’re not alone. 

Life has been out of balance for everyone as of late. And though it may feel like it, you are not alone when it comes to feeling unwell and overwhelmed.

Mental Health America recently released its State of Mental Health in America report, and the results are startling.

One in five Americans struggles with mental illness or a mental health condition. That is roughly 47 million people, and shockingly, these statistics were pulled together before the pandemic. 

Suicide ideation in adults has also increased, mental health among the youth has worsened, and a staggering number of people suffering from disorders have gone untreated. 

Again, this is before the pandemic. Unsurprisingly, a spotlight in this report shows the number of people experiencing depression and anxiety in the last year has skyrocketed—another troubling indication of a growing crisis.

When we began to hunker down last March, we were unaware of just how much COVID and the resulting economic and social upheavals would upend our lives. In a matter of months, each of us had our own laundry list of cumulative individual and collective traumas. 

If anything positive has come out of this widespread, shared trauma, it is the fact mental health has now become a massive part of the national conversation. And with this surge in awareness, the stigma that often prevents people from seeking help has reduced considerably.

Nobody should ever feel ashamed for needing help, and Americans that are becoming aware of this have been able to get a head start down their long path of recovery. 

For some, there is now a light at the end of a once dark and uncertain tunnel.

Here are a few ways you can practice mindfulness and good mental health practices. 

It can be challenging to practice mindful self-care when you don’t even know where to begin.

Fortunately, you can take some easy steps and strategies to start incorporating mindfulness and good mental health practices into your daily routine.

Mindfulness is a type of mental relaxation or meditation that helps you focus on being aware of what you are feeling at the moment. Its ultimate goal is to calm your body and mind while reducing the symptoms of stress and depression.

Arm yourself with an empowering mindfulness tool by simply focusing, recognizing, understanding, and accepting your feelings. This tool can help you make the necessary decisions needed to cope with those nagging feelings of anxiety, anger, isolation, grief, exhaustion, and despair.

With the warmer weather, and the emergence of vaccines, hopeful people have started to venture outside again to bask in the beauty and joy of being in the present. Practicing being in the present can have tremendous benefits on your wellness. A simple walk around the block or a quick two-minute breathing meditation at the start of the day is all it takes too. 

It also helps to remember that the present is the only thing we have control over.

With many people forced to reckon with their mental health, counseling has seen a massive rise in necessity. Of course, mental health services are not always an affordable option, nor are appointments immediately accessible.

The lack of mental health support hasn’t gone unnoticed, and several health agencies and businesses have begun offering the invaluable service of providing people with someone to talk to. 

Crisis intervention services such as SAMHSA’s Disaster Distress Helpline or Crisis Text Line (simply text HOME to 741741) have been incredibly beneficial when it comes to free, around-the-clock counseling. 

The SAMHSA National Helpline has been an outstanding resource for people in need of treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations.

In light of this past year, there has been an urgent need to ease the strain off emotionally burdened Americans. As a result, there has been an outpouring of aid and resources available for the people who feel like they’re sinking so that they may start to navigate out of turbulent waters safely.

What does the future of mental health hold? 

The last year has been fraught with worry, loss, isolation, loneliness, and depression. And because it was a shared experience, we have started developing awareness and compassion towards mental health disorders.

While the lasting effects of COVID will be around long after the virus is eradicated, the wounds can start healing now for so many people.

We now understand that everyone faces challenges that can impact their health, and we now know that depression and anxiety are common and often treatable. 

But there is still much work to be done. We need to address the conditions and the environments contributing to mental illness. And we need to evaluate the glaring issues with our strained mental health system and the unprecedented mental health crisis.

In the meantime, you can start cultivating mindfulness and mental well-being one day at a time. And know that it is okay to ask for help when life has become unmanageable. Never neglect your mental health.

Recovery, healing, and hope will happen, and we should all want this for ourselves, our friends and family, and our community. 

It’s okay not to be okay.

Sustainability in the Cannabis Industry: Lightshade is Going Green(er)

The modern cannabis industry has a significant environmental impact. Here is what we’re doing to help usher in a new era of sustainability.

Cannabis has a long history of human consumption – it’s one of humanity’s oldest cultivated crops. Cultivation flourished worldwide until the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937.

Now, in the wake of widespread legalization and decriminalization, cannabis has gone from an illegal herb to a thriving, billion-dollar industry. 

But aspects of this Green Empire are making the environment go up in smoke. 

Modern cultivation practices have come a long way from the days when the Ancient Mesopotamians and colonial Americans grew cannabis.

Of course, outdoor grow operations still utilize fields and sun, but the recent rise of indoor and greenhouse cultivations creates significant sustainability challenges.

Cultivators must constantly refine their operations as the commercial cannabis industry continues to flower.

What are some of the sustainability challenges faced by the cannabis industry as it grows? 

As the cannabis industry slowly becomes more regulated, more brands and cultivators are adopting sustainable practices. 

Still, there are many roadblocks.

With prohibition still standing in the way of federal funding, research, and support, there has been a woeful lack of studies and information regarding modern cannabis cultivation and how it impacts the climate. 

But cultivation facilities open every day, and with no oversight, these facilities rarely implement environmentally friendly and sustainable production methods.

Naturally, with accelerated industrial growth comes a high carbon footprint.

Researchers began to see the urgent need to understand how modern outdoor, indoor, and greenhouse grow operations impacted the climate.

Their studies revealed that increased legal cultivation was beating the hell out of the environment.

In some instances, cultivation was depleting energy, overwhelming water systems with irrigation, and threatening air quality with increased carbon emissions. 

Cannabis production was choking out rivers and hotboxing our atmosphere. 

The study results aren’t shocking when you consider that cannabis is a resource-depleting, intensive process.

Brands and cultivators have taken note. Many are working together on comprehensive sustainability initiatives. 

We’re one of those brands. Sustainability has always been top-of-mind, but Lightshade has taken things to the next level over the last two years. 

We opened our state-of-the-art greenhouse operation in the summer of 2019. The Greenhouse comprises almost 2/3rds of Lightshade’s total cultivation footprint. And we’ve used significantly less lighting in the greenhouse because it harnesses the sun. 

The facility does not use mechanical cooling or dehumidification, two of the main drivers of carbon emissions in indoor cannabis cultivation facilities. 

In the fall of 2019, Lightshade’s owners brought in CSU grads Dan Banks and Nick Drury as their Vice President of Cultivation (Dan) and Senior Vice President of Cultivation (Nick). 

Dan and Nick understand industrial agriculture and horticulture science, and they’re using their knowledge to make Lightshade’s cultivation more sustainable. 

Our sustainability initiatives have increased substantially across all of our cultivation facilities yields in just under two years. Some of these initiatives include:

Energy Efficiency 

Denver dedicated 4% of its electricity to cannabis production as of 2018. 

That’s a startling revelation. Or is it?

Indoor grow operations are energy hogs with constant artificial lighting, ventilation, and temperature controls. 

Lightshade signed on with Xcel Energy’s Strategic Energy Management (SEM) program to help take some strain off the city’s power grid in the fall of 2020. The program isn’t new, but Xcel only recently opened access to the cannabis industry. Lightshade is one of its first participants.

Xcel and Cascade Energy connected Lightshade with Jake Mitchell and Damien Markiewicz from the woman-owned sustainability-focused consulting firm, Resource Innovations to take on the project.

Mitchell and Markiewicz have backgrounds in climate action planning for cities and states and strategic sustainability planning for private industries. 

With nine years of sustainability consultation (five in the cannabis industry) under his belt, Mitchell is a valuable Strategic Energy Management program resource.

Energy and production are the main factors that we’re looking at here,” explains Mitchell, “but we also look at water usage, CO2, and waste, and other aspects of the facility for a holistic approach.” 

Jake and Damien are working closely with Dan and Nick to identify opportunities to increase energy efficiency across all of Lightshade’s cultivation facilities, including its greenhouse.

 “All of our flowering areas and cultivation across all of our facilities are in the process of switching from high-pressure sodium lighting to LED lighting,” notes Dan Banks. “That’s going to allow us to increase lighting intensity, especially in our indoor cultivation facilities, while at the same time lowering the amount of overall energy used.” 

Lightshade is now projected to increase its lighting intensity by a quarter with this LED overhaul. That amount will offset enough electricity to power up to over 300 homes.

Xcel is committed to reducing peak energy demand during the summer by decreasing the demand on the grid between 2 pm and 6 pm.

With this in mind, Lightshade switched their vegetative lighting cycles across all facilities, which typically consists of 18 to 20 hours of light with 4 to 6 hours of darkness, so that their downtime falls during those peak demand hours.

Lightshade also reduces the impact of flower lighting by utilizing the sun at the greenhouse, altering indoor light cycles to reduce consumption during peak times, and using dimmers to lower energy usage during early flower when lighting intensity does not need to be as high. 

Once we complete the LED overhaul this summer, we expect a reduction in power usage and waste (lighting fixtures, bulbs, and more) and increased lighting intensity and productivity.

Integrated Pest Management

We’re also taking a more natural (and sustainable) approach to pest management.

Pesticides threaten biodiversity. They contaminate soil, vegetation, and water and increase greenhouse gas emissions. Lightshade uses some organic pesticides, but only as a last resort.

Dan Banks (who minored in entomology) is leveraging facility-specific scouting, biocontrols, and altered cultural practices to reduce the need for pesticides by implementing integrated pest management (IPM) tailored to each of our cultivation facilities. 

Banks explains, “We use insects or mites that are predators of pest species. They’re predators that essentially eat their prey.”

For example, we’re eliminating Aphids with natural predators like Green Lacewing larvae and a parasitoid wasp (a parasite that kills its host), which both naturally feed off Aphids.

Crop protection is one of the things I’ve done a lot in cannabis,” says Banks, “We want to put less harmful chemicals into the environment and produce a cleaner product.”

Water Use and Re-Use 

Perhaps the biggest win so far for Banks and Drury has been reducing Lightsade’s water usage by a whopping 1.2 million gallons in just one year.

Introducing a water recirculation system into the new greenhouse operation and a drip system made it possible.

We invested in a water recapture system, so when the plants are fertigated, which delivers irrigation water and nutrients at the same time, all of the runoff is re-captured and re-used,” explains Banks, “The water then comes back in and is treated, before going back into the nutrient holding tanks, so all of that run-off that goes out is recaptured and reused as opposed to just having it go down the drain.

Initially, Lightshade’s Greenhouse, built using a palletized benching system, relied on an ebb-and-flood watering system. Even after commissioning the water recapture system, this irrigation style still wasted a large amount of water due to evaporation.

Drury tapped another CSU graduate, Forrest Benson of Redstone irrigation, to help the Lightshade team design a custom modular drip system that would work with our palletized benching. Drury’s expertise in nutrient management and plant pathology was also crucial in revising the nutrient recipes and devising the water treatment protocols necessary to reuse the captured run-off. 

Of course, COVID slowed the progress of our sustainability initiatives. However, we were still able to compile a great deal of data on water usage and re-circulation at the greenhouse.

And those results reflected the system’s benefits when it came to recycling and treating captured irrigation water from the plants, which in turn increased water use efficiency while reducing the burden on the municipal water system.

1.2 million gallons is a significant water-use reduction. But we’ve still got room for improvement; please check back later this year for an update on total water usage at the greenhouse!

What’s the future of cannabis sustainability? 

We’ve made significant sustainability strides in just one year. But our journey is only beginning. 

We understand sustainability is holistic and must be a core component of our company values. Jake and Damien understand this, too. 

It has to be systemic – it has to be a virtue and a value that the company holds in its decision-making process.” Mitchell asserts.

The Lightshade team is continually exploring new ways to incorporate sustainability. We’re making constant changes, including compressed coco coir growing medium, recycling nitrile gloves, high-efficiency under-bench heating, better insulating our indoor facilities to reduce HVAC needs, and constantly looking for new sustainable solutions. 

From our budtenders to our cultivation teams and executive leadership, we’ve empowered our employees to voice their sustainability concerns, ideas, and opinions. And we’re committed to educating others in our industry. 

Banks and Drury represent Lightshade as participants in the Denver Cannabis Sustainability Work Group (DCSWG). As part of those efforts, they provide feedback and updates for the City of Denver’s Cannabis Environmental Best Management Practices Guide. The guide is updated annually and gives cannabis producers insights and resources to help their operations be more sustainable. 

Banks serves as the Co-Chair of the DCSWG’s Commercialization Committee, which brings together cultivators and sustainability-focused businesses to increase cooperation and make sustainability resources more available to other cultivators.   

The possibilities for sustainability-focused improvements are endless right now, and the future of sustainability in the cannabis industry looks bright. 

Lightshade is proud to be a part of this growing industry and help mature its processes. We can help humans and our planet and still produce premium flower!

Mindful Indulgence: Our Favorite Vegan and Gluten-Free Treats

Here’s a selection of vegan and gluten-free cannabis products you can find at Lightshade Colorado dispensaries. 

There are few more satisfying ways to indulge in cannabis than with an infused edible (or two – just remember, start low and go slow). For many cannabis connoisseurs, edibles offer a unique quality that isn’t always obtainable through smoking or vaping.

But for those of us who have dietary restrictions, it can sometimes be challenging to track down the perfect cannabis-infused snack that’s both tasty and aligned with our health goals. 

Vegans and folks who try to stick to a plant-based diet need to avoid the all too common baking staples of butter, milk, and eggs; gluten-free folks need to duck even the faintest trace of wheat (no shared equipment, please!). Sugar presents its own host of health problems for people with diabetes or heart issues and anyone cutting down on empty calories.

Fortunately, there’s a growing marketplace of delicious and good-for-you ways to indulge in cannabis-infused treats. We rounded up some of our favorites–take a bite!

REC Gluten-Free, Vegan, Sugar-Free: 

Aliviar Tinctures
DIY your dose with these easy-to-digest tinctures, which you can easily add to any treat. 

Craft Dablets
Packed with energy-boosting nutrients along with a THC dose, Craft Dablets are the perfect edible for a daytime adventure.

Dixie Orange & Peppermint Mints, Synergy Drops
Choose your own adventure with this line of infused mints, with flavors designed to awaken, inspire, and relax.

KJL Black Cherry Tincture
We love the subtle sweetness of this tincture. Add a few drops to sparkling water for a healthy, relaxing take on soda. 

Mary’s Medicinals Remedy Oil
An easy way to add CBD to your wellness routine, with the added benefits of sweet almond, cinnamon, and myrrh. 

ReCreate Tinctures
These fast-acting tinctures provide the perfect dose for any occasion, with blends designed for relaxation, relief, sleep, and everyday indulgence.

Chewy, fruity, delicious, a little bit like your childhood gummy vitamins, except for, you know, the weed.

Stratos Tablets & Tinctures
These blended tablets and tinctures are engineered for precision dosage and free of all extraneous ingredients—the real deal.

MED Gluten-Free, Vegan, Sugar-Free: 

Caregivers for Life RSO Capsules
These tablets are designed specifically for medical consumption and use a potent base of pure Colorado cannabis oil to deliver targeted relief.

Craft Dablets
Packed with energy-boosting nutrients along with a dose of THC, the perfect edible for a daytime adventure.

Mary’s Medicinals Remedy Oil
An easy way to add CBD to your wellness routine, with the added benefits of sweet almond, cinnamon, and myrrh. 

Stratos Tablets & Tinctures
These blended tablets and tinctures are engineered for precision dosage and free of all extraneous ingredients—the real deal.

REC Gluten-Free, Vegan: 

Dixie Elixirs
Boost your hydration station with these vibrantly flavorful elixirs, whose fruity sweetness goes down easy in any beverage.

Escape Artists Lemon & Mint Strips
Uplifting, fast-acting, with enlivening citrus or mint zing, these tasty strips melt in your mouth for an instant, potent dose.

Keef Shots Lemonade
This high-dose mocktail is the perfect cannabis-infused take on a hard lemonade if you’re avoiding alcohol or looking to try something new.

Nokhu Gummies
These solventless gummies offer a full-spectrum high and pack a powerful fruity punch.

Sinsere Vegan Mint Dark Chocolate Bar (incoming)
A classic mint chocolate combo with a bonus dose of cannabis, these bars are a delicious way to relax and indulge.

MED Gluten-Free, Vegan: 

Dixie Elixirs
Boost your hydration station with these vibrantly flavorful elixirs, whose fruity sweetness goes down easy in any beverage

Keef Colas
A healthier take on your favorite soda with a delightful burst of THC. Try their take on classic flavors like orange soda and root beer–nostalgia in a can. 

Wana Gummies
While all their flavors are tasty, we’re huge fans of Wana’s sour gummies, available in various CBD/THC blends that deliver mouth-puckering flavor.

REC Gluten Free Only: 

Dixie Gummies
Choose between berry, citrus, and sour strawberry, with each gummy delivering 10MG of tasty THC

N-Fuzed Gummies
Remember those gummy fruit snacks? N-Fuzed’s variety pack is the adult version, with a landscape of fruity flavors to explore.

Tastebudz Gummies
Strain-specific gummies keep the connoisseur in mind, with isolated cannabinoids that deliver a perfectly calibrated experience to suit your desires. 

Ripple Gummies
Chewy, fruity, delicious, a little bit like your childhood gummy vitamins, except for, you know, the weed.

Wyld Gummies
Based on real fruit juice and infused with fruit terpenes, these gummies are our go-to when we want to walk on the wild side.

MED Gluten Free Only: 

DOSD Gummies
These award-winning gummies are packed with water-soluble cannabinoids for a fast-acting, flavor-packed onset.

Robhots Gummies
Small batch and distillate infused, these gummies take an artisan approach to gluten-free cannabis candy.

Tastebudz Gummies
Strain-specific gummies keep the connoisseur in mind, with isolated cannabinoids that deliver a perfectly calibrated experience to suit your desires.

With so many excellent edible options, it’s impossible to choose just one! That’s why we’d love to see you come in for an in-person snacking session–our budtenders are happy to recommend the perfect health-conscious edible to suit your mood.

Visit your favorite Lightshade location today and explore our selection of recreational and medical cannabis vegan and gluten-free products!

Honoring Women’s History Month with the Women of Lightshade

It’s Women’s History Month, and we want to highlight the women of Lightshade!

March is Women’s History Month, an annual celebration of women’s achievements and a time to honor their essential role in history, not only in the United States but also globally. 

Women’s History Month is the perfect opportunity to shed light on women’s essential cannabis industry contributions. 

We’re proud to have a strong group of women on our team, so we decided to ask some of them about their role in the cannabis industry and why our favorite plant is beneficial for women. 

Keep reading to learn what they had to say! 

Aja Mills – District Manager 

Can you describe your cannabis industry journey? 

My cannabis journey started with Lightshade over six years ago! 

I got my badge after I turned 21, and Lightshade hired me as a receptionist in 2015. I worked my way up from there, and my first day as Store Manager was on my first anniversary with the company. 

I’ve worked at 5 of our 9 locations, and today I’m the District Manager for our Aurora and South Denver stores.

How does cannabis help you every day? 

Cannabis helps me in so many ways as a woman! Not only does it help me cope with the world’s craziness and a global pandemic, but it also helps me sleep and relax. 

Also, CBD is a lifesaver for my PMS symptoms!

What does it mean to be a woman in the cannabis industry?

Being a woman in the cannabis industry is about being assertive and strong. It’s also about vulnerability and compassion. Women in cannabis are on the front lines of an ever-changing industry. And we’re making a difference every single day.

From a woman’s perspective, where do you want to see our industry go? 

I’d like to see more women involved at all business levels. 

The cannabis industry continues to evolve and change daily. We must embrace change to impact the industry and the people surrounding us positively! 

What does Women’s History Month mean to you?

Women’s History Month is a celebration of all women! 

We’ve come so far as a society, and if that’s not something to celebrate, then I don’t know what is! 

Women are powerful as heck!

Is there anything else you’d like to say? 

Lightshade is terrific! They do a fantastic job of embracing our strong female personalities. I am lucky and grateful to work for a company like ours.

Karen Walkden – Dayton Store Manager

My first cannabis industry job was a budtending position in a shop that catered to Medical patients. The incredible boss that trained me developed an empathic relationship with our customers.  

It was humbling and motivating to be a source of comfort to people who needed it. I hope I still emulate this empathy seven years later.

We all juggle so many different projects on any given day that the ability to navigate all of them with a clean heart and calm soul is a gift.   

Walks, talks, music, and food are all enhanced when cannabis is involved.

I’ve been encouraged by so many outrageous, courageous, and utterly brilliant women in my career. 

As a mother of four (three of whom are girls), it brings me joy knowing that if they work hard and dig some proverbial ditches (or real ones), they’ll be nurtured and encouraged by a generation of strong, successful, slightly rebellious lady leaders.

Financial growth is essential. It pays for all the experiments in our industry and social change, not to mention our paychecks. There is also a hallmark of compassion and responsibility I know we will fight hard to keep as a vanguard.

The conversations sparked between all of us are what I love about this month. It’s not just about how wonderful women are; it’s also about how wonderful we are when we do this world together.

For the first time, I feel like I’m helping to change the world! 

Miranda Garcia – Holly Store Manager 

Can you describe your cannabis industry journey? 

I entered the cannabis industry at age 21. It’s been six years, and in that time, I’ve expanded my knowledge of not only cannabis but also the professional world.

I’ve also grown as a person. 

I have learned a lot about people and business. Cannabis is still a male-dominated industry, and it’s always taken extra work to earn respect from fellow industry employees, especially when people also learn my age. 

Former coworkers have told me since women “can’t decide what they want for dinner, why would they listen to my work decisions?” Despite people having that type of thoughts on women, I believe my determination and strong work ethic have helped me get to the Store Manager position I am now in, and I will only continue to climb the ranks! 

How does cannabis help you every day? 

Cannabis helps ease stress and frequent physical aches and pains. 

What does it mean to be a woman in the cannabis industry?

It means that people are starting to accept that everyone is equal. 

From a woman’s perspective, where do you want to see our industry go? 

I would love to see more women running the show! 

What does Women’s History Month mean to you?

It means that at some point, not everyone was thought to be equal. No matter race or gender, every person can do anything they set their minds to, and they should all be treated equally! 

A look back through history shows women’s strength and ability to attain their goals. 

Is there anything else you’d like to say? 

The world still has a long way to go, but I’m happy to be part of an industry that treats people equally. I’m proud to be surrounded by the fantastic team I see every day!

Aryana Rodriguez – HR Generalist

Can you describe your cannabis industry journey? 

My cannabis journey is motivating. I had many wonderful mentors and great work friends that never stopped inspiring me to go after it all.  

How does cannabis help you every day? 

Cannabis feeds me daily relief through the simple reflection of an elevated mind. 

It’s go, go, go, from the time I wake until the moment I rest. As a mom and wife who works a full-time position, the workload never eases. When I reflect on my day after consuming cannabis, it slows down just long enough to think of ways to better everything I am passionate about. 

Cannabis uplifts my perspective. 

What does it mean to be a woman in the cannabis industry?

Cannabis, to me, signifies workplace equality. I’m fortunate to leave my mark in a male-dominated industry and represent the rest of my strong, hardworking women. 

From a woman’s perspective, where do you want to see our industry go? 

I slowly see where I want the industry to go. There are a ton of badass women people recognize for their contributions to our workplace.

 I want equality regardless of who you are, where you’re from, or what you believe.  

What does Women’s History Month mean to you?

It’s a time to reflect. And it’s also a time to appreciate women who have paved the way for the special ladies in my life. They had no fear, stood firm in what they believed, and demanded more.

We want to know about the women you’re honoring this Women’s History Month! Drop by and tell us!

Six Black Leaders In Colorado We Want You to Know About

It’s Black History Month, and we want to highlight the vital work of Black professionals, educators, activists, and legislators in our community.

It’s a sad fact that Black Americans are the group most damaged by America’s remaining anti-cannabis legislation.

According to the ACLU, Black people are almost four times more likely to be arrested for cannabis possession than their white counterparts. Even as a growing tide of legalization turns our favorite plant from an illegal drug into an acceptable source of medical relief and enjoyment, the lingering effects of America’s War on Drugs are still painfully apparent.

As more and more states legalize cannabis, the industry has a responsibility to create more Black leadership opportunities. That’s why, this Black History Month, we want to highlight the vital work of Black professionals, educators, activists, and legislators in the world of cannabis and beyond.

Colorado Senate Member James Coleman

Representative James Coleman has been a leading voice in the fight to reform Colorado’s cannabis legislation. Coleman has advocated for legislation focused on increasing Black participation in the world of legalized cannabis, including a bill that promotes social equity within the industry. Colorado’s cannabis market has provided a model for states joining the growing tide of decriminalization and legalization. Coleman’s legislative work offers a model for a nationwide push to create a more equitable world of legalized cannabis for all.

Julian and Darian from Be a Good Person

Julian Donaldson and Darian Simon co-founded their brand Be a Good Person to share a simple message. In a time when political and social tensions have led to an atmosphere of suspicion, Julian and Darian want to help people spread positivity with clothing, face masks, and even a mural decorated with their signature phrase. They hope that their brand will help people experience the simple power of human connection: building communities based on an atmosphere of mutual respect and trust.

Black Cannabis Equity Initiative Founder John Bailey

Promoting Black excellence has always been a core value for Colorado business leader John Bailey. For years, he’s been a guiding force behind the Colorado Black Round Table. When the state legalized cannabis, he was inspired to go further, founding the Black Cannabis Equity Initiative. Under Bailey’s leadership, the organization was pushed to advocate for legislation to increase Black stakeholdership in the growing legal cannabis market and provide tools for the industry, including an equity report card businesses can use to improve their inclusivity.

Color of Cannabis Founder Sarah Woodson

Sarah Woodson was inspired to form the influential advocacy group Color of Cannabis by her desire to increase Black participation in Colorado’s booming cannabis marketplace. As the founder of consumption friendly art class Kush & Canvases, Woodson was acutely aware of the barriers facing Black entrepreneurs interested in entering the world of legalized cannabis. Color of Cannabis works to shape public policy to encourage buy-in within BIPOC communities, creating new funding pathways to help people of color start cannabis businesses of their own.

Lightshade VP of Compliance and Auditing Charrise Harris

As VP of Compliance and Auditing for Lightshade, Charrise Harris is responsible for coordinating and implementing compliance procedures, maintaining an internal audit program that allows Lightshade to operate effectively and equitably on a companywide scale. Harris’ role as a leading executive at one of Colorado’s top five cannabis companies represents the Black excellence within the cannabis community advocated by change leaders like James Coleman, John Bailey, and Sarah Woodson.

With only two states remailing where all uses of cannabis are illegal, the industry is experiencing an unprecedented boom. As Colorado moves to expand the state licensing procedure in 2021, we believe that these leaders will continue to provide critical support to an industry-wide push to increase BIPOC access to the profitable world of legalized cannabis within Colorado and beyond.

Lightshade Marijuana Dispensary Colorado

Ten Colorado Cannabis Products to Light Up Your Valentine’s Day

Here’s our top ten Colorado cannabis product picks for Valentine’s Day 2021.

Valentine’s day is just around the corner, and with fancy meals at the local French restaurant off the table for the time being, there’s no better way to celebrate than with some luxurious cannabis-infused pampering. 

We love celebrating the big day with cannabis because it gives your loved one the ultimate gift of a little TLC. Cannabis helps transform an ordinary quarantine Sunday into a space to dream, relax, and create. Whether you’re treating yourself or looking to share a little something special with your favorite person, these gifts are the perfect way to celebrate true love.

01. Made in Xiaolin: Capo with Rose Wraps

These ultra-premium pre-rolled “cannagars” are the ultimate gift for the luxury lover in your life. Wrapped in ornate gold paper, each hand-rolled cannagar is infused with a unique flavor profile, as one of a kind as your one and only. We consider a shared cannagar the perfect ending to Valentine’s dinner for two.

Sinsere Bites by Love's Oven - Lightshade Dispensary

02. Sinsere Caramel Peanut Bites:

You might think there’s no possible way to improve on Valentine’s day candy classics. Still, these deliciously handcrafted salted caramel and peanut bites, encased in a silky Belgian milk chocolate shell, are a serious step up from conversation hearts. Package them in a heart-shaped box to create a classic Valentine’s day atmosphere.

03. Love’s Oven Chocolate Chip Cookies:

There’s no better way to say “I love you” than with homemade chocolate chip cookies–but it’s 2021; who has the time? Let the folks at Love’s Oven do it for you, with their take on everyone’s favorite classic cookie–soft and chewy, cannabis-infused, and as bursting with miniature chocolate chips as your heart is bursting with love.

04. Escape Artists Lavender Relief Cream:

If your beau’s love language is touch, why not indulge them with a Valentine’s day massage? This lavender-infused relief cream combines THC and CBD oils to create a relaxing balm that melts away the deepest muscular aches in no time. Whoever said the way to a lover’s heart was through their stomach obviously didn’t suffer from laptop neck.

Wyld Gummies - Lightshade Dispensary Denver

05. Wyld Edibles Strawberry 20:1 Gummies

If you’re the kind of person who finds Valentine’s day stressful, our new favorite gummies are here to help. Made from real strawberries infused with cannabis-derived CBD oil, these delicious gummies are perfect for creating a judgment-free V-Day chill zone where you can kick back and relax, solo or with your beau.

Wyld Gummies - Lightshade Dispensary Denver

06. Wyld Edibles Pomegranate 1:1 Gummies:

A little more low key than their strawberry counterparts (but sharing their same romantic shade), these pomegranate gummies are the perfect accompaniment to an active Valentine’s day celebration. Enhance your romantic hike and picnic combo, or heat up that hot yoga class with the deliciously fruity mind and body balance these gummies provide.

Spherex Mango Kush - Lightshade Dispensary Denver

07. Spherex Mango Kush Cartridges (Carts):

The Spherex is a sleek little joy of a vape pen, and of all their cartridges, Mango is the most crowd pleasingly delicious. You and your Valentine will love the happy, creative high with a sweet burst of fruity flavor. Perfect for pairing with a couple’s painting class or an evening of making homemade Valentines.

08. Koala Edibles Strawberry Cheesecake 100 MG Chocolate Bar:

From its Valentine’s day appropriate pink and white geometric packaging to the delicious combination of creamy cheesecake flavored white chocolate and crunchy graham crackers, and freeze-dried strawberries, this bar is the perfect something special for your sweet-toothed sweetheart. A contemporary take on the east coast bakery classic.

09. Dadirri Extracts Bubble and Caviar Joints:

Ok, picking two of our favorite pre-rolled joints might be cheating, but we dare you to choose between Dadirri’s bubble coated flowers and their ultra-potent distillate coated caviar. Each joint comes in a cute little case for the ultimate giftable cannabis luxury, creating a high powerful enough to knock your heart printed boxers off.

10. Airopro Strawberry Cheesecake Pure Distillate Vape Cartridge:

So sweet it might make you think you’re biting into an actual cheesecake, this potent vape blend delivers a smooth-hitting flavor profile and produces a relaxing, euphoric effect that’s perfect for an evening in with your Valentine. Draw a bubble bath, light some candles, and sink into a cloud of strawberry-scented bliss.

This Valentine’s Day, celebrate the spirit of love with a little cannabis-infused self-care. If you’re not able to pick just one of these lovable cannabis treats (and who could?), we suggest putting together a little gift basket of favorites to show your loved one how special they are. Treat yourself–it’s what St. Valentine would have wanted. 

Lightshade Dispensary Greenhouse

Get an Inside Look at Lightshade’s Recently Completed Greenhouse

We love our new greenhouse, so we decided to put together a cool time-lapse video to give you an insider’s view.

Last year we pulled back the curtain on our state-of-the-art greenhouse cultivation facility!

Our new greenhouse allowed us to double production, but at the same time, reduce our carbon footprint by nearly 50%! The greenhouse features a reclamation system that lets us recycle the water and nutrients not consumed by our plants. The system also filters reaming water and nutrient solution and only uses as much nutrient as is necessary for each cycle. Because of this new system, we’ve been able to reduce our water and nutrient consumption significantly!

As part of our sustainability commitment, we’ve also pledged to use energy-efficient lighting in our greenhouse cultivation facility. Because, at Lightshade, we’re resolute in our commitment to sustainability and the community. 

We hope you enjoy the video!

Herbalism Herbs

How to Safely Combine Cannabis From a Colorado Dispensary with Medicinal Herbs

Your body can benefit significantly from joining cannabis with medicinal herbs. But there are some things you should know before you include therapeutic plant medicine in a daily wellness regimen.

Cannabis, alone, is a powerful medicinal plant. But countless other medicinal plants can enhance cannabis’ effects – if you understand how to use them. 

Because while every medicinal herb has a practical – and beneficial – application, the practice of herbalism is not without its risks. Some medicinal herbs don’t play well together or with prescription medications; it’s that simple. 

We don’t want to discourage you from exploring the world of cannabis and medicinal herbs, but we want to make sure you have a great experience. 

Let’s get something out of the way first – we’re not healthcare experts or doctors. You shouldn’t’ consider the information contained in this blog, medical advice. Please consult a healthcare professional to find out if an herbalism practice is safe and effective for you. Or consider reaching out to our friends at Leaf411, a first-of-its-kind cannabis nurse hotline (844-LEAF411). 

Let’s start with some basics.

“Human beings have been tapping into the incredible power of plant medicines for thousands of years. Cannabis is but one of these medicines.” – 1906

What is herbalism?

Herbalism is the ancient practice of using medicinal herbs to treat minor ailments and diseases. Because every plant produces chemical compounds (cannabis cannabinoids, for example), many of which have therapeutic properties. 

You’ve probably encountered medicinal plants before, like Echinacea during cold and flu season or St. John’s Wort to treat anxiety and depression naturally. Healing herbs are commonplace today. 

Still, there’s a prevailing misconception about medicinal plants and the use of natural products, in general. People assume because something’s ‘natural,’ it’s safe. Nature isn’t benign – many plants have defense mechanisms that can adversely affect humans. 

Hemlock and nightshade are excellent examples; both are deadly to people. And while most medicinal herbs in combination with cannabis (or other plant medicines) won’t kill you, they can sometimes produce undesirable effects.

Here are a few precautions you should take before selecting herbal supplements:

  • Learn as much as you can about the herbs you’re taking by consulting a physician or herbalist. 
  • Follow label instructions carefully and adhere to the prescribed dosage if you are already using herbal supplements. Don’t exceed the recommended dosage, and find information about how you should – and shouldn’t – take the supplement. 
  • We suggest you work with a professional. Seek out a trained and licensed herbalist or a naturopathic doctor with extensive herbal training. 
  • Look out for side effects. Reduce dosage, or stop taking any herbal supplement if you encounter symptoms like dizziness, headaches, upset stomach, or nausea. 
  • Watch for allergic reactions. If you have a severe allergic reaction or are having trouble breathing, call 911 for immediate help. 
  • Not all herbal supplement manufacturers are created equal; only choose products from reputable manufacturers.
  • If you’re consuming edibles or tinctures with a combination of cannabis and medicinal herbs, 1906 Midnight chocolates (which includes corydalis), for example, don’t exceed the recommended dosage, and ensure you aren’t sensitive to the product’s combination of herbs before consuming.

It might be possible to link the benefits of herbs that share similar phytochemicals with cannabis or with herbs that produce similar effects with comparative pharmacodynamics.

Here are some common medicinal herbs we think you should know:


Ashwagandha is an ancient medicinal plant often used in Ayurvedic medicine. It’s a proven adaptogen, which means the root can help your body respond better to stress. Traditional Ayurvedic practitioners use ashwagandha to promote concentration and focus and boost energy naturally. 

Holy Basil

Holy Basil can help you fight stress (it might also be a decent acne-fighter). Like Ashwagandha, Holy Basil is an ancient Ayurvedic medicinal herb. It reduces cortisol, a stress hormone, and is anti-diabetic. Holy Basil is also sometimes called Tulsi. 


Lavender is commonly known as an herb that promotes relaxation, and with a pleasant aroma, the herb is also great for massage and aromatherapy. Lavender and cannabis have a terpene in common: linalool. When combined with cannabis, linalool is a potent muscle relaxant. It also reduces pain sensitivity. Adding lavender oil to a cannabis topical amplifies the herb’s pain-fighting and relaxing qualities. 


Echinacea has compounds similar to CBD, which means, in basic terms, Echinacea has a positive effect on our endocannabinoid system. It’s also often used to cure the common cold, reduce inflammation, and is an antioxidant. 


Chamomile is a well-known herb people commonly associate with tea. The herb can help relieve stress, headaches, anxiety, indigestion, depression, and insomnia. Combining cannabis and chamomile ensures a good night’s sleep. 

California Poppy

Native American tribes from across California have used California Poppy for centuries as a calming agent. And while there isn’t an overwhelming amount of research and information surrounding California Poppy, traditional herbalists swear by it for the support it provides to our entire nervous system.

We suggest that you reach out to a licensed herbalist or healthcare professional before exploring the world of plant medicine, but, in general, including more plants in your daily life is a sure-fire way to promote improved health.

Daily Wellness Routine

How to Transform Your Daily Wellness Routine with Colorado Cannabis

Give your daily wellness program a healthy boost with cannabis from a Colorado dispensary.

You’re a wellness fanatic, and you don’t smoke weed (at least not since college). But cannabis keeps coming up in conversations, so you’re intrigued. You ask, “is cannabis right for me?” And you’re not alone; many people have the same question because marijuana doesn’t seem approachable.

And that’s by design.

The War on Drugs made weed scary. And the plant is stigmatized today despite its legalization in Colorado.

But cannabis is only a plant. And it’s a safe alternative to toxic products masquerading as healthful self-care solutions. It’s also ancient.

People have consumed cannabis across cultures for thousands of years to heal their minds and bodies. It’s self-care with roots in antiquity. Cannabis can improve your daily wellness routine, and you don’t have to get high.

From relaxing after a stupidly long workday to workout recovery, here are a few simple ways to incorporate weed into your daily life.

Keef Drinks - Sparkling Cannabis Infused Water - Lightshade Colorado

Swap your daily glass of wine for something that won’t give you a hangover.

Many of us reach for a glass of wine to relax after work. But wine can cause sleep issues and hangovers. Cannabis is just as effective at helping you chill out, but without the adverse side effects.

We’re fans of a low-dose edible (Wana’s Yuzu gummies are a favorite), or if we’re craving a drink, there’s nothing better than a cannabeverage (Keef Cola, for example).

Start your day with a microdose.

Get your daily microdose of CBD and THC in a cannabis tincture. It’s just like your daily multivitamin, but better, cause it’s weed. And here’s the best part – you don’t have to get high. The beauty of a microdose is that it’s just enough THC to help your body receive the benefits of CBD and other plant compounds, without feeling high.

ReCreate’s Everday Tincture is our current go-to for a daily dose of endocannabinoid support. It’s the perfect combo of CBD and low-dose THC to help you get plant-derived cannabinoids as nature intended.

Stanley Brothers - ReCreate Everyday Tincture
Escape Artist relief creams

Sooth minor aches with cannabis topicals.

Taking care of your body post-workout is arguably more important than the workout itself. Cannabis topicals, also known as salves, are another way to improve recovery beyond hydration, healthy meals, stretching, and sleep.

Cannabis topicals can significantly reduce inflammation. So when your muscles need help, reach for a soothing salve that blends CBD and THC with medicinal herbs. For example, Relief Cream from Escape Artists. Relief Cream is made with THC, CBD, and helpful herbs to provide soothing benefits within ten minutes. Slather it on, chill out, sleep, wake up and crush your next workout (or workday) – rinse and repeat.

Take a bath.

Every person loves a relaxing bath. But if you could take your average and already relaxing bath, and make it better, you would, wouldn’t you?

Coda Signature’s cannabis-infused bath bombs are “handcrafted with care for luxury relief.” Coda blends cannabis with medicinal herbs and essential oils to create a bath bomb that dissolves in water for the ultimate self-care experience. Take an infused bath before bedtime (we also suggest you take a THC sleep tincture), and enjoy uninterrupted sleep.

Coda Signature Products - Lightshade Dispensary Denver

Cannabis is a useful tool for your daily wellness routine.

We’re here to crush stigmas and help you live your best life.

If that sounds lofty, it is – but that’s okay because we see the power of cannabis every day in our Colorado dispensaries. Drop by your favorite Lightshade location and ask our budtender’s for their product recommendations.

Cannabis Joint

The Top 10 Colorado Dispensary Products for Relaxation and Mental Health

Chill out, and put yourself on the path to improved mental health with the ten products in this blog.

2020 is a challenging year (to put it lightly).

Between the global pandemic, social unrest, a divisive political climate, and a significant presidential election, it’s not easy to find peace. And mental health issues among Americans are skyrocketing.

Here are two staggering 2020 mental health statistics:

18.57% of adults are experiencing mental health issues (roughly 45 million Americans).

And 4.38% are experiencing severe mental health illnesses. (Mental Health in America Prevalence Data 2020, Mental Health America)

We’re witnessing spikes in anxiety, depression, and loneliness because humans are social creatures, and social distancing has us feeling down (among other things).

But the ten products from a Colorado dispensary (preferably ours) featured in this blog can help you find peace.

Wedding Cake Strain

01. Wedding Cake

Wedding Cake doesn’t taste like the creamy, buttery frosting its name implies. It’s an earthy, slightly sour (in the best way) flower strain with a mellow hit of sweetness. What Wedding Cake lacks in cake-like flavor, it makes up for in effects. It’s a potent strain that’ll help you sleep off stress so you can tackle the morning with an athlete’s energy.

Crescendo Marijuana Strain

02. Crescendo

Crescendo is a powerful and complex indica-dominant cannabis strain. Like Wedding Cake, it’ll put you to sleep so you can approach mornings with renewed vigor. We suggest that new consumers cautiously consume Crescendo – it’s a heavy hitter with THC levels topping out at 30%.

Bubba Fett

03. Bubba Fett

Bubba Fett is a certified classic (we dedicated an entire blog to the strain). It’s an indica-dominant hybrid known for its relatively high CBD percentage. But, don’t kid yourself, Bubba Fett leans heavily toward its indica profile, giving the strain noticeable sedating effects.

1906 Midnight

04. Midnight from 1906

There’s a sleep-related theme to our list, and for a good reason. CDC studies show that a third of American adults report getting much less than the recommended amount of sleep each night. And sleep is essential for a healthy body and mind. 1906’s Midnight is an all-natural sleep aid formulated with cannabis and corydalis – an ancient Chinese medicinal herb known for helping people sleep without side effects. Midnight promotes deep and restful sleep – sounds nice, do you agree?

Stratos Relax Tablets

05. Stratos Relax

Stratos Relax tablets are a 50/50 indica/sativa hybrid giving you balanced and relaxing physical and mental relief. Cannabis oil is the only active ingredient, so the relaxing effects are derived from the whole plant and extracted with CO2 oil. The tablets help you find peace within 30-minutes because they maximize the absorption of beneficial cannabinoids. It’s a lot healthier than popping a Xanax when you’re feeling the heaviness of life.

Shift Skywalker OG Cartridge

06. Shift Skywalker OG Cartridges

Shift’s Skywalker OG carts provide a mellow and heady high. When we’ve had enough news and social media, we lock our doors and hit the stratosphere with Skywalker OG. Sometimes we also hit the pantry – if you’re munchies prone, beware, Shift’s Skywalker OG cartridges are, in a Proper High’s words, “a decent choice for loading up at the buffet.”

Shift Medicine Bow Cartridge

07. Shift Medicine Bow Cartridges

Shift’s Medicine Bow carts are excellent for immediate pain relief. Medicine Bow is also ideal for a quick high. It’s the cure when the stress of life tightens muscles and makes relaxation impossible.

Stillwater Ripple Quick Sticks

08. Stillwater Ripple Quicksticks

We’ve stocked Stillwater’s Ripple in our Colorado Dispensaries since its introduction. And the newest Ripple family member, Quicksticks, is our current go-to for fast-acting stress relief. Rip into a package and dissolve the cannabis powder on your tongue for immediate relaxation (it’s another helpful sleep aid).

Escape Artist relief creams

09. Escape Artist Relief Cream

Physical activity is an antidote for anxiety and depression. But workouts (and stress) tighten muscles. Escape Artist’s relief creams are concentrated and highly bioavailable to deliver a blend of pure cannabinoids to sore muscles quickly. Rub the cream all over; we dare you.


10. Mary’s Medicinals “The Remedy”

The Remedy is Mary’s best-selling tincture, containing 500mg of CBD, cinnamon oil, myrrh, and sweet almond oil. One bottle packs 250 servings, and one dropper-full beneath the tongue is all you need for relief from pain, anxiety, and inflammation.

Take your mental health seriously.

It’s okay if you’re not okay. Mental health isn’t a taboo topic anymore, and we’re all better off when we don’t hide from our emotions and struggles. If you or anyone you know needs someone to talk to, please contact the National Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255.

Please note, the information included in this blog is not medical or mental health advice. Contact your healthcare professional with questions related to your physical or mental health. And reach out to our partners at Leaf411 if you’d like to chat with a registered cannabis nurse.