Billow, Ardent Life’s Newest Creation, is Changing the Cannabis Consumption Landscape
An Interview with Shanel Lindsay, Billow Founder and CEO of Ardent Life
Billow creator, Shanel Lindsay is the founder and CEO of Ardent Life, a Boston-based biotech and medical cannabis device company creating pioneering technologies aimed at improving the administration and effectiveness of cannabis. After seeking an alternative to pharmaceuticals to treat pain and inflammation caused by an ovarian cyst, Lindsay’s journey rapidly shifted focus from business attorney to entrepreneur life. Today, she has become an integral part in the Massachusetts legalization movement and is considered to be one of the most creative cannabis inventors of our time.
I had the incredible opportunity to meet Lindsay in person at MJ Biz Con, an annual international cannabis conference held in November in Las Vegas with more than 35,000 people and 1,400 exhibitors in attendance.
As one of the only black and woman owned companies with a booth, I was drawn in by her tall signage and royal purple branding bursting at the seams. At her booth, she was showing off her latest invention Billow, a patented, sesh-friendly filtration system that allows you to toke anywhere without the smell.
While Lindsay’s infused goodies baked away in her travel friendly Ardent FX oven, we got a chance to connect on how she develops her product ideas, what places she’s smoked joints in (without anyone knowing!), and how Billow is changing the landscape of cannabis consumption.
Time stamps for Interview
00:44-How did you get here?
05:00-Did your legal background influence becoming an inventor?
09:44-Cannabis as an alternative to pharmaceuticals and how Lindsay started Ardent
19:58-How did you put it all together?
35:42-How did you come up with the idea of Billow?
40:57-Inside Look at Shanel’s personal Billow
46:40-Questions about Functionality
58:27-How to travel with Billow
Lindsay on her mother’s influence…
“My mom has been my biggest cheerleader from the beginning, ever since I can remember. I’m really eternally grateful for her. Especially as I’m getting older, that confidence and power of self that she instilled in me was just the greatest gift. What an amazing gift to have gotten a mom who has been a cheerleader for mr, and also an investor in my success. It does take, I feel, somebody behind the scenes to tell you you can do this.”
Lindsay on using cannabis to relieve pain…
“I smoked cannabis before my son was born, and it was something that helped me focus when I was in college and law school. After my son was born, I got this ovarian cyst. It was very painful and the doctor prescribed me these really, really high doses of Tylenol and basically told me I had to take them forever. After doing some research, I learned that Tylenol can cause liver damage and lead to liver failure. I thought, ‘Okay, I don’t really want to put this in my body.’ I knew at the time that cannabis was being used mostly in California as a medicine and I thought, what if this is something that helps pain, inflammation, and nausea, and all these other things that are my pain symptoms? If there’s something that doesn’t exist and I know that I need it, then I’ll put something together to make it work for myself. I thought, ‘I’m pretty smart, I think I can figure out how to make edibles.’”
Lindsay on what inspired her to create Billow…
“Billow was born out of my own challenges and frustrations with my own consumption and being able to have the freedom to smoke. As much as I love to make edibles and topicals, I really love to consume by smoking. The challenge around that is the smell. About two years ago, I was living in this fantastic apartment in Boston. My landlord (who was fantastic and rented to me knowing who I was in the industry) started sending me text messages saying, ‘Hey, [it] smells like weed down here.’ I spent thousands of dollars on air filters, I had my fan in the window, basically trying all of the different methods. And, with all that in play, I’m still getting the text messages saying it smells. It was a low moment, a Friday night in bed smoking a joint, and I was thinking, ‘Am I going to have to move from here? What is going to happen?’ I didn’t have a balcony, I didn’t have any other options. I thought, ‘I’m a cannabis executive and I can’t even sit and smoke a joint in peace while I’m doing my work.’
I’m looking at my joint burning, I’m looking at the fan going outside, I’m looking at all of these things and, all of a sudden, it kind of hits me. I was like, ‘Wait a minute, if I just encapsulated the joint and was able to smoke out of it, and then the stuff that I was blowing out was getting pulled back and filtered in….’ So, I went from being really frustrated to the most excited I’ve ever been.”
Photos courtesy of Ardent Life.
Lisa Snyder is the Co-Founder & Chief Innovation officer of Tokeativity, The Global Feminist Community for Active Cannabis Culture. She is a feminist and plant medicine advocate with over 25 years of digital strategy experience. She passionately supports the self-healing revolution through consumption and plant medicine advocacy. She has been recognized for her work in Forbes, Rolling Stone, Condé Nast Traveler, Yahoo! Finance, The Guardian, MJ Lifestyle, Travel Portland, and Dope Magazine, among others.
Snyder is a board member of Sweet Jane Magazine and The Oregon Cannabis Association. She is passionate about educating small business owners and plant medicine advocates on all things digital, crypto, NFT, and the web 3.0 movement. When she’s not on the computer, she’s spending time with her wife, Cat, and her dog, Ziggy, in Portland, Oregon.