Tush Kush has Arrived!

You might be somewhat perplexed, squeamish, or curious upon hearing this exciting (we think) news. But rectal / vaginal administration of cannabis has many advantages. In addition to being a viable option for patients who can’t ingest or inhale cannabis, cannabis suppositories provide faster uptake and longer-lasting effects compared with other inhaled or ingested methods. Suppositories are also very efficient; up to 70% of the medicinal compounds in a suppository are bioavailable.

Suppositories may be an ideal choice for patients experiencing severe nausea, surgery patients who are fasting before a procedure, and patients with gastrointestinal sensitivities or throat and lung issues. There are also anecdotal reports of patients finding relief for conditions like Crohn’s Disease, prostate cancer, and other rectal and pelvic diseases.

We’re offering patients a special low rate on this new product. We’re very interested in your feedback as we further develop this new medicine. Each suppository is approx. 2 grams with different cannabinoid ratios depending on whether you want more THC or CBD.  If your doctor has recommended a specific ratio please ask and we may be able to custom-blend something for you. If you are new to cannabis and wish to start with a smaller dose, you can cut the suppository in half lengthwise. KEEP REFRIGERATED at all times for best results!

Instructions are included in the box.

Ingredients: 100% organic, unrefined cocoa butter, alcohol-extracted cannabis oil (RSO).

You can read more about this “backdoor medicine” here.

Topical vs. Transdermal: new medicines from Mary’s Medicinals

CBDFor years, we  have offered topical cannabis preparations, which are considered non-psychoactive because a topical medication is intended to have an effect at the site of application. The use of topical medications does not result in significant drug concentrations in the blood and other tissues. Examples of topical medications include antibiotics for skin infections, corticosteroids for skin irritation, and some anesthetics. Topical cannabis can be excellent for eczema and psoriasis, minor burns, irritation, and rashes / itching, and many patients report localized pain relief as well.

Transdermal medications, like the new products from Mary’s Medicinals, are absorbed through the skin and into the bloodstream.  When a medication is applied to the skin, whether the effect will be local (in the tissue beneath the site of application), or systemic depends on the preparation, and factors such as molecule size and solubility. To work in a transdermal patch, a medicine must be lipophilic (fat-soluble) and potent enough that a low dose will work, so cannabis is ideal in that respect.

Transdermal delivery is quite different from other methods of medicating (see chart below for comparison). Effects can be felt as quickly as a few minutes after applying the patch, and last up to 12 hours as long as the patch remains in place. The patch provides a controlled release of the medication, so the effects stay at a constant level rather than the “peaks and valleys” of other methods of administration. Transdermal dosing is also different from other methods. Due to the high bioavailability, a 10mg patch may deliver as much medicine to the bloodstream as an 80mg edible dose. Bioavailability is the fraction of an administered dose of unchanged drug that reaches the systemic circulation. By definition, when a medication is administered intravenously, its bioavailability is 100%, and the transdermal delivery system delivers medicine to the veins, so it is considered the same as intravenous administration.methods

Enough Research

You’ve heard it repeated so many times, by both industry advocates and adversaries: “There’s not enough research. We need more research! We don’t know enough about the medical benefits of cannabis.” The problem with this statement is that, while it contains some truth, it is ultimately false. The truth? There is absolutely a need for more cannabis research. But when this argument is used to maintain the current prohibitions until more research is done, it is dangerously short-sighted. To be clear: there has already been more than enough research to tell us that cannabis use is safer than cannabis prohibition. We also have pre-clinical and mounting anecdotal evidence suggesting a long list of potential benefits that could save (or improve) countless lives.  Controlled clinical trials on humans are happening now around the world, and we can all agree that we need more to better understand this plant’s medicinal capabilities.

historical perspectiveResearch has also shown that it does not cause violent behavior or act as a gateway to harder drugs. A prohibitionist view based on a perceived lack of research overlooks the fact that humans have cultivated cannabis for at least the past 12,000 years, and ignores the many extensive studies done during the past 200 or so. Worse, it implies that we are somehow safer or better off by continuing to prevent patients from having safe access and arresting three quarters of a million people* every year until we reach the unspecified threshold of “enough” research.

Opponents have repeatedly tried to make a connection between cannabis and mental illness, but if there was a direct causal link between cannabis use and psychosis, it follows that the number of diagnoses of psychosis would rise with the increasing prevalence of cannabis use in society. It has not. According to government surveys, some 25 million Americans have smoked marijuana in the past year, and more than 14 million do so regularly. We know that, in California, one in 20 adults (or about 1.4 million people) have used medical cannabis to help treat an illness or condition. Of those Californians, a whopping 92% felt medical cannabis was helpful in treating their disease or illness. We know that deaths from prescription opiates have fallen 25% in states where medical cannabis is legal. Certainly there is still much we do not know, but what we do know tells us, in the words of the DEA’s administrative law judge Francis Young, that it is “unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious for DEA to continue to stand between […] sufferers and the benefits of this substance.”

And we know that, in order to achieve the current legal and regulatory status of cannabis, it has been necessary to ignore a massive amount of research:

1894: The Indian Hemp Drugs Commission Report
This 3,281-page, seven-volume classic report on the marijuana problem in India by the British concluded: “Viewing the subject generally, it may be added that moderate use of these drugs is the rule, and that the excessive use is comparatively exceptional. The moderate use produces practically no ill effects.” Nothing of significance in the report’s conclusions has been proven wrong in the intervening century.

1916 – 1929: Panama Canal Zone Military Investigations into Marijuana
After an exhaustive study of the smoking of marijuana among American soldiers stationed in the zone, the panel of civilian and military experts recommended that “no steps be taken by the Canal Zone authorities to prevent the sale or use of Marihuana.” The committee also concluded that “there is no evidence that Marihuana as grown and used [in the Canal Zone] is a ‘habit-forming’ drug.”

1944: The LaGuardia Report
This study is viewed by many experts as the best study of any drug viewed in its social, medical, and legal context. The committee covered thousands of years of the history of marijuana and also made a detailed examination of conditions In New York City. Among its conclusions: “The practice of smoking marihuana does not lead to addiction in the medical sense of the word.” And: “The use of marihuana does not lead to morphine or heroin or cocaine addiction, and no effort is made to create a market for those narcotics by stimulating the practice of marihuana smoking.”

The study also noted that “The majority of marihuana smokers are Negroes and Latin-Americans” and that “The consensus among marihuana smokers is that the use of the drug creates a definite feeling of adequacy.”

1968: The Wootton Report
This study report on marijuana and hashish was prepared by a group that included some of the leading drug abuse experts of the United Kingdom. These impartial experts worked as a subcommittee under the lead of Baroness Wootton of Abinger. The basic tone and substantive conclusions were similar to all of the other great commission reports. The Wootton group specifically endorsed the conclusions of the Indian Hemp Drugs Commission and the La Guardia Committee. Typical findings included the following:

  • There is no evidence that in Western society serious physical dangers are directly associated with the smoking of cannabis.
  • It can clearly be argued on the world picture that cannabis use does not lead to heroin addiction.
  • The evidence of a link with violent crime is far stronger with alcohol than with the smoking of cannabis.
  • There is no evidence that this activity … is producing in otherwise normal people conditions of dependence or psychosis, requiring medical treatment.

1972: The Report of the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse, entitled “Marihuana: A Signal of Misunderstanding”
This commission was directed by Raymond P. Shafer, former Republican governor of Pennsylvania, and had four sitting, elected politicians among its eleven members. The commission also had leading addiction scholars among its members and staff and was appointed by President Nixon in the midst of the drug-war hysteria at that time.  The first recommendations of the commission were:

  • Possession of marihuana for personal use would no longer be an offense.
  • Casual distribution of small amounts of marihuana for no remuneration, or insignificant remuneration not involving profit, would no longer be an offense.

The recommendations in this reports were endorsed by (among others) the American Medical Association, the American Bar Association, The American Association for Public Health, the National Education Association, and the National Council of Churches.

1980: The Facts About Drug Abuse, from the Drug Abuse Council
A 1972 report to the Ford Foundation, “Dealing With Drug Abuse,” concluded that current drug policies were unlikely to eliminate or greatly affect drug abuse. This conclusion led to the creation and joint funding by four major foundations of a broadly based, independent national Drug Abuse Council. The Council concluded, in part:

  • Psychoactive substances have been available throughout recorded history and will remain so. To try to eliminate them completely is unrealistic.
  • The use of psychoactive drugs is pervasive, but misuse is much less frequent, and the failure to make the distinction between use and misuse creates the impression that all use is misuse and leads to addiction.
  • There is a clear relationship between drug misuse and pervasive societal ills such as poverty, racial discrimination, and unemployment, and we can expect drug misuse so long as these adverse social conditions exist.

Before issuing his ruling, The DEA’s own Chief Administrative Law Judge Francis Young heard two years of testimony from both sides of the issue and accumulated fifteen volumes of research. This was undoubtedly the most comprehensive study of medical marijuana done to date. Judge Young concluded that marijuana was one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man, that it had never caused a single human death, and that the Federal Government’s policy toward medical marijuana is “unconscionable.”

How much is enough?

It’s a little overwhelming, looking at all the evidence that’s been presented over the years, and then considering how different the world might be if we had followed the research that’s already been done. If the 1972 recommendation that “possession of marijuana should no longer be an offense” had been followed, there would have been somewhere in the neighborhood of 12,000,000 fewer arrests made between then and now. Individuals whose lives will never be the same. Families, whole communities left devastated. Meanwhile, the FDA recently approved OxyContin for children as young as 11, while we are in the midst of a prescription painkiller overdose epidemic.

Wouldn’t the money spent to enforce this failed prohibition on cannabis be better spent doing more research? How many lives could we save? How many jobs could we create?


*US average annual marijuana arrests, 1996 – 2012: 763,348

Beyond Remembrance

Honor the FallenIn a moving article I’ve paraphrased here, Rev. Dr. Coleman Baker expresses so eloquently what has been on our minds here at Sespe:

…along with those killed on the battlefields we’ve sent them to, there are at least two other facets of Memorial Day that we should face.

First, we should remember those whose war experience led them to take their own lives after returning home. According to the latest government data, an estimated 22 veterans commit suicide each day. That’s almost one per hour.

Second, we should also remember those who may struggle with memories of fallen friends, wondering why they survived while others didn’t.

Let us give thanks for the many lives lost on the battlefield. But let us also acknowledge those who returned home, alive and well, but feeling empty, numb, even dead, on the inside. And let us call attention to these invisible wounds that affect so many, raising awareness of the need … to take action to help their recovery.

The 22 suicides per day figure is without a doubt significantly low. It includes data from only 21 states, from 1999 through 2011. Those states represent about 40% of the U.S. population. The other states, including the two largest (California and Texas) and the fifth-largest (Illinois), did not make data available. There is also an under-reporting of suicides and a very significant under-reporting of veteran status on death records.

So what can we do this Memorial Day to help the veterans who are still falling, day by day, hour by hour?

The good news is, a Senate Appropriations Committee has just approved Veterans Medical Marijuana Amendment, and it’s attached to a piece of legislation that is guaranteed to pass. As positive as this is, it only helps the vets who live in medical states, and those who can afford to move to one.

But on this historic day, and the next few days while this story does the news cycle, as we thank our lawmakers for attaching some urgency to this issue, it would be a perfect moment to remind them how important HR 1538 is.

Last March, the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States Act of 2015 (H.R.1538 – CARERS Act of 2015) was introduced by Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) The bill would end the federal prohibition on medical marijuana and “extend the principle of federalism to State drug policy, provide access to medical marijuana, and enable research into the medicinal properties of marijuana”.  It would also allow veterans in all states to have safe access.  It has been referred to the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security so they can evaluate the threats posed by compassion, research, and respecting rights. Meanwhile, people die.

As we honor the fallen, we should do everything in our power to help those who are still with us to NOT FALL.

Almost one every hour.

For more on cannabis and PTSD, Dr. Sanjay Gupta did an excellent job in WEED 3:


Seven Reasons Why Delivery is the Future of Cannabis Retail

Denver, United States. 1st January 2014 -- The line started in pre-dawn and grew far down the street before the Lodo Wellness Center, a pot dispensary in Denver Colorado, opened their doors. There have been some interesting developments regarding applications for cannabis delivery services lately. Startups like Nestdrop have already come under fire, being slapped with a lawsuit from the city of Los Angeles before it could take off in that city. Eaze and Meadow are other offerings, both claiming to be the Uber of weed, promising quick and easy delivery from participating dispensaries. The problem is these apps are essentially glorified versions of the Yellow Pages and provide little more than marketing value (at a steep commission) to the dispensary. Unless you do business in a city dense with dispensaries to choose from, there is little incentive for you, as a dispensary, to sign up with such a service. They make big promises of convenience to consumers, and sit back collecting fees while the dispensary does all the work and has the onerous task of making that super-fast delivery, and tracking that inventory in another system. Eaze may work with a contracted team of drivers to make deliveries, but you need your own staff if you want to make deliveries to patients outside the app. And you must maintain at least two inventory lists: one in your system, one that’s referenced by the app. That becomes extremely inconvenient for the dispensary owner, and leads to problems for the consumer when they order something and find out later that it’s no longer in stock.

A recent article in Cannabist suggests the delivery space is not necessarily fit for investors right now. I agree that apps like Meadow and Eaze are not where the market is headed (yet), and don’t carry a fully-baked value proposition. Yet having operated a successful delivery service for several years, I’d like to point out some key consumers whose needs will never be met by storefront dispensaries:

  1. Working-girl Wynona: People will always value the ease and convenience of having something delivered (hello amazon.com). Dispensaries often cater to a younger crowd; older consumers are seeking privacy, discretion and good service over a party atmosphere.
  2. Paranoid Peter: Not everyone wants to be seen in a dispensary making a purchase for something he still considers taboo.
  3. Housebound Hannah has mobility issues and can’t get to a storefront.
  4. Anti-social Alex doesn’t want to deal with people; he likes to order online and prefers text updates from the driver for a streamlined experience.
  5. Anxious Annie has a hard time making decisions in the presence of pierced and tattooed strangers. She feels overwhelmed with too many choices and wants to review an extensive menu from the comfort of her living room, free from a smoke-filled, bass-thumping vibe at the local 420 guys’ hangout.
  6. Loyal Linda: Has been using the same delivery service for years; even when a new dispensary opens nearby, she likes the selection and personal attention she gets when she calls her to place her weekly order.
  7. NIMBY Nancy: Like a significant majority of US voters, she thinks medical cannabis should be legal, but is less than enthusiastic about having a dispensary move in across the street.

Delivery services are an ideal solution for giving patients in legal states safe access to cannabis in cities and counties that want to ban dispensaries. There’s no reason they can’t be licensed and regulated like storefronts – with an unpublished address. Security concerns inherent with storefronts can be largely mitigated; and there’s no evidence that delivery services are just rogue/non-tax-paying smooth operators; you’re confusing us with white-collar criminals on Wall Street. Do you inherently feel your pizza delivery guy is more “shady” than the waiter at the pizza place? A delivery service can endeavor to be both discreet and fully compliant with the law.

The real need in the cannabis delivery app space is for a robust, user-friendly and, yes, specialized application that give start-ups a tools to manage their business, from inventory to patients to driver routing, with simplicity and transparency. Cannabis is an extremely complex plant; it makes sense that an application designed to connect consumers with this medicine in the most appropriate way would have some nuances that can’t be purchased off-the-shelf.

It also seems to be the case that regulations are slow to follow the will of the people. As state and local laws across the country are shaped and re-shaped, it’s quite possible that a well-regulated licensing scheme for delivery services would alleviate many concerns of storefront opponents and be an ideal compromise in the fight for safe access.

The Family Tree of OG

OG Kush is a legendary strain whose origins are bit mysterious. The most likely theory states that sometime in 1993, a guy who had original Chemdawg got together with a guy who had a Lemon Thai x Paki Kush male he called the “secret ingredient”, and the brilliantly balanced hybrid OG Kush was born. It became wildly popular by 1995, and remains a staple in California dispensaries.

Growers have worked with this strain extensively over the past twenty years, creating an amazing variety of phenotypes and hybrids. Phenotypes have the same genetics, but differ in the expression of the genetic instructions, which are influenced by environmental and developmental conditions. The fantastic variety of phenotypes shows the versatility of the OG genotype, which gives growers so much to work with.

The following graphic shows the OG phenotypes and hybrids we have in stock right now, as they relate to each other (unconnected circles are phenotypes, connected circles show hybrids).  Making this graphic was pretty fascinating, and it led to the making of the second, expanded graphic (desktop wallpaper size, if you’re interested) showing past OGs we’ve had as well.

Our goal is to keep our menu stocked with something appealing in every category at every price point, and OG Kush in its many forms is a big part of that variety.


Current OGs


Extended Family Tree of OG



The Price of (Delivered) Weed

In the interest of transparency, and to help illustrate why we’ve implemented a per-delivery fee, here’s a breakdown of what it costs to provide safe access to medical cannabis in this area. Because we have avoided the “backpack delivery” model where drivers carry their limited menu with them (on the advice of our attorney), we require a larger communications budget than those types of services, and we have a much higher staffing need and the expense of cars, gas, and maintenance over brick-and-mortar shops.  Additionally, we require testing of all our medicine, something that is not a practice with many California collectives. We do this for the same reason we don’t carry any BHO products, because in the absence of adequate safety and quality regulations, we are holding ourselves as providers to the standard we would want to see as patients and consumers.  We also promote an atmosphere where staff are encouraged to learn, research, and share their knowledge internally, so that we are able to educate our patients (and hopefully, the community as a whole).

It won’t always be this expensive to get one order out the door. We expect to be significantly more cost-efficient when we have proper software in place, and the simple act of allowing collectives to use banks just like regular people would lighten our administrative burden considerably. The effort and energy it takes to work around all the barriers that have been placed between patients and their medicine is costly, but in the end we feel it’s been worth it.  After all, safe access to this medicine is a right that’s already been established by the people of California.

(click it for the full size, 1080 x 1920)

The 18-plus Club

While THC content is not the only measure of a good strain, it is still an important metric, especially for those with higher tolerances or more severe symptoms.  For those patients, we are happy to be able to offer twelve — that’s a full dozen — strains in our “18-plus” club.  This is a tribute to the knowledge and skill of our member/cultivators, who have been consistently knocking it out of the park lately (especially with that Jupiter, which is almost one fourth THC. One fourth.)


Our medicines are tested, and all THC measurements are the net THC (tests measure THCA, but the lab takes into account the weight that the THCA will lose when it is heated, or decarboxylated).

And if you’re wondering just what almost-24% THC looks like, well, it’s … strong-looking.


Juicing Raw Cannabis

The world has discovered the health benefits of juicing in recent years, and Sespe Creek Collective hopes to start regularly bringing those benefits to our patients.

Juicing helps pull the essential oils, minerals and vitamins out of plants into an easy to consume, nutrient-dense form. This holds true for the cannabis plant as well. Prior to drying or heating (from baking, vaporizing or smoking) the plant has little to no THC/CBD because the plant itself creates THCA/CBDA, or THC/CBD acids. THCA/CBDA becomes THC/CBD through a process called decarboxylation which occurs through heat. While still in its acidic form the THCA does not have psychoactive effects. It instead works on the endocannabinoid system to create neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory effects. It has been used in the treatment of epilepsy, cancer, autoimmune and GI disorders.

Kristen Peskuski is a researcher and patient who put her systemic lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, interstitial cystitis, and numerous other conditions into remission by juicing fresh cannabis. Patients have reported success with osteo- and rheumatoid arthritis, autoimmune disorders, cancer and many other conditions using this unique therapy. This 15-minute video is worth watching:

Medical cannabis expert Dr. David Bearman recommends regularly consuming the juice from 20 cannabis leaves. In the spirit of Dr. Bearman’s advice we are now offering packets of 20 leaves and assorted popcorn flowers fresh from a healthy, mature plant for $25. Fresh cannabis leaves are perishable like any other  flowering plant, but they will keep in your refrigerator for a few days with no problem.

How to Juice

For the best results, use a juicer designed for leafy greens. These range from expensive and complicated to small and cheap; what you’re looking for is a “masticating” juicer, the kind you would use to juice wheat grass. The leaves will produce a small, not very palatable amount of juice, so you’ll probably want to mix it with other juices. If you don’t have a juicer, any blender will do, as demonstrated by Chef B, here:

Some Pig… Duped by Strain Bank of Los Angeles!

Sespe Creek ordered some clones from Strain Bank in Los Angeles that were advertised as Charlotte’s Web, a true hemp strain known to relieve epilepsy. We have a growing waiting list of patients waiting to get cuts of this plant from us, and lots of anticipation to finally carry this well-known therapeutic strain. But this is not at all what we were in fact sold, as documented by multiple plant leaf tests. Strain Bank advertises its genetics are “verified” and “authentic” but repeatedly refused our requests to see any prior verification.

In our previous garden we grew Cannatonic, Canna-Tsunami and Sour Tsunami from seeds. Once the plants had reached a certain height we were advised by our lab that we could do leaf testing to determine which plants would have the most desirable cannabinoid profile because you can predict from the ratio of THC to CBD in the leaves an idea of what the ratio of THC to CBD will be in the flowers. No one is implying the overall mg/g of cannabinoids in the leaves compares to what it will be in the flowers. But the ratio of THC to CBD remains quite consistent. This has been well-documented.

We selected Strain Bank because of its alleged commitment to quality and verified genetics. When we initially raised our concern we were put in touch with a woman who apparently has the mother plant, and tried to explain our concerns. She felt adamant that we were being lied to by our lab, and wanted to explain how “no one gets high from smoking water leaves, of course you’re not going to see as high numbers when you test the water leaves.” We tried to explain to her, to no avail, that’s not the point we were making at all. The results predict a strain high in THC with only trace amounts of CBD. In fact, the water leaves alone were showing over 6% THC, more than the flowers of the strain should have.

Greg at Strain Bank insists, with no scientific evidence to support his claims, that we have to wait until the plant is flowered out to do the test and determine if this is Charlotte’s Web or not. I challenge this policy based on 1. a basic understanding of plant science and 2. their whole business model premise of doing genetic authenticity verification of strains they carry.  We question what genetic testing is useful for anyway. Yes, we know it’s cannabis. What’s useful is to know the cannabinoid and terpene profiles. If they test plants as they say, they should have absolute confidence about the plants their offering and be transparent about providing the results. No one should wait to flower plants out before deciding whether to keep them as mothers or not. It’s a waste of time and resources, and in this case just adds costly insult to injury. In fact, we will continue to flower these clones out as a mystery high THC strain (potentially, depending on our own conditions going forward of course) named Gullible’s Travels, or maybe Duper’s Delight, or perhaps Wilbur or “Some Pig” in homage to the strain it was supposed to be.

Sespe has invested spent thousands of dollars raising plants for clones and getting our patient’s hopes up, on a plant that has the opposite cannabinoid profile of what the name would imply, and could even cause unwanted side effects if a patient is consuming an extract for CBD but gets a dose full of THC instead.

Let this be a lesson to anyone growing a particular strain with the intent to produce a specific, not random, cannabinoid profile! We highly recommended leaf testing during the vegetative state for anyone growing their own strains to determine which plants will produce the desired medicinal effect.