Cannabis Regulation is a Public Health Priority All Year Long

The Ventura County Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution proclaiming April 4-10, 2016 to be “National Public Health Week” highlighting how the U.S. spends more money on health care than other developed countries, while our health outcomes lag behind.  As Public Health Director Rigoberto Vargas noted in his presentation about Ventura County’s own public health status, “zip code is a stronger predictor of health than genetic code” in looking at health factors and outcomes.

Health word cloud, health cross concept

In fact, the APHA (American Public Health Association) issued a policy statement last year calling for a public health approach to regulating and controlling commercially legalized marijuana and urges that regulation of legalized marijuana be viewed as a public health priority. That’s right, a priority! Public health improves when you regulate medical marijuana, and it declines when regulators bury their heads in our nice sandy beaches, continuing a decades-long procrastination session and shirking of their fundamental duty to regulate.

We couldn’t agree more and are encouraged by the news that several new co-sponsors have signed on to support the CARERS (Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States) Act in Congress, which would effectively end all federal interference in state programs, open access to banking for the industry and deschedule cannabis from the list of Controlled Substances altogether. You can see an overview of the bill here and a nice update about what’s going on with the bill now over at Leafly. You can even add your name to the petition that is circulating asking our elected officials to get a move on it already.

With nearly 80% of doctors approving the use of medical cannabis and 92% of respondents in a 2013 California survey report that medical cannabis alleviated symptoms of their serious medical conditions, including chronic pain, arthritis, migraine, and cancer, it’s clear there’s a disconnect between the stated desires of public health officials to improve health outcomes in our county and the prohibitionist policies they actually promote.

Tush Kush – Not Just For Tushes Anymore!

Although DYSMENINE_OKwe guessed that our suppository may be equally effective when inserted vaginally, as opposed to the traditional rectal route we all think of, it wasn’t until Foria came out with their vaginal suppository launched to tackle women’s menstrual cramps that we decided to try our Tush Kush suppositories for that purpose. Lo and behold, our testers experienced seriously effective and FAST — 10 minutes or less — relief from their painful lady symptoms.

Apparently the pelvic area responds particularly well to this type of treatment because it has more cannabinoid receptors than anywhere else in the body besides the brain. But this is not a brand-new, groundbreaking discovery. According to this historical research review (PDF) on the topic, cannabis extracts have been used successfully all over the world for at least five thousand years to treat a wide range of conditions in women including dysmenorrhea, dysuria, hyperemesis gravidarum, and menopausal symptoms. From China to India to late 19th century England, cannabis helped women throughout their lives. Even Queen Victoria is thought to have used cannabis to relieve her severe menstrual cramps.

Tush Kush is already helping patients with IBD, prostate and other area-specific conditions. As we work to expand this product line keep an eye out for blends we formulate especially for women’s health… we might need to rebrand this version Bush Kush!cbdtushkush

Recommendations from HelloMD

For many busy patients, getting a renewal of your doctor’s recommendation for medical cannabis can be a hassle. For some housebound or seriously ill patients, it can be difficult or impossible. While we continue to refer patients that want a more hands-on approach to a few local doctors we know and trust, the service offering from our friends at HelloMD is a great option for patients looking for convenience and affordability. At $49 (or $39 if you use Sespe’s direct link from our website to sign in), the service is a great value.

All you need is a computer with an internet connection and video/voice connection or a smartphone. The live video service works with PC, MAC, Android and iOS.

During doctor’s hours, the HelloMD system is ‘real-time’ which means there is no need to schedule ahead. Simply log into HelloMD, and click ‘Join Meeting’ to be connected to your doctor. Your patient file and medical records will be automatically routed to the doctor you are connected with. Only you and the doctor will have access to your private medical information.

Find out more about HelloMD or signup for a recommendation here. To get the $10 discount mentioned above, you need to click on this link (or the banner below) to access the HelloMD site.

Medical-Marijuana-Card-Doctor-HelloMD_485x149

Sespe’s 2015 Gift Guide for Cannabis Enthusiasts!

The Cannabis Manifesto: A New Paradigm for Wellness by Steve D'Angelo -- for the curious reader in your life!
This lovely and user-friendly Crank-Top Herb Grinder  - makes grinding your herbs easy & fun!
Eliminate unwanted smoke odors with Smoke Buddy Personal Air Filter!
Save your lungs with a Volcano! Order direct from Sespe for best price but read the details about this magnificent, tried-and-true vaporizer from Storz & Bickel.
Show the world a little token of your plant appreciation with this lovely Sterling Silver Cannabis Ring:
Stay lit with this lovely High Life Night Lite!
Wake and bake with these Cannabis Edible Image Cupcake Toppers!
Hide your stank not your dank in these Weed Leaf Printed Socks!
Stash your accessories in style with this Exquisite Smokers Stash Box.
Keep your meds away from pets and kids with this handy Locking Edibles Safe.

Help Bring Venice Cookie Co. Back!

The laws in California regarding medical cannabis cultivation, including infused products manufacturing and distribution, are still pretty vague even though new formal guidelines are in the works. Different cities also have different approaches to regulation and enforcement. So we ask for your assistance in helping one of our favorite vendors, Venice Cookie Co., continue to stock Sespe’s shelves with amazing products for our patients. If you are a fan of the 4:20 Bar, Canna-Quencher Lemonades, Subtle Tea, or their crazy new potent line of 4.20 Brownie concoctions, please download, print and sign Venice Cookie Co’s membership agreement without dating it. You can either fax it back to 855-722-9333 or email it back to us (vendors @ sespe.org without the spaces) , or give it to your driver on your next delivery. Signing this agreement simply makes you a member of Venice Cookie Co’s collective, but it does not affect the membership agreement you already signed with Sespe.

Thanks for your understanding and assistance in this matter as we and all our vendors try to stay as compliant as possible while regulations governing our industry are changing.

Vape Pen cartridge air bubble fix.

A few people have had an issue with the pre-filled clear co2 cartridges where a small air bubble develops around the wick at the base of the cartridge. This prevents the wick from absorbing any more oil and makes it difficult to get a proper medicated drag. Luckily there’s an easy fix. Remove the mouthpiece of the cartridge, if it’s metal then it’s likely a twist off (it might be a bit stuck, but it will come off). If it’s plastic, it’s likely a snap off mouthpiece. Beneath that there’s a little blue rubber stopper that seals in the oil. Remove and replace that piece several times. Every time you replace it, the seal will force air pressure on the oil, pushing it down onto the wick. Replace the mouthpiece and you’re all set.

Compassionate Care Update

During the month of September, Sespe delivered 104 items worth an estimated $1,931 to 24 different patients in our Compassionate Care Program. We thank our friends at Sensi Chews, Absolute Xtracts, KIVA, Little Britton’s, The Venice Cookie Co., Auntie Dolores, docGreen’s@Black Sheep Organics, @durdyherbs, and all of our other generous member/growers who have shared flowers for those in need. Visit our Patient Assistance Programs page for more information on this and other our patient assistance programs.

In addition to Compassionate Care, we also provided discounts to veterans and those on fixed incomes, for a total of $4538 in benefits provided!

 

 

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.

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.

The Future of Concentrates

BHO, which stands for Butane Hash Oil, has been a controversial topic in the news. While it is certainly possible to use butane responsibly to produce a safe and solvent-free extract, that's not always what happens -- and at this point, the responsible thing for us to do is to phase out concentrates that are extracted with butane. By doing this, we're embracing the changes we hope to see in the future as laws are rewritten and regulations put in place. It's not the butane that's the main problem here, it's the people misusing it, and the damage those people do. As cannabis professionals, it is important to set a positive example and demonstrate that concentrates are a safe and effective form of medicine. If we don't get out in front of this, we risk letting media hysteria over exploding BHO labs drive the discussion on the future of medical marijuana concentrates, and that would be a disservice to the patients whose pain and symptoms only respond to medicine of this strength.

Fortunately, we're in the midst of a kind of cannabis renaissance, and the available alternatives are absolutely fantastic.
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Today we're introducing two new, clear, CO2-extracted concentrates. These are extracted with carbon dioxide and then fortified with strain-specific terpenes to give the benefit of whole-plant cannabis in a highly purified form, which we know is more effective than isolated cannabinoids. Just like eating a piece of whole fruit is better for you than taking a vitamin pill, using the whole cannabis plant is far more effective than any one single component. Terpenoids are quite potent, and affect animal and even human behavior when inhaled from ambient air at serum levels in the single digits nanograms/ml. They display unique therapeutic effects that contribute to the entourage effects of cannabis-based medicinal extracts.

Our two new concentrates are Tangerine Dream & Blue Dream,  beautifully produced CO2 filtered extract that is one of the purest forms of THC available.  Unlike other extracts, like wax and shatter, these extracts leave only the THC and flavorful terpenes in place, giving it a translucent look and providing an incredible flavor for the patient.

Blue Dream

THC: 80.72% | CBD: 3.02% | CBG: 1.63%

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Tangerine Dream

THC: 80.72% | CBD: 3.02% | CBG: 1.63%

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In our excitement over the new technology available to us, let's not forget that we have a fresh batch of the SFV OG bubble hash. Bubble hash is extracted with water and hard work, so you'll never run into solvent residue there! This batch, our grower tells us, was his best ever -- and the test results prove that out -- 48.75% THC!