Scam Alert!

WARNINGOne of our patients received a phone call recently from someone claiming to be a DEA agent. They told her that she’d ordered prescription drugs over the internet and had violated federal law, and attempted to get her to pay a “fine” to avoid being arrested. Luckily, she had the presence of mind to get ahold of an attorney right away, and found out it was a scam. Imagine how frightening such a phone call must be! The scammers recently called a local reporter’s wife, who was terrified.

In any case, this is a widespread scam, happening all over the country. The DEA has even set up a page on their website to report any suspicious phone calls.  Keep in mind that actual Federal authorities are NEVER going to call you asking you to wire transfer money (or give them credit card information) to avoid being arrested. That’s not how it works!

The scammers sometimes have personal information on the victims, such as previous addresses and old credit card numbers. This may be related to purchasing legal prescription meds from online pharmacies — the patient who was called said that she had ordered medication online about five years ago, and this seems to be a common thread in the stories I’ve read about this today.  Considering that these criminals do often have personal information about their intended victims, it can be very scary, but stay calm and remember that the DEA doesn’t phone up people asking them to send money — it just doesn’t happen.

As the patient who reported this to us observed, “it’s an evil world out there.” Stay safe!

 

 

Studying CBDs

While laboratory-based research is uncovering fascinating information about CBD, physicians want to know what patients are experiencing. Are the effects of CBD-rich cannabis and high-THC cannabis noticeably different?  If so, how? Patients, collectively, can provide the answers.

Our friends at Project CBD have asked for our (and your) help — and it’ll only take 10 or 15 minutes of your time.  If you’ve used any of our CBD-dominant strains (Canna-Tsunami, Hash Tsunami, or Sour Tsunami, you are in possession of incredibly valuable data about your experiences with CBDs, and the Society of Cannabis Clinicians has put together a survey which they tell us is fairly straightforward and easy to complete.

This survey requires that you have used a lab-analyzed strain, and we have submitted our test results to them. You’ll need one of these codes to complete the survey:

[bulletlist]

  • Canna Tsunami (sampling 028):  SESPE-CT
  • Hash Tsunami (sampling 031): SESPE-HT
  • Sour Tsunami (sampling 030): SESPE-ST

[/bulletlist]

Cannabis research is a challenging field, with so many legal and bureaucratic barriers put in place by prohibition — but this is a way that you, the patients, can communicate directly with the physicians who prescribe medical cannabis, and help them to understand this amazing medicine.

projectcbd

And the winner is … Cannabis!

Yesterday, voters in Colorado and Washington made history by being the first states to approve cannabis for recreational use. Colorado’s Amendment 64 will allow those 21 and older to purchase up to one ounce at specially regulated retail stores. Possession would be legal but not public use.  In Washington, one ounce of marijuana will be legal as of Dec. 6, and the state will begin a year-long process of creating the taxing and regulatory structure for sales. Massachusetts joined the ranks of medical states, while an Arkansas ballot measure failed by a surprisingly small margin, and the cities of Detroit and Grand Rapids passed their own decriminalization statutes — there’s no denying it, the tide is turning against prohibition.  And depending on the outcome of the Americans for Safe Access vs. DEA case currently being considered by the DC Circuit Court, we may also be approaching the day when cannabis is no longer a Schedule 1 drug.

None of these exciting events will directly affect our day-to-day operations, but we’re feeling very positive about the progress that is being made. Every step towards mitigating the terrible harm these prohibitions have done is a good one, and we look forward to the day when everyone can have safe access to this amazing source of healing and wellness.

Policy Update: Pet owners, please take note

Recently, two of our drivers have been bitten by patients’ dogs, which has prompted us to add the following to our Terms of Service and to our Patient Contracts:

[quotebox]Patient assumes all responsibility for injuries and illnesses sustained by Sespe Creek Collective drivers caused by Patient’s pets and/or home. Sespe Creek may refuse service for aggressive animals. Sespe Creek’s decision to provide delivery service despite being aware of an animal’s history of aggression does not protect patient from medical claims related to treating injuries from aggressive animals.[/quotebox]

What this means is if your dog (or any pet that has free run of the area the driver will be delivering to) might get overly excited and injure the driver, you’re going to be responsible for the driver’s medical expenses.

The vast majority of the pets we encounter on a daily basis are calm and friendly and pose no danger, but if your pets are excitable or protective of you, you will want to contain them before the driver arrives.

Homemade Hash Contraptions for the People

There are many reasons to choose concentrates (such as hash, waxes, and oils), but the process of using them may seem a little confusing at first, with some of the methods being downright intimidating. So whether you have a higher tolerance and need a more intense dosage, or whether you prefer the health benefits of getting the medicine without having to burn too much plant matter, we hope these handy household hints will help you get the most from your hash.

Hot Knives

Well that doesn’t sound scary at all, does it? Not just a knife, but knives, and hot ones! Do not fret, Gentle Reader, it’s really not as bad as it sounds, and it can be done with basic items almost all of us have in our kitchen. Not only that, but almost every article on the subject calls it the most efficient way to make sure you don’t waste any of your hash, and that in itself a pretty good reason to give it a try. Pretty simple, just take two basic kitchen knives, heated up to almost glowing hot, then drop a tiny amount of hash on one of them, smash them together, and inhale the results. I’ll concede that still sounds a bit intimidating, so here’s a video where some helpful folks demonstrate this for us:

See how easy that was? Now, in that video we see hot knife hits as a kind of social activity, but what if you’re not in a social setting? In this example, a clever smoker uses a twist tie from a loaf of bread to hold the tiny piece of hash:

The Penny

For those (like myself) who remain steadfastly unconvinced that using blazing hot pieces of metal could ever by easy or fun, the following video shows a simpler and similarly effective method that will work whether you’re alone or with friends. Begin by placing a penny on a hard surface (to be safe, something fire and heat-resistant), place your chunk of hash on top, and ignite the hash with a regular lighter. When it’s burning, place an inverted glass or wide-mouth jar over it, and allow the smoke to condense. As the heavy smoke cools and falls back down, lift the edge of the glass or jar and suck up the smoke with a straw, tube, disassembled pen, whatever’s handy. All the smoke is preserved this way, so if you’re alone you can inhale it all at once or in several smaller puffs. The video is a bit on the long side, but still quite informative and entertaining.

The Nail

Not to be confused with the fancy smoking apparatus of the same name, this technique refers to using a nail (rather than a penny) to hold your hash while you get the burning going. To do this, you use any common household nail as long as it’s not too thick, or coated with anything that might be toxic. Secure the nail in something heat-resistant and stable, our resident budtender suggests using one of those pink school erasers and poking the nail through it. This method works best with the more sticky types of concentrate, the waxes and the really gooey hashes rather than the crumbly types. Same basic method as the penny, make sure the hash is thoroughly ignited, collect the smoke under a glass or jar, and inhale the condensed smoke through a straw as it falls.

Now, for those of you who want to treat yourself to a fabulous new smoking piece, we wouldn’t want to deter you from that delightful quest. But if you are medicating on a budget and looking for the biggest possible bang for your buck, we hope we’ve given you some ideas to help you get going. What’s your favorite smoking method? Leave us a comment and let us know!

Vaporizers: Why (and How) You Should Use One

As much as we here at Sespe enjoy the experience of smoking, we concede that inhaling burning plant matter may be less than healthy for the lungs, and is not necessarily the most efficient way to medicate. Vaporizers can be costly, yes, but a good vaporizer has the potential to pay for itself in the short term by helping you get more out of your medicine, and in the longer term through better respiratory health.  As a bonus, vaporizers reduce or eliminate smoking odors, making it easier to be discreet.

Vaporization involves heating plant materials until the active components boil into a vapor. Nothing burns, so there is no smoke, and virtually no tar or particulate matter. Vape users experience less coughing and phlegm, and often report a better, more cerebral high. The absence of smoke doesn’t mean there is no taste, though — vaporization actually enables you to taste the essence of the plant, rather than the byproducts of its burning.  And since nothing is lost to combustion, you will derive more medicinal effects from less medicine. The plant material left over after vaporization can be used in cooking, often with surprising results — the ABV (already been vaped) leavings used in our firecracker experiments produced the strongest edibles I’ve ever personally experienced.

The decision to use a vaporizer is an easy one, but the decision of which one to buy can be confusing. Vaporizers are an investment, so you’ll want to consider a variety of factors before you decide on which one is right for you. To fully explain the different options (and combinations of options) available would be well beyond the scope of this article, but here’s are some things to keep in mind as you shop:

Heating Elements:

Different manufacturers make different claims about the superiority of their heating elements, but the choices break down into different heating methods (convection, conduction, or some combination of the two) and different types of heating elements (aluminum, ceramic, or glass). The manufacturers of ceramic-based heating elements will warn you that aluminum-based units carry health risks, but there’s no evidence that using aluminum at the temperatures it’s used for in vaporization releases any harmful chemicals. However, be aware that lower quality ceramic heating elements may contain unsafe materials like solder that could release toxic vapors. Be extra-cautious when considering the cheaper models, and always do your research on the manufacturer’s heating design before deciding on a vaporizer.
Form Factor/Portability:

All vaporizers are relatively portable, but some are specifically meant to be with you at all times, while others are too big to be easily transported. The advantages to using a larger unit may inspire some to improvise portable vaporizer kits to enjoy away from home, but there are some brilliant portable vape designs that make the small, hand-held units quite appealing. One new model is meant to look identical to a rescue asthma inhaler, while others are designed to resemble other personal electronic devices, this is a really fun product category to shop in — vape designers are a talented and creative bunch.

But as clever as these portables are, there’s really no substitute for a good, home-based unit. In much the same way as you have your beloved bong for your more formal smoke sessions, it’s always nice to have a full-sized, feature-rich home unit to really get the most out of your medicine. At Sespe, we use a thermostatically-controlled Volcano for precise temperature control. The Volcano is perhaps the best-known of the aluminum heating element type vaporizers, and their product line includes both full-sized and portable models.

How to Vaporize:

Every vaporizing system has its own particular procedures and quirks, and each patient has their own unique needs, but here are some tips to help you find the best approach for you.

[checklist]

  • Preparation is important. You’ll want to use a grinder (often included as a part of starter kits for new vaporizer users) and make sure you grind the flowers into an even, coarse texture.
  • Fill the chamber, but not too full! Vaporizers that use the convection heating method work best when packed loosely, less than 1/2 full, while those that use a conduction method work best when packed more firmly.
  • Temperature:  Ideally, you want to heat your flowers to between 180 °C (356 °F) and 200 °C (392 °F) degrees. Studies have shown that at these temperatures “… there was virtually no exposure to harmful combustion products using the vaporizing device. Since it replicates smoking’s efficiency at producing the desired THC effect using smaller amounts of the active ingredient as opposed to pill forms, this device has great potential for improving the therapeutic utility of THC.”
  • Keep trying! Vaporizers are tricky, and each model has its own best configuration.

[/checklist]

When researching this post, we found several very helpful articles which explain the subject in more detail. like this one from VapeNow.com covering the different types of heating elements, and found some of our images and information in the Wikipedia article on the subject, along with some surprisingly informative stuff on UrbanDictionary.com, of all places. The subject of cannabis  is huge and ever-changing, and this post is just meant to get you started out on this safer, more effective way of medicating.

Why We’re Boycotting Weedmaps

UPDATE: As if we needed another reason: according to a recent investigation by the LA Times,  62% of all dispensary reviews on Weedmaps are fake.

Originally posted May 22, 2012:

Recently we were informed of a new policy over at Weedmaps (initially via e-sales pitch and later by phone): if we didn’t agree to ditch our own very respected lab The Werc Shop and pay much higher rates to signup with SC Labs, their new partner in crime, they would remove all references to being lab-tested from our listing.  They justified this anti-competitive and discriminatory behavior because they, in a flash of omniscience, decided that SC Labs is the only proper lab for cannabis testing. We refused to be blackmailed in this way, so WeedMaps censored our paid listing and deleted 85% of the text that was in our collective’s description. All under the guise of “wanting patients to have safe reliable medicine when someone advertises it on our site.” That’s so noble of them, but censoring our listing because we won’t use their own expensive lab to them is just bad karma. It’s also been going on for awhile apparently*. Boooo.

When I cancelled our paid listing, the aggressive sales rep threatened “you’ll be sorry.” (We’re still not sorry!) Weedmaps is full of old stale listings of collectives that closed down years ago. It does this to make small collective operators think there’s more competition than there actually is, so you feel pressured to pay more for a better listing. We call shenanigans on this bunk practice.

There’s also no moderation of customer reviews, so you might see that a competitor has 99 five star reviews, but when you go read them, it’s the same 5 star review copied and pasted 80 times. This probably happened because Weedmaps has a terrible user interface and the user wasn’t getting feedback that the review was submitted properly, so they kept pushing submit. Or, a dishonest operator just knows how to game the ridiculous system Weedmaps has created.

Please join us and the growing legions of people sourcing and getting their information on medicinal cannabis elsewhere. We really like Leafly.com but there are thousands out there to explore. Or, you can do it the old-fashioned way and google it.

 

*note: the post we linked to has disappeared, but a helpful visitor has provided us with a Web Archive link to where it is saved.

The Price of Gas is Too Damn High

We here at Sespe sincerely care about all our patients and regret that we are forced to make a small change in our minimum delivery amount due to the ongoing ridiculousness of gas prices. We can maintain the $40 minimum for Oxnard, Ventura, and Camarillo, but outside of those areas it is necessary to have a slightly higher minimum.

Effective 4/19/2012, minimum orders are:

Ventura, Oxnard, Camarillo: $40
Ojai, Oak View, Oak Park, Westlake Village, Thousand Oaks, Moorpark, Simi Valley, Fillmore, Santa Paula and beyond in Ventura Co: $50

Expanded Menu

Sespe Creek is pleased to announce a new edibles menu! From savory pretzels and chili lime peanuts to sativa agave syrup and sugar-free chocolate bars — Aren’t you feeling hungry just reading this? Check out the extensive testing and dosage information at auntiedolores.com

We are also thrilled to be carrying Ground Owl Pain Lotions in calming and invigorating blends, both 1 and 2oz sizes. Our volunteers have been self-testing these on our sore spots and are quite impressed with the results!