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Dispensary Manager Ericka Tutino helps a happy customer at HPC. (Photo by Beth Thuna)
Wednesday, March 18, 2020

By Chris Frost


Port Hueneme-- The conversation with the Hueneme Patient Collective (HPC), Dispensary manager Ericka Tutino and Owner Beth Thuna continues with people who visit the dispensary and have diabetes.


People with diabetes who consume alcohol often struggle with high blood sugar, as alcohol turns into sugar in the bloodstream.


Ericka said the first thing people with diabetes will notice is that when they eat a medicated gummy bear, the sugar is the equivalent of eating one piece of candy store candy.


"A lot of times when they medicate a gummy, they use a distillate oil, which is just straight THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol)," she said. "The sugar wouldn't affect your metabolism. The THC is processed through your liver, so you end up metabolizing some of the THC away, but the sugar that's in there will affect you like a regular piece of candy."


Beth said you need to tell your cannabis consultant that you have diabetes.


"There are some edibles out there now that are sugar-free," she said. "There are vegan options and organic options."


Ericka added that new cannabinoid options are available.


"They're turning those cannabinoids into products that can help with diabetes," she said. "There is a cannabinoid called THCP (tetrahydrocannabiphorol), which is actually an appetite suppressant, and it can help to lower your blood sugar. It's a newer cannabinoid, and we might be sold out. It's expensive, as it's harder to isolate THCP. It also has promising results for Parkinson's Disease and treating tremors."


It's also good for someone who wants to lose weight.


"If they want to get a little zippy high and not eat everything in their cabinet," she said. 


Beth said Ericka loves to do the research when it comes to new strains of cannabis, and the dispensary just got a new CBD bone for pets.


"It can especially help around July 4 with the fireworks," Beth said. "We sold a lot of pet products to help with their anxiety. We're pet friendly here, and we love to see the animals come through. They love it here."


People are passionate about cannabis, Beth said, and she noticed that from the first day.


"I had a preconceived notion coming into this business, and I have completely changed that," she said. "It's a wonder, the properties that this plant has, and they are still discovering things. It's amazing. When you see the passion, the team has for this plant. When someone comes in with rheumatoid arthritis or cancer, a friend of mines' father is dealing with pancreatic cancer, and he is having trouble eating. There is a product, Delta 8, that will help increase his appetite. Because of Ericka's recommendation, I was able to tell my friend, and that will, hopefully, help his dad. That's what this plant is about. It has amazing medicinal values."


Both agreed there are new discoveries with cannabis.


"The company that we buy from, they do product education for our staff," Ericka said. "Once you get experienced, you can tell what the crosses are in those new strains. I can guess a lot of times by the smell that this is a Sativa before I look at any of the information. That comes with experience, once you get to know your different terpenes."


If someone is unsure how a different strain of cannabis will interact within your body, she advises people to visit the company that produced the plant's website.


"How Indica is it, or how Sativa is it," she said. "One example is girl scout cookies, which is a classic hybrid, but it is a hybrid of OG Kush and Durban Poison. OG Kush is an Indica, and Durban Poison is a very speedy Sativa. Sometimes, Girl Scout Cookies can go either way, depending on who grew it. There is a lot of research into that one classic strain of girl scout cookies."


Ericka also suggests using leafly.com and type in the name of a strain to get more information on a plant.


"It will tell you who the parent plants are and what medical conditions it could help with," she said. "It also tells you some of the adverse effects, like this strain is going to give you the munchies or dry mouth and dry eyes, but it will also help with depression or anxiety. When we're not sure, we consult with each other and the internet."


Beth added that everyone's opinion matters at HPC.


"If there is something that people feel passionate about that we should bring in," she said. 


Ericka noted that customer feedback is also essential.


"We had a couple of people bring us a review about this one particular cartridge company, and we said, okay, let's look at it," she said. "We have that product in the shop now, it's doing awesome, and everybody loves it. Our customers' opinions matter the most in terms of what products do they want us to sell."


If someone comes in looking for CBD Oil, Ericka always asks the customer why they want that product?


"There are so many misconceptions about CBD; it is crazy," she said. "If you Google CBD, it says it will help with sleep, but not for everybody. We all have an endocannabinoid system inside of us, which means we produce our own cannabinoids. Any cannabinoids we are consuming are fido-cannabinoids that we are putting into our own bodies and supplementing ours."


In the endocannabinoid system, Ericka said adding CBD oil brings your body into equilibrium.


"CBD does not make you sleepy unless you are such an anxious person that it creates a chemical imbalance inside your body," she said. "If your mind never shuts off, and you're out of whack, you take that CBD oil to bring you back into equilibrium, which can quiet your anxiety enough to lull you back to sleep."


CBD oil also helps people who are so depressed; they don't feel like they can get out of bed.


"It can also uplift you and make you feel better and make you feel like you have more energy," she said. "It's all about what your individual body chemistry is, so it is one product that might work amazingly for me but do nothing for you. That's why it's so important to ask all those questions."


CBD also helps with inflammation, she said, and that works almost like you're taking your daily vitamin.


"Take the same dose at the same time every day and have that CBD build up in your system," she said.


Beth added that communication is vital when you visit a dispensary.


"Especially if it's your first time," she said. "Don't feel awkward to talk. If the budtender isn't asking you a question, then make sure you address what you are dealing with. A good budtender will ask you the questions. You might think you are looking for this one thing, but you might find out after speaking with your budtender that something completely different will help you. We're not here to give medical advice, but you want to communicate. They need to get to know you so that they can help you." 


Many people want a natural product instead of relying on opioids prescribed by their doctor.


"Come into our shop and have a conversation," Beth said. "You don't have to buy anything that day. Education is the key, and when you come into our shop, you are going to have a lot of good information. I feel confident about our shop, and I see what's happening. Ericka is out there watching, teaching, educating, and consulting, as well as all our other incredible consultants."



HPC is located at 501 W Channel Islands Blvd, Port Hueneme.