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AP Photo/Jeff Barnard

Siskiyou Sungrown owners Cedar Grey and Madrone Grey examine one of their medical marijuana plants in Williams.

Whole plant medicine at Siskiyou Sungrown

It’s a wholesome, logical and uncomplicated idea that works: Siskiyou Sungrown utilizes the entire cannabis plant — grown organically and outdoors — to produce award-winning CBD hemp products that provide effective relief from a broad range of medical conditions.

“We believe that traditional farming techniques, especially when practiced in the rich native soil and brilliant sunshine of the Williams Valley, produces the best, healthiest plants,” said Siskiyou Sungrown CEO Cedar Grey. “We don’t want to mess with nature’s proven processes.”

Founded in 2014, Siskiyou Sungrown has emerged as a standard bearer in the medicinal cannabis industry. Its 10-acre operation is a model of innovation and efficiency.

“By adhering to principles of sustainability, we consume fewer resources and have a lower carbon footprint,” Grey said. “And by using all of our best practices, we extract the purest, most potent, CBD-rich hemp oil that we then transform into great new delivery systems.”

Grey, an engineer, leads a team of committed professionals with degrees and expertise in biochemistry, soil science, engineering, health sciences, geology, entomology and permaculture. More than 30 employees and contractors work together to create and distribute Siskiyou Sungrown products.

“Our whole thing is to produce healthy and effective medicine, and we think it’s really important to utilize science-based methods,” Grey said. “So we do it all, from developing the genetics, to growing the plants, harvesting, and then producing the products.”

Most hemp products are not derived from organically grown plants, and most agricultural pest management is accomplished through the use of “poisons.”

“It’s crucial for our entomologist to identify pest populations in the field — and we deal with that in a healthy way,” Grey explained. “For example, we add other plants to our hedgerows, like mullein, that are specially chosen to provide predator habitat for other creatures that will help keep the pest species in check.”

A pioneer in the cannabis industry, Grey was appointed as the only grower and product producer on Gov. Kate Brown’s newly formed eight-member Cannabis Commission. He also serves on the state’s primary OLCC Recreational Marijuana Rules Advisory Committee, the Josephine County Cannabis Advisory Panel and is a founder and past president of Oregon Sungrown Growers’ Guild.

“Hopefully within a few years Oregon insurance might cover cannabis medicine,” he said. “That remains to be seen, but it’s something I’m strongly supporting. There are also doctors on the state commission who support the integration of cannabis with current medical systems, including insurance and prescriptions.”

Grey opened a retail store this fall in Grants Pass called Siskiyou Sungrown CBD Hemp Headquarters, at 1205 Rogue River Highway. Open Monday through Friday, from 9 to 5, the shop offers a clean and welcoming environment with lots of light, warm wooden floors and accents.

Siskiyou Sungrown’s CBD hemp products are also available on the company’s website, SiskiyouSungrown.com.

The company’s flagship products include three variations of cannabis medicines in three different forms: oil, tincture and softgel. They offer CBD-rich products; THC-rich products; and also 1:1 products, which are composed of equal parts CBD and THC. The CBD products contain less than 0.3 percent THC. These products sell for $40 (pre-tax) for a milliliter of oil, a fluid ounce of tincture, or for 20 softgels.

“We mostly sell the straight oil — that’s most affordable,” Grey said. “Some people put it on their tongue, some put it on a cookie. An average dose might be 25 milligrams a day, for aches and pains, or for trouble sleeping.”

He added that someone fighting serious illness — such as cancer — might consume substantially more.

The company makes two types of tincture: alcohol-based and MCT-based, which also delivers classic full-spectrum CBD hemp oil.

“Plus we sell two topicals: a CBD body oil and a skin balm that’s mixed with other oils and herbs. The only product at our store that we don’t make ourselves is a vape pen to vaporize our CBD distillate.”

Siskiyiou Sungrown’s THC cannabis (and other products) can be purchased at medical dispensaries statewide, including several locations in Medford and Grants Pass.

While recreational cannabis was legalized in Oregon in 2016, the Greys remained committed to their roots on the medicinal side of the industry.

“We found ourselves focusing more and more on CBD for multiple reasons,” Grey said. “Until recently, there’s been more demand for CBD than supply; but also, I’ve been breeding CBD plants for five years and have produced some great CBD genetics that I think rival anything out there.”

This homegrown success story began when Grey, a sixth-generation Oregonian, and his wife and business partner, Madrone Grey, moved to Williams and became licensed to grow medicinal cannabis for patients about 20 years ago.

As the pair raised their four children and honed their craft, Grey began to “dig deeper and research the growing body of science around the therapeutic potential of cannabis.”

He learned about medicinal cannabis oil “at a time when I was struggling with PTSD symptoms and found the oil to be very effective in relieving my symptoms.” He learned he could make the oil with certified organic cane alcohol, “which meant we could produce a completely organic medicine, and that mattered to us.

“One of our sons is epileptic and autistic, and the oil has lowered the frequency of his seizures,” Grey said. “And the oil does wonders for his other issues, including severe anxiety. He is a much happier person.”

Grey has applied his background to many situations, explaining that “at its root, engineering is problem solving, and the methods I’ve learned I’ve applied to life in general, including many aspects of the farm and the production of our medicine.”

Reach Illinois Valley freelance writer Annette McGee Rasch at annetterasch@yahoo.com.

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