Road Trip: In Search of Good Medicine – Hercules Health


Hercules Health Center is located in a state-o-the-art medical facility in Hercules, California, just north of Oakland

Story and Photos by Sharon Letts
Hercules Health Center, named after the bedroom community by the same name just north of Oakland, California, is located in a well-manicured, modern industrial park in a state-of-the-art, modern medical facility.
The large building is occupied by dozens of medical specialists who are no strangers to the dispensary or the magic of cannabis.
“We have many specialists in the building who send patients here for alternative therapies,” said Ed Breslin, co-founder of the center. 

There are budtenders with an ample supply of bud, dabs, tinctures and edibles located purposefully around the corner from the front entrance. That’s because the bud isn’t the main feature of this wellness center; it’s the products they make from the leaf and bud that take center stage.

Star items: Nternal oil for ingesting, and Xternal Muscle Rub made with Bentonite Clay

“Xternal” and “Nternal” are two award-winning products created with the specific purpose of easing pain and suffering. Xternal is a topical that comes in both a quick-relief spray, and infused in “Comfort Cream,” said to reduce wrinkles. Two other options for topical use, made with Xternal are a “Muscle Rub,” made with Bentonite clay; another is a non-petroleum product, “Fat Face,” used and endorsed by MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) fighters.
Breslin’s father, a retired ironworker, is a patient of the center. Suffering from years of hard, backbreaking work, he uses both the “Xternal” topical spray for immediate relief, and ingests “Nternal” at night, further reducing the pain he’s lived with for years.
“My dad is a union man,” Breslin said. “He’s not your typical cannabis user by any means. But he uses this product because it works.” 

Hercules Wellness Center General Manager Ryan Monsanto

All the products have no cannabis odor — something Breslin’s father surely appreciates. 
“The products aren’t obviously cannabis products,” said Ryan Monsanto, general manager of the center.
“There are no leaves on the label and no catchy names,” Monsanto said. “We are offering pain management and healing to patients that need relief, not euphoria.”
All verified and current patients are eligible for either free chiropractic or massage each month. There are added incentives for patients for more services based on contributions to the cooperative.
Dr. Mia Curcuruto’s Chiropractic and Cranial Therapy is on duty, providing a “whole person approach” to health, offering corrective exercise advice, spinal and postural screenings, and physiotherapy.

Budtender Rick Castaneda assists patient Kurt Haworth

From its website, the center breaks down the differences between “wellness care” and “standard medical care.”

Budtender Rick Castaneda with jar ‘o bud

“Wellness care seeks to turn on the natural healing ability, not by adding something to the system, but by removing anything that might interfere with normal function, trusting what the body would know what to do if nothing were interfering with it,” we read on the site.
Other treats in the facility include a hyperbaric chamber with an oxygen bar next door.
There is also cryotherapy, ultrasound, interferential electrical muscle stimulation, and paraffin baths, with coaches available for lifestyle advice, nutritional counseling, and advice on choosing the best therapies, cannabis and otherwise.
At a time when good medicine is still grossly misunderstood and dispensaries are being shut down throughout legal states, the Hercules Health Center stands strong, offering up smart therapies that work, without the hype.
Hercules Health Center
500 Alfred Nobel Drive
Hercules, CA 94547
(510) 964-7216

Sharon Letts

Editor’s note: Sharon Letts began her love of gardening in Southern California by her mother’s side, watching as she buried fish heads at the base of roses.

At 24, Sharon hung her shingle, “Secret Garden,” planting flower beds for dainty ladies. Gardening led to producing and writing for television with “Secret Garden Productions.”

Today Sharon makes her home in Humboldt County, cannabis capitol of the world, where she continues to write about gardening and all that implies, advocating for the bud, and writing for many magazines, including Toke of the Town.

Her series, “Humboldt Stories,” is a fictional account, based on fact, of the Humboldt grow scene. Tag line: “It’s not Weeds, it’s real.”

With her partner, Craig Carroll, they pen “Road Trip: In Search of Good Medicine,” touring the Golden State, following the green rush.