Anxiety! Does marijuana ease it or make it worse?

Also: Ngaio answers whether out-of-staters can buy marijuana in Colorado

Ngaio Bealum is a Sacramento comedian, activist and marijuana expert. Email him questions at

I am contemplating using marijuana for my chronic back pain. The medications my doctors have prescribed over the years are taking their toll and are not working anymore. My problem is: When I’ve smoked pot in the past, I got terrible anxiety, and now I am afraid to go forward with trying to get a card. I’ve done some research, and it appears there are different strains of marijuana that are particularly useful for pain. However, I’m very reluctant. Any advice on where to get a card, and if I do get one, what type of marijuana should I be looking to alleviate pain? I’ve also heard that some dispensaries mix up their pot, and when you think you are buying one strain, you get another. That would be no bueno. Any advice is appreciated.


High, Chris. Go get a card. It’s easy. There are ads for doctors specializing in cannabis all over the place.

As for anxiety, I would advise you to stay away from sativa strains, and concentrate on indicas and strains with a high CBD—that’s cannabidiol—content. Most medical-cannabis dispensaries are very careful about making sure their medicine is properly labeled. Also, you might want to look into using some of the cannabis-infused creams, salves and sprays that most dispensaries carry. Using cannabis externally won’t get you high and may provide you some relief. Talk to the doctor about why you want to try cannabis, and he or she should be able to offer you advice. I hope you feel better.

I am traveling to Breckenridge, Colorado, in December and am curious if I would be able to purchase my medication at a dispensary without a problem. I was able to obtain a temp card while in California; not sure what is applicable to Colorado. Please advise if you could let me know specifics.


Colorado doesn’t accept out-of-state medical-marijuana cards. Michigan and Vermont do (and so did Montana, although, I’m not sure if Montana still does). The recreational clubs aren’t open yet, but dude, come on: You. Will. Be. In. Colorado. Even when weed was illegal, it was hella easy to find in Colorado. It’s just that now, the weed is better and locally grown. Ask around. I am sure someone will hook you up. Enjoy your snow-filled bong hits.

Hey, man. What’s cracking up in the Pacific Northwest?


Everything is proceeding apace. Oregon is hashing out (you heard me) the regulations for legal medical-cannabis dispensaries as we speak, and Washington’s legislature has just started going over the recommendations from the committee charged with creating the regulations for recreational-cannabis storefronts. The Washington medical-cannabis community is very upset, because the recommendation would outlaw private and collective grows and force patients to use recreational clubs to get their pot. I am on the side of the medical activists in this argument, but I caution people to not get too worked up. I will write more about this next week.