Dank pages

Ngaio Bealum is a Sacramento comedian, activist and marijuana expert. Email him questions at ask420@newsreview.com.

I am scheduled to host my book club on 4/20. While I have the smoke and snacks figured out, I am hoping you can suggest a fun book in which a weed-smoking protagonist is featured.

—Michelle Bookworm 420

Smoke, snacks and vivid syntax can make for a great afternoon! You know, it’s kinda funny that there are so few stoner protagonists. I guess it’s because stoners are lazy, noncreative people. We all know alcohol is the writer’s drug of choice.

Yes, that was sarcasm.

Michael Chabon wrote a book called Telegraph Avenue. As you can imagine, a book set on the border of Berkeley and Oakland has plenty of pot smoking. Robert Anton Wilson’s Illuminatus! Trilogy is chock-full of drugs and deep-state conspiracy theories. Ruby, by Cynthia Bond, is a heavy book full of rich prose, dark themes, violence and troubles.

If you are looking for an autobiography laden with good music and great weed, I would suggest Really the Blues by Mezz Mezzrow. Mezzrow was the weed man for a host of musicians, including Louis Armstrong, and he lived a uniquely American life. Oh, and The Dharma Bums, from Jack Kerouac.

If you wanna read a book written by someone that uses or has used marijuana, you could look for books from Kerouac, Stephen King, Baudelaire, Carl Sagan, Alexandre Dumas, Spider Robinson and just about every writer from the ’60s.

Maybe we should start a cannabis-friendly book club. What would we call it?

How many different strains exist? How can I know what is what?

—Green Horn

Millions. OK, thousands. There are literally thousands of different weed strains in the world, and more are being created as you read this column. However, there are some basic things to know.

Cannabis generally falls into two types: sativa and indica. There is a third type known as ruderalis, but it doesn’t show up in most commercial gardens. Sativas are the buzzy ones that make you want to do stuff, and indicas are the ones that lock you to the couch and make your thinking kinda fuzzy.

Then, of course, there are approximately two kajillion different kinds of hybrid strains. Some are indica-dominant, some lean more to the sativa side, and others are trying to achieve the perfect balance of both types.

If you are looking for in-depth details of specific marijuana strains, I suggest Ed Rosenthal’s Big Book Of Buds series, or spending time obsessively browsing Leafly.com. Once you know what to look for, it is fairly easy to guess which strain is which by a combination of smell and effects. Have fun learning!