Flavor over strength

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

Considering that cannabis is now legal, and the police used the war on drugs to ask for increased funding for decades, and marijuana is easy to detect and use for that purpose, shouldn’t we now be clamoring to reduce police funding and take back our tax dollars?

—Freddy Frugal

Sure, but it’s not gonna happen. The DEA is never gonna ask for less money. In fact, 20 percent of the extra tax money collected from Proposition 64 (after expenses and obligations) goes to law enforcement, so they can work on a new sobriety test to catch stoned drivers, and to “support programs designed to reduce any potential negative impacts on public health or safety resulting from the measure.” If you understand the Acronym “C.R.E.A.M.” (“Cash Rules Everything Around Me”) you would see that it would probably be more effective to offer the DEA more money to leave marijuana alone than to try to take money away if pot is made legal. Make of that what you will.

Do you agree with the widely-held belief that weed is “a lot stronger these days,” or like me, think there is just better availability of the decent stuff now, and good weed has always been good weed?

—Jess Wunderen

Eh. I guess. It’s a hard thing to judge. No one was really keeping track of THC percentages in the ’70s or the ’80s. Weed was either “weak” or “strong.” But now, with all the fancy machines and whatnot, there has definitely been an increase in THC percentages in the past few years. I will say that hash and concentrates have higher THC levels now than they have ever had before. I mean, when I was a young cannabis user, all we had was cold-water hash, which would max out at around 50 percent THC. These days, a good butane extraction will be like 85 percent. You can even find straight-up THC distillate if you try hard enough. It doesn’t matter. It’s not about strength, it’s about flavor. Stronger weed just means you have to smoke less to get just as high. It will save you money in the long run. Although, I must say that I generally prefer cannabis in the 15 to 20 percent THC range. This is hella subjective, but I feel like it just tastes better. Happy toking!

One of my friends said that cannabis weakens the immune system, I had never heard of this and I’ve now seen a couple studies, but I’m not an expert, say it ain’t so!

—Otto M. Yuen

Studies are inconclusive. Some studies say that cannabis helps the immune system, and some studies say that cannabis doesn’t really do much. We do know that marijuana’s anti-inflammatory properties do affect the autoimmune system (which is why cannabis is great for arthritis and other autoimmune diseases), to say that cannabis “weakens” the immune system may be a bit of a stretch. We are gonna need more tests. Yay, science!