Granny spliff

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

I think my grandma would benefit from a little medicinal cannabis. Your thoughts?

You may be right. Studies show that cannabis can help with everything from arthritis to Alzheimer’s. Talk to her about it, and if she is amenable, run down to the local club and grab a few samples. Start with salves and creams and see if it helps with her aches and pains. Drop off a few low THC-high CBD edibles and hang out with her while they kick in. When was the last time you saw your grandma get the giggles? And talk to her doctor. If she is on prescription drugs, double check to make sure that THC and CBD won’t cause any negative drug interactions.

Americans for Safe Access has a great online resource that can help you talk about the science of cannabis. Maybe you can find another older person who uses cannabis to offer some peer-to-peer counseling about marijuana’s many health benefits. Be patient, and don’t be a bully. If your grandma does decide to try it, but she doesn’t like it and decides to stop, that’s cool, too. Cannabis use isn’t for everyone.

We are just beginning to discover all the medicinal uses of the cannabis plant. Who knows, maybe we will find that something in cannabis is akin to the fountain of youth. After all, old stoners are way cuter than old drunks.

If I smoke pot every day, am I addicted?

How would I know? How much pot do you smoke every day? More than a joint or two? How is your personal life? Are you relatively “successful?” Do you behave like a responsible adult?

Addiction is a strong word. Is the person who has a drink or two every day after work an addict? What about the person that can’t get out of bed until they have coffee? People who jog every day? I know I am answering your question with more questions. The short answer is this: You have to answer that question for yourself. Ask your friends who have known you before you started smoking if they think you have changed for better or worse. Go a day or two without smoking and see how you feel. You could try asking the internet, but it may not be much help. There are online self-tests for people who wonder if they smoke too much marijuana. I took one on, and it told me I was a “light smoker.”’ Heh. Listen, if you feel like you are smoking too much, you probably are. While marijuana isn’t physiologically addictive, it is possible to develop a psychological craving. Good luck on your journey.