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Illustration by Sarah Hansel

Illustration by Sarah Hansel

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

How did you learn about cannabis?

—Stu Dento-Dagreen

Osmosis? I have no idea. Just lucky, I guess. I fell in love with weed sometime in 1990, so I just started hanging out with growers and activists, and I read everything I could about the plant. This was before the internet, so you had to find a good book and a few good growers to learn about stuff. It’s way easier now. Hell, you can go to school to learn about it, and I’m not just talking about Oaksterdam. Northern Michigan University has just announced that students can now major in “Medicinal Plant Chemistry.” You heard me. Medicinal Plant Chemistry. The curriculum is hella rigorous, though. Organic chemistry, botany, accounting and genetics are just a few of the courses students need to pass in order to get a degree in weed. If you aren’t trying to add more student loan debt to your life, or if you have problems calculating molar weights, just read a bunch of books. Ed Rosenthal, Jorge Cervantes and Jack Herer are good authors. Start there and expand your mind. Have fun.

Ngaio, my man. What’s the best way to make cannabis butter? I’m from Mexico. I had testicular cancer in April of this year, and I started watching your show. It is awesome! I want to start cooking with cannabis, so I also wanted to ask you for recommendations or tips. Thanks a lot, I love you man!

—El Tree

Gracias, amigo! Thank you for watching the show! Cannabis butter is easy to make. Just take some ground up cannabis and some butter and throw it in a crockpot set on low for a few hours, strain it, let it cool down and you are all set. Now, some people will tell you to decarboxylate your buds beforehand. Decarboxylation is a fancy word for “heat up the buds so that the THCA in the plant converts into THC, which is the chemical that gets you high.” I feel like cooking the weed and the butter hella slow and low does a pretty good job of decarboxylating the cannabis already, but I am just a good cook and not a professional chef. Fortunately, decarbing pot is easy. Place your ground up bud on a nonstick cooking sheet and put it in the oven for about 20 minutes. (Three hundred degrees should do it. Too hot and you will burn up all the terpenes.) Then place the weed and the butter (or the olive oil or the coconut oil, what have you) in the crockpot and Bob’s your uncle. Use it in any recipe calling for butter or oil, and you are well on your way to being a cannabis-infused cooking master. If you need more help, has some good info. I am glad you are doing well, and please let me know how it works out for you!