Slow and low

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

I used to smoke daily 30 years ago. Now, I rarely smoke and when I do, I get absolutely wrecked. Are there strains whose potency is like that of my youth, but still taste as good as the crazy sh** available now?

I feel you. I generally dismiss all the “today's weed is way stronger than it was back in the day, what about the children?!?” talk as prohibitionist propaganda, but today's weed is way stronger than it was 30 years ago, and CBD (cannabidiol) levels have plummeted in today's most popular strains. Lest we forget, CBD acts as a sort of THC neutralizer, so it can keep you from getting too high, which is nice. People just wanna be giggly and silly, not anxious and paranoid.

Fortunately, there are solutions. The first one: take fewer hits. There is no need to chuff the whole doobie straight to the face. If you know you're smoking a strain with high amounts of THC, only take two hits, or even just one, and see how you feel. If people wanna give you a hard time for being a lightweight, tell 'em to stop being a buzzkill. Peer pressure is for middle school, and we are all adults now. Also, look for strains with less than 15% THC. Remember: A high THC percentage indicates strong weed, but not always good weed. Everclear is 90% alcohol, but no one considers it a top-shelf liquor. Terpenes are the things that really give you the effects you want, so if you can find a “low” THC strain that smells good to you, grab it and go. You may also want to look for some of these newer 1:1 (THC:CBD) cannabis strains at your local shop. That way, you can take a few more hits and a few less risks.

Smoke anything good lately?

Yes. Yes, I have. I mean, I smoke good all the time, but I just got back from Vancouver, and let me tell you, their weed is getting better and better all the time. But first, shout out to Lucky Doughnuts for creating the sourdough doughnut. It's tangy, lightly glazed and just a sweet enough fried delight that goes excellently with some coffee and a nice doobie. Vancouver weed highlights: The Twax joint from CannaCzar is one of those “weed mixed with hash rolled in a hemp blunt and covered in hash oil and kief” monstrosities that will either enliven or deaden a party, depending on the tolerance levels of the people in the room. I also tried an excellent Ice Cream Wedding Cake that was all sweetness and giggles, and something called Dank Pink. It smelled like roses and was perfect for walking around on a cold dreary day. I wish I could have brought some back to share, but you can't bring weed across international borders. Maybe next year.