This is your brain on cannabis

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

I heard something the other day about marijuana and strokes. Can you enlighten me?


Eh. We know that marijuana can cause an increase in blood pressure. There are a few studies that claim that this increase can lead to a stroke. I found one from 1991, but the researcher clearly had a bias against cannabis. The most recent study from early 2013 may show an increased risk of stroke, but all of the stroke victims with cannabis in their systems were also cigarette users, and we all know that tobacco definitely increases the chances of stroke.

There is an even more recent study from the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom showing that cannabinoids can help with recovery of brain function after a stroke (The Huffington Post reported on it at stroke). This isn’t the first study showing cannabis to be an effective neuroprotectant. The researchers did the study on animals (hush), so it will probably be a few years before they begin testing on people.

The late cannabis crusader Jack Herer had a stroke in July 2000. He credited his continued use of marijuana for helping him regain the ability to speak. Of course, Herer gave marijuana credit for just about everything good in the world, but still.

I hope you can help me here. Wife has stage 4 cancer and bad nausea and lack of appetite. I’ve been told that you must get a medical-marijuana card from the county you reside in, and being in West Sacramento, we are a part of Yolo County. I can find no place in Yolo to do this. Is it OK to just go in to Sacramento? Will the card still be valid?


Sorry to hear about your wife. You could probably get a letter of recommendation from your wife’s oncologist. If not, then you can visit any of the “pot doctors” in the Sacramento area. They will write her a recommendation, no problem, and then you can visit any of the fine medical-marijuana dispensaries in the Sacramento area. You only need a card from the county if you really want the extra-super-duper-no-hassle-cops-won’t-mess-with-you card. It costs extra, and you have to go to the county building to get it. It really is a shame that Yolo County, in general, and West Sacramento, in particular, won’t allow medical-cannabis dispensaries. There is no Earthly reason to ban cannabis clubs. They help communities and make neighborhoods better. Good luck.

What are you smoking?

—Kron S. Ewer

Right now? Nothing. I’m at work. Psych! I’m still on some Purple Haze Diesel from this year’s harvest, and I have been sampling a few of the entries to the Patients’ Choice San Francisco seventh annual Cannabis Cup held in late November. I have no idea what they are called because all the samples are numbered and not named, but No. 111 and No. 205 are delicious.

Speaking of competitions, the Emerald Cup Organic Cannabis Competition in Santa Rosa is on Saturday, December 14, through Sunday, December 15, (www.the I’m the emcee. Come say “high.”