Weed and flu don’t mix

Illustration by Sarah Hansel

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

Hello! I have the flu. It’s a mild case and I will be OK, But I want to know if I can still smoke weed while I’m sick.

—H1N1 in charge

You could, but why? Give your body a break. First of all: I AM NOT A DOCTOR. OK, now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk. Using cannabis while you have the flu (or even a cold) might make you feel better, because of the mild euphoria and the anti-inflammatory pain relief and what not, but smoking cannabis can irritate the lungs.

So unless you are looking to cough even more, I would say leave it alone. Also, there is some research that says cannabis can suppress your immune system just a little. I am thinking when you have the flu, you would probably want your immune system to be as robust as possible. So I would tell you to leave the weed alone until you are healthier. Instead of a weed bowl, have a bowl of pho. Pho is my go-to secret weapon when dealing with the flu. Get well soon.

Hey what’s a good recipe for a cannabis tincture? I have a lot of shake left over from the harvest and I want to put it to good use.

—Wastenot Wantnot

Tinctures are awesome. They don’t bother your lungs, and they take effect faster than an edible. The first thing you need to do is decarboxylate your cannabis. That’s a fancy way of saying heat your cannabis up a little, which will turn the THCA in the plant into THC, which is the stuff that gets you high. About 25 to 30 minutes in a 250 to 275-degree oven should do the trick. Then dump your grass into a strong grain alcohol. Most people use Everclear.

You could also make a tincture with glycerin if you don’t like alcohol. Let it sit for a long time in a cool dark place. A long time, like a few weeks. Shake the jar once a day or so to make sure you extract all the THC goodness. I have heard that you can skip the sitting in a dark place step by shaking the cannabis and alcohol mixture vigorously for a good three minutes or longer. So if you are in a hurry, try that method first.

The proportions are really up to you. If you want a stronger tincture, use more weed. If the weed you have is really strong, maybe use less. One ounce of shake to 16 ounces of alcohol is a good rule of thumb. Once your tincture is done, try it out. A teaspoon of tincture should get you going. Most people take their tinctures sublingually—that is, they place it under their tongue and let it soak into the bloodstream through their gums. The Cannabis Gourment Cookbook author and longtime activist Cheri Sicard has a good recipe. Let me know how it turns out.