What’s the difference?

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

Is there really that much difference between strains, or are a lot of people bullshitting? Because, honestly … I’m not seeing a giant difference personally in terms of effects.


I feel you. Getting high is getting high. I mean, there are definitely genetic differences in cannabis strains. Some are short and bushy and mature quickly. Some are tall and long and take a while to reach maturity. Some smell like blueberries. Some strains smell like mangoes or pine trees. It’s kinda like apples; Thousands of different types, but they are all still apples. And when it comes to being stoned, THC is still the drug that gives you that “high” feeling. However, we are learning that terpenes (the chemicals that give different strains their distinctive aromas) are what can create different effects for most people. Myrcene (smells like OG Kush) can enhance the effects of THC, so while you may have only had two puffs, you feel like you have had more than a few. Pinene (think Trainwreck or Jack Herer) is known as a bronchodilator and can help increase alertness, and so on. However, every person is different, and cannabis affects different people in different ways. If all you feel is “high” and you are happy with that, stick with it. I feel like some people want to make it seem like that if you just find the right cannabis strain, all of your problems will disappear. It doesn’t really work that way. Being fancy-pants about weed is fun, but it isn’t necessary to know the differences between Blueberry and Blue Dream to enjoy smoking weed.

Does getting my medical card help support the cause? Or should I stick with recreational to support the new legalization efforts?

—The Armchair Activist

Good question. Back in the day, everyone was encouraged to get a letter of recommendation from the doctor. Not only did it allow you to visit dispensaries; it kept you from being arrested. Now, with weed being mostly legal, a majority of folks don’t need to visit the doctor. However, there are still a few advantages to keeping your letter of recommendation. For instance, you can carry more weed. State law allows for anyone over the age of 21 to carry up to an ounce with no fear of arrest, but if you a have a letter, you can carry up to 8 ounces. Most people don’t really need to walk around with more than an ounce in their pocket, but one never knows. Maybe you are attending a music fest and you want to be well prepared. Also, if you take the time and spend money to get an MMJ card from the county, you don’t have to pay the state tax for your cannabis purchases. For people that use a lot of cannabis, this can save quite a bit of money, And don’t worry about the state putting you on a list. The county card is fairly anonymous. Besides, privacy died at least 10 years ago.