When to know to say no

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

When to say no

Before we start:

Rest in peace, Ryan Landers.

Ryan, a.k.a. “Mr. Compassion,” was a driving force in the Sacramento medical marijuana movement for 20 years. He was a strong and passionate presence at protests, council meetings, benefits and anything to do with providing safe access for people helped by cannabis use. He was as selfless and compassionate as a human being could be. Ryan Landers is the reason Sacramento has good cannabis laws. We are all better for having known him, and poorer in his absence.

I used to smoke a lot of weed, but I quit because it was making me feel weird. I had auditory hallucinations, all kinds of things. My brother also had to quit when he got back from the armed forces, pretty much for the same reasons, but he has mental health issues anyway. My question: Are there strains I can try that won’t give me these problems?

—Noam Oar Bud

Dude. Weed isn’t for everybody. I know pot activists are fanatically gung-ho about how medical marijuana can help just about anyone with just about anything, but there are people who shouldn’t use cannabis at all.

Quick disclaimer: I am not a doctor. Moving on. For every study you can find saying that marijuana is no good for people with mental-health issues (PTSD, bipolar disorder, schizoaffective disorder, et cetera), you can find one stating that marijuana is beneficial. The brain is tricky and powerful, so if you use cannabis and you feel like you are overly paranoid or super-anxious or having hallucinations, you should probably stop using cannabis. It’s really that simple.

I have autism and I can’t smoke for medical reasons. Although, I did smoke this one strain one time when I was on the East Coast. It was great. I wish I knew what it was.

—Forest Getful

Yeah, that happens too. I know some people who only like Blue Dream or Granddaddy Purple, or maybe they don’t smoke any Afghan variants or they hate Romulan, or whatever. There are more than 1,000 different marijuana strains in the world today and the breeders are making new kinds of weed even as you read this column. It is problematic that, as of now, the only way for you to find a cannabis strain that suits you is good old-fashioned trial and error. (Although, I feel it would not be in your best interests to continue to believe that cannabis is helping you, despite the obvious deleterious effects it is having on your mental health.)

There are some sites where folks have uploaded all kinds of information about how certain strains made them feel. Leafly.com is a good one. You could always keep a weed diary and make a record of your feelings and reactions to the strains you have tried. Or: Just don’t smoke pot! I know it sounds weird for me to say that, but it’s true. Marijuana use isn’t mandatory. Good luck on your journey.