Explainers

Dear Ombudsman: 'How do I get back into using cannabis?'

June 28, 2017
Russell Yip
Marijuana etiquette columnist Ngaio Bealum is seen on Monday, March 6, 2017 in San Francisco, Calif.
SOURCE: Russell Yip

Dear Ombudsman,

I am a cool mom of two in Alameda who used to love smoking in college, but I fell out of the habit. My New Year’s resolution this year was to get back into weed, but I need some pointers on how.

First, find some pot that smells good to you. Different types of cannabis have different smells and different effects. Trust your nose. If a particular cannabis’ aroma appeals to you, it may have more therapeutic value to you than something a smells off-putting. Also, look for pot with a THC content no higher than 6 to 8 percent. THC is the stuff in weed that makes you feel high.

I would recommend getting high after the kids are in bed. Take one or two puffs and see how you feel. Pace yourself. Stay hydrated, eat healthy snacks, enjoy yourself.

You don’t have to tell your kids anything, unless they catch you with it. If they are very young, you might check out a book called “It’s Just a Plant” by Ricardo Cortés, which describes cannabis’ look, smell, medical properties and social uses, and why it’s not for kids. If your kids are a bit older, have the talk with them about how cannabis, like many other activities, including drinking and sex, is for adults only.

“No drugs until college” has been my constant refrain to my kids, and they seem to be relatively drug-free. As for judgy parents, I bet you would be surprised at how many fine, upstanding, responsible parents use marijuana.

Happy toking.

Dear Ombudsman,

I’m interested in marijuana, but I don’t like the feeling of being high. I feel self-conscious. Is there a way to partake of the perks of marijuana legalization and not get high?

You don’t have to be high to enjoy cannabis. Weed isn’t for everyone, but giggling too much, being in a good mood and eating weird-but-delicious food combos can be enjoyed by people whether they are stoned or not.

There’s also the question of what exactly you are trying to accomplish here. In my experience, people with control issues often feel paranoid and self-conscious while stoned. They tend to like drinking alcohol, because it quiets the mind. Have you ever considered meditation?

If you are looking for health benefits, try marijuana flower buds or a pre-filled cannabis e-cigarette (called a vape pen) that is very high in the ingredient cannabidiol (which dampens anxiety) and low in tetrahydrocannabinol (which causes euphoria). The vape pen brand Hmbldt has a “calm” pen I bet you’ll love. It’s very low in stony THC and very high in calming CBD, and the pen automatically turns off after a few seconds — so you can’t overdo it if you try. There are also topicals, which have no effect, but can treat pain. And there are products like bath bombs, which can create a body buzz that won’t make you feel spacey. And seriously, don’t sweat it. Just like alcohol, cannabis is not for everyone.

Got a question for GreenState’s “The Ombudsman”? Email it to Cannabis Editor David Downs at ddowns@sfchronicle.com.