Cannabis Advice: ‘How do I get back into marijuana?’

cannabis advice

GreenState Ombudsman Ngaio Bealum. Photo: Russel Yip

An ombudsman is defined as “a person who investigates and attempts to resolve complaints and problems.” We figure cannabis could use such a problem solver, and The Ombudsman is Green State’s advice and etiquette column. It’s written by Ngaio Bealum, who edited the West Coast Cannabis newspaper and is arguably the No. 2 weed comedian in America, behind Doug Benson. Bealum is a Sacramento-area father, a go-to host for cannabis events and a veteran world traveler. All of which make him a keen observer of human behavior and a reliable ambassador for grass. In this installment, Bealum provides tips for cannabis users returning after a decades-long break. Got a cannabis advice question for GreenState’s “The Ombudsman”? Email it to Cannabis Editor David Downs at

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.