The cannabis available today can contain as much as 30 percent THC, compared to weed avaialable 30 or 40 years ago with levels of four or five percent THC. (Jessica Christian/S.F. Examiner)

Weed without the worry

I’ve been smoking a lot of weed lately. After I’m done with my work day, or if I’m just hanging and watching Netflix, I’ll chill out and burn some of California’s finest.

It’s been a long time since I’ve been this into pot. I was a big stoner in high school, but by the time I got to college, the weed was getting so strong that it was making me antisocial. So smoking it became a semi occasional thing and eventually just a couple times a year event.

Now I’m back into bud and it is beautiful. The main reason is that I’m smoking weed that’s high in CBD and low in THC. Previously I’d smoke some herb and then get all weird and paranoid. I’d second guess pretty much every decision I’d ever made in my life and end up with a lot of anxiety about shit I had no reason to be anxious about.

This is because weed these days is just too damn strong. To put things in perspective, those of you who smoked weed 30 or 40 years ago were puffing on stuff that had THC levels of four or five percent. Even the pot I was smoking in the 90s wasn’t too much higher. The herb that’s out now is far more powerful though, and can be as strong as 30 percent!

THC is the compound in cannabis that is psychoactive, meaning that it’s what makes you feel high. CBD on the other hand isn’t psychoactive and is where a lot of the medicinal benefits of marijuana come from. It’s also the part that relieves anxiety and stress. As THC levels have risen in recent years, CBD levels have decreased, which explains why I’d find myself on a friend’s couch quietly wondering what I was doing with my life.

The legalization of weed has been fantastic because it’s allowed for so many different options. When I was growing up, if you wanted to score a sack, you’d have to meet your guy behind the shopping center, he’d be 40 minutes late, and you bought whatever it was that he had. Now shopping for pot is like visiting a specialty wine store. Ok, not all dispensaries are the same – I’ve definitely been in some that feel like you’re at a liquor and deli and you expect the person behind the counter to holler “Hey pal, you want some chips with that?” But generally speaking, buying weed now is both informative and often luxurious.

The 17 year old inside me still gets excited every time I walk into a place and can actually buy ganja legally. It still hasn’t gotten old.

Being able to smoke CBD has been wonderful. I always loved everything about marijuana. I loved the taste, the smell, the ritual of smoking it, I just didn’t like being super paranoid and high. By smoking stuff that’s high in CBD and low in THC I get all the feel good qualities that I loved about weed when started smoking as a teenager, without any of the terror that came along with it as it got stronger. Plus a lot of the high CBD stuff does have some THC in it, so I can get a bit of the euphoria and giggles without the “I hope my roommate didn’t misinterpret the email I sent and now thinks I’m a monster” paranoia. You know what I’m talking about.

Before you get all excited and run out the door to buy this magical marijuana I’ve been kvelling about, I should tell you that not every dispensary has it, at least not in the form you may be used to. The grass you’re probably used to, where it’s actually the marijuana buds you smoke in a pipe or joint, is called “flower”. Not all dispensaries carry CBD flower, and if they do, they usually only have one or two options. But almost all dispensaries do have CBD vape pens so you can get all the good stuff I mentioned above and not have to worry about where you put your lighter.

Happy smoking friends.

Stuart Schuffman, aka Broke-Ass Stuart, is a travel writer, TV host and poet. Follow him at and join his awesome mailing list to stay up on the work he’s doing: Broke-Ass City runs Thursdays in the San Francisco Examiner.

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