10 Cannabis Books To Stock In Your Highbrary

No other plant has garnered quite so much attention as the humble weed plant.

Throughout history it has been celebrated — even deified — for its curative and euphoric properties. But, especially in recent decades, it has also been vilified, wrongly categorized and cast into the center of raging controversy.

From “Reefer Madness” in the 1930s, to planting “Hemp for Victory” during WWII, to our current status — knocking at the door of legalization nationwide after decades of strict prohibition gave way to a gradual policy thaw — cannabis has been a ubiquitous feature of the American experience.

Cannabis is again taking center stage. So it’s fitting that we take a look back at the most influential recent writing on marijuana and celebrate the books that have highlighted the subject and the triumphant march toward freeing this useful plant.

 

1) “The Big Book of Buds Greatest Hits” By Ed Rosenthal

This compilation highlights strains that have withstood the test of time and crossed into the glistening light of the new era of legalized cannabis. It’s culled from cannabis legend Ed Rosenthal’s iconic “Big Book of Buds” series.

How To Smoke Pot David Bienenstock Cannabis Now

2) “How to Smoke Pot (Properly): A Highbrow Guide to Getting High” By David Bienenstock

VICE and High Times reporter David Bienenstock’s breezy, smart paperback for weed fans and allies covers standard “Weed 101” reference material. Topics include flying high and travel, how to throw weed-infused dinner parties and what to do when you’re “too high” in public.

Cannabis Books Newbies Guide to the Cannabis Industry Cannabis Now

3) “The Newbies Guide to Cannabis & The Industry” By Chris Conrad and Jeremy Daw

The authors of this book teamed up to produce a detailed work about the nuts and bolts of the cannabis industry in response to the onslaught of newcomers entering the legal green rush. A great entry point for consumers, entrepreneurs and financiers looking for entry into the new marijuana economy.

Medical Marijuana Guidebook Cannabis Now

4) “The Medical Marijuana Guide Book” By David Downs

A comprehensive work detailing the nuances of safe medical marijuana use and access in the U.S. It covers topics ranging from how to obtain a doctor’s recommendation, to which states cannabis is legal in, to medical uses and plant varietals.

Three a Light Cannabis Now

5) “Three A Light” By Joshua Haupt

This book breaks down the methods employed to attain the Holy Grail of weed cultivation – three pounds of killer cannabis grown under one sodium light. Growing procedures are straightforward and concise, and the book itself is a work of art.

Tokin Women Cannabis Now

6) “Tokin’ Women” By Nola Evangelista

A collection of intriguing profiles about women and cannabis, accompanied by images and quotes from each source. The book highlights a broad spectrum of diversity in age, era, ethnicity, social status and profession, giving us a rich blend of perspectives.

Stoned Marijuana Book Cannabis Now

7) “Stoned: A Doctor’s Case for Medical Marijuana” By David Casarett, M.D.

A physician’s journey as he searches for the answers to the question of cannabis use and its value in medicine. Casarett describes his personal experimentation and encounters with a wide array of cannabis users, including a couple treating their two-year-old child with the plant.

Medical Marijuana Memoir of a Pioneer Cannabis Now

8) “Medical Marijuana in America: Memoir of a Pioneer” By Alice O’Leary-Randall

With a highly-readable and entertaining narrative style, this book recounts how the author’s husband, Robert Randall, was able to become the only legal pot smoker in America through a federal Investigational New Drug program.

Green A Field Guide to Marijuana Cannabis Now

9) “Green: A Field Guide to Marijuana” By Dan Michaels and Erik Christiansen

While the bulk of the book focuses on stunning photos of high-quality bud, it also includes an adept chronicling of major and minor active cannabinoids, plant anatomy and phenotype as well as many of the terpenoid compounds present in cannabis.

Thai Stick Cover Cannabis Now

10) “Thai Stick: Surfers, Scammers, and the Untold Story of the Marijuana TradeBy Peter Maguire and Mike Ritter 

Told in an entertaining and scholarly manner, the authors relate the fascinating true tale about the history of smuggling Thai-weed during the ‘60s and ‘70s. Interviews with the pioneers of the first legendary weed trade make this a must-read.

TELL US, what is your favorite book about cannabis?

Originally published in Issue 24 of Cannabis Now. LEARN MORE

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Book Review: ‘Weed: Everything You Want To Know But Are Always Too Stoned To Ask’ Is Instructive Fun

A lot of people labor under the impression that
when something is cute, that thing is not worthy of serious regard. Terming
art, literature or even people ‘cute’ can be a roundabout form of dismissal, a
qualifier meant to soften some later blow: “Yes, it’s cute, but…” 

Michelle Lhooq’s non-fiction book, titled “Weed: Everything You Want to Know But Are Always Too Stoned To Ask,” is undeniably cute. Its kelly green cover, decorated with pink and white doodles by illustrator Thu Tran, is a reliable indicator of the book’s tone and content in the best way possible. But just because Lhooq’s debut book is cute doesn’t mean it lacks substance. In fact, it’s veritably overflowing with information. 

“Weed: Everything You Want to Know…” is
divided into six sections: How It Works, How to Smoke, How to Make, How to
Grow, How to Be and How to Score. Each of these sections contains a variety of
inserts and asides, from straight how-tos like recipes and joint-rolling
instructions to dispensary reviews, jokey illustrated lists and annotated
diagrams explaining things like the inner workings of pipes and bongs.

Lhooq is a seasoned party journalist (yes, it’s a thing, and yes, it’s as cool as it sounds) who’s hosted “weed raves” on both coasts, and her bona fides as a writer and as a genuine head shine through in all 159 pages of this book. She’s a sharp, entertaining writer who manages to avoid condescending to her pool of presumably greener potheads-to-be. Although I found myself skimming some of the more basic sections, like the earlier ones describing various terpenes and cannabinoids, I found this book very readable — even as someone with an above-average cannabis knowledge base.

One of the things that really sets this book apart from potential peers is the steady stream of interviews — with figures both central and tangential to the modern world of weed — peppered throughout its various sections. Lhooq is a skillful interviewer and selected interesting people from all over the cannabis industry, from a recent Oaksterdam graduate to a “cannasexual” sex educator to a weed sommelier. These additional voices add depth and dimension to the book’s overall arch and neatly illustrate one of its primary theses: Enjoying cannabis should be a collective and collaborative experience.

While I wouldn’t necessarily give this book to a
seasoned weed smoker or everyday dabber, I think it would make a great gift,
especially for a friend who is looking to gain a hearty background on the
modern weed scene but who’s less interested in the nitty gritty of cannabis,
especially when it comes to global and national cannabis policy or the inner
workings of cannabusiness. Not that those subjects feel like omissions —
instead, they’d probably make the book feel flimsy and, soon, dated. 

Instead, it’s got an “of-the-moment” vibe and a
Cool Older Sister voice, both of which make it the kind of book I would have
devoured as a teenager — right alongside other Urban-Outfitters-approved guides
to fashion and pop culture. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. 

TELL US, what’s your favorite cannabis book?

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Under the Humboldt Sun

The cannabis farms of California’s Emerald Triangle are often cloaked in mystery, but a new book is giving a glimpse into the world of cannabis farmers deep in the Humboldt hills. The book, “Sustainable Sun-Grown Cannabis,” is a celebration of outdoor cultivation from the photographer Justin McIvor, better known as Justin Cannabis.

Thanks to McIvor’s photos and emphasis on sustainable cultivation, the book is a visual guide to regenerative growing techniques like soil building, polyculture, solar panels and rainwater catchment.

“Ultimately I made this book to shine a light on a few amazing cannabis cultivators in Southern Humboldt who are dedicated to protecting our valuable resources while producing premium quality cannabis products,” McIvor said in regards to Humboldt’s Finest Farms, the collective of farmers he spent time documenting in the heart of the Emerald Triangle.

Through showing
the benefits of biodiversity, raising awareness about the importance of healthy
soil, and highlighting cannabis plants that have been sun-ripened to perfection
and lovingly nurtured to reach their fullest potential, McIvor is hoping his
book can introduce people to the beauty and variety that environmentally
responsible practices can bring to the garden.

The book is an artistic celebration of stacking functions — a term used in permaculture to describe a system where every element in a design provides more than one function. For example, polyculture plays an important role in creating a diverse network of roots under the soil as well as making the landscape above ground more aesthetically pleasing and attractive to pollinators.

Full-page color photographs show thriving gardens full of bright orange marigolds, bold red zinnias and yellow sunflowers that provide vibrant pops of color against a sea of green. In one image titled “Conserving Water,” the gorgeous deep turquoise of a rainwater-filled pond in the foreground leads the eye up to a row of emerald green grapevines, rolling golden hills and an elegant Japanese-style handcrafted greenhouse.

In another
photo, a stocky cola unexpectedly shoots up from the hood of a rusty old farm
truck, glowing soft and golden in the late afternoon light. Another picture
shows long, stringy clusters of yellow corn and purple amaranth standing tall
next to an expanse of pointy spears backlit by the sun.

McIvor said he
fell in love with photography because it helped him capture and engage with the
beauty around him. After graduating from the Brooks Institute of Photography
and working as a lab technician taking pictures of DNA blots, he followed his
passion for skateboarding and landed a job as a photographer for Santa Cruz
Skateboards, helping to elevate their magazine ads and catalogs. He
transitioned from skateboarding to cannabis and, after many years as a cover
photographer for High Times and other publications, he’s once again coming back
to skateboard photography and is now focusing on the connection between the two
worlds.

With family in Humboldt who’d been growing cannabis since the ’80s, McIvor said he had a natural connection to the Emerald Triangle and a familiarity with the scene before starting the book. His captions provide important context about what sets sungrown craft cannabis apart from the rest — most importantly, the awesome power of the sun.

“Energy usage in the indoor cannabis
industry is growing at an alarming rate and giant warehouse producers are using
a tremendous amount of power for their grows,” he says. “Those who grow in the
sun know it’s the best way moving forward.”

For those who’ve only seen cannabis grown as a monoculture crop in a warehouse under artificial lights, this book provides a visually striking introduction to a whole new paradigm. It’s a tribute to the legendary Humboldt craft farmers who are continuing to show the world that by increasing biodiversity on your farm and working with the forces of nature, you can produce cannabis that is truly of the highest quality.

TELL US, do you value sungrown cannabis?

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An Actually-Helpful Guide to Using Cannabis

If you’ve been looking for a book on the basics of cannabis and CBD, there are almost too many options to choose from. It can be overwhelming to sort through the volumes of books, blogs and websites dedicated to educating consumers about this important topic.

Still, not all cannabis educational material is helpful, or even accurate. As a cannabis consultant who helps new patients, I’m always curious to check out these books and see for myself whether they are worth recommending to my clients. It’s sad to see how much of the material out there just isn’t worth the read.

So, I was pleasantly surprised reading through the new natural medicine guide “Cannabis & CBD for Health & Wellness” by Aliza Sherman and Dr. Junella Chin. While similar in kind to many of the 101 guides on cannabis, their approach blends the scientific and practical aspects of cannabis use into a book that is both approachable and grounded in objective data.

The 167-page book begins like many others, with a brief explanation of cannabis’s history, science and medical potential, before launching into the practical details of using cannabis. The descriptions are written for the everyday reader and the book guides consumers through many essential pieces of information that are important to know when using cannabis.

On top of that, there are also a few places where this guide sets itself apart from the crowd.

For one thing, this guide has medical bona fides that many others don’t — it was co-written by a doctor who actually specializes in cannabis.

“Writing the book with a doctor was a no-brainer, since I’m a journalist and author, but not a medical professional,” co-author Aliza Sherman explained. “I had already spent two years researching cannabis as real medicine and having a doctor as my co-author meant that I could finally understand all of the research I was finding.”

To Sherman’s point, a lot of the information found online lacks the insight of a trained medical professional, and misinterpretations of scientific data can lead to a lot of misconceptions about how to use cannabis effectively.

Another place where this guide differs from most is in the section that deals with the treatment of specific medical conditions with cannabis. While most guides discuss a given condition, go over the science behind it and offer recommendations, the authors of this book instead use a real patient’s story for each ailment or symptom they discuss. The book describes a patient’s situation, treatment plan and what actually worked before making broader suggestions based on the data. This provides information that I haven’t seen in many other beginner cannabis guides which could really help patients understand how to most effectively treat their conditions.

Throughout the book, I found clear and easy-to-follow writing coupled with interesting medical insights. It is clear why a seasoned reporter/researcher and a respected doctor make such a dynamic duo of cannabis writers.

While informative and well-researched, this book is far from a scientific textbook on cannabis. Though it does have a large bibliography at the end, there are few references within the text to the scientific literature, and no footnotes or direct citations to support the claims being made. This could be a positive or negative, depending on what you are looking for. If you are one of those patients (like me) who likes to track down the research being referenced as you go, this book could be a little bit frustrating. But if you are just looking for an accessible, thorough and readable guide to using cannabis, “Cannabis & CBD for Health & Wellness” is a great pick.

TELL US, how do you use cannabis?

Originally published in Issue 40 of Cannabis Now. LEARN MORE

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