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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
There are very few people who have been compared to both a superstar homemaker and kitschy advice columnist, but Ed Rosenthal — aka the Guru of Ganga — is that person. According to theNY Times, “Mr. Rosenthal is the pothead’s answer to Ann Landers, Judge Judy, Martha Stewart, and the Burpee Garden Wizard all in one.”
Over Rosenthal’s 35-year career in the cannabis world, he has been an educator, writer, researcher, culture expert and activist, and is continuing to leave his mark on the ever-growing industry to this day.
Widely considered to be the world’s leading expert on marijuana cultivation, Rosenthal boasts a large body of written work including Marijuana Grower’s Handbook, The Big Book of Bud, Beyond Buds, Closet Cultivator and his long-running column, Ask Ed, which ran in High Times Magazine for many years.
Rosenthal has said, “Marijuana may not be addictive, but growing it is,” and his Handbook bears witness to his enthusiasm and knowledge. Geared toward both beginners and advanced growers, it features more than just growing tips, and includes scientific research, developments in technology, best practices for both indoor and outdoor grows, and how to save time, labor, and energy. In fact, Oaksterdam, based in the city of Oakland, usesthe Marijuana Grower’s Handbook as the official course text for classes on marijuana cultivation.
But his expertise is much broader than that. Rosenthal’s unceasing contributions to cannabis culture and widespread marijuana acceptance include founding the cannabis organization Quick Trading Publishing and marijuana consulting and technology company Quantum 9.
Currently, he works as CEO for the charity Green Aid: The Medical Marijuana Legal Defense and Education Fund, whose mission is to provide services to protect the interests of the medical marijuana community in the United States. He is also a member of the International Cannabinoid Research Society, a group dedicated to a deeper understanding of cannabis compounds like CBD and THC.
Advocating for cannabis patients and dodging jail cells
Rosenthal has always viewed cannabis as a crucial social issue, and in the early 1990s, he dedicated his time and research to examine the medicinal effects of cannabis. His objective, he toldThe New York Times in 2003, was to determine which varieties of marijuana could be most effective in alleviating the symptoms of diseases that today’s patients do without second thought, including cancer, AIDS, multiple sclerosis, and depression.
After the passage of Prop 215 — the trailblazing 1996 initiative that legalized medical marijuana in California — Rosenthal was made an “officer of the City” by Oakland officials in 1998. His job? To grow medical marijuana for patients in the city of Oakland.
Following that dictum, Rosenthal sold starter plants to many Oakland co-ops and medical marijuana clubs. However, he was arrested by federal authorities and charged with marijuana cultivation and conspiracy in 2002.
But his conviction and subsequent legal fallout never landed him in jail for any substantial amount of time. In fact, after his conviction, several jurors, who had not been told that Rosenthal had been appointed by the city of Oakland to grow medical marijuana, renounced their previous guilty verdicts because the information had been withheld at the judge’s order during the trial.
Rosenthal was sentenced to one day in prison, and in 2006, his conviction was overturned. However, he was re-indicted in 2007 and convicted on three of five counts, including conspiracy, cultivation, and intent to distribute. Once again, he escaped the courtroom relatively unscathed, serving no prison time.
What’s Ed Rosenthal up to now?
During the years of Rosenthal’s legal battles, Green Aid was founded to support Ed’s trial. The 501(c)(3) continues to advocate for medical marijuana patients and has worked with marijuana reform organizations like the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) to keep the children of medical marijuana patients safe from home removal by Child Protective Services, and to help patients travel by air with their medicine.
The organization also advocates to cease the practice of asset forfeiture, a dubious legal tactic whereby local law enforcement may seize money and property without evidence and without a charge or conviction. Ostensibly created to protect society at large from drug traffickers, the funds from asset forfeiture are typically fed back into law enforcement agencies who see the marijuana industry — whether operating legally or not — as easy targets.
The founder of NORML, Keith Stroup, has said of Rosenthal, “Ed has always been an out-front marijuana legalization advocate, someone willing to push the envelope, often at some personal risk, to achieve social change.”
Rosenthal continues to show up and challenge the War on Drugs — even in courtrooms as an expert witness for federal, state and civil marijuana cases — and will continue to leave his mark on a cannabis industry that is growing in acceptance and accessibility.
There’s a lot to consider before making the decision to create and sustain a cannabis garden. Cultivators can never know too much about growing cannabis, so being educated about the process and diligent about the health of the crop will make a world of difference.
We’ve collected some articles designed to help you prepare your home garden for spring. Happy planting!
While cannabis is similar to plenty of other crops that home gardeners might be used to, given that the same key ingredients are soil and light, the cannabis plant still requires some unique expertise. Ahead of the planting season, Cannabis Now spoke with two experts to get their take on how home growers should prepare their gardens for a successful marijuana cultivation season.
There are lots of people who have tried their hand at growing cannabis with guano and there are many who have failed for a few simple reasons. Guano, especially bat guano, can actually be a deterrent to your crop rather than the great gift most seem to think it is.
Some may think that getting into growing marijuana is an easy affair. That idea couldn’t be further from the truth. Cultivating marijuana successfully takes a great deal of detailed planning, skill and consistent effort. Each crop takes eight to 10 weeks to mature, so the grower will have to spend at least an hour a day while caring for them to ensure the plants live up to their potential.
Leading cannabis horticulture authority Ed Rosenthal has released a new book that delivers useful ideas for starting your own homegrown, like this excerpt about creating a wick system. The wick container system is an easy way to garden because it’s self-watering and removes the uncertainty of when to water.
Cannabis cultivators the world over know the obsessive, purgatorial feeling of waiting for their plants to mature to discern sex — female, male or hermaphrodite. There’s no way to ascertain if a seedling is male or female with the naked eye. This article lays out the way to tell the difference between sexes in cannabis plants.
TELL US, are you starting a cannabis garden this spring?
I asked some of my favorite seed breeders to suggest their best cultivar for home growers. The stipulations were that each was easy to grow, adapted easily to different environments, and most importantly, that it had a distinctive personality. The breeders responded with some great suggestions for quality strains.
Each cultivar is handsome, above average and potently effective. A garden featuring these selections will provide you with a library of wonderful sensations to fit time, space and mood. A couple of the strains produce high ratios of CBD.
Here’s the list.:
Parents: The Razz (Razzleberry) x P.P.D (formerly known as Purple Panty Dropper)
Humboldt Seed Company recommends Blueberry Muffin because it is easy to grow. It has a sturdy stalk and resistance to molds, mildews and pests. This strain pretty much maintains itself.
Blueberry Muffin is a shorter stocky type 65%-35% indica/sativa hybrid that produces bountiful buds for its size, beautifully tinged with purple flakes. With a quick flowering cycle of 45-60 days you will have plump, trichome coated buds before you know it.
The variety grows well both indoors and outdoors, but it tends to stretch unless it is pruned to branch. Once pruned, it can be trained to a screen of green (scrog).
Both environments bring out the real blueberry muffin smell that has been compared favorably to the Jiffy brand blueberry muffin mix. The fruity aroma extends to the flavor of the inhalation. Leafly reviews show Blueberry Muffin is the world’s most aptly named strain. A heads up for indoor growers: Be prepared for pervasive terpenes that tend to overpower other varietals in a grow room or greenhouse.
Blueberry Muffin is also known for the fact that it seems to lack any paranoia inducing characteristics. The high is relaxing and happy and induces a positive attitude. It can be used when doing routine work, but it does not encourage creativity or mind wandering. This is useful for medical patients medicating throughout the day. It’s also a good choice for individuals new to cannabis.
“Blueberry Muffin is a gentle strain that is here on this earth to help people… she wants to be given organic soil and real sun ideally, but she will provide her medicine whenever and however she is needed” — Humboldt Seed Company
Parents: Exodus Cheese X Querkle (Urkle x Space Queen)
When asked about a recommendation for home-growers, Subcool enthusiastically recommends Cheese Quake. “It’s easy to grow and pretty to look at,” he says.
It’s a heavy producer with purple leaves and an aroma that is a blend of fruit and cheese, which it inherited from its parents Querkle and Cheese. The buds are more round than cone shape. Cheese Quake grows well both indoors and outdoors. Indoors the plant is short and stocky. Outdoors, it grows over 6 ft tall given enough time without being topped. This variety is perfect for SOG when it is flowered early. Flowering time is 8-9 weeks.
The terpene profile is high in myrcene, which enables the high to take effect sooner because of its ability to allow THC to reach the brain cells more rapidly. Even Subcool has been surprised at the intensity of the high. He describes it as “mental energy that can be confusing, yet delightful.” However, in reviews two thirds of respondents used the terms, happy, relaxed, and euphoric. Myrcene is also associated with analgesic and anti-depressive qualities. Reviewers also noted relief from stress and anxiety as well as muscular pain.
Subcool describes the taste as a “grape cheese danish.” It picks up the grape from the Querkle on the inhale and an exhale that is the cherry and the sourness associated with the cheese varieties.
“By combining the grapey-lavender taste of Purple Urkle with the unique smell and taste of Cheese created a flavor so incredible it instantly became my favorite Cheese hybrid.” —Subcool.
When asked to recommend a variety for the hobby grower, Mendocino Skunk was the clear choice. It’s part of the Tommy Chong collection.
Mendocino Skunk is a very manageable plant because it does not get too large, accommodating growers with limited growing space. Size does not limit the yield. The plant is short, with a thick central cola and robust side branches. Indoors the plant grows up to 5 feet. Outdoors, especially in sunny climates and given enough time, the plant grows to 6.5 feet tall. It has a higher flower to leaves ratio and more dry weight than many classic indica skunk strains
The Mendocino genetics make this a good choice for growers in North America, Europe, and Canada. Flowering time is 7-8 weeks. In developing this hybrid, Paradise Seeds created a high that balances the energizing qualities of sativas with the relaxing effect of indicas resulting in an experience generally described as positive and uplifting. Routine daily tasks can be handled as normal, and with even more focus. Myrcene, caryophyllene and limonene are the dominant terpenes. And of course, there is that robust aroma of earthy skunkiness.
“It was a challenge for us when Tommy Chong asked us to develop seeds that are called Choice of Legends, but we worked hard in our breeding rooms and we are super pleased with the final results.” —Paradise Seeds
Relic Seeds’ recommendation of Grapefruit Web is a variety that offers a balanced 1:1 ratio of CBD and THC. The mom, Charlotte’s Web is a legendary high CBD cultivar recognized for medicinal use. The dad provided by SowLow Farms contributed a rich array of terpenes resulting in a very tasty hybrid.
Both parents passed down performance as high yielders to their progeny. Grapefruit Web is a beast of a plant, producing enormous colas of massive proportions. The breeder advises that stakes are certainly required considering the girth on the terminal buds.
The plant performs well indoors and out. Grapefruit Web grows in the typical christmas tree shape with large spear shaped colas. There is a slight purple fade during maturation. Flowering time is shorter than average; 7-8 weeks.
Smelling like fresh cut pink grapefruit, the aroma and taste are refreshing yet calming due to the terpene profile. The top four terpenes are beta-myrcene, linalool, limonene and pinene balancing the alertness induced by pinene with the relaxation associated with linalool.
Grapefruit Web has an extremely inviting buzz, great for users of all levels. It’s an even keeled head/body high that is great for any time of the day.
“She’s an easy plant to succeed with for several reasons: Easy to grow, large yields, and short bloom times” —Relic Seeds
Northern Lights is a classic strain and one of the most famous indica varieties. There are now many variations on its name and genetics. During its original development, Sensi Seeds was able to acquire one of three pure types of Northern Lights, and have maintained the intent of plant vigor and potency.
A petite plant averaging between 3½-5 feet, Northern Lights is fast-flowering, resilient, and produces dense, resin-rich flowers. Highly adapted to indoor growing, Northern Lights is a satisfying yielder that can finish in just over 6 weeks. It is very well suited to the ‘sea of green’ method. Because the buds are so dense, be sure to provide a proper airflow to prevent any humidity build-up within them. In cooler climates it will give excellent results when grown in a greenhouse. In warmer climates Northern Lights will do well outdoors developing into massive trees.
The aroma is a pungently sweet herbal aroma with pepper and citrus notes and the taste is a flavorful mixture of sweet and spice.
Although Northern Lights is a high THC strain with very little CBD present, the presence of the terpenes myrcene, caryophyllene and limonene result in a very calming effect. This strain is a great variety to relax and can be used to ease stress and pain. It is also well suited to people having issues sleeping.
“This strain is great one for beginners and experts alike and is available in regular, feminized and auto-flowering variants.” —Sensi Seeds
Parents: (Afghani x Skunk #1) x Skunk #1
Indica/Sativa ratio: 80% – 20%
Breeder: Sensi Seeds
Seed Company: Sensi Seeds
Sensi Skunk is a potent hybrid, leaning heavily towards indica characteristics. The variety is a favorite with beginners and aficionados alike. Sensi Seeds specifically bred the variety for ease of cultivation. It has a vigorous growth pattern with a comparatively short flowering time.
The plant is average in height with strong branches, easily manageable growth, rapidly-swelling buds and sizable harvest of thick, pungent colas covered in resin. Left to its own devices, this plant grows in a christmas tree shape with a main central cola. The plant can produce a large yield with minimal care; it is easy to grow indoors and outdoors.
Outdoors this plant’s potential is truly expressed, producing high yields between the end September and mid-October. In temperate climates Sensi Skunk grows well in a normal warm summer. The breeder recommends cultivating below 42 degrees north, which covers American gardens from the Oregon-California border across to the New York-Pennsylvania border and south. This also includes Southern Europe, parts of China and even North Korea.
Sensi Skunk delivers an attention grabbing sugary-citrus bouquet that’s uniquely different from the regular skunk funk. A refreshing sweet-citrus aroma infuses each bud. The overall effect of Sensi Skunk is a balanced one. Its effects will make you relaxed, happy, and euphoric, without being overwhelmingly strong.
“Quick to bloom, thick-budding and potent enough to surprise even a jaded smoker, Sensi Skunk is also very forgiving when growing and flowering, making her a strain that is actually quite difficult to mess up.” —Sensi Seeds
This strain originated from a CBD project designed to help patients with a range of conditions: pain management, seizures, and inflammation, and cancer treatment. The breeder crossed a high THC father with a high CBD mother. Both were chosen for their cannabinoid content, vigor, and yield, and the tendency to pass the desired traits from each to the offspring.
Chocolate Tonic offers a 2:1 CBD to THC ratio. The typical gardener can expect 14% CBD and 7% THC, as well as small amounts of CBC and CBG.
Chocolate Tonic is very versatile and can grow in any environment. It takes on a christmas tree shape with little branching so it’s best to prune from above. Plants can reach heights of eight feet outdoors. It’s a strong grower that can withstand heat, drought, and even being root-bound. Outdoors, when planted in May and grown in the ground or planted with 6-foot centers, look for a yield of three pounds per plant. Ripens in October. Indoors flowering time is 8-10 weeks. Expect 1.5 pounds per light.
Pain relief is a key feature of the high. The numbing and relaxing qualities are also sleep inducing after a long day. Chocolate Tonic lives up to its name with a chocolate, piney, citrus flavor.
“This CBD strain grows like a weed and can handle abuse.” —Purple Caper
If you are reading this, chances are you are hunkered down somewhere, like the rest of America, just wondering when or if civil society will rise above this gnarly virus and get back to normal. But after taking in just 30 seconds of the daily press conferences held by the White House, it is plain to see there isn’t much hope that day is coming anytime soon. Although President Donald Trump claims there isn’t a need for a national lockdown, and he’s even mentioned that he might let the country ditch all of this social distancing stuff to keep economies from tanking, many states have still instituted “stay at home” orders to keep the population at home.
It means that millions of people, just like you, are hanging around the house, bored out of their skulls. At first, it was sort of like an extended vacation, but now that you’ve cleaned all of your bongs, built a couple of new ones, and possibly even engineered a new cannabis strain called “Corona-B-Gone,” there isn’t much else to do until the government allows you to go back outside. We can sympathize. We are desperate for something, anything to keep us from going insane.
It’s like Nietzsche said, “a subject for a great poet would be God’s boredom after the seventh day of creation.” Only, it’s not quite like that at all, seeing as we must use the listlessness of the times as a way to rise about the crud once science quits messing around and squashes this bug once and for all. The only way to achieve that is through education, reflection and a little bit of fun. So, in the spirit of all that, we highly recommend the following reading material. Who knows, it may help you emerge on the seventh day (or 70th) a little wiser. You’ll definitely be more stoned.
Learn To Grow Cannabis
“Cannabis: A Beginner’s Guide To Growing Marijuana”
Longtime High Times magazine cultivation editor Danny Danko has penned an “easy-to-use” cultivation guide for the person serious about growing weed. This 144-page document touches on the many facets of the cultivation process, from setting up a grow room to harvesting.
“Marijuana Grower’s Handbook”
Let legendary cultivation expert Ed Rosenthal show you how to grow weed. In this book, Ed, with his more than 30 years of experience, teaches both beginner and advanced methods for producing healthy, potent plants in an indoor and outdoor situation. Commercial cultivation is also covered. This 500-page document, complete with color photos and illustrations, is one of the highest-rated in the field of cannabis cultivation, and probably one of the best introductions to growing weed on the market.
Learn To Cook With Cannabis
There isn’t much else to do during these apocalyptic times but get high and eat. This book by the folks at Munchies allows you to do both, going way beyond just whipping up a batch of pot brownies using a store bought mix. It’s an elevated journey into the art of cannabis cooking, providing the reader with all they need to know about making cannabis cooking oil and butter. It includes 65 “high-end” recipes from infused dinners to desserts.
“The Official High Times Cannabis Cookbook”
One of the first books written on the subject of cannabis cooking is this one by Elise McDonough. It’s an old school guide to the cannabis infusion scene that comes with easy to follow recipes for appetizers, entrees and desserts. It’s hard to go wrong with the classics, folks.
Learn To Make Cannabis-Infused Cocktails
“Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails, & Tonics”
Drinking is also a welcomed activity during these dark days. This book by Warren Bobrow takes the cocktail up a notch by showing the reader a ton of recipes for combining cannabis and booze. It covers everything from the decarboxylation process (activating THC) to creating a variety of refreshing beverages.