The 8 Best Books About Cannabis You Absolutely Need to Read
When you’re extremely stoned, sometimes focusing on the little words bouncing across the pages of Cat Fancy is just a little too hard. But if you’re interested in learning more about weed than just which strains you prefer and where your dad hides his rolling tray, then these books can be great fun, and you might even learn something.
What if like, you had the Audubon Society, but for weed? “Green: A Field Guide to Marijuana” is a sort of cannabis version of the “Field Guide to North American Birds – just with WAY more pictures of marijuana.
The book is a 400+ page encyclopedia that covers facts and information about the plant, takes you through weed history and culture, and gifts you with pages and pages of individual bud reviews, with FOMO-inducing photographs of incredible nugs, all snapped by Erik Christiansen (@erik.nugshots on Instagram)
It’s a coffee table book that makes a great gift even for the stoner in your life with no furniture.
People might call weed a “gateway drug” (we’re looking at you Joseph Biden!) but some people start with LSD and then get to herb. That’s the publishing story of Martin A. Lee, who wrote a social and cultural history of LSD, before applying that approach to marijuana, with 2012’s “Smoke Signals: A Social History of Marijuana Medical, Recreational, and Scientific.”
The book looks at the social history of marijuana over the past century and some change, from the prohibition in the 1930s to its prominence in the counterculture in the 1960s, all the way up to the dawn of our age of legal weed dispensaries on every corner.
And for the plant literati (botanerati?) it’s bona fides are sound: The book won the American Botanical Council’s James A. Duke Excellence in Botanical Literature Award for 2012.
Not everybody can call themselves “the Father of the Cannabis Industry” and pull it off, especially in high school (it won’t catch on, trust me on that). Steve DeAngelo on the other hand, can make a good case for it, and if you don’t believe us, it’s written right there on his website.
The Cannabis Manifesto is “both a call to action and a radical vision of human’s relationship with this healing but controversial plant,” in which DeAngelo lays out he case for legal cannabis as “a wellness catalyst that must be legalized”
In the book, DeAngelo, the founder of the world’s largest medical-cannabis dispensary, describes the myriad ways in which cannabis prohibition has harmed society, and lays out how sane national policies can help us all.
Continuing our theme of old hippies and their books – we bring you to The Emperor Wears No Clothes, Jack Herer’s 330 page tome on cannabis, its health and energy benefits, and the folly of prohibition.
The book was first published in 1985 after Herer spent years compiling everything he could about the history and benefit of the plant, eventually putting together “the book that started the cannabis hemp revolution.”
In the years after the book was published, Herer, who passed away in 2010, became something of a marijuuana legalization celebrity. Herer inspired one of the most famous strains of mriajuan, as well as the Jack Herer Cup in Las Vegas. Now that’s something to put on your LinkedIn page.
Written with a flair for adventure and a whodunnit vibe, Heart of Dankness is about one man’s journey to the Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam, and his efforts to trace the origin of potent weed strains “down the rag-tag community of underground botanists, outlaw farmers, and renegade strain hunters who pursue excellence and diversity in marijuana, defying the law to find new flavors, tastes, and effects.”
Entertaining and informative, author Mark Haskell Smith breaks the third wall, and already on the first page, our hero is extremely stoned staring at a canal in Amsterdam.
And while the book may seem a little dated due to the changes in legalization that have happened since it was first published in 2012, Heart of Dankness is still great fun for anyone looking to learn just how that dank strain got so dank, and what they need to do to train for a marijuana contest.
Valhalla, the Elysian Fields, the female erogenous zone – there are many mythical lands of yore – and then there is Humboldt County, California. This breathtaking, rugged stretch of northern California has for decades been a byword for “marijuana” and the breadbasket for the illicit, high-grade weed trade, way back when most smokers in the United States could only get their hands on dirt weed.
But what happens to a place like Humboldt when weed goes legal? In this 2013 book, Emily Brady goes deep inside this insular community, where illegal weed “supports everything from fire departments to schools,” to see how the locals are faring in our brave new world of weed and the costs and benefits of life in families and communities where growing marijuana is a way of life.
Making edibles and cooking with weed might not be as easy as you think. And even if you’re a weed brownies expert who brings homemade THC-gummies to every baby shower you are or aren’t invited to, Bong Appetit: Mastering the Art of Cooking with Weed makes a great addition to the ol’ bookshelf.
Based on the Munchies and Viceland television series of the same name, Bong Appetit will teach you everything you need to know about infusing and cooking (correctly) with cannabis. It’s chock full of beautiful weed porn and brilliant recipes ranging from marijuana kimchi to pizza to – of course – brownies.
In an era in which legal edibles are available in states across the country, Bong Appetit is a welcome companion for anyone looking to hone their own marijuana culinary skills.
That’s the general vibe behind 2015’s “Big Weed: An Entrepreneur’s High-States Adventures in the Budding Legal Marijuana Business. Author Christian Hageseth, the founder and chairman of Green Man Cannabis, assesses the lay of the land and gives his forecast of where we’re going, including his prediction that the marijuana market will be split into two worlds – the high-end, artisanal market, and the mass market ruled by the kind and gentle giants of the tobacco world.
As an industry, legal marijuana is a confounding, dynamic world of potential – and pratfalls. Let Hageseth be your guide. (He owns a dispensary, we’d follow him anywhere.)