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12 books that will change the way you think about cannabis

12 books that will change the way you think about cannabis

The world of cannabis is rapidly expanding. Dubbed by some as the new “green rush,” what was once a movement shrouded in mystery is now an endless source of discovery and hope for many. Everyone from governments to privately funded groups are working tirelessly to learn all they can about this miraculous plant.

While devoting more resources towards research is unquestionably a good thing, the volume of information emerging can be hard to navigate. The lack of a central regulatory agency can also make finding relevant information tricky even for the most seasoned consumers.

One of the best ways to keep up to date on cannabis research is through the rapidly expanding collection of cannabis literature. To help keep you informed and up to date, we’ve put together a list of 12 of our favorite cannabis books. In it, you’ll find everything from guides on using medical cannabis to novels on the history of the plant and much, much more. You may want to grab a mug of tea and have a good reading light at the ready.

1. Marijuana Medical Handbook: A Guide to Therapeutic Use

Ed Rosenthal is considered by many to be one of the most highly respected cannabis authors in the industry. While he’s published several volumes on cannabis since his first in 1974, his “Marijuana Medical Handbook: A Guide to Therapeutic Use” is a must-read for anyone who uses cannabis medicinally. The handbook is billed as a “one-stop resource” with information on every aspect of medical cannabis. From explaining the effects of cannabis on the body to detailing potential side effects, exploring various ways of consumption and more, Rosenthal’s book lays out all you need to know in a clear, consumer-friendly tone.


2. The Cannabis Encyclopedia: The Definitive Guide to Cultivation and Consumption of Medical Marijuana

Another iconic industry name you may recognize is “Jorge Cervantes,” a pen name used by author George Van Patten who’s sold over one million books to date. 

The Cannabis Encyclopedia: The Definitive Guide to Cultivation and Consumption of Medical Marijuana is a hefty, award-winning 2,000 volume encyclopedia that contains everything you need to know about medical marijuana consumption. You’ll find everything here from chapters on cannabinoid dosing to medical plant varieties along with plenty of information about cultivation and plant extraction. Practical chapters like “Cooking With Medicinal Cannabis” provide patients with real-world examples while other chapters focus on which cannabis varietals best suit their medical needs. All of the material is presented in a clear, easy-to-read format with colorful accompanying graphics. 

3. Healing With CBD: How Cannabidiol Can Transform Your Health Without The High

A great educational read for anyone who’s CBD curious, one of the newest additions to the world of cannabis literature is “Healing With CBD: How Cannabidiol Can Transform Your Health Without The High.” Written by registered nurse Eilen Jonieczny and journalist Lauren Wilson and published in 2018, this book aims to dispel the confusion surrounding CBD by providing accurate, up-to-date information on how CBD can be used to manage a variety of ailments ranging from anxiety to sleep disorders. 

The book begins with a brief overview of what CBD is, the history of it and how it’s made. It also neatly summarizes the current research conducted on CBD and clearly describes the endocannabinoid system (ECS) that interacts with it. The authors then dive into a deep examination of the various ways to ingest CBD, providing the pros and cons of each as well as detailing how to know what product to buy and suggested dosing information. Consider giving this a read if you or someone you know suffers from a chronic illness (or even just a simple case of everyday aches and pains).

4. Cannabis Pharmacy: The Practical Guide to Medical Marijuana

Michael Backes’ “Cannabis Pharmacy: The Practical Guide to Medical Marijuana by Michael Backes” covers over 50 different kinds of ailments that can be treated with cannabis in a digestible, easy-to-read format. Originally published in 2014, the most recent edition has been updated with the most up-to-date information available about the endocannabinoid system. It also contains information about new delivery methods like vape pens as well as emerging research on minor cannabinoids like CBN. 

The book can be broken down into a few sections. Part 1 details the history of cannabis use as medicine while Part 2, “Using Medical Cannabis,” breaks down everything a patient could possibly need to know from how cannabis is metabolized in the body to how to access the correct dosing. Part 3 focuses on the different kinds of medical cultivars available at great length. The book concludes Part 4, “Medical Uses of Cannabis,” with evidence-based suggestions on the ideal cannabis treatment for various medical conditions such as PTSD and Alzheimer’s. Few, if any, books on cannabis are so thorough. 

5. The Cannabis Manifesto: A New Paradigm for Wellness

Social justice warrior Steve DeAngelo is the CEO of the world’s largest medical cannabis dispensary, the legendary Harborside Health Center located in Oakland, CA. He also happens to be the author of “The Cannabis Manifesto: A New Paradigm for Wellness,” a short volume that neatly sums up the history of cannabis as medicine and the prohibition that has surrounded it for decades.

DeAngelo strings together narratives from his time spent at Harborside along with a history of cannabis to present readers with an enthralling, nuanced look at the ways cannabis prohibition has convoluted our understanding of the plant. He invites readers to critically examine the way they think about cannabis, postulating the radical idea that there’s no such thing as “recreational” cannabis. 

6. Cannabis: A History

Consider Martin Booth’s Cannabis: A History Paperback to be a must-read for the history buff in your life. This thoughtful, extremely well-researched book chronicles the history of religious, medicinal, and recreational use of cannabis throughout the ages. Booth opens with the origins of cannabis, focusing on the discovery of Cannabis sativa as a plant, and continues to meticulously lay out the evolution of the plant as it worked its way around the globe. Embellished with Booth’s signature hyperbolic style, the book reads as part textbook and part historical thriller. Captivating chapter titles like “Dora, Bebop and the Vipers of London” are sure to keep your eyes glued to the page at every turn as they bring the history of cannabis to life before your very eyes.

7. Annual Marijuana Business Factbook 7th Edition 

One of the most difficult aspects of cannabis is to keep up with the ever-changing rules and regulations cannabis patients and entrepreneurs are subject to. Published by the news outlet Marijuana Business Daily, this factbook is currently one of the only published guides available on cannabis regulation. It features an extensive amount of information curated by the editors of MJBizDaily that includes “all the exclusive financial data, benchmarks and forecasts business operators have come to expect, and all the legal and regulation updates needed to keep you current,” gleaned from an extensive history of editorial interviews. Readers can learn about new trends and opportunities, get insight into the most current regulatory updates and learn best business practices across the industry.

8. Terpenes: The Magic in Cannabis

Dr. Russo’s famous research paper, “Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects,” surprised people everywhere when it observed that cannabinoid-terpenoid interactions “could produce synergy with respect to the treatment of pain, inflammation, depression, anxiety, addiction, epilepsy, cancer, fungal and bacterial infections.” 

Beverly Potter’s “Terpenes: The Magic in Cannabis” is one of the few books to expand on Dr. Russo’s work, going so far as to even earn a spot on the American Cannabis Nurses Association’s recommended reading list. Potter goes on to provide a comprehensive view on all things terpene related, breaking down what terpenes are and the history of terpenes before providing information on the therapeutic use of terpenes. It’s a great refresher on why it’s so important to consider the entourage effect when using cannabis medicinally and should be required reading for just about anybody who’s interested in learning more about these unique compounds. 

9. Marijuana: Gateway to Health

This medical marijuana reference book was self-published in 2011 by Clint Werner, a cannabis advocate and journalist. The scope of the book is extensive enough that a paper published by The National Center for Biotechnology Information stated it could “be useful to health professionals in research, prevention, oncology, pain management, Alzheimer’s prevention, and mental health professionals in general.” 

The book chronicles the history of cannabis from its earliest conception and details the ways in which it’s been historically convoluted and socially demonized. Werner draws upon a growing body of evidence on cannabis to detail the ways in which cannabis shows promise for combating diseases like cancer and Alzheimer’s. It’s an extremely well-researched book that’s certain to change the way you view cannabis forever. 

10. The Pot Book: A Complete Guide to Cannabis

Finding reliable medical information about cannabis can be tricky, but author Julie Holland makes it easy with her “A Complete Guide to Cannabis.” The book provides the most up-to-date medical information about cannabis as it breaks down the psychological, physiological, and medicinal effects of the plant in extensive detail. Holland also examines the history of cannabis and documents the ways in which prohibition created an elaborate series of misconceptions about cannabis—misconceptions she later debunks with great enthusiasm. 

This information is made even richer thanks to the inclusion of additional interviews with some of the most preeminent cannabis experts and icons. Medical cannabis users will enjoy learning about potential medical uses for cannabis as well as having access to Holland’s extensive harm reduction tips.

11. The Cannabis Health Index: Combining The Science of Medical Marijuana With Mindfulness Techniques To Heal 100 Chronic Symptoms and diseases

Few books are able to successfully pair the medical applications of cannabis with eastern-based medicines. This is exactly why Uwe Blesching’s health index is so beloved by consumers. A former paramedic with a Ph.D. in alternative healthcare, Blesching weaves together insights gleaned from an incredible 1,000 studies in this sourcebook that details how medical marijuana can be used to treat over 100 different chronic diseases. 

Part of what makes this book so great for readers is the helpful way in which it’s broken down. Blesching breaks everything down into condition-specific chapters, allowing patients to easily access the information they need at a moment’s notice. Recommendations for use are then paired with mindfulness-based practices on the side. It’s the epitome of all that’s good about cannabis from both an eastern and western perspective.

12. Cannabis Revealed: How The World’s Most Understood Plant Is Healing Everything

Cannabis Revealed

Written by Bonni Goldstein with a foreword by the legendary Ethan Russo, “Cannabis Revealed: How The World’s Most Understood Plant Is Healing Everything” is a powerful educational work that breaks down the science of medical marijuana. A California-based physician who specializes in cannabis medicine, Dr. Goldstein explains all there is to know about the medical side of cannabis. From learning about the endocannabinoid system to detailing available scientific research for 28 chronic health conditions, the book is a great resource for anyone looking to help loved ones “who have not found answers with conventional medicines.”

Dr. Goldstein goes on to provide real-life case studies drawn from her extensive experience, showcasing true stories of how she’s seen cannabis impact patients’ lives. It’s an uplifting read that offers tremendous benefit, helping educate patients and their families so they can make better decisions about their health.

Disclosure: This article contains references to products from one or more of our affiliates or advertisers. This means that at no cost to you, we may receive compensation when you purchase those products through the links on this page.

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