The cannaisseur’s bookshelf

Every cannabis enthusiast should have Jack Herer’s The Emperor Wears No Clothes. Here are five additional reads to bulk up that marijuana book collection

Ed Rosenthal, known as the “guru of ganja,” is an author and longtime cannabis activist. His latest book <i>Beyond Buds, Next Generation</i> keeps up with current industry trends.

Ed Rosenthal, known as the “guru of ganja,” is an author and longtime cannabis activist. His latest book Beyond Buds, Next Generation keeps up with current industry trends.

Photo courtesy of Tonya perme photography

Although YouTube tutorials, Google searches and swipes through online cannabis forums help answer some questions that surround cannabis and all its qualities, to truly grasp the significance of this plant people should really read up on its history. There aren’t many government-cited research studies available, but there are hundreds of books published by the social activists, scientists, journalists and doctors of the world who have dedicated their time learning about cannabis. For anyone wanting to jump into the marijuana business, advocate for its use, understand its medicinal properties or is just simply curious about its historical context, these six books are worth the read and will make useful reference guides for your bookshelf.

Cannabis: A History by Martin Booth

This is the perfect crash course into marijuana’s social history, from its importance within spiritual practices to its global banning and eventual shift in public perception. Booth’s portrayal of cannabis is told in such a practical manner, it’s impossible to doubt his presentation of facts. He paints an accurate portrait for readers to form their own opinions. He depicts its harvesting and plant origins, and its medicinal uses and enhancements in creativity. Socially, the book dives into cannabis being used as a plant to demonize non-whites, and its label as a “gateway drug.” Cannabis: A History details all parts of marijuana and its historical significance.

Green: A Pocket Guide to Pot by Dan Michaels

A solid book for cannabis beginners and connoisseurs alike, Green: A Pocket Guide to Pot is a beautifully packaged guide to more than 150 strains that is easy to carry around. Although a quick Google search would do most folks just fine, Erik Christiansen’s photography of each marijuana plant and strain is unmatched by most. Each photo depicts pretty green buds, crystals and unique hairs and pairs them alongside brief descriptions written by Michaels on strain lineage, flavor and type of high. There’s also a glossary of cannabis terms. “I wrote this book to examine cannabis in a new light—avoiding stereotypes, nostalgia, and clichés,” Michaels told SN&R. “Cannabis is very complex so I wanted the useful scientific and cultural content to be straightforward yet sophisticated in its practical information. I used design, infographics and typography to help simplify and carry my message and help further explain all the essential information you need to know about this plant. High or not, I tried to make it easy for readers to get lost in the book.”

Brave New Weed: Adventures into the Uncharted World of Cannabis by Joe Dolce

Where Booth’s book grasps the historical context of cannabis, Brave New Weed focuses on the future of pot in a world that now recognizes its usefulness. Dolce travels to locations such as Amsterdam, Israel, California and Colorado to smoke with locals and discover more about cannabis from their perspectives. The book knocks down stoner stereotypes and instead covers the topic with a sort of normalcy. “I wrote Brave New Weed for two reasons,” Dolce told SN&R. “A: To really truly understand what this complex plant that we offhandedly refer to as a weed is, and how it works in the body and mind. And B: To provide all of us who enjoy the plant with an intelligent understanding of why it’s a good thing and why the prohibition has been so harmful. When I began the book in 2014, very few people I knew were talking openly about their use of cannabis—even though so many of them were using it. I wanted to change that and bring it all out into the open.”

Beyond Buds, Next Generation: Marijuana Concentrates and Cannabis Infusions by Ed Rosenthal with Greg Zeman

Since its legalization in many U.S. states, cannabis is no longer just an herb to grind and smoke. Cannabis is now lotion, mints, shatter, wax, tinctures, dabs and more. Beyond Buds helps readers catch up with the latest trends in weed. This book is a manual to introduce new ideas, tool kits and techniques with kief, water-hash, budder and rosin. It prefaces each cannabis creation with its own background and is packed with how-to guides and eye-catching visuals. Beyond Buds is smoking for future, health-conscious tokers. “I wrote Beyond Buds Next Generation because I like to provide current and accurate information on the cannabis subjects that people are interested in,” Rosenthal said. “The shift from using buds to choosing concentrates and extracts is fast-moving. Now, there are many innovative cannabis products like diamonds with terpene sauce, rosin and fractional distillation that were not available just a few years ago. This new book takes on the next wave of products and techniques.”

Cannabis Pharmacy: The Practical Guide to Medical Marijuana by Michael Backes

Marijuana is a healing herb and medicine and Cannabis Pharmacy counts all the ways. Cannabis can be used to treat various ailments and conditions and Backes makes that long list clear. This book serves as a useful at-home guide to understand how to prepare and administer cannabis, as well as control its dosage. It explores how the body works with marijuana to release a type of “tonic” effect on muscle tightness, how it affects and relieves inflammation and how it can help with Alzheimer’s, anxiety, diseases such as fibromyalgia and more. Cannabis Pharmacy is guaranteed to subdue any skeptic of medical marijuana, and reveal a goldmine of information for the daily smoker.

The Emperor Wears No Clothes: Hemp and the Marijuana Conspiracy by Jack Herer

Perhaps the most popular book advocating for the freedom to use both marijuana and hemp is Herer’s The Emperor Wears No Clothes. With 26 editions since it was first published in 1985, the book’s cult following continues to this day. Herer, a dedicated cannabis activist, began heavily researching the book in the early ’70s. He accumulated information about cannabis consumption and the numerous uses of hemp. Most of the book’s social themes are still not familiar with smokers today, and although there are hundreds of books advocating for marijuana use, no other has been cited more than this one. Herer died nearly a decade ago at the age of 70, but his words live on. The Emperor Wears No Clothes fully grasps how the war on drugs and war on hemp first came to be—and why it’s still around.