Book Review by Heidi Simmons

The good people of the State of California voted to end the prohibition of marijuana and legalize cannabis for adult consumption. How will that change our cities, state, country, and world? It’s hard to say.

Whether or not you consume marijuana, or think of it as good or bad, it’s time to have an understanding of the natural weed product and its culture.

As is the beauty of books, of course there is much written on the subject.


If you prefer to get your cannabis information through nonfiction adventure, nonfiction experts, creative narrative fiction, or through cures and cuisine, here are some weed reads to enlighten and get you in the groove.


Heart of Dankness: Underground Botanists, Outlaw Farmers, and the Race for the Cannabis Cup by Mark Haskell Smith (Broadway Books, 256 pages).

This is my favorite book on cannabis culture, growing and weed varieties. Smith is so much fun to be with as he journeys around the world in search of the best – or dankest – marijuana. It’s a blast as he shares his highs and lows.

The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World by Michael Pollan (Random House, 271 pages).

This is a wonderful book about the relationship between four specific plants and the people who cultivate and consume them. Pollan reveals the evolution, complexity and success of apples, tulips, potatoes and marijuana. Pollan shows that the plants use humans as much as we use them. Put that in your pipe and smoke it!

The Pot Book: A Complete Guide to Cannabis—Its Role in Medicine, Politics, Science, and Culture edited by Julie Holland (Park Street Press, 576 pages).

If there is a marijuana bible, this could be it. The tome covers the whole spectrum of cannabis from its reputed benefits to it side effects. Holland edits a range of information that includes scientific research, medicinal uses, psychological effects, neurochemistry, and politics, to the safest way to consume marijuana – water pipe vs. rolled joint or edibles. Interviews include health guru Dr. Andrew Weil and stoner Tommy Chong. The citations are numerous, and this book provides a wide scope of pertinent information.


Point Dume by Katie Arnoldi (Overlook Press, 240 pages).

A local Malibu girl sees her quaint beach town being exploited by rich developers, while her old boyfriend finds it easier to steal from cartel growers in the canyon than grow his own marijuana.

Baked (Grove Press, 288 pages) also from author Mark Haskell Smith, is his fictional story about a California grower who enters his tasty mango flavored marijuana in Amsterdam’s Cannabis Cup and wins, only to find himself celebrated in ways he didn’t imagine or desire.

Budding Prospects: A Pastoral by T. Coraghessan Boyle (Penguin Books, 336 pages).

Californian and award winning author, Boyle, tells the story of Nor-Cal growers who have their eyes set on growing a crop worth a half a million dollars, but find that the great outdoors and gangster competitors don’t make it easy.


The Cannabis Spa at Home by Sandra Hinchliffe (Skyhorse, 160 pages).

For thousands of years, marijuana has been considered a healing herb.

This book specializes in potions, poultices, lotions, scrubs and salves for managing pain to creating an euphoric sensation. Recipes include teas, tinctures and toddies.

The Official High Times Cannabis Cookbook by Elise McDonough with other magazine editors (Chronicle Books, 160 pages).

The monthly “High Times” magazine, which was established in 1974 and continues to be the most popular periodical pertaining to all things pot, the cookbook’s tried and tested recipes covering everything from holiday dinners to mouth-watering munchies.

Cooking with Herb: 75 Recipes for the Marley Natural Lifestyle

by Cedella Marley and Raquel Pelzel (Penguin, 240 pages).

Author Marley is the daughter of Bob Marley the famous and beloved ganja smoking reggae artist. She and fellow author Pelzel share the restorative and spiritual properties of using cannabis for healthy eating and general well-being.

The book serves as a guide to using cannabis safely for pleasure, healing and cooking. Best of all, the authors provide insights and recommendations for choosing a strain and potency that may be most suitable for your personal use.

Cannabis is now locally available, grown and processed. Whether you will be walking into your neighborhood dispensary tomorrow, next year or never, cannabis is here to stay and is part of the eclectic CV culture.

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