The Pot Book: A Complete Guide to Cannabis

Three excellent new book titles, each relevant to cannabis, are available through Inner Traditions publishers. They are “The Pot Book”, “The Acid Diaries” and “High Society”.
Three excellent new book titles, each relevant to getting high, are available through Inner Traditions publishers. They are “The Pot Book”, “The Acid Diaries” and “High Society”.

Front coverFront cover

“The Pot Book”, in particular, is a nearly encyclopedic 551-page work that covers almost every angle of marijuana, barring grow articles. Essentially, it is a collection of pithy essays, mostly written by top experts in their fields.

The book’s essays are arranged into five parts. The first part, “An Overview of Cannabis”, is historical, psychopharmacological, botanical and legal. It features a well-researched historical account of the significance of marijuana to ancient cultures by Chris Bennett, author of several books on the topic.

Part two, “Risks of Use and Harm Reduction”, addresses issues such as addiction, racism, cognition and toxicology. I applaud this section because it thoughtfully addresses decades of anti-pot research, brings it into perspective and offers useful, balanced advice.

Part three, “The Clinical Use of Cannabis,” addresses many of pot’s medical benefits, including neuroprotection, treating AIDS, pain management, and ongoing research. This research is all the more important because so little of it is done in comparison to the number of studies sponsored to justify the US’s multi-billion-dollar war on drugs.

Part four, “Cannabis Culture” is my favourite section. It has articles about pot and parenting, business, and co-evolution. There is a great interview with Michael Pollan, author of “The Botany of Desire”, which addresses the inter-relationship of plants and people. There’s also an essay by Jeremy Wolff, titled “Thots on Pot”, which partially satiated my hunger for an informed perspective on how being high can benefit the growth of our minds.

Part five, “Steps in the Right Direction”, offers some inspirational stories around groups that push for legalization, medical and recreational, and some of the challenges that such groups have and continue to face.

Surely, I would have liked to see a section dedicated to pot spirituality, with an overview of the various churches and their struggles, as well as a few stories about spiritual experiences while high on cannabis sacrament. I would also have liked to have seen a story that dealt with the history of how pharmaceutical companies oppressed (and continue to oppress) the weed, and how that is related to the present and historical colonization of developing countries by the west. But admittedly I may be biased about such topics, central as they are to the research I myself pioneered and fought to make public over the last fifteen years. To be fair the publisher had to draw the line somewhere or risk printing a 14-volume set.

Truly, “The Pot Book” is a testament to how much information is available about pot today. Even for someone like myself, who sometimes might be deluded into thinking there is nothing more to learn about weed, I was sometimes surprised by a fresh nugget of wisdom, a previously unknown factoid or a new perspective. Overall, I give the “The Pot Book” a big thumbs up, for being incredibly comprehensive and easy to read at the same time.