If you’re looking to dive deeper into the rabbit hole of cannabis/psychedelics or just want some entertainment, you’ll find several great books below.
This is by no means an exhaustive list. In fact, putting this together reminded me of how much catching up I need to do on my own reading.
And I wanted to capture books here that you don't always find on such reading lists.
That said, here are 11 books worth checking out, whether you have a personal or professional interest in cannabis and/or psychedelics.
The Cannabis Manifesto by Steve DeAngelo
The Cannabis Manifesto is the first book I read when I joined the cannabis industry as founding editor at Green Flower Media.
In fact, Green Flower helped launch The Cannabis Manifesto during its release, and I got to interview Steve DeAngelo several times.
DeAngelo described it as a handbook of sorts for anyone interested in cannabis and the industry surrounding it.
For me, it was exactly that. In fact, The Cannabis Manifesto helped form the foundation and the values for my early editorial work in the cannabis space.
(Bill, if you’re reading this, I want my copy back!)
Cannabis Pharmacy by Michael Backes
Steve DeAngelo is actually the one who recommended this book to me, and it did not disappoint.
In Cannabis Pharmacy, Michael Backes has put together an excellent resource for anyone exploring the nuances of medical cannabis.
From specific ailments and how cannabis works in the body, to properly storing your cannabis products, Backes covers quite a bit of ground, building on solid research throughout.
Brave New Weed by Joe Dolce
Brave New Weed is a whirlwind of a book, where author Joe Dolce leaves no stone unturned, travelling the globe for cannabis stories, science, and history.
It is a compelling read from start to finish. You’ll laugh; you’ll cry; you’ll experience feelings of both amazement and anger…just writing this, I think I need to go back and give it another read!
If you could only choose a single book from this list, I would recommend this one.
Cannabis Evolution and Ethnobotany by Clark and Merlin
My friend David Drake sent me a hard copy of Cannabis: Evolution and Ethnobotany a few months back, and it is a beautiful book indeed.
It is an in-depth read, and I’m still making my way through.
Essentially, this is a must-have textbook for anyone who has a serious interest in cannabis.
What Hashish Did to Walter Benjamin by Sebastian Marincolo
What Hashish Did to Walter Benjamin forms a large part of the foundation in the work of consciousness researcher Sebastian Marincolo.
Too often the cannabis high is overlooked or stigmatized.
Here, Marincolo flips all of that inside-out across a collection of essays exploring different nuances around cannabis-induced psychoactivity.
I met Marincolo early on in my cannabis industry experience, and I'm thankful to call him a friend and a collaborator to this day.
Prepare yourself for a heady mix of cannabis science, philosophy, history, and medicine!
Just Say Yes: A Marijuana Memoir by Catherine Hiller
Just Say Yes: A Marijuana Memoir is another book I read early on in my cannabis career, shortly after its initial release.
Catherine Hiller is a true gem of writer, and this book was quite bold for its time (and in many ways it still is).
Throughout the memoir, Hiller opens up about her cannabis story from of the perspective of a mother, a wife, and as a professional writer.
As a professional writer myself, it meant a lot to get such an in-depth account from another writer’s cannabis journey. I can't recall another book quite like this one.
I also had the privilege of collaborating with Hiller early on in my work as a cannabis editor.
The Most Dangerous Man in America by Bill Minutaglio & Steven L. Davis
Truth really is stranger than fiction. The Most Dangerous Man in America is a riveting account covers Timothy Leary’s escape from a low-security prison, and Nixon’s subsequent obsession with tracking him down.
I was impressed by Leary’s globetrotting escape from incarceration, his collaboration with The Black Panthers, and his LSD supply.
This is a fun, informative read, and I wish I could track down a large bottle of LSD like what Leary had. Purely for research purposes, mind you.
Steppin’ Razor: The Life of Peter Tosh by John Masouri
When Niambe McIntosh (daughter of Peter Tosh) and her team reached out to me for an interview, it was a quick yes.
Admittedly, I didn’t know a whole lot about Peter Tosh before that.
However, after reading Tosh’s bio on Wikipedia and sampling some of his music, going far beyond his cannabis freedom anthem “Legalize It,” I was hooked.
Right after interviewing McIntosh, I picked up the audiobook version of this biography Steppin' Razor: The Life of Peter Tosh and steamed my way through it.
Although it was never approved by Peter Tosh’s family, this is the only biography on the man, and it is an unforgettable read.
So many harrowing cannabis stories, lots of trouble with the cops, and Peter Tosh oftentimes getting in the way of his own legend.
There are a few arguments as to why Peter Tosh is overlooked compared to Bob Marley or even the likes of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards (both of whom were fans of and collaborators with Tosh), and this book offers some helpful clues.
Either way, it is an excellent read for anyone interested in music, cannabis history, activism, and culture.
The Art of Cooking with Cannabis by Tracey Medeiros
There are lot of excellent cannabis cookbooks out there, and this is one of the most recent, which The Bluntness reviewed a few months back.
In The Art of Cooking with Cannabis, Tracey Medeiros does such a great job bringing so many cannabis culinary possibilities to life in a way that is simple, fun, and not so intimidating.
For a full review and a few sample recipes, be sure to check out The Bluntness’s review of this cannabis cookbook.
Inherent Vice by Thomas Pynchon
I've saved the two fiction entries for last.
First up, Inherent Vice by Thomas Pynchon is a must for any cannabis-loving bookworm.
Protagonist Doc Sportello has got to be one of the best pothead characters ever.
This is one of Pynchon’s most accessible books, and he probably was not as stoned when writing this compared to Gravity’s Rainbow, but who knows. The man doesn’t do interviews or photos, which only adds to his allure.
Either way, I like to think he stills enjoys cannabis.
Lionel Lancet and the Right Vibe by Daniel Backer
I actually met Daniel Backer this past summer in the Thomas Pynchon subreddit. He’d just published Lionel Lancet and the Right Vibe and was looking for readers.
How could I resist?
From page one, I couldn’t put the book down!
This is a fascinating read, drenched in cannabis and psychedelics. In one scene, Lionel gets so incredibly high with an absurd consumption device called The Exorcist, that I swear I picked up a contact high right off the page.
Backer does a great job articulating the duality of cannabis and psychedelic experiences, and the characters and plot make for a fun, quirky read that is hard to put down.
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