Review by Samuel Wells
The Pot Book: A Complete Guide to Cannabis,
The most important tool any cannabis activist, patient, or enthusiast can possess is information.
Marijuana prohibition has always depended upon the promulgation of shoddy, unreviewed research, fear-based propaganda, and out-right falsehoods; many dedicated to educating the public on the powers of medical cannabis are often left dumb-struck by the sheer volume and depth of the misinformation that masquerades as truth.
With an astonishing history of falsehoods that includes Harry Anslinger’s racist rantings, the televised brain-wave deceptions of the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, and outright lies about sex characteristic and chromosomal damage, is it any wonder that it has taken so long for the truth to begin to reach the public ear?
The Pot Book: A Complete Guide to Cannabis is NYU pro-fessor Julie Holland’s valiant attempt to counter decades of propaganda and fear. The anthology is a deep trove of information for those seeking to educate themselves on the science, history, and culture of marijuana use. Contributing writers include luminaries like Lester Grinspoon, Allen St. Pierre, Tommy Chong, Dr. Andrew Weil, Donald Abrams, and Mitch Earlywine, all well-known and respected medical cannabis researchers and crusaders. “The Endocannabinoid System,” an early entry in the book, is a clear and easy-to-understand introduction to the human body’s unique system of chemical regulation and the complex role it plays in health and well-being. The chapter “Anandamide and More,” by Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, is also very informative; authored by the sci-entist who first discovered THC, it gives a detailed overview of the two primary internal cannabinoid compounds found in the human body and offers a direct comparison to THC.
Although the medical aspects and uses of cannabis abound in this informative text, the curious reader will find much more than dry clinical studies. There is a fascinating interview with Michael Pollan, the author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma and The Botany of Desire, where he explores the concepts of gardeners’ rights and expands upon his concept of humanity’s co-evolution with the cannabis plant. There are entries that delve into the US government’s total refusal to accept the medical benefits of marijuana, that propose how pot-smoking parents might wish to discuss the topic with their young children, and that provide direct cost-benefit analysis of legalization. There is even a wide-ranging section that covers any pos-sible negative effects from cannabis use and promotes effective harm-reduction strategies. The Pot Book does indeed offer exactly what its title claims: Nearly every aspect of the science and culture of marijuana is present-ed in this fine volume. The book itself is sustainably print-ed, and proceeds from sales help fund new cannabis research!
The Pot Book: A Complete Guide to Cannabis is an excel-lent addition to any activist library and a perfect gift for someone who wants to know more about the powerful healing medicine known as marijuana. The only antidote to fear and propaganda is information and accurate sci-ence: Dr. Julie Holland has given the cannabis community a powerful tool with which to fight the forces of igno-rance.
ed. Julie Holland, MD Park Street Press ISBN: 978-1-59477-368-6