Talk to medicinal cannabis authors for long enough and they will eventually get around to the fact that the same pharmaceutical companies that are enthusiastically investing in its development in the 21st century were a lot less keen in previous years.
“We were told, ‘If you smoke pot, it will kill you,’ ” says Kerri Connor, author of Wake, Bake and Meditate (Llewellyn, May). “Now that we’re starting to research it more and people are starting to realize that there are a lot of uses for it, it’s become more allowable.”
Not just allowable but widely recommended. New books this season promise that cannabis can “deepen relationships emotionally, sexually, and spiritually” (John Selby’s Cannabis for Couples), “treat a range of illnesses—maybe all of them” (Cheryl Pellerin’s Healing with Cannabis), or produce “easy, safe, and delicious” recipes with added benefits (Pat Crocker’s Cooking with Cannabis).
Connor, a cancer survivor, began smoking pot for pain management; she was scared of opioids. In remission, she began incorporating cannabis into her spiritual practice, which eventually led to her new book, a collection of guided meditations alongside weed recommendations. She walks beginners through the basics: “Start with a low dose and go slow,” she writes. “Don’t pack a bowl if you’ve never done it before. Take a hit, wait an hour. It’s a practice—you have to learn how your body is going to react because it affects every body in a different way.”
Unlike Connor, Blair Lauren Brown, owner of Verte Essentials, a CBD-infused cosmetics company, doesn’t work with psychoactive cannabis—the stuff that creates the sensation of being high—but she agrees that cannabis is a highly individual medicine. And, as with Connor, the lingering hangover of marijuana prohibition created challenges in writing her first book, CBD: Self-Care Secrets to Hemp-Derived Wellness (Sterling Ethos, May).
“I struggled with how to do a piece that couldn’t stand on the backs of medical trials,” Brown says, “because the research is so new.” America’s 20th-century pot prohibition resulted in a lack of research funding, so now, state-level legalization and the sale of CBD products are running ahead of the recognized science.
“The wellness that people talk about from a strictly medical and very Western perspective is exclusionary and not accessible to everyone,” Brown says. “And the idea of health and wellness should be accessible to everyone.” But there’s an antidote: “The experiential evidence is broad and deep and long.”
Brown and Connor join a growing list of cannabis authors offering a hybrid of user-friendly guidance and wellness advice.
Cannabis for Couples
John Selby. Inner Traditions, June
Selby, a psychologist, began experimenting with altered states of mind at Princeton in the 1960s, and went on to work in National Institutes of Health labs studying how psychoactive chemicals affect emotions. His new book draws on that history, but is less textbook than how-to guide for couples who want to try marijuana as a way to enhance sex, bonding, and emotional growth.
The CBD and Hemp Handbook
Sandra Hinchliffe. Skyhorse, July
People with anxiety, stress, and other health conditions can turn to this book for science lessons, spa and snack recipes, and resources for locating hemp products in health stores and online. Hinchliffe, a contributor to High Times, has written three previous books about cannabis, most recently 2019’s CBD Every Day.
CBD & You
Nelson Peña and Scott Meyer. Hearst Home, June
In this Prevention magazine–branded introduction, Peña and Meyer, both longtime health editors, offer background on CBD chemistry, public health policy, and why the compound has so much buzz in the wellness space. Explanatory visuals, suggestions for when and how to use CBD, and a buyer’s guide that distinguishes a tincture from a potable make clear that this is an above-board health title rather than a surreptitious dorm-room read.
The CBD Skincare Solution
Manisha Singal. Llewellyn, July
According to Singal, the chief medical officer for skin-care company Aethera Beauty, the anti-inflammatory effects of CBD oils and serums offer relief from acne and simple skin irritations. Her book explains what cannabidiol does and does not do, and details various infused skin-care products.
Cooking with Cannabis
Pat Crocker. Sterling, June
Every serving in culinary herbalist Crocker’s latest cookbook promises to deliver 5 mg of THC, which her publisher says is “just the right amount to experience both the recreational and gustatory pleasures of cannabis.” Dishes include wake-and-bake-ready Canna-Pancakes and snacks like tostadas, which seemed designed to kick off a vicious cycle of the munchies.
Healing with Cannabis
Cheryl Pellerin. Skyhorse, May
Science journalist Pellerin has been writing about psychoactives since the 1990s. In her new book, she breaks down clinical trials that explore how and why marijuana and its derivatives work on the body, documents the history of the devil’s lettuce, and offers an optimistic take on its potential in medicine.
The Rebel’s Apothecary
Jenny Sansouci. TarcherPerigee, May
Wellness blogger Sansouci offers advice that’s a little bit garden nerd and a little bit rock and roll, ranging over CBD, THC, medicinal mushrooms, and psilocybin. Citing her father’s treatment and recovery from stage IV pancreatic cancer, Sansouci pays particular attention to recipes and protocols that combat the common side effects of chemotherapy.
The Wholistic Healing Guide to Cannabis
Tammi Sweet. Storey, June
This textbook for health-care practitioners and patients offers a broad survey of the physical systems, neuroscience, and chemistry of marijuana before diving into the details: how to prepare and find the correct dosage of cannabis for a list of conditions from stress to chronic pain. Sweet, who has a master’s in endocrinology, is cofounder and co-director of the Heartstone Center for Earth Essentials.