best cannabis books

The Top 10 Books On Cannabis

There is an old saying that knowledge is power, and when it comes to cannabis there could not be a truer statement. So to help you on your quest for understanding, we have a list of essential reading.

In the digital age of video and audio, books often get scoffed at. Online articles and YouTube tutorials seem like more efficient ways to obtain information. However, these sources pale in comparison to the detail and volume of information found in books. If you’re looking to increase the size and quality of your harvests or learn about the health benefits and history of the herb, books are invaluable tools.

Books also keep your attention locked in. When browsing the internet for cannabis information, it’s too tempting to open another tab and begin scrolling social media and checking your emails. In contrast, slowly turning the page of a good book—joint in hand—tames the brain and immerses you into a world of new information. The mind evolves after reading a book, and your perception of cannabis will be forever changed.

The cannabis book market is booming. The available tomes cover every topic within the field. No matter what you’re looking for, a host of contemporary and classic authors have got you covered.

Below is a list of the top 10 cannabis books we recommend. Don’t miss out on learning something new!


The legalization of cannabis in several countries has led to an explosion of scientific research and discovery. Cannabis and its constituents—cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and so on—have been explored in cell, animal, and human studies. Many of the results look promising, and the future of cannabis medicine is undoubtedly a bright one. The books featured below are incredible resources if you’re looking to learn more about cannabis, health, and medicine.


The Cannabis Health Index is an in-depth book that harnesses over 1,000 scientific studies to explain how cannabis, along with mindfulness techniques, is useful for over 100 chronic diseases and symptoms. Penned by Uwe Blesching, PhD, no stone is left unturned when it comes to the herb’s impact on common and more severe ailments.

Readers can use this comprehensive, evidence-based book to learn about cannabis as a medicine, and how it could help them in their health battles. If you’re curious about the impact of cannabis on specific conditions, you don’t have to trudge through the entire volume. It’s divided into different sections according to pathologies, such as inflammatory diseases, neurological diseases, and cardiovascular health.

Blesching has done a superb job translating the difficult and often confusing scientific literature into a reader-friendly format. Get ready to have your mind blown as your cannabis knowledge expands considerably.


This book is both informative and practical. It equips users with crucial information about CBD and how to prepare and use it. Juliana Birnbaum details the safety of the non-psychotropic cannabinoid and its many proposed health benefits and medicinal applications.

As well as discussing pharmacology, the book details the botany of the cannabis plant and explains how specific cannabinoid formulas can target certain ailments more effectively.

Birnbaum explains how CBD, alone and in combination with other cannabinoids, may work to relieve symptoms of anxiety, depression, arthritis, inflammation, seizures, pain, and other conditions.

The book also provides dosage outlines and guidance on oil infusions, tinctures, capsules, and CO₂ concentrates.


Written by cannabis expert Michael Backes, Cannabis Pharmacy offers up-to-date information regarding medicinal cannabis and the endocannabinoid system. The book explores the chemical constituents of the plant and how they work in the body to exert effects.

Backes explains the role of the endocannabinoid system and how the network of receptors influences emotion, appetite, and memory. Backes also discusses dosing and delivery methods. You’ll learn precisely how to use cannabis in your own life for medicinal purposes. These pages contain information on 21 ailments and conditions, and how cannabis can be used herein.

The book also features a foreword by Dr Andrew Weil MD, a practitioner and teacher of integrative medicine.


Growing cannabis is both a science and an art. The following books will help novices get started on their growing journey, and intermediate and advanced cultivators hone their techniques. They offer information on everything from lighting and nutrients to breeding and harvests.


Marijuana Horticulture is 512 pages of pure wisdom. It’s the quintessential guide to growing weed, and has been a bestseller since 1983. The current Fifth Edition provides 1120 colour images that put all of the concepts on display.

World-renowned cannabis expert Jorge Cervantes penned the book. It provides all the information you need to know to reach a successful harvest. Cervantes will teach you how to set up a growing environment with the resources you have on hand—from grow rooms to greenhouses. He also covers what lighting to use, how to secure your grow, and how to feed your crop correctly.

Marijuana Horticulture doesn’t stop there. The book is an extensive guide on using growing techniques such as sea of green to optimise yield. It also explains how to clone, flower, and harvest cannabis plants. Once you’ve trimmed your buds, you’ll learn how to dry and cure them, and even how to make hash.


Ed Rosenthal—“the guru of ganja”—is a leading cannabis horticulture authority. As one of the co-founders of High Times Magazine, he’s an accomplished cannabis educator and author. In the Marijuana Grower’s Handbook, Rosenthal covers all the bases from beginner knowledge to advanced cultivation skills.

The book starts with an introduction to the cannabis plant: its active constituents and numerous subspecies. Next, Rosenthal offers a concise plant biology lesson and covers the topics of photosynthesis, light, carbon dioxide, nutrients, temperature, and humidity.

Equipped with this crucial information, you’ll be ready to learn how to set up your growing space; and in the following chapters, you’ll learn how to harvest, dry, cure, and restart your garden if you grow outdoors.


It’s no secret that cannabis is a controversial crop. The plant has been subject to vicious propaganda campaigns and crushed under prohibition. However, its past isn’t all dark. The herb has been used as a medicine for thousands of years and has played an essential role as an industrial crop. Read these books to learn about the history of weed.


The Emperor Wears No Clothes is one of the most famous cannabis books of all time. The book was written by American cannabis activist Jack Herer on the many uses of this enigmatic plant. His work had such an impact on the cannabis community that there’s even a strain named after him.

Also referred to has “The Hemp Bible”, the book documents the historical suppression of hemp by large corporate interests. Herer details how the petrochemical industry sought to lobby the government and outlaw hemp.

Herer discusses the seemingly endless uses of the renewable crop. He covers its ability to provide resources for paper, energy, food, textiles, and medicine.


In this book, Martin Booth delves deep into the history of the cannabis plant. It’s a stellar read for those looking to understand where cannabis came from and how it has impacted both modern and ancient cultures.

Booth starts the timeline back in the Neolithic period and works through to the present day. He touches upon how cannabis has played a role in advancements in medicine, religion, politics, human rights, music, and art.

The book also covers the complex tale of how cannabis was targeted and prohibited in the modern Western world. The United States government once encouraged the cultivation of cannabis, only to incarcerate people for possession years later.

This book is for readers looking to learn every last detail about the history of cannabis.


Smoke Signals explores the “great American pot story”. Author Martin A. Lee takes readers through a cultural exploration of cannabis. Readers will learn about the legal history of cannabis in the country, its prohibition, and the movements that opposed it.

Lee delves into the implementation of draconian cannabis laws, their social impact, and the culture war surrounding such legislation.


Cooking with cannabis is more than just throwing buds and leaves into a cake mix. It’s an intricate art filled with nuances and technique. Learn about extracts, decarboxylation, and all things culinary with these cannabis cookbooks.


The Easy Cannabis Cookbook showcases just how far edibles have come. Edible cannabis used to be defined by brownies and cookies, yet now spans into every nook and cranny of the culinary world. If you’re an established or aspiring cannabis chef, this book will quickly become a valuable ally.

Writer Cheri Sicard covers cannabis 101—an explanation of the history and medicinal use of cannabis. She also provides an accurate dosing guide and a list of essential equipment when cooking with the herb. The Easy Cannabis Cookbook features over 60 different medicated recipes, including banana bread and cheese fettuccine alfredo.


The Cannabis Cookbook is designed to enable herb-lovers to cook up edibles with ease. Cannabis writer Tim Pilcher has put together over 25 delicious recipes, including “Stoned Starters”, “Mashed Main Courses”, and “Doped-Out Desserts”.

It’s the perfect book to draw inspiration from before cooking up a three-course meal for your cannabis-loving friends. There are even recipes for medicated drinks.

The Cannabis Cookbook goes above and beyond just recipes, and includes notes on the science and history of culinary cannabis.

Books sharpen the mind and deepen knowledge. Learn everything there is to know about cannabis history, growing, cooking, and medicine with these 10 books!

The Best Weed Reads To Build Your Cannabis Library

These ten texts will take a casual cannabis consumer to an expert-level enthusiast.

Craig Turpin/Rising Sun Photog

As we mentally prepare for a full month of COVID-19 quarantine ahead, cannabis and books are two go-to saviors (best enjoyed together) from social media screen time and the barrage of bad news. Whether you’re an industry insider reeling from conference cancellations, an entrepreneur looking to get into the business, or just want to learn more about legalization, I’ve curated a coronavirus cannabis reading list from my own library for these trying times. From two classics authored by pioneering activists to an Emily Post Institute-approved guide on marijuana manners, here are ten texts to take a casual cannabis consumer to an expert-level enthusiast.

Note: Books are listed alphabetically, not ranked. Now stay home and stay high.

Brave New Weed, 2016

Courtesy Harper Wave

Brave New Weed

By Joe Dolce, 2016

Joe Dolce, former editor-in-chief of Details and Star, ventures into the “brave new world” of legal cannabis, traveling the globe to trace its history and plot its future. From Amsterdam and Israel to California and Colorado, Brave New Weed shares outlandish stories of murder trials where defendants claimed “insanity due to marijuana consumption” to groundbreaking success stories about the plant’s impressive medicinal benefits and all of the changing attitudes and cultural shifts in between. Since its debut, Dolce has also launched an eponymous podcast with new episodes produced bi-weekly.

The Cannabis Dictionary

Courtesy Octopus Books

The Cannabis Dictionary

By Alex Halperin, 2020

In this illustrated A-to-Z cannabis compendium, renowned cannabis journalist Alex Halperin guides you through every aspect of the magical marijuana plant. From facts and falsehoods to THC and CBD, hundreds of entries share a practical perspective behind the cannabis revolution and the culture that has unfolded around it. Also the founder and host of WeedWeek, Halperin’s handbook is intelligent, fresh and accessible for both new and experienced cannabis consumers alike.

Quarantine Thanksgiving? Keep Your Spirits High With Cannabis-Infused Recipes From Chef Nikki Steward

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam Introducing Legalization Of Marijuana In 2021

New App Allows You To Use Credit Cards To Buy Cannabis

The Cannabis Manifesto (2015)

Courtesy North Atlantic Books

The Cannabis Manifesto

By Steve DeAngelo, 2015

Written by “the father of the legal cannabis industry” — according to the Hon. Willie L Brown, former Speaker of the California Assembly and Mayor of San Francisco — The Cannabis Manifesto chronicles the unintended consequences of prohibition while imagining the future of cannabis as a consumer good. As founder and CEO of Harborside, one of the first six licensed dispensaries in the U.S. and now publicly traded, DeAngelo’s account is an essential primer into his life’s work as a warrior for reversing the War on Drugs and an entrepreneur who has shaped the legal cannabis landscape. Plus, he shares his unparalleled knowledge of the cannabis plant itself using science to shed light on its spiritual, biological, and mental effects and benefits.

Grass Roots, 2017

Grass Roots: A History of Cannabis in the American West

By Nick Johnson, 2017

Former freelance journalist Nick Johnson traded news for history to uncover the controversial roots of the cannabis plant in the American West. Applying his environmental eye, Johnson looks at past growing practices in the region and how federal prohibition promoted unsustainable farming techniques, which have carried over into the legal era, making cannabis cultivation anything but green. Unregulated outdoor grows pollute ecosystems, high-powered indoor grows create an excessive carbon footprint, and an unprecedented water crisis is ahead. Grass Roots challenges the current cannabis industry to change its course.

Courtesy Chronicle Books

GREEN: A Field Guide to Marijuana

By Dan Michaels & Erik Christiansen, 2014

This eye-popping coffee-table textbook is required reading for those dedicated to studying cannabis strains and admiring their intricacies through hyper-detailed photography of individual buds. Green: A Field Guide to Marijuana explores the culture of this complex flower, while explaining the botany that makes each varietal unique through descriptions of lineage, flavor, and type of high.

Higher Etiquette, 2019

Courtesy Ten Speed Press

Higher Etiquette

By Lizzie Post, 2019

Amid the “post-prohibition” era, the stigma surrounding smoking pot is fading, and the conversation about how and why we get high is changing. In Higher Etiquette, Lizzie Post — great-great granddaughter of the Emily Post and current co-president of the institute bearing her name — celebrates cannabis culture’s long-established norms while exploring exactly what modern marijuana etiquette entails. This party-friendly guide asks and answers questions including: how to bring it to a dinner party or give it as a gift; why eating it is different from inhaling it; how to respectfully use it as a guest; how to be behave at a dispensary and more.

How to Smoke Pot (Properly), 2016

How to Smoke Pot (Properly)

By David Bienenstock, 2016

Veteran cannabis journalist David Bienenstock charts a course from cannabis culture’s transformation from a once demonized to a now celebrated place in society. In How to Smoke Pot (Properly), the author instructs just that with pro-tips from his friends in “high places” paired with historical anecdotes and a lively Q&A section including common queries like: “How can I land a legal pot job”? and “Should I eat a weed cookie before boarding the plane?” This all-encompassing guide to the green life also maps out the marijuana plant’s natural lifecycle from farm to pipe, explores cannabis customs, culture and travel, and shares how to best utilize and appreciate the herbal remedy as a life-changing medicine and a useful industrial crop and renewable energy source.

It’s NORML To Smoke Pot, 2013

It’s NORML to Smoke Pot

By Keith Stroup, 2013

Keith Strop has been fighting for marijuana legalization for four decades through NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws), the pioneering nonprofit organization he founded in 1970. In the first-ever personal account of its tumultuous-turned-victorious history, It’s NORML to Smoke Pot will introduce you to the colorful cast of characters like Hunter S. Thompson and Willie Nelson who helped along the way and give you behind-the-scenes insight into how prohibition shaped political policy today.

Reefer Madness, 2003

Courtesy Mariner Books

Reefer Madness

By Eric Schlosser, 2003

This is a pre-legalization look at the illicit market in the U.S., which then was much larger than most realized, and how it affected Americans’ lives whether they smoked pot or not. Journalist and author Eric Schlosser takes his award-winning, exacting eye into the underbelly of capitalism and examines the far-reaching influence of marijuana, porn, and immigrants on society. Reefer Madness also draws compelling comparisons between underground and overground: the rise and fall of tycoons and gangsters; how new technology shaped the market, why government intervention reinvigorated illegal activity; and how big business learned — and profited.

The Ultimate Guide to CBD, 2020

Courtesy Quarto Publishing Group

The Ultimate Guide to CBD

By Jamie Evans, 2020

In a sea of misinformation in the evolving CBD wellness space, it’s refreshing to read an in-depth companion compiled by a true expert. Jamie Evans not only has pioneered the intersection of wine, gourmet cuisine, and cannabis, but has also experienced the healing benefits of the plant firsthand. First breaking down the history and science of cannabinoids, The Ultimate Guide to CBD is the perfect introduction to live an all-encompassing CBD lifestyle at every age. It’s also packed with pro tips for self-care along with recipes for infused oils, refreshing drinks, and light bites thanks to her extensive network of industry leaders.

Ten texts to take a casual consumer to an expert-level enthusiast.