The book gods have given us a sweet crop of reading material in the last few months, and Cananbis Culture readers will derive pleasure from many of the texts and periodicals reviewed in this issue's literature review section.
Let's begin with grow guru Ed Rosenthal's newest tome, The Big Book of Buds. This book casts a broad net, appealing to connoisseurs, marijuana breeders, casual tokers, and the general public by providing historical, botanical and cultural insights into 100 of the world's best marijuana varieties.
Rosenthal's gourmet volume contains well-organized thematic units that highlight breeding techniques, cannabis lore, marijuana pioneers, and ways to improve the quality of your smoke and your stone. The book features cute graphic icons that tell readers about the taste, smell, flowering time, origins, and psychoactive effects of the world's best marijuana. It includes chapters by Cananbis Culture editor Dana Larsen (who writes about Canada's marijuana scene), and by professional growers and breeders like DJ Short.
The book's front cover is a gorgeous, razor-sharp photo of a delicious bud graced by red hairs and purple tips. The feminine sexual nature of cannabis sinsemilla is showcased in the book's excellent photos by the world's best marijuana photographers, including Rosenthal himself. Words like "wet, sticky, glistening, ripe, perfumed, luscious, edible, glowing, juicy, and sensual" all accurately describe the resin-caked beauties featured in this glossy tome.
If you know somebody who wants to grow some of the luscious marijuana pictured in Rosenthal's book, tell them to get another book, Hemp Diseases and Pests , written by three of the world's top cannabis researchers.
The authors' pedigrees are impeccable. Dr John McPartland is an agricultural and medical expert who supervises a university medical department in New Zealand while also working for GW Pharmaceuticals, the government-approved UK cannabis research company that has grown 100,000 marijuana plants in the last two years.
Co-author Robert Connell Clarke authored the legendary books Marijuana Botany and Hashish!, which are generally acknowledged to be two of the finest reference books in the cannalibrary. Clarke and McPartland are joined by David Watson, director of Holland's HortaPharm company, which is creating cannabinoid-specific marijuana plants for GW's research.
The trio has produced a college-level textbook that outlines all nuances of cannabis cultivation. Using scientific terminology, startling photomicrography, and comprehensive explanations, the book provides botanists and amateur gardeners with an exhaustive guide to every kind of problem that pot growers encounter.
From nutrient deficiencies to silverleaf whiteflies to root rot, storage rot and black mildew, Hemp Diseases and Pests tells how to diagnose and cure problems using holistic farming methods. The book's color photos of insects, diseased leaves, and plants with nutrient problems help growers pinpoint problems and fix them before crops are ruined.
Hemp Diseases and Pests doesn't focus explicitly on indoor growing or cultivation of high potency marijuana, but it provides information that no other grow book can or will, and is a priceless, fact-laden volume that should be on the bookshelves of any serious cannabis grower.
Another marijuana cultivation book, titled I Love It, is an eccentric European version of an indoor-outdoor cannabis growing guide. The book is published in several languages, including English, and contains a lot of useful information and photographs showing how author Michael Meredith produces marijuana in grow rooms and outside.
The book's photos and photo reproductions sometimes lack quality and clarity, and some of Meredith's advice is inaccurate and amateurish. He advises, for example, that soil be mixed on a garage floor; this process is a vector for disease and fungus. He recommends the use of white paint and aluminum foil as light reflectors in indoor grow rooms, even though Mylar is by far a better reflector than either of those. Still, Meredith has his heart in the right place, and the book's photos prove that he is able to produce phat buds. What he lacks in scientific approach he makes up for in enthusiasm, comprehensiveness and personality.
I Love It is more than a generic grow book. It contains information on technological gardening tools, producing seeds, making hash and hash oil, marijuana food and beer, and how to conceal marijuana gardens.
If you're serious about using a wide range of herbs to enhance health and pleasure, Dr Ethan Russo's Handbook of Psychotropic Herbs is a useful guide.
Russo, a neurologist and plant researcher who is profiled in this issue (CC #36, Pot Pioneer), provides an herbal pharmacopoeia of plants and plant preparations (such as infusions and essential oils) that can be used to treat anxiety, depression, confusion, memory loss, head injuries and other neurological and psychological disorders.
This easy to read volume contains fascinating history, medical information, and case studies proving that nature has given us plants that can be used to safely treat many disorders that are less efficiently treated with chemical prescription drugs.
Cananbis Culture readers will find the book's section on cannabis extremely interesting. He devotes more pages to cannabis than to most other herbs, while admitting that the plant's illegal status makes it somewhat difficult to medically research and utilize.
Russo's recitation of cannabis history is probably the most complete and concise I have ever seen, while his sections on other herbs including lavender, rose oil, kava, gingko, chamomile, valerian, and hypericum indicate that reliance on prescription pharmaceuticals is short-sighted and potentially unhealthy.
The book contains analysis of the therapeutic potential and ingestion regimens of popular medicinal herbs. It shows that marijuana is not the only healing plant that has been demonized by those who favor corporate chemicals over nature's medicines.
Russo notes, for example, that some researchers falsely alleged that valerian caused dangerous overdoses and a withdrawal syndrome. Valerian is a sleep aid that competes with prescription chemical sedatives like Dalmane and Halcion. It has lower toxicity than the chemicals it competes with, and also costs less per dose!
Russo is a busy guy. He created and edits the Journal of Cannabis Therapeutics, a periodical dedicated to cannabinoid research that comes out four times a year. Although the journal is intended primarily for scientists and medical workers, it is understandable and interesting for marijuana consumers and growers. Each issue contains an eclectic mix of information about marijuana research, history, medicines, and law, written by the field's top experts.
The publications reviewed above are top quality but they are specialty books that fill different needs. If you are a casual marijuana user or grower who wants a general overview of marijuana, Rosenthal's book is best for you. If you are a serious grower who wants to produce the best buds, order the books by McPartland and Meredith. Russo's journal is very technical and will appeal mostly to people willing to work through the scientific lingo found therein, but his handbook on herbal medicines will be useful to anybody interested in alternative medicines.
? The Big Book Of Buds: web www.quicktrading.com; web www.bigbookofbuds.com.
? I Love It: Daisy Bots in Holland, tel 31-6-222-40-894.
? Ethan Russo: Haworth Press, tel 1-800-429-6784; email email@example.com; web www.haworthpress.com.
? Hemp Diseases and Pests : CABI Publishing, www.cabi.org
? Cananbis Culture Bookstore: www.cannabisculture.com/store