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5 Must-Read Books for Cannabis History Lovers

5 Must-Read Cannabis History Books
PHOTO Bohdan Malitskiy


5 Must-Read Books for Cannabis History Lovers

Brush up on your cannabis knowledge by taking a literary trip down memory lane.

Obviously, cannabis is trending: Weed has been making headlines left and right. It’s an exciting time for the popular plant, from the future of financial projections to groundbreaking advancements in the medical world. While this deluge of news keeps cannabis enthusiasts on their toes and creates buzz in the industry, modern cannabis coverage can leave some holes in perspective for those who may not be well-versed in the plant’s background and historical significance. Learning about cannabis history from reputable books lends us a deeper understanding of some of the current hot topics in the plant’s world, like equity in the industry, why cannabis is still federally illegal and how the truth about its healing potential has been intentionally suppressed.

For anyone who wants to expand their knowledge of the plant’s past in order to help them understand the present and even postulate its future, these must-read cannabis history books will point you in the right direction. But keep in mind that these are just a handful of great reads that will begin to give you a more well-rounded view of what’s going on now. Use these suggestions as a starting point for your research and keep looking for other history books that will augment your cannabis education.

Cannabis History Books

“Cannabis: The Illegalization of Weed in America”

By Box Brown

If you’re interested in learning about how and why cannabis became illegal but not really into the traditional route of reading and researching, then this nonfiction graphic novel might fit the bill. Author Box Brown offers insight into why cannabis prohibition was introduced, breaks down the emergence of the War on Drugs and how decades of propaganda have contributed to the disproportionate incarceration of black people. It’s both entertaining and educational and though it’s illustrated, it doesn’t take away from the strength of its content.  

“Sacred Bliss: A Spiritual History of Cannabis”

By Mark S. Ferrara

Beyond the clatter of politics, legislation and legalization, there’s an oft-forgotten element to cannabis that doesn’t get nearly the same amount of coverage and that’s it’s deeply intricate connection to spirituality throughout history. This book offers a global perspective on how humans have been using cannabis to expand and enhance their consciousness for centuries. It’s equal parts cannabis history and religious history.

Cannabis History Books

“Smoke Signals: A Social History of Marijuana – Medical, Recreational and Scientific”

By Martin A. Lee

In this book, you’ll get a deeper look at cannabis’s ascent from a subcultural phenomenon to its current position as a mainstream topic of conversation. It covers cannabis from its prohibition to its rise in popularity through the lens of an award-winning investigative journalist with careful attention to detail. It’s a good read for anyone interested in cannabis from a number of perspectives, whether that’s medical, recreational, scientific or economic.

“The Emperor Wears No Clothes: Hemp and the Marijuana Conspiracy”

By Jack Herer

This classic book is just as much a part of cannabis history as the information inside of it. Written by infamous cannabis activist and advocate Jack Herer, this book was originally published in 1985 and is a useful reference for anyone who wants to take a look into how similar the political climate around cannabis was then and now. In addition to some history, you’ll also learn a lot about the seemingly endless list of hemp’s uses and get some wisdom into why it’s taken so long for it to be legalized.

Cannabis History Books

“Pot in Pans”

By Robyn Griggs Lawrence

Lovers of cannabis-infused edibles will enjoy this book all about weed’s culinary roots. It’s an interesting look at how different cultures throughout time have utilized the plant as cooking ingredient through with a historical lens that offers facts as well as anecdotes. You’ll also be treated to a few recipes throughout the book in addition to learning how cooking with cannabis has survived the ages.

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