An Actually-Helpful Guide to Using Cannabis
An educational book offers practical advice for new users.
If you’ve been looking for a book on the basics of cannabis and CBD, there are almost too many options to choose from. It can be overwhelming to sort through the volumes of books, blogs and websites dedicated to educating consumers about this important topic.
Still, not all cannabis educational material is helpful, or even accurate. As a cannabis consultant who helps new patients, I’m always curious to check out these books and see for myself whether they are worth recommending to my clients. It’s sad to see how much of the material out there just isn’t worth the read.
So, I was pleasantly surprised reading through the new natural medicine guide “Cannabis & CBD for Health & Wellness” by Aliza Sherman and Dr. Junella Chin. While similar in kind to many of the 101 guides on cannabis, their approach blends the scientific and practical aspects of cannabis use into a book that is both approachable and grounded in objective data.
The 167-page book begins like many others, with a brief explanation of cannabis’s history, science and medical potential, before launching into the practical details of using cannabis. The descriptions are written for the everyday reader and the book guides consumers through many essential pieces of information that are important to know when using cannabis.
On top of that, there are also a few places where this guide sets itself apart from the crowd.
For one thing, this guide has medical bona fides that many others don’t — it was co-written by a doctor who actually specializes in cannabis.
“Writing the book with a doctor was a no-brainer, since I’m a journalist and author, but not a medical professional,” co-author Aliza Sherman explained. “I had already spent two years researching cannabis as real medicine and having a doctor as my co-author meant that I could finally understand all of the research I was finding.”
To Sherman’s point, a lot of the information found online lacks the insight of a trained medical professional, and misinterpretations of scientific data can lead to a lot of misconceptions about how to use cannabis effectively.
Another place where this guide differs from most is in the section that deals with the treatment of specific medical conditions with cannabis. While most guides discuss a given condition, go over the science behind it and offer recommendations, the authors of this book instead use a real patient’s story for each ailment or symptom they discuss. The book describes a patient’s situation, treatment plan and what actually worked before making broader suggestions based on the data. This provides information that I haven’t seen in many other beginner cannabis guides which could really help patients understand how to most effectively treat their conditions.
Throughout the book, I found clear and easy-to-follow writing coupled with interesting medical insights. It is clear why a seasoned reporter/researcher and a respected doctor make such a dynamic duo of cannabis writers.
While informative and well-researched, this book is far from a scientific textbook on cannabis. Though it does have a large bibliography at the end, there are few references within the text to the scientific literature, and no footnotes or direct citations to support the claims being made. This could be a positive or negative, depending on what you are looking for. If you are one of those patients (like me) who likes to track down the research being referenced as you go, this book could be a little bit frustrating. But if you are just looking for an accessible, thorough and readable guide to using cannabis, “Cannabis & CBD for Health & Wellness” is a great pick.
Originally published in the print edition of Cannabis Now.