Four essential new medical cannabis reference books

Curious about trying cannabis for medical or recreational use? Learn all about the basics (and sometimes the specifics) of marijuana use with these four books. While all four are guides to using cannabis, each one takes the reader down a different path, highlighting key information for their respective audiences.

An MD’s insight

“Medical Cannabis” ($24.95; Koehler Books, 2017) This guide aims to educate not only patients with serious illness and their caregivers, but their doctors and legislators as well. One thing that sets this book apart is its author: Michael H. Moskowitz, a San Rafael psychiatrist specializing in chronic pain. In the book’s 223 pages, Moskowitz explains the complex science and legal history of cannabis, offering instructions for how to use the plant medicinally.

The epic compendium

“Cannabis Pharmacy” ($22.99; Black Dog and Leventhal Publishers, 2017) This revised edition of “Cannabis Pharmacy,” by author Michael Backes is both a practical guide and a reference book. Backes is a Los Angeles area patient consultant, researcher and a member of American Herbal Products Association’s Cannabis Committee. Its heavily illustrated 320 pages begin with an overview of medical cannabis, and how to use it. But what sets this book apart is the large reference section in which Backes describes more than 50 cannabis strains with details such as taste and effect, and more than 50 medical conditions and how each might be treated with cannabis.

Elder focus

“Cannabis for Seniors” ($18.95; Ronin, 2017) Education of older patients about the benefits of cannabis is the focus of this book by Beverly Potter, who has a doctorate in counseling psychology from Stanford University. “A lot of seniors are afraid,” explains Potter. “They’ve never used cannabis, so they’re fearful they’re going to lose control.” Throughout the book’s 205 pages, seniors and their caregivers learn cannabis basics such as what is a dose, the differences between eating and inhaling cannabis and how it can be used to improve sleep, reduce pain, boost mood and lower dependence on pharmaceuticals.

Ending on a high note

“Chronic Relief” ($19.99; Nishi Whitely, 2016) Part guidebook, part personal story and part cookbook, “Chronic Relief” is designed to help terminally or chronically ill patients find improved quality of life through cannabis. Nishi Whiteley, a business development and marketing consultant-turned medical cannabis author, became a cannabis advocate after helping her mother battle terminal lung cancer. The book’s 333 pages lead you through the history, science and uses of cannabis, teaching how to use the medicinal plant and concluding with a collection of healthy canna-infused recipes starting with making your own cannabis oils. Her research is backed up by Dr. Ethan B. Russo, who served as the final medical editor for the book and wrote the foreword. Russo is a board-certified neurologist, psychopharmacology researcher. Sunil K. Aggarwal, physician, scientist and medical geographer, also served as a medical consultant for the book.