The Book Cannabis Consumers Have Been Waiting For
When I got my copy of The Leafly Guide to Cannabis, I was skeptical.
Leafly.com, if you don’t know, is a fantastic online search engine for finding marijuana dispensaries. You probably know Leafly’s colorful guides for cannabis strains, reminiscent of the Periodic Table of Elements.
With that in mind, I thought I might be diving into some sort of pot encyclopedia with loads of bud porn and esoteric reviews of various cannabis strains.
Then I caught the subtitle – A Handbook for the Modern Consumer.
Yes, you can find a few of Leafly’s iconic strain reviews in the first chapter, “Cannabis 101,” like Blue Dream, Sour Diesel, and Bubba Kush. The book is also lavishly illustrated with a few choice buds among the pictures of dab rigs, edibles, and everyday cannabis consumers.
The value of The Leafly Guide, however, is in its focus on the consumer’s experience.
From the young person who has come of age in a world of medical and legal marijuana to the older pot smoker who knows what a three-finger lid is, this book covers everything you need to know if you plan on smoking, vaporizing, eating, or using cannabis products in any way.
The “Cannabis 101” chapter starts by establishing the basics about cannabis, including the differences in types of cannabis, the effects of cannabinoids, how terpenes affect cannabis, leading to that feature on the most popular strains on the Leafly website.
Next, the “Smoking” chapter delves into the most common way people consume cannabis. Everything about the health effects of smoking, the operation of grinders and bongs, and the construction of joints and blunts, is reviewed in detail. You’ll even learn the ground rules of stoner etiquette (like who gets the “greens”) and some toking history (“The first recorded use of a joint was in Mexico in 1856”).
The next four chapters dig into the many ways to consume cannabis, each one running from tips for the beginner through to more advanced concerns. For instance, the “Vaporization” chapter begins with an explanation of what vaporization is – “the process whereby cannabis flowers or concentrates are heated to a temperature that releases cannabinoids and terpenoids to create an inhalable vapor, but does not induce combustion, or burning.”
The Leafly Guide then takes you through chapters on “Edibles,” “Cannabis Topicals,” and “Oils and Concentrates,” continuing the beginner-to-advanced format in each. You’ll learn “Why It’s Nearly Impossible to Calculate Potency” of homemade cannabis edibles, understand the benefits of “Cannabis and Skin Care,” and “What is Rosin and How Can I Make it at Home?”
To this point, the book is a great resource for cannabis consumers anywhere in the world. The seventh chapter, however, covers “Better Buying and Consumption Tips,” primarily from legal dispensaries in the United States. Sections include “What to Expect on Your First Dispensary Visit” and “What Makes a Good Budtender?” There are some topics, though, that would have global appeal, such as “How to Store Your Cannabis” and “How to Pick the Best Quality Cannabis.”
My favorite chapter is the final one on “Troubleshooting.” Too many books on cannabis shy away from the fact that there can be bad reactions to it for some people, especially new consumers. This chapter will tell you “What to Do If You Get Too High,” with specific ways to counteract the side effects high-THC cannabis.
The Leafly Guide to Cannabis is a terrific book for people who want to be competent and informed consumers. It is probably better suited to older adults who are investigating a return to cannabis consumption in a legal or medical state; younger consumers who’ve grown up in legal cannabis culture may find most of the book too basic for them.