News & Research

Our Top Ten Best Cannabis Books for Gifting

December 19, 2018

Whether it’s for a grower, an edibles fan, an activist, or a novice looking for an introduction, the perfect cannabis book makes a great gift!


If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.

Cicero (1st Century, B.C.)


If there’s one thing that pairs well with cannabis, it’s a good book.

Especially a good book… about cannabis.

To celebrate the gifting season, we’ve put together a list of the best books out there on our favourite topic.

We wanted to make sure we had a pick for every preference, so the list includes fiction, a cookbook, a couple of cannabis histories, growing guides, literature for medical consumers, and a coffee table book full of photos of nice, frosty nugs.

We’ve even included a book for educating the small humans Peter Tosh respectfully referred to as “The Youth.”

If you’re stuck trying to figure out what to give the cannabis enthusiasts in your life, this list should be helpful.

It’s got something for everyone (and make sure to treat yourself to a new title or two while you’re at it!).

The Emperor Wears No Clothes

By Jack Herer

Most cannabis aficionados recognize “Jack Herer” as the name of the superior Sativa-dominant hybrid strain created in the Netherlands in the 1990s.

But long before its association with Cannabis Cups, the strain’s namesake was a ground-breaking pro-cannabis and pro-hemp activist who published the classic treatise The Emperor Wears No Clothes back in 1985.

With the recent revision and approval of the U.S. Farm Bill, it looks like Jack Herer’s vision of hemp as a solution for many of the world’s woes could finally be possible.

The anti-hemp conspiracy Herer identified over 30 years ago is finally being lifted, unlocking the plant’s potential to replace fossil fuels, stop deforestation, and basically singlehandedly save the planet (and that’s before we even talk about CBD!).

Which makes this a great year to revisit Herer’s detailed historical record of the cannabis plant and hemp prohibition while reminding ourselves of its vast possibilities.

CBD: A Patient’s Guide to Medical Cannabis

By Leonard Leinow & Juliana Birnbaum

These days everybody seems to be talking about CBD (aka cannabidiol), the non-intoxicating compound found in cannabis.

Subtitled “Healing without the high,” the authors wrote this book to empower patients interested in using CBD as a therapeutic tool.

This is a great place to start for someone looking to educate themselves about the endocannabinoid system and how CBD mediates some of the body’s functions.

Different medical conditions, strains, doses and delivery formats, and current research are all presented in an accessible, patient-centred guide.

The Little Book of Cannabis

By Amanda Siebert

Subtitled “How marijuana can improve your life,” this book by Canadian cannabis journalist Amanda Siebert is written for those who can benefit from the plant but need a little nudge to convince them it’s the right thing to do.

Perfect stocking-stuffer size, the book presents ten case studies of people’s experiences using cannabis, then explores those stories in light of recent research and evidence as well as historical perspectives.

This would be a wonderful gift for a person who is interested in trying cannabis but needs some guidance on its therapeutic and recreational uses as well as potential benefits.

Marijuana Grower’s Guide (Deluxe Edition)

By Mel Frank

Written by one of the undisputed masters of cannabis cultivation in America, since this book came out in 1978 it’s been widely considered the “Grower’s Bible.”

Resembling a college-level textbook, Mel Frank shares his in-depth, first-hand knowledge of all-things-growing using straightforward language.

Instruction begins with preparing soil and starting seeds, continues to outline ideal regimes for nutrients and watering, and finishes the journey by explaining the arts of harvesting and drying.

Every single step involved in gardening cannabis is covered by this expert guide, which continues to hold its own (as a new revised deluxe colour version) a full forty years after the original edition first appeared.

Beyond Buds: Next Generation

By Ed Rosenthal (with Greg Zeman)

This one is for the avid dabbers on your list.

Ed Rosenthal – yet another elder statesman within the American cannabis scene – is best known for the monthly “Ask Ed” growers advice column he wrote for High Times magazine in the 80s and 90s.

The original edition of Beyond Buds (published in 2014) introduced readers to the manufacture and enjoyment of cannabis concentrates and infusions.

Just five years after its original publication, the “Next Generation” of concentrate extraction, processing, and consumption has exploded in terms of both popularity and technological innovations.

Readers will learn about everything from the most straightforward DIY cold water hash production methods to advanced concentrate techniques like CO2 extraction, rosin presses, and fractional distillation.

Edibles: Small Bites for the Modern Cannabis Kitchen

By Stephanie Hua (with Coreen Carroll)

This book is for those who want to combine their love for cooking with their passion for cannabis.

Author Stephanie Hua is the founder of the successful California edibles line known as ‘Mellows,’ featuring low-dose, gourmet, infused marshmallows.

Her recipe book provides instruction on how to make the basic ingredients for edibles such as cannabutter and infused oils.

She then takes things up a notch with recipes for loftier creations using these cannabis-infused starting materials, including truffles and pavlovas.

Green: A Field Guide to Marijuana

(By Dan Michaels, with photography by Erik Christiansen)

This attractive hardcover coffee table book offers some serious cannabis eye-candy.

Macro closeups of gorgeous, crystal-encrusted buds adorn virtually every page, accompanying entries for many legendary, high-profile strains like Sugar Shack, Granddaddy Purple, Cotton Candy, and Obama OG.

The Field Guide also provides helpful informational overviews on cannabis characteristics such as terpenoids, plant anatomy, and the properties of Indica strains compared to Sativa.

The book can be purchased in pocket-sized softcover, but we definitely recommend going all-in for the larger hardcover format to maximize enjoyment of the beautiful, lush photography.

Budding Prospects: A Pastoral

By T.C. Boyle

The lone novel on our list was first published back in 1984. The humorous plot involves a group of San Francisco friends who are looking to get-rich-quick via a half-million-dollar outdoor harvest.

Their dream of easy money soon descends into a nightmare, as nosy neighbours, state troopers, complicated love interests, and uncooperative weather collectively kill their buzz.

A pilot episode for Budding Prospects as an Amazon Prime streaming TV series is currently available for viewing, with the full series assumedly under development for future THC-fueled binge-watching.

Cannabis: A Beginner’s Guide to Growing Marijuana

By Danny Danko

As the Senior Cultivation Editor at High Times, Danny Danko follows in the footsteps of Ed Rosenthal and Mel Frank as a leader among the next generation of master growers.

The publication of Danko’s highly-accessible Beginner’s Guide is very timely, as the historical achievement of adult-use legalization in Canada now gives all households the unprecedented opportunity to grow and harvest four plants for personal use.

If anyone on your list is interested in growing for the first time, this is definitely the resource for them.

It’s the kind of book that will soon find itself stained by soil and water as novices creating their first home grow-ops refer back to it constantly.

It’s Just a Plant

By Ricardo Cortés

As promised, we’ll close off the list with an illustrated children’s book that’s perfect for starting conversations with young people about responsible cannabis use and awareness.

The book follows a young girl and her family as they interact with the cannabis community, embodied by the characters of a local farmer, a doctor, and a police officer.

It’s Just a Plant does not advocate for cannabis use among young people. It actually does the opposite by addressing potential harms associated with drug abuse and reminding kids that trying recreational cannabis is an experience reserved for adults.

The book is designed to open thoughtful dialogue around cannabis with young people in ways that are based on facts (in contrast to the frightening anti-cannabis hysteria they’re often exposed to in school or through the media).

Communication is the key, and this book is an invaluable tool for creating channels for discussing responsible adult use and countering the historical stigma that’s been applied to the topic.

If someone on your list has been searching for an opportunity to talk about cannabis with their kids, this is the book for them.

There’s a cannabis book for everyone on your list

Few things are better than getting a great book as a gift.

Whether you’re shopping for a seasoned cannabis veteran or a complete newbie, you’ll find a book on our list to match their specific area of interest and level of knowledge.

Do you know of any cannabis must-reads we’ve missed on our list?

Any books that have changed your life or your perspective?

Or any stinkers we should definitely avoid?

Let us know in the comments below!

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