Celebrating National Book Lover’s Day With 11 Cannabis and Psychedelic Writers Who Inspire Us

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Written by: Johanna Bloomquist

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August 9 is National Book Lover’s Day, so there’s no better time to share the authors and books you love. To celebrate, the NisonCo team has compiled a list of our favorite cannabis and psychedelic books. 

Whether you prefer sitting oceanside with a good beach read, staying in the air conditioning and tuning into an audiobook, or putting together a psychedelic book group to discuss what you’ve read, we have plenty of suggestions for your next read.


3 Informative Cannabis Books for Beginners and Curious Experts

Books, podcasts, and audiobooks are all great ways to learn new things. These picks will help you brush up on your knowledge of cannabis and might even inspire you to research other ideas and write something of your own


1. The Emperor Wears No Clothes by Jack Herer

The Emperor Wears No Clothes: A History of Cannabis/Hemp/Marijuana

This is potentially the most impactful cannabis book out there. Written by legendary cannabis activist Jack Herer, this book covers the history of cannabis in America, the uses of hemp, information about cannabis and its effects, and actionable material about ending prohibition. First published in 1985, this book set the stage for virtually every other book about cannabis that has hit the shelves since. As a bonus, it’s also available online for free at Herer’s website


2. The Budtender’s Guide by Oaksterdam University

The Budtender's Guide: A Reference Manual for Cannabis Consumers and  Dispensary Professionals: University, Oaksterdam

Whether you’re an aspiring budtender or want to be more informed about your cannabis consumption experience, this book by the acclaimed Oaksterdam University provides an in-depth but still approachable look at topics ranging from cannabis chemistry to legality and everything in between. This handy guide will help you wow your friends at your next get-together when you drop some knowledge about the evening’s cultivar. 


3. The Cannabis Encyclopedia by Jorge Cervantes

The Cannabis Encyclopedia: The Definitive Guide to Cultivation  & Consumption of Medical Marijuana 9781878823342:Jorge Cervantes,  Foreword by Vicente Fox Quesada

If you really want to know everything there is to know about cannabis and medical marijuana, you can’t beat this book. With over 500 pages and 2,000 images, this large-format book makes a great coffee-table reader or textbook for the serious cannabis connoisseur. Cannabis cultivators will find this one especially useful — Cervantes provides in-depth information on growing and harvesting cannabis, including multiple step-by-step case studies that readers can follow along with. 


2 Cannabis Cookbooks to Satisfy Your Cravings For Knowledge

Cookbooks count as books, too! There are a ton of cannabis cookbooks out there full of great information about the countless uses for this plant. 


1. Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails & Tonics: The Art of Spirited Drinks & Buzz-Worthy Libations by Warren Bobrow

Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails & Tonics: The Art of Spirited Drinks and Buzz-Worthy  Libations: Bobrow, Warren 9781592337347

Think outside the box with this recipe book chock-full of ideas for cannabis-infused drinks. This cannabis recipe book includes information about the plant, practical instructions on preparing it for use in drinks, and 75 recipes for everything from morning tea and coffee to medicinal tinctures to cannabis mocktails. This recipe book will let you be the host with the most at your next cocktail party. 


2. Aunt Sandy’s Medical Marijuana Cookbook: Comfort Food For Mind and Body by Sandy Moriarty

Aunt Sandy's Medical Marijuana Cookbook

Consider picking up this gem for a more traditional take on an edible cookbook. Featuring 40 recipes plus easy-to-follow instructions for making cannabutter, this cookbook focuses on familiar, comforting favorites, like the lemon squares on the cover and more savory treats, like mac and cheese and scalloped potatoes. Moriarty is a professor emeritus at Oaksterdam University, so you know her recipes are tested and backed by science — and we can confirm that they’re delicious!


Exploring The World of Psychedelia with the 6 Best Psychedelic Books

These consciousness-expanding picks run the gamut from informational research to moving personal accounts — and most blend the two genres in a way that will simultaneously answer all your questions and leave you more curious than you were before you started reading. 


1 & 2. PiHKAL: A Chemical Love Story and TiHKAL: The Continuation by Ann and Alexander Shulgin

PihKal and TihKal free e-books on Erowid

With acronyms that stand for “Phenethylamines I Have Known and Loved” and “Tryptamines I Have Known and Loved,” this set of books by husband and wife duo explores the chemistry, politics, therapeutic possibilities, and more as they relate to novel psychedelic drugs. Blended with a generous dose of autobiography and descriptions of lived experiences, these books, published in 1990 and 1997, respectively, were among the first books on these topics to enter wide circulation. Both “PiHKAL” and “TiHKAL” are partly available for free on Erowid. 


3. I Feel Love: MDMA and the Quest for Connection in a Fractured World by Rachel Nuwer

I Feel Love: MDMA and the Quest for Connection in a Fractured World: Nuwer, Rachel 9781635579574

This recently published book explores the therapeutic potentials of MDMA, also known as “molly” or “ecstasy.” In it, Nuwer examines the social, therapeutic, and scientific dimensions of MDMA, challenging preconceived notions about the drug and providing hopeful information about how it could help heal individuals and communities. 


4. The Rose Of Paracelsus: On Secrets & Sacraments by William Leonard Pickard

The Rose Of Paracelsus: On Secrets & Sacraments: Pickard, William Leonard 9780692509005

Billed as a “psychedelic autobiography” of an LSD chemist serving two consecutive life sentences in a maximum-security federal prison, this remarkable book was handwritten over the course of four years before its publication in 2015. In it, Pickard discusses how psychedelics impact culture and cognition and recounts interviews and lived experiences on various related topics. The author was granted compassionate release in 2020


5. How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence by Michael Pollan

How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us  About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence: Pollan, Michael 9781594204227

This book by popular author Michael Pollan helped to bring the science and therapy of psychedelics to a broader audience. Since its publication, it has risen to #1 on the New York Times Bestseller List and has been made into a documentary series on Netflix. In his signature style, the author takes a deep dive into the research surrounding psychedelics and the therapeutic potential they hold in countless applications — and, as part of his research, he discusses his own journeys with these mind-opening substances as well.


6. Good Chemistry: The Science of Connection, from Soul to Psychedelics by Julie Holland, MD

Good Chemistry: The Science of Connection, from Soul to Psychedelics Holland, Julie 9780062862884

This book, written by a psychiatrist and psychedelic researcher, explores a common thread in psychedelic writing: how these substances can help us become more connected to ourselves, others, and the world around us. Throughout the book, Holland discusses the “science of connection” and what can help individuals and communities tap back into this power — including psychedelic therapy. 


Psychedelia Books and Cannabis Reads to Elevate Your Summer Reading List

These books provide a great jumping-off point for your foray into cannabis and psychedelic reading. Countless authors and organizations are writing impactful works on every facet of these topics. This August, NisonCo hopes you can kick up your feet, open a good book (or queue up an audiobook for our podcast lovers), and submerge yourself in some fascinating cannabis and psychedelia writing. Happy reading!

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