'Marijuana Potency' and 'The Great Book of Hashish'

I have a been marijuana bibliophile for over 25 years. 'Marijuana Potency' by Michael Starks and 'The Great Book of Hashish' were great library additions.

'Marijuana Potency' and 'The Great Book of Hashish'

Everyone fashions themselves a weed aficionado these days. I'm like "Dude, enough. We can all go to Leafly." But I personally like to keep it old school and collect my cannabis culture books. This has the added benefit of increasing my book shelves' impressiveness. Seriously, at any given moment, there are so many people borrowing my weed books that I have had to start making people sign them out. I keep a spiral notebook on top of the case. Even tied a pencil to the spiral binding. Very geeky vibe. I have started collecting books again and recently found these two books in a used book shop in Portland. I am a marijuana bibliophile. Marijuana Potency and The Great Book of Hashish are my most recent weed book finds.

Marijuana Potency by Michael Starks

Here is a timeless little tome that deserves revisiting. Learn how to produce weed that gets one higher faster and cheaper with every crop.

A reader following the suggested techniques, observing the success of experiments neatly catalogued throughout, cannot help but produce classier weed. A reader who can actually remember anything from his biology and chemistry courses will be cheered by the elaborate appendix, with chemical hints, a discussion of potency and legality and a formularized breakdown of syntheses of THC and their precursors, whatever that means.

Let us say that high school chemistry was a complete blind alley for you. Let us say that you, for example, like me, took the basic course two and a half times before the distraught instructor threw up her hands and suggested a career in car-rental clerking. You will still learn a lot here, because Marijuana Potency is also full of history and fascinating reference material. There are handsome photo essays on things like "Hashmaking in Mexico" and other exotica.

A great deal of highly interesting research has gone into this book, which avoids the twin curses of most weed works by being neither boring nor obscure. Starks deserves special mention for his writing style, which is appealing throughout and unfailingly informative. There is real romance in the chapters on faraway dope mills, and any writer who can make that tired smuggling scene fresh again is worth his weight in resinous dawamesk.

The Great Book of Hashish by Laurence Cherniak

Expensive, yes, but you'd pay much more for the smoke Laurence Cherniak specializes in photographing, describing, chronicling, analyzing, and following from the tender moment of sowing to its apotheosis in a cloud of fume as white as the top of the Matterhorn. How does he make "shit" look so good? Does he retouch, refinish, and airbrush his photographs, like they do on every weed shot you see online? How come Cherniak, not you and not I, has such voluminous access to the most gorgeous ossified cannabis resin in the world? And how does he turn it into photographs that make Ansel Adams' landscapes look like the help wanted section of the New York Times?

With meticulous research ranging over three continents (unless, of course, he made it all up), Cherniak discovered and reveals here a completely unique collection of hashish collecting and processing secrets, exotic hashish lands and cultures, huge farms and gardens, hand and machine pressing, how to prevent mold, how to improve potency, surviving the "hashish trail," evaluating grades of quality, smoking methods, folklore, intriguing portraits, and, of course, a dazzling selection of the world's finest hashish in hundreds of color photographs. Cherniak’s Kodachrome visions of Himalayan hashish slabs, Afghani "spaghetti sticks," 400 grams of "Bombay Black," rare crumbly Jamaican hashish, Lebanese blond, Lebanese red, Nepalese finger clusters, and even some crummy stale old hash he happened to have a few shots of make the mouth water, or, more synaesthetically speaking, go dry as dust with vicarious hemp intoxication. His book was once high on the best sellers list of the Illiterate Nepalese Peasant Tribunes, and was the talk of Kabul.

This reader is reminded of Herman Melville's Moby Dick, its practical handbook on 19th century whaling techniques interwoven with a sea saga as bold as any ever told. A hundred years from now, will Japanese fishing fleets be exterminating the endangered marijuana plant? Whatever the future may bring, Laurence Cherniak has preserved forever an ancient way of life as old as the bag lady in the lobby of the Chelsea Hotel, and far more fragrant. Truly, this is a book that will get you through the times of no dope better than, say, Little Dorrit or The Wit of Friedrich von Hayek. Buy two copies today.


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