The Pot Book: A Complete Guide to Cannabis

The Pot Book: A Complete Guide to Cannabis

by Julie Holland M.D. (Editor)


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781594773686
Publisher: Inner Traditions/Bear & Company
Publication date: 09/23/2010
Edition description: Original
Pages: 576
Sales rank: 160,208
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Julie Holland, M.D., is a psychiatrist who specializes in psychopharmacology and a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry at NYU School of Medicine. An expert on street drugs and intoxication states, she was the attending psychiatrist in the Psych ER at Bellevue Hospital from 1996 to 2005 and regularly appears on the Today Show. The editor of Ecstasy: The Complete Guide and the author of the bestselling Weekends at Bellevue, she lives in the Hudson Valley.

Read an Excerpt

The Pot Book

A Complete Guide to the Risks and Benefits of Cannabis

Park Street Press

ISBN: 9781594773686

Chapter 32
Co-Evolution with Cannabis

An Interview with Michael Pollan

Michael Pollan is the author of In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto, winner of the James Beard Award, and The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals (2006), which was named one of the ten best books of the year by both the New York Times and the Washington Post. A contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine, Pollan is the recipient of numerous journalistic awards, including the James Beard Award for best magazine series in 2003 and the Reuters-I.U.C.N. 2000 Global Award for Environmental Journalism. Newsweek named Pollan one of the top-ten new thought leaders of the decade.

Julie Holland: The idea that we co-evolved with cannabis for 10,000 years is fascinating. You’ve written about cannabis helping you forget, as sort of a helpful strategy or adaptation, and there’s a line in Botany of Desire about forgetting as a prerequisite to human happiness and mental health.

Michael Pollan: We understand the evolutionary utility of memory, but we don’t often think about the utility of forgetting. It’s almost as important to be able to forget as it is to remember. Forgetting, in this case, is not just a fading of a memory, but an active process for editing, because we take in far more information than it would be useful to retain. There’s just so much detail in our visual field (not to mention the other senses) at any given moment that a lot of what our brain is doing is separating out and figuring out what is worth remembering, what can be shucked, and what should just be remembered for a little while and then let go of.

JH: There’s no doubt that short-term, working memory is temporarily diminished when somebody gets high. But what I think is enjoyable to people is this idea of dehabituation, that they’re seeing things with a fresh eye. Memory is the enemy of wonder. When people get high, everything is new and intense because of this forgetting, because it’s dehabituated.

MP: It’s a childlike way of looking at the world; Wordsworth’s child. He sees everything for the first time, and of course, to see things for the first time you have to have forgotten that you’ve seen them before. So forgetting is very important to the experience of awe or wonder.

JH: That sort of perception provides breaks in your mental habits, the power to alter mental constructs and offers new ways of looking at things, so drugs can then function as, you use the phrase, “cultural mutagens.”

: What I’m speaking of there is, looking at the whole history of drugs and culture, whether you’re talking about music, or art, or writing, there’s this very rich tradition of artists who have availed themselves of various drugs and have attributed great insight or creativity to their experience with those drugs. And one of the mechanisms that might explain this is that it’s shifting of ordinary perception, allowing you to see things from a new perspective and that is kind of mutagenic.

JH: Yes, I agree. Interesting . . . I feel like our culture is so separated from nature now, that it’s a big part of our problem. People everywhere seem to be reaching out, wanting more--more meaning and searching for spirituality, though half the time we settle for materialism or consumerism. What do you think that we can do to reconnect more with nature? Do you see plant-based medicines having an effect on that?

MP: I think they do. We have this inbred idea of nature and culture and mind and body standing on opposite sides of the big divide. One of the things that’s really striking to me about all plant mood-changing substances is that they refute this idea. If things out in the natural world could change the content of your thoughts, what would it mean that you have viewed matter on one hand and this thing called spirit on the other? It really suggests that the categories are messier and more intertwined than we’d like to think. There’s a whole tradition in the West of suppressing plant-based drugs of one kind or another, and also plant-based knowledge. That’s what the story of the Garden of Eden is all about. It’s not the content of the knowledge that Eve got in the garden; it was the fact that she got any knowledge from a plant. What was a big part of earlier religions, which often had a drug component to them, was that there was wisdom in nature, and that was the way it came to you. That was a very threatening idea to monotheism, which wanted to have this one God up in the sky, and wanted to take our eyes off nature as a place where we might find wisdom and comfort. The whole Judeo-Christian tradition has a history of a strong anti-nature component to it. Nature is to be subdued, nature is what we are different from: we distinguish ourselves from animals. It’s always about inserting that distance between us and the other animals, us and the trees, because people were worshipping trees before. So, to the extent that you wanted to erect this new kind of God, you had to reject nature and natural experiences of all different kinds. So I do think there is the potential to return to this appreciation of the fact that our consciousnesses can be affected by the plant world, not to mention the fungal world.

JH: I love the idea of a garden being a place of sacraments. In Botany of Desire you wrote, “Letting nature have her way with us now and again brings our upward gaze back down to earth.” This idea of nature as teacher and as healer . . . a plant as medicine is so basic to our culture, but we’ve gotten away from that to a large extent.

: Indeed. And it’s been our great loss.


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Table of Contents

Foreword Lester Grinspoon xi

Introduction 1

Part 1 An Overview of Cannabis

Introduction to Part One 6

1 The Subjective Effects of Cannabis Matthew G. Kirkpatrick Carl L. Hart 9

2 Early/Ancient History Chris Bennett 17

3 Recent History David Malmo-Levine 27

4 The Botany of Cannabis Lyle E. Craker Zoë Gardner 35

5 Cannabis Grow Revolution Danny Danko 44

6 The Endocannabinoid System Gregory L. Gerdeman Jason B. Schechter 52

7 Anandamide and More Raphael Mechoulam Lumír Hanuš 63

8 Cannabis Laws in the United States Allen St. Pierre 73

9 On Ending Prohibition Ethan Nadelmann, J.D. 130

Part 2 Risks of Use and Harm Reduction

Introduction to Part Two 136

10 Medical Risks and Toxicology William Holubek 141

11 Pulmonary Harm and Vaporizers Mitch Earleywine 153

12 Cannabis and Cognition Caroline B. Marvin Carl L. Hart 161

13 Mental Health Risks Associated with Cannabis Use Cheryl Corcoran 178

14 How Real Is the Risk of Addiction? Ryan Vandrey Margaret Haney 187

15 Driving Under the Influence Paul Armentano 196

16 Arrest Statistics and Racism Harry G. Levine 202

17 Getting Busted Is Not So Funny: An Interview with Tommy Chong Julie Holland 207

18 The Collateral Consequences of Cannabis Convictions Richard Glen Boire 219

19 Harm Reduction Psychotherapy Andrew Tatarsky 223

Part 3 The Clinical Use of Cannabis

Introduction to Part Three 242

20 The Clinical Applications of Medical Marijuana: An Interview with Andrew Weil, M.D. Julie Holland 247

21 Medical Marijuana Research: An Interview with Donald Abrams, M.D. Julie Holland 252

22 MAPS and the Federal Obstruction of Medical Marijuana Research Rick Doblin 261

23 The Government's Pot Farm: An Interview with Mahmoud A. ElSohly, Ph.D. Julie Holland 266

24 Cannabinoids and Psychiatry Julie Holland 282

25 Cannabinoids and Neuroprotection Sunil K. Aggarwal Gregory T. Carter 295

26 Cannabis and HIV/AIDS Mark A. Ware Lynne Belle-Isle 311

27 Multiple Sclerosis and Spasticity Denis J. Petro 318

28 Pain Management Mark S. Wallace Ben Platt 328

29 Sativex William Notcutt 336

Part 4 Cannabis Culture

Introduction to Part Four 344

30 What to Tell the Children Marsha Rosenbaum 349

31 Pot, Parenting, and Outing Myself Neal Pollack 361

32 Cannabis: Stealth Goddess Doug Rushkoff 366

33 Gardener's Rights, Forgetting, and Co-Evolution An Interview with Michael Pollan Julie Holland 373

34 Cannabis, Business, and Philanthropy: An Interview with Peter Lewis Julie Holland 383

35 Thots on Pot Jeremy Wolff 387

Part 5 Steps in the Right Direction

Introduction to Part Five 396

36 Patients Out of Time: An Interview with Al Byrne, L.CDR. (retired), Mary Lynn Mathre, R.N., C.A.R.N. Julie Holland 399

37 Prescribing Cannabis in California Jeffrey Hergenrather 416

38 Canadian Compassion Clubs N. Rielle Capler 432

39 Dutch Drug Policy Mario Lap 441

40 A Cost-Benefit Analysis of Legalizing Marijuana Jeffrey Miron 447

41 The Marijuana Policy Project Bruce Mirken 454

42 The ACLU and Cannabis Drug Policy: An Interview with Graham Boyd, J.D. Julie Holland 462

Resources 473

References 483

Contributors 534

Index 544

What People are Saying About This

Steven Hager

“The most-up-to-date and reliable source of information on the exploding frontiers of cannabis science written by the top experts in the field. I highly recommend this book.”

Steve Bloom

“Dr. Julie Holland has assembled a virtual dream team of cannabis experts for this marijuana magnum opus.”

John Dioso

The Pot Book traces the secret history of marijuana, examines the disconnect between seventy years of prohibition and the American public’s personal attitudes toward pot, and offers a clear-eyed look at all the uses of cannabis, including the growing list of its widespread medicinal benefits. Consulting with the top experts in the field, Dr. Julie Holland presents the current science and makes a compelling case for the need for further research, unencumbered by anti-drug hysteria, as well as an immediate change to our nation’s puritanical drug laws.”

Michael Backes

"As cannabis legalization and decriminalization approaches its tipping point in the US, it's refreshing that Dr. Julie Holland has published, The Pot Book, the most comprehensive overview available of cannabis, its medical uses and societal ramifications. What makes The Pot Book truly significant is the depth of its coverage and the breath of its fifty contributors.

Alex and Allyson Grey

“Dr. Holland’s brilliant compendium of marijuana facts and cultural insights from the best medical minds and scientific researchers, while acknowledging the potential for abuse, makes a compelling case for cannabis as the most ancient, benign, and uplifting inebriant/sacrament/medicine humanity has ever known. Just say Know.”

Richard Skaff

"With controversy heating up, and propositions to legalize marijuana appearing all over the nation, a book which educates, dispels myths, and elucidates the issues associated with this plant could not be more timely. . . Organized in five section, the book offers important facts and expert opinions regarding marijuana's physiological, neurochemical, and psychological effects; its potential for medicinal uses; and its role in creativity, business, and spirituality . . . Throughout the book, research-based material is enhanced by interviews and stories, and the contributors' accounts of their personal experiences add a flavor of authenticity. The Pot Book will appeal to a wide audience, and serves as a thorough reference for educators, clinicians, and families, as well as a training consultation manual. This volume makes an excellent transducer to help transform the failing war on marijuana into something more positive and enriching.

Tommy Chong

“Are you a lover or hater of the pot world? In either case this book is for you, if you want to be enlightened. I knew the book was a winner as soon as I held it and felt the good vibrations. Read it and tell your friends.”

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