The new book, Happy Buds: Marijuana for Any Occasion, from Piedmont's Quick American Publishing is daring to tackle some really tough questions, such as: "What weed should I smoke while hiking?"
Available at Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, and finer head shops, Happy Buds pairs particular strains of chronic with suggested activities: Querkle with haute cuisine, Dancehall with socializing, and maybe some Strawberry Haze with sex.
Happy Buds contributor Anna Foster said that while the weed industry is exploding nationwide, here in the Bay Area, cannabis aficionados face a mind-boggling array of choices that's only getting more complex. "It can be overwhelming," she said. "The idea behind the book has always been, 'I'm gonna do this, what would be the best thing for me to smoke?'"
Ganja-growing celebrity Ed Rosenthal came up with the concept for the book, and it pulls info from volumes one through four of his series Big Book of Buds. At a breezy 168-pages, Happy Buds is a full-color glossy paperback chock full of photos.
Contributor Mamakind, who has a sex column in Skunk Magazine, and Foster's own team of female stoners took about a year to complete the project. The team relied on overseas seed companies and seed banks for information on certain strains and their effects, she said. "Of course, we had to test," she added. "We tested what we could get our hands on."
Neophytes might assume all marijuana is roughly the same. But those with even a modicum of experience will begin to notice differences in effect, as well as taste, smell, and look. And those differences can be huge, depending on what you're doing while smoking.
Cannabis is classified into two loose groups: "indicas," which originated in the mountains of north India and are short and bushy, with heavy body effects; and taller, rangier "sativas," which stem from wild North American plants, and tend to have more cerebral effects. Hybrids combine elements of both.
The ancient herbal remedy has become a globalized industry worth tens of billions of dollars a year. Such a huge market also creates an incentive to craft, stabilize, promote, and protect "brands" of pot, or what we call "strains." Strains are remarkably stable and distinctive: Experienced dispensary cannabis buyers can spot an OG Kush from a Blue Dream from across the room.
While medical cannabis can treat pain, muscle spasms, depression, anxiety, and a host of other symptoms, weed also can be good for dancing, playing, chillin', snuggling, socializing, tedium, and meditation, Foster noted.
Happy Buds dives deep into some of the more exotic entries in strain lore. There's stimulating Jock Horror and spacey Titan's Haze — perfect for listening to stoner rock band Kyuss. Polar Light, meanwhile, goes well with arts and crafts, while surfers prefer Speed Queen. Pineapple Punch and Sputnik also go well with the great outdoors, Foster noted.
"People like to do other things besides sit around smoking pot and watching TV," she noted. "They're hiking, they're meditating, they're working and focusing on being creative," she said. "I think the book kind of breaks the barrier a little bit."
Happy Buds isn't here to be a D.A.R.E. program, said Foster, so it goes easy on the downsides of pot. "This book is fun, you can compare it to a pot puzzle book," she said. "This is just the real deal. It's what people like to do."
No one can overdose on cannabis, and only about 9 percent of cannabis users report a problem stopping at least once in their lives, surveys have shown. That makes it far less addictive than alcohol or cigarettes, and cannabis withdrawal symptoms are medically benign. Cannabis also is not associated with lung cancer, and cannabinoids have anti-tumor effects in the lab.
Happy Buds tells readers to abstain from unsafe use while behind the wheel or on the job, but its proscriptions are best evidenced in the chapter on road trips. One tip includes avoiding speeding or broken taillights. "Break only one law at a time," Happy Buds wisely advises.
"First of all, anything done in excess can be harmful; people can be addicted to sugar," Foster noted. "Be mindful of what you do, and when you do it."
People who want more medical information can read Quick Publishing's Marijuana Medical Handbook, Foster said, and Legalization Nation also likes The Pot Book from 2010.
Next up for Rosenthal's little book imprint: the 2012 Big Book of Buds calendar, and the company's first "straight" gardening book. Of course, Foster's already begun taking notes for Happy Buds 2.
Seeds & Stems
The San Jose City Council may have kicked a sleeping dragon this fall when it banned medical cannabis dispensaries. Last week the council approved a plan to shut down all clubs by October 27. In response, about fifty dispensaries plan to stop the ordinance with a referendum. Matthew Witemyre, co-chair of the Citizen's Coalition for Patient Care, said his organization is using professional signature gatherers to collect 45,000 signatures in 30 days at $3 per signature.
Doing so will stop the ordinance, and force the city to repeal it or hold a special election. After that, the group plans to create acceptable legislation through an initiative, as well as influence the 2012 city council elections. San Jose operators are unifying like never before, Witemyre said.
"I've never seen such focus or determination," he said. "I think the city council and the mayor are going to be amazed at the response."