Book Review: “Cannabis: A Big Sisters’ Guide” Brings Readers Back to Basics

By Samantha Wahl


When author Mary Meade was diagnosed with late-stage cancer, she turned to cannabis to control symptoms of discomfort and pain. A new user, she had to start from the ground up, learning about cannabis from her sister, Anna May.

Anna May and Mary Meade’s Cannabis: A Big Sisters’ Guide is a handy manual for those who want to learn the fundamentals of cannabis and its medicinal benefits. Amidst a woven reflection of the Meade’s personal explorations, it invites readers along their inaugural cannabis journeys. It’s a great read for novice or long-time users who want to brush up on their understanding of the plant’s parts. 

It Provides Scientific Illumination

Within the modern annex of cannabis education, many cannabis users don’t know what they’re consuming, or why it’s affective.

The Meades illustrate the roots of the human endocannabinoid system and how it receives cannabinoids like THC, CBD, and CBN. They also explain how these molecules react to heat, and provide helpful images to demonstrate each molecule’s physical and psychological effects.

It Has How-To’s

Even for first-timers, this guide is a good source of directive advice. There are photo instructions on rolling joints, bowl and bong break downs, and an explanation of what vaporizers actually do. There’s also a chapter on dispensary shopping aid. Plus, friendly footnotes appear on each page to further explain definitions. Some offer historical facts, or hints for healthy consumption. Such tidbits provide each section with aesthetically charming detail, and pull readers deeper into cannabis culture.

It Combines Substance with Personality

Interlaced between each section are interviews from other women throughout the industry. They discuss their own cannabis awakenings; how use can benefit others; and helpful tips to consider when consuming.

Narrative inclusion moves each passage from formal to relatable. In her introduction, Anna notes the importance of having a “cannabis coach,” a more intimate guide to the often unfamiliar realm of the weed world. Anecdotes from real women serve as a communal bond of sisterhood, representing the fact that cannabis is for everyone, and that nobody has to explore it alone. 

This book succeeds in its comprehensive language and engaging testimonials. However, for expert cannabis consumers, there are certainly more advanced texts out there. For example, the how-to’s of smoking could come across as being elementary. But, for newbies interested in learning how to consume and why; this is an accessible, informative key to the basics.

It’s short (around 80 pages), concise, and could make for an easy beach read. Cannabis: A Big Sister’s Guide is an approachable investigation of how cannabis can help heal, and how women can work together to teach and promote its properties. 

Afterall, having a stronger grasp of what cannabis is can lead users to a greater role in the cannabis community. 

Emerald contributor since September 2019


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