The Pot Book is a not-for-profit project, with all proceeds from book sales funding research into the therapeutic uses of cannabis and cannabinoid-based medicines. If you'd like to donate to the Holland Fund for Therapeutic Cannabinoid Research, please click here.
The Pot Book contains the work of over fifty contributors, primarily MDs and PhDs, each writing (or being interviewed) about their areas of expertise.
After three years of putting this book together, I'm convinced that cannabis can be re-introduced to physicians and patients as the multifaceted medicine it once was. I think we will see in the next decade or so an explosion of research into the therapeutic use of cannabinoids as medications.
Exploring the role of cannabis in medicine, politics, history, and society, The Pot Book offers a compendium of the most up-to-date information and scientific research on marijuana from leading experts. The Pot Book also examines the risks associated with cannabis use, and puts them in the context of potential benefits.
Before pot was illegal, it was a medicine used for thousands of years to treat everything from muscle spasms to insomnia. Cannabis has powerful anti-inflammatory activity, it can act as a free-radical scavenger, and most importantly, cannabis has anti-cancer properties. Cannabinoids can kill cancer cells by apoptosis (triggering programmed cell death) while sparing healthy cells, and can also prevent tumor blood supplies from forming, which is called angiogenesis.
Cannabinoids also have a pro-metabolic effect, meaning they may be helpful in stopping the progression of diabetes (partially through its anti-inflammatory action on the cells of the pancreas), as well as helping to normalize blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
Cannabis is a medicine that can slow the progression of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries, the cause of many heart attacks and strokes) and can modify autoimmune diseases including arthritis, Crohn's disease, and Multiple Sclerosis. (Cannabis doesn't just relax the spasming muscles and bladders of MS patients; it actually seems to modify the course of illness and may slow neurodegeneration through its neuroprotective effect.) The United States has taken out a patent on the use of Cannabis as a neuro-protectant, though they continue to keep the plant in Schedule I, reserved for drugs with the highest potential for abuse and no medicinal use. Groups of physicians and nurses including the American Medical Association have requested a review of this scheduling.
There are other important uses of this plant. Cannabis seeds are a complete vegetarian protein and can be used as food for people, livestock, and birds. Hempseed oil not only provides the exact ratio of essential fatty acids our bodies need, but it can also be used as a fuel. Hempseed oil is a renewable fuel source, which could decrease our reliance on foreign oil. Hemp (the non-psychoactive stalk of the cannabis plant) can make many consumer goods including paper (decreasing deforestation that complicates our climate maintenance) rope, canvas, and clothing more absorbent than cotton. Importantly, with compostable cellulose, hemp can replace our current plastic bag and Styrofoam "plastic vortex"/landfill crisis.
Cannabis was made illegal in 1937, soon after alcohol prohibition was repealed. We are currently imprisoning more people than any other country on the planet, with nearly half of our prisoners serving time for drug offenses. New York City, where I practice medicine, arrests more people for marijuana offenses than any other city in the US. Although Caucasians constitute the majority of pot smokers, African-Americans and Latinos experience a disproportionate number of marijuana-related arrests.
Renewable bio-fuel, food, clothing, paper, and medicine--and America can't have any of it. Because it makes us laugh. As a psychiatrist, I have to tell you: This is insanity.