Book Reviews

Michael Backes, Cannabis Pharmacy

Novice Rating: ★★★★★ (5 stars) - If you are thinking about exploring Medical Cannabis/Marijuana, this is the best primer available.

Veteran Rating: ★★★ (3 stars) - Veterans of the MMJ world will know most of the information here, but the clear references will be very useful.

I have been seeing this book reviewed and attached to many of the other books I’ve read.

Michael Backes is referenced by Jeff Ditchfield and Mel Thomas in their latest book.

After reading Cannabis Pharmacy, I have some trepidation in writing a review.  While the other books I have reviewed are about cannabis botany and cultivation, this is specifically a review on a book recommending strains and treatments for a wide range of ailments.  I am NOT a doctor nor licensed medical professional and cannot diagnose these medical issues.  However, my close interactions with underground medical marijuana users allows me to confirm the recommendations of strains for the correlating issue/ailment as effective for eleviation or cure.

Being a 2014 release, this has some of the most up-to-date information about the medicinal applications of cannabis, in spite of the fact that even more information has been released since the final edit of this book.

The book is not cut up into a bunch of chapters, but four loosely defined “Parts”.

In Part 1, you get a conglomeration of cannabis history and biology, but quickly switches up into how cannabinoids work in the body and how they even interact with some prescribed and over-the-counter medications.  A good explanation of terpenes and how they augment the affects of the cannabis in the body is here too.  Possibly the best book dealing with the “adverse effects” of short-term and long-term use, along with a good few paragraphs about “over-medication” or that bad trip.

Part 2 is interesting in its own right.  It is titled, “Using Medical Cannabis”, and goes through all the basics that a newbie would have to figure out on their own.  Short of having an experienced user to guide you, this is practically the next best thing.  Good few pages on contaminants, pesticides, and other adulterants, particularly useful for underground users depending on an unregulated black market for their medicine.

“Varieties of Medical Cannabis”, Part 3 is a complete section on common strains and what they are used for.  If I have a complaint, it is with this section.  Many of the strains mentioned are all old standbys.  With all the creative crosses and private grows, you find many non-name and designer strains being used in the medical cannabis community.  More information about how family/strain genetics inter-relate, crossed with the terpene section, would have been best to allow a nuanced understanding of how that is linked.  You are left to extrapolate everything on your own.

Part 4 is where the major component and value of this book comes in, with the “Medical Uses of Cannabis”.  This is a fairly comprehensive list of varioius ailments and medical conditions that are treated with medicinal cannabis and the corresponding strains good for those specific conditions.  This covers many of the new hot-button studies recently covering anxiety, Alzheimer’s, autism, fibromyalgia, Hep C, MS, Parkinson’s, and PTSD.

If you have a family member that is looking for good science based information on using cannabis medicinally, this is a fantastic primer.

Most of the information is out there on the internet, but you have to put the pieces together.  This is all packaged for you in an easy to read, casual format.

Click on this link to do an ISBN search for this book at independent book sellers at


© mmj-refugee 2015