Being a highly discerning and intellectually curious cannabis connoisseur is rewarding, but often frustrating and lonely.
Since moving to California, I have spent enough time wine tasting to become something of an oenophile. I enjoy expanding and developing my palate, exploring new varietals and regions, visiting vineyards, playing with pairings, and sharing these experiences with family and friends. I have also had the pleasure of indulging a burgeoning enthusiasm for coffee — specifically, slow drip coffee and espresso drinks from Four Barrel, Sightglass, Blue Bottle, and Ritual Roasters. I have similar penchants for fancy/local/artisan cheese, chocolate, jam, caramels, honey, soap, cashmere…
But above all, I prefer cannabis, and I am passionately eager to deepen my understanding of the plant and its effects, ideally by reading interesting, informative writing by someone who is willing to be stringent about grammar and has an appreciation for production value. Unfortunately for me and any other would-be cannabis connoisseurs, that sort of content is incredibly difficult to come by, despite the accumulated quantity of research and commentary on the subject.
So I was thrilled to get my hands on a pre-publication galley of Mark Haskell Smith’s Heart of Dankness, a nonfiction account of the author’s exploration of the world’s “dankest” cannabis, from the Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam, to dispensaries in Los Angeles and Berkeley, to the Sierra Nevada mountains, and back to Amsterdam. He seeks out the best growers and breeders, visits coffeeshops and seed companies, asking everyone he meets what dankness means to them.
(I attempted to define dankness myself, for the now-defunct Pot Couture: “Potency, quality, bag appeal, freshness, and aroma. By potency, I mean that the cannabis has a high THC and possibly CBD content. Quality means a good strain, cultivated with care. Buds with bag appeal are pretty and sparkly and sticky with trichomes, or resin glands. Dank buds ought to be fresh and moist, rather than old and dry. And I would expect a strain described as dank to have an intense, permeating aroma.”)
Smith is a sharp and engaging storyteller, weaving a compelling narrative packed with intriguing new facts and discoveries to ponder. I don’t think I have ever read a nonfiction book from cover to cover without putting it down before, but I was utterly fascinated by each and every page of Heart of Dankness. I hardly dared hope that any book could satisfy my desire for something skillfully composed that would delve beyond what I already knew about cannabis, but Heart of Dankness absolutely did.
If you’re considering buying this book, I emphatically suggest that you go for it. And if you pre-order before the April 3rd release date and send a copy of your receipt to email@example.com, Broadway Books will throw in some free rolling papers and a signed bookplate, plus you’ll be entered to win a Cannabible boxed set. (Details here.)