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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on April 16, 2012
I just received my copy of Heart of Dankness and I've devoured it. You have to read this book if you want to understand the future of medical and recreational cannabis. Heart of Dankness is much more than a stoners explorations and reflections about finding great pot, its the story about our evolving understanding of the real medical and aesthetic value of cannabis. Personally I liked Chapter 14 the best, the "He blinded me with Science" chapter that features the Cornerstone Research Collective. In the last paragraph of that chapter, Michael Backes, CRC's then-budtender, refers to the Holy Grail of pot as having "..an intensely clear effect. Just Perfect. You have the high-functioning buzz that took the edge off everything and a lingering tickle of joy. Its like a pre-pschedelic tickle. That's what I'm looking for, and I'll find it."...which he plans to do with a mix of science and Mother Terese like devotion to the "cause."...and I hope learn about it when he does find it ;-) BUY THIS BOOK...you'll be glad you did!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on June 25, 2012
Heart of Dankness is up there with the best of the best of non-fiction. It's the kind of writing that grips you even if you start out with no interest in the topic (think Jon Krakauer on fundamentalist Mormons or Lauren Hillenbrand on horses). Right up front, I will admit that I have a bias - Mark Haskell Smith is a mentor of mine, and as a writer, I buy the books of people I know out of solidarity. But I'll also admit that I planned to drag my feet on reading this one (sorry Mark) because I have no inherent interest in using or reading about marijuana. I expected Heart of Dankness to be a niche book for stoners, but it turned out to be one of the best examples of travel writing that I've read in years.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on July 20, 2013
This book was full of useful information, and it will give readers a good understanding of the cannabis culture from the perspective of the people cultivating it for profit and glory. It gave me insight into the future of cannabis cultivation. The author investigates the different cannabis grow methods by spending time with cultivators that are from different walks of life and in different areas of the world, from the scientists to the family business farmers that have been growing for generations. He visits with people that have a similar goal and different approaches. It is written with much humor, and it might be my age, but I related well to all of it and got the education of the marijuana seed industry that I didn't have access to before. I really also appreciated the first hand investigation, and no hearsay. I am still searching for the perfect "dank' for me. Like Mark, I plan on enjoying the journey.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 19, 2012
Mark Haskell Smith, a writer for the Los Angeles Times, offers a very expansive look into the world of cannabis, if from the perspective of an uniformed observer. The book takes place in a number of major global cities, examining in each the reaction of weed connoisseurs and consumers to the gray-area political and social treatment of their "medicine" of choice. Though a lot of fascinating information is packed fairly efficiently into the span of a few hundred pages, for me, there were two limitations that dropped this potential five-star book to four stars - the first being, as mentioned earlier, that Smith drops himself into the marijuana world without much prior knowledge of the biology or culture of weed. Though perhaps to most readers this is a good thing as they are in his very position and it allows him to explain basic concepts that perhaps a more experienced smoker might not think to ponder or explain, the book offers less and less to those with more knowledge of the subject. The second point is that the very skills that I'm sure make Smith a skilled journalist - his ability to summarize a person's most defining features in a one to two sentence epithetical statement - lend strength to his introductions to the many characters we meet on his journey, but ultimately produce a somewhat shallow read due to his inability to dive into the very nature of the people he meets, which prevents us, the readers, from exploring a very interesting question: what drives these people to take up a profession with such a strong stigma built in? On the whole, though, the book offers a rare look into a world about which we would profit to know more. I'd recommend the book to anyone curious about trying, or knowing more about, cannabis.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 2, 2012
But it's really a popular culture anthro study that's actually readable---funny, acutely observant, and an excellent primer on the various cannabis subcultures. More to the point is the author's premise that cannabis shouldn't be a subculture at all. As Haskell Smith explains at length, this plant has been used for medicinal, spiritual, and recreational purposes around the world (marijuana will grow anywhere) as long or longer than the fermented beverages humans hold dear---and not just to "get high" either. Besides its psychoactive properties, marijuana is a vasoconstrictor, a muscle relaxant, and a potent anti-nausea remedy. The U.S. insistence that it is a dangerous drug is a product of 20th century hype which we've inflicted on the rest of the world. As Smith notes, "Nobody objected to ganja until people started smoking it for fun."

Seriously---the plant appears to have a number of medicinal properties but thanks to U.S. drug policy, nobody can research its possibilities without the very real possibility of doing time. Heart of Dankness has a lot to say about United States imperialism in the twenty-first century.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on December 11, 2012
I live in LA and have smoked for 40 years. I have been a Medical MM patient for the last five years after growing my own for 15 years. I went to Amsterdam for four days ten years ago (no, not for the Cup unfortunately) to check out the pot scene for myself. In other words, I have done many of the things he writes about in this book. It all pretty much hit it on the head, even though the quality of any given strain is so subjective it is difficult for me to understand how people can give awards. Last week I ended up going to the GGR dispensary he referenced in the early portion of the book and bought some "zeta", the strain he raves about. It was very good, another indication of the accuracy of the book. So if you are interested in cannabis and the entire subculture that surrounds it, then this book is for you.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on March 2, 2013
I originally bought Heart of Dankness because I know Mark Haskell Smith and I like him. But I'm so glad that I read it, because it's a really fascinating look at a world I hadn't seen before, as well as an entertaining exploration of places I haven't been. I'm also obsessed with plants in general and it was super interesting for the wannabe botanist in me. Plus ever since I read it I've been thinking about the "dankness" of various things I encounter, which is worth the read alone.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A great tour of the world of cannabis, from genetics to world championship contests to under-the-radar growers, this book is a must for all those interested. By turns informative, funny and even poetic, the author tells you everything you ever wanted to know about the world's most underground plant.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on September 22, 2013
This story was everything a good story should be: funny, outrageous, intelligent, and charming with tendrils of dank emotions twirling throughout. Informative in an approachable way, a quick read that left me wanting more. So I called my guy, but unsurprisingly, tangerine dream is hard to come by..
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 9, 2012
Smart, enjoyable read on the cannabis culture, the cannabis cup in Amsterdam and some cool characters from the west coast. One of my favorite quotes from the book, "So when I head out into the world for some 'nature,' my survival kit is usually just a swimming suit, a credit card, and a corkscrew."
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