Letter from the Publisher: On Medical Cannabis

Posted by – April 26, 2017
Categories: Health & Healing

The first time I visited the Harborside Health Center cannabis dispensary in Oakland, CA, I ​​happened to park​ my car​ next to a van​. At first I paid the vehicle little mind, eager to meet with the founder of the dispensary as a potential new author. But as I looked closer, I noticed that the van was a public-transportation service for senior citizens. ​As I watched women with walkers and men with canes make their way across the pavement and into the dispensary to ​buy their medicine​, it struck me that the story of cannabis ​in America ​ha​s​​​​​ truly changed.

​With 26 states passing laws broadly legalizing marijuana in some form and 60% of Americans favoring its legalization, ​there’s no doubt ​a significant ​shift​ ​has occurred. ​Gone are the days when marijuana was seen ​as a recreational hazard, something that ​merely ​made people ​​giggle​ or​ gorge. “This is your brain on drugs” the TV ads told us, and marijuana was locked in the black box of substances that ail society. Meanwhile, the legal use of pharmaceutical drugs skyrocketed, with promotional ads and doctors’ scripts lubricating a growing epidemic of patients either addicted to opioid-based painkillers or grappling with the scores of side effects these “modern drugs” often bring.

Fortunately, due in large part to new scientific research and lobbying from advocates, both medical​ professionals​ and​ ​public​ officials began to widen their perspectives on cannabis, seeing its potential as a healing agent and ​ultimately ​opening doors to access that for decades had been closed. What is available on the other side of that open door has expanded exponentially; it’s not just “pot” anymore: it’s tinctures and balms and lotions and oils; it’s THC-heavy buds, sure, but it’s also non-psychoactive capsules being used to treat everything from epilepsy in children to ​insomnia in middle-aged adults to chronic pain ​in senior citizens.

This is not to say that cannabis is a panacea. Like any medicine, it can be misused, and it is not for everybody. Finding the right strain, dosage, and delivery method takes research, close observation, consultation, and experimentation.

This is where we step in. As a book publisher and educational nonprofit, our mission is to bring necessary information about nontraditional sources of healing and wisdom to the public consciousness. We want to deliver vital and fresh perspectives on medical cannabis to readers, especially in the face of our nation’s exploding opioid epidemic. And so we’ve published books that explore cannabis from a variety of angles, from the historical and cultural importance of marijuana elucidated in Steve DeAngelo’s The Cannabis Manifesto to the new ground being broken in cannabis research, captured in Uwe Blesching’s compendium, The Cannabis Health Index. ​Coming soon is a book focusing exclusively on the healing effects of CBD, the non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in marijuana, and a book that investigates using cannabis for mental-emotional ​conditions​ such as depression and anxiety. We’ve also just launched our first online course, in which students can learn interactively the basics of our human body’s native endocannabinoid system.

Over its 40-year history, North Atlantic Books has always published on the edge, helping usher what was once seen as marginal into public legitimacy. Cannabis today is no different—even though culturally it has entered the mainstream, its nuances as a healing agent are still relatively in the dark. We are ​​honored as ever​ to​ play our part in​ shedding​ ​some ​light.





Tim McKee

Tags: Cannabis

About the Author

Tim came to NAB in 2013 and is honored to serve as publisher. Born in New York City, McKee grew up in Los Angeles and received a BA from Princeton University and an MA in journalism from the University of Missouri. He has worked in the nonprofit sector for his entire career, including serving as the long-time managing editor of The Sun magazine, the grants director for a social-justice foundation in San Francisco, and as a writer for several community-based organizations in California. He has also taught college-level writing and journalism. His book No More Strangers Now: Young Voices from a New South Africa (Dorling Kindersley) was an Honor Book for the Jane Addams Book Award and a Los Angeles Times bestseller. He is happiest when bringing necessary stories to the page.