I had the pleasure of having a chat with author David Bienenstock recently after the release of his instant classic book How to Smoke Pot (Properly): A Highbrow Guide to Getting High (2016, Plume Books). Sure, there are other general guides to cannabis out there, but it is Bienenstock’s voice and experience that really sets this one apart. This is someone who has been in the weed scene for decades and has lived through the changes and known the major players every step of the way. Readers are treated to an insider view, and Bienenstock never loses sight of the rich culture and history of oppression and activism that are essential to truly understanding this incredible plant and those who have struggled to legitimize it.
Of course you will also find lots of practical information: how cannabis is grown, stoner etiquette, travel, how to use it and how to put it to its best use. But even when giving how-to advice, Bienenstock incorporates stoner lingo and insider glimpses to a movement and an industry that most people never get to encounter.
My favorite section is entitled “Keep Pot Weird,” a philosophy that’s woven throughout the entire marijuana guidebook, but especially highlighted here. Bienenstock focuses on the many ways, no matter who you are or what your current circumstances, that cannabis can enhance your life and encourage real and meaningful memories and interactions with the people you love and the world at large. Society in general spends too much time having virtual interactions while real life passes by. One of marijuana’s best attributes is its ability to help people find joy in life. So read the interview below, order the book, and then go out follow its advice to use cannabis to enhance the quality of your life!
Conversation with author David Bienenstock of How to Smoke Pot (Properly):
What is your best advice for someone about to start their second dance with Mary Jane, in others the people who used it in their youth, stopped, and now are coming back to cannabis as empty nesters and retirees?
Take it slowly. In many cases, cannabis is more potent than most of what was around a few decades ago. It might be stronger and you might react differently to it than you did in your youth. Especially heed this advice with edibles as there is no easier way to get too much. Read the labels and go with a very low dose on edibles until you gain some experience. Five mg is good place to start. You can always eat more but you can’t eat less.
Make sure you find a good source too. In a legal state that is easy, but no matter where you live, finding good quality is important.
Do you think the strains today are actually stronger than when our readers used to use marijuana, or is there just more of the good stuff around?
Both, and that’s a good thing as long as you are aware of it and consume appropriately. But if you can get the same effect from ingesting less, that is a good thing.
Often in today’s media the topic of marijuana is treated as if the war has been won and there’s nothing left to do but party, but we know this isn’t true. What can the older generation do to help insure progress continues?
All along we have been we been encouraging younger voters to talk to their parents and grandparents as older people are traditionally a tough voting block. For older folks the reverse is true, talk to your kids and grandkids and make sure they are educated and getting out to vote.
Why do you think cannabis is able to cross so many boundaries: socio-economic, age, race, sex, religious, etc. ? In others words there are supporters in all camps, but not so much with detractors.
As humans we are hard-wired to interact with this plant. That’s why, despite the severity and longevity of this oppressive system of prohibition, you see resistance coming from all sides. They may have different reasons for it, but it is so deeply intertwined our bodies and consciousness. That is the key to our movement and our culture — how intertwined we are with this plant.
How do you think your life would be different if you didn’t use cannabis?
I would probably be asshole.
More About David Bienenstock
- David’s Bienenstock’s Website
- David’s Podcast Great Moments in Weed History with Abdullah and Bean
- Follow David’s work as a contributor at Vice.com
- Follow David’s work at High Times