There’s no shortage of books about cannabis, and the groaning, overstuffed top shelf of my ancient IKEA bookcase speaks to that in... volumes. Grow guides, histories of cannabis, reference sources, cookbooks, cannabis spa guides, how-to-roll-a-joint handbooks—when the Great Cascadia Earthquake hits, I will likely die crushed by a quarter ton of books about weed. A fitting end, that.
But a new book has found a home on my coffee table instead of my bookshelf (whenever it’s not being passed around by friends). Beyond Buds, Next Generation is a phenomenal reference guide for a corner of the cannabis world that’s grown faster and more widespread than anyone could have imagined—concentrates.
If you’re older than 30, your experience with concentrates probably started with hash, whether homemade or smuggled from lands afar, crafted by carefully developed rituals that were passed through generations.
Then came water-extracted hash, or “bubble hash,” so known because its high purity results in it seeming to bubble when lit, and leaving virtually no ash. It seemed we’d reached the apex of concentrates—until dabs.
“Dabs” is a catchall term for concentrates, and also refers to a serving size. (A “dab will do ya,” or do ya in. You wouldn’t ask at a dispensary to “buy a dab.”) There’s an overwhelming array of products under the “dab” umbrella, such as live resin, rosin, wax, shatter, gum, sauce, honey oil, and vape cartridges. You can get high THC or CBD concentrations, with different flavors, smells, and effects.
Navigating the realm of concentrates—what they are, and how they’re made—is something even industry writers struggle with (ahem). I’m not saying I sometimes receive half-baked explanations and definitions from avid, enthusiastic members of the concentrate community, but I’m also not not saying that.
For cannabis information, I want my source to be trusted, and none is more trusted than Ed Rosenthal, who cowrote Beyond Buds with Greg Zeman, an associate editor with Cannabis Now magazine. Rosenthal was the High Times ganja Jedi behind the long-running grow column “Ask Ed,” and he probably did more to educate American cannabis growers for decades than any other author.
Rosenthal’s first crack at Beyond Buds hit shelves in 2014, and this new updated edition is even more impressively written, produced, and printed. In its 300-plus pages are beautiful photographs and clearly explained information, making for an easy read that also serves as a fine reference guide.
Rosenthal and Zeman cover every conceivable type of concentrate, and a range of production techniques from basic to expert levels. A section on cannabis topicals provides recipes for creams and balms designed to support sleep, relief from arthritis, and one specifically for headaches. The targeting of the different effects is impressive and valuable.
Another chapter, covering the types of equipment used to vaporize and smoke concentrates, is in itself a well-designed primer. Dab rigs get their own section, delving into the benefits of quartz glass bangers versus old-school titanium nails. (WTF am I talking about? The book clears it up.)
Speaking of old-school, one chapter describes several ways you can make different types of hash, the original dab. Using simply and inexpensively obtained equipment, hash enthusiasts could transform some homegrown crop into next-level homemade hash. Mids to magic.
This is a desert-island cannabis book, comprehensive but fully accessible. The ample number of photos capture the diversity and beauty in concentrates, and help convey the text’s educational aspects. Novices will feel empowered to try not merely using concentrates but making their own at home, and with confidence.
The updated and improved Beyond Buds provides a valuable service, too: Teaching cannabis consumers how to produce their own medicine and concentrates should be subsidized by Oregon cannabis tax revenue. But because the funding of cannabis education is not happening—yet—this book makes for a great gift for the ganja guy/gal/person in your life.