Cannabis Healing: A Guide to the Therapeutic Use of CBD, THC, and Other Cannabinoids, by Franjo Grotenhermen, M.D.
Park Street Press, 978-1620558317, 240 pages, 2020

Although I am a medical cannabis patient and an avid proponent of the plant’s myriad healing properties, this was my first experience reading a cannabis “guide.” I was drawn to this book because at just 240 pages, it covers an impressive number of topics. Cannabis Healing: A Guide to the Therapeutic Use of CBD, THC, and Other Cannabinoids, by Franjo Grotenhermen, M.D. is a great resource whether you are new to cannabis, a recreational user, or an experienced patient.

Dr. Grotenhermen is a practicing physician in Germany. Currently, he serves as the executive director of the International Association for Cannabinoid Medicines (IACM) and is a board member of the German Association for Medical Cannabis. Per their website, “the IACM declares that it is the right of doctors to be able to discuss the medicinal use of cannabis with their patients.”1

Cannabis Healing is a complete guide, from the history of cannabis, to its medicinal and nutritional benefits, to the specific methods of administering the medicine. Dr. Grotenhermen focuses on the safety of cannabis, noting throughout the book that cannabis has been proven not only to be effective, but also much safer than other medicinal alternatives.

I read Cannabis Healing over the winter holidays (in between baking cookies and family Zoom calls) so I particularly enjoyed how easy it was to read in sections. I already knew the history of cannabis cultivation and therapeutic use, but Dr. Grotenhermen’s 17-page overview in the first chapter was still an interesting “crash course” for me.

While I appreciated learning about the Western countries that pioneered the sale of medicinal cannabis, I do wish there had been significantly more focus on the ancient cultures that first identified the plant’s medicinal and sacred uses. The chapter is called “History of the Therapeutic Uses of Cannabis”; for a history that is thousands of years long, I think it deserved more than about two pages. 

I was especially interested in reading chapter four, which focuses on Cannabidiol (CBD). CBD has exploded in popularity in recent years, and with good reason. I give it to my dog for separation anxiety and my mother uses it to ease her rheumatoid arthritis pain. Unfortunately, because mainstream therapeutic use of CBD is relatively new, this chapter only mentions older research done on animals, not humans. Dr. Grotenhermen notes that some study results still need to be evaluated, including studies focused on CBD’s potential in treating circulatory and respiratory ailments.2 I think it would have been helpful to read more about CBD, especially as it is more readily available than THC and legal in the United States.

The majority of the book is contained in that chapter “Therapeutic Uses of Tetrahydrocannadbinol (THC).” This chapter details the specific ways in which patients can use cannabis to treat specific ailments or conditions. I learned about several THC treatments that were completely new to me. For example, Dr. Grotenhermen describes a study focused on THC used to help  patients with severe itching that had not responded to prior treatments.3 Not only did the THC treatment help the patients’ quality of sleep, but several reported that it relieved the itching itself. Other therapeutic uses he covers include diabetes, tinnitus, and even hiccups. For a book of its length, this chapter manages to cover more therapeutic uses than I had anticipated.

Chapter eight of the book focuses on hempseed oil. I have used THC and CBD for therapeutic purposes, as well as in cooking, but never hempseed oil. In this chapter, I learned that hempseed oil can be used in place of fish oil to lower LDL blood cholesterol. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, hempseed oil can also be used to treat symptoms of PMS and rheumatoid arthritis.4 I am continually impressed by the cannabis plant’s therapeutic uses, from its leaves, to its flowers, to its very seeds. I will definitely be purchasing a bottle of hempseed oil on my next supermarket excursion.

I would recommend Cannabis Healing for anyone who is a current medical cannabis patient or is just interested in learning more about this powerful plant. Dr. Grotenhermen manages to cover a lot of ground for such a short book. He even includes a recipe for Cannabis Rum Truffles!5 This book serves as a solid jumping off point, and it has encouraged me to read more books about medicinal and therapeutic cannabis.


  2. page 42
  3. page 120-121
  4. page 171-172
  5. page 159