Victoria’s Andrew Struthers’ new book an anthropological study on cannabis

Book reading on April 7 at 4:20 p.m 543 Herald Street

You’re invited to take a trip with Canada’s answer to Hunter S. Thompson or Thomas De Quincey—depends who you ask.

Victoria writer, critic, and filmmaker, Andrew Struthers, has a new book, The Sacred Herb/The Devil’s Weed, a double paperback that attempts to peel back the layers of the cannabis experience.

The proposal for the book came out of necessity. “I was totally flat broke, and I was going to Vancouver anyway and was seeing Rolf [at New Star, his publisher] to wangle a grand out of him or I’m going to be evicted,” says Struthers.

Told through the hazy stories of stoners, is Struthers’ anthropological examination of weed culture, and how one of the fasting growing industries in Canada shapes Western culture. That’s just one layer.

“This book, in essence, is about the difference between lateralized thinking and hierarchal thinking,” Struthers says. “One of the things that marijuana does is that it reduces hierarchal thinking and increases lateralized thinking.”

“Even though there’s a fair bit of science in this book, you have to really go about it carefully. The problem with it is, as soon as I say ‘neurotransmitter’, your eyes glaze over,” he explains. “Especially if you’re a pothead, obviously.”

Admitting that some of his concepts are “even too complicated for this book”, Struthers relies heavily on anecdotes and visualization.

The first part, The Devil’s Weed, reads like one continuous sentence, and was completed in a month – sometimes, Struthers wrote it stoned. His publisher loved it.

The second part, The Sacred Herb, took three months, during which Struthers abstained from cannabis. His publisher demanded a re-write.

Within the experience of writing the book, Struthers says he was testing his theories on thinking, and cannabis.

On April 7, Struthers will be at 543 Herald Street reading from The Sacred Herb/The Devil’s Weed at 4:20 p.m.

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