With his new book, Andrew Freedman — also known as The Cannabis Sommelier — continues his mission of reducing stigma and normalizing use with friendly, educational content aimed at weed newbies.
In Terpenes for Well-Being: A Comprehensive Guide to Terpenes for Emotional and Physical Self Care, he dives into the relaxing, anti-stress techniques of aromatherapy while employing pot as an ingredient for self-care.
It’s Calgary, Alberta-based Freedman’s first book, and was released April 20 via Mango Publishing.
The smell specialist author has more than ten years of experience in the cannabis industry and is a certified wine expert.
While his book is entirely about aromatherapy, the building blocks of aromatherapy are terpenes, Freedman explains.
Terpenes are the scent-producing molecules in cannabis and other plants that have long been used for their therapeutic properties, and have gained increasing attention in recent years with formal research adding credibility to their medical benefits.
“Aromatherapy is an incredible thing. Activating our endocannabinoid system is a separate part of the conversation altogether,” Freedman says in a video call with Mugglehead, “Aromatherapy has been used literally since men were invented — we figured out that good smelling plants made us feel better for some reason and ran with it really quickly.”
If we weren’t discussing cannabis in a conversation about aromatherapy in 2021, then we wouldn’t be providing the correct service, he continues.
Mango Publishing sought out Freedman to write a book about cannabis after his niche wine and weed content started to become more popular on his self-titled YouTube channel, The Cannabis Sommelier. After submitting five pitches, Terpenes for Well-Being was chosen for publication.
The book took 18 months to complete. It details how to use terpenes for relaxation, stress management and anxiety relief, as well as providing recipes for weed edibles, canapes and cocktails.
It also talks about weed.
The cannabis plant possesses a potentially unlimited combination of terpenes. Cannabis breeders can create almost any kind of smell in the plant. Because of cannabis’s past decades of prohibition, many plant breeders choose specifically fragrant plants that present the best smells and flavors, ranging from blueberry and lemon to diesel-filled cake. Cannabis genetics have been intentionally designed to yield the most and finest terpenes. Weed that actually smells like a raspberry lemonade smoothie or vanilla wedding cake is a reality. Some cannabis flowers have up to 5 percent terpene content by weight!
Freedman wants to advance the normalization of cannabis use by applying his extensive knowledge of the old, socially-accepted wine tasting tradition to the stigmatized industry of cannabis.
“How do I get somebody that is in their 50s who is a little trepidatious about cannabis to understand my conversation? Wine builds such easy bridge for that,” Freedman says. “I want to build that bridge, just like wine, to make you feel comfortable and understand.”
Freedman holds a certificate on culinary cannabis and edibles from the American Culinary Federation, the largest and oldest accrediting body for chefs in North America. He’s also one of the few Canadian wine scholars with a Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) Level 3 Award.
Will the real cannabis sommelier please stand up?
Freedman describes himself as the “real” cannabis sommelier because of his extensive training in wine tasting, viticulture, and culinary arts combined with more than ten years in medical marijuana.
But what exactly is a sommelier, and how does the term apply to cannabis?
“A sommelier should be an expert in service, spirits, cigar and wine. Now, to me, cannabis is the obvious next evolution to that,” Freedman says.
Sommelier is a French word that originally referred to a court official in charge of transporting supplies. During the 20th century, the term rose to popularity in the wine industry to describe a culinary service expert that has accreditation to describe the sensory experience of various wines.
“Why am I the cannabis sommelier? Because I teach people how to pair cannabis and wine,” Freedman explains.
“Wine is what I do. I am a wine steward who presents wine, curates wine to dining customers but also increases their experience by pairing it with cannabis.”
He advises that while he did extensive research and feels humble he got to write the book, he’s not a medical professional and the reader should take full responsibility when using the book’s methods.
Freedman is currently working with different licensed producers, and contracts out cannabis sommelier services to retailers and other industry operators across the country.
“I’d like to think of myself as the busiest man in cannabis. If it’s up to me my show will be sold, we’ll have a weed and wine book and we will be breaking cannabis stigma internationally and showing the world what globalization of cannabis legalization looks like in real time.”
Top image via the Cannabis Sommelier