“Don’t Let It Smoke You: How to Create a Nontoxic Relationship with Cannabis”: Author Tarris Batiste reviews his “why’s”

Published by Ambar Alfaro on

To show visual of book

"Don't Let It Smoke You: How to Create a Nontoxic Relationship with Cannabis": A review with the author Tarris Batiste

Tarris Batiste does a good job of making his book, “Don’t Let It Smoke You: How to Create a Nontoxic Relationship with Cannabis,” a breeze to read.

At the beginning, the author sets us up with a couple of descriptive life scenarios he had to overcome during 7th grade. That helps us visually see him as a person and all that he will start to encounter throughout the book. 

He divulges his desires to fit in and his insecurities about joining a certain, older friend group he wanted to be a part of. 

This was how he was first introduced to cannabis. 

To show visual of book
"Don't Let It Smoke You" book cover

Batiste also writes about the historical background of cannabis and its impact on American society. In reporting the history of marijuana, Batiste starts to own his personal journey with cannabis and demonstrates credibility. 

“By my eighth-grade year, my friends and I were smoking almost every day. We started seeing things through a different lens that made whatever was going on around us at any given moment less important. When we failed to execute in sports, or if we had a bad practice or game, the coach would bring us in for his after-the-game speech, with his veins popping out of his neck as he yelled at us. We’d look at each other with a smirk on our face like, ‘It’s not that serious. We’ll smoke this off tonight.’” 

Because Batiste has direct experience with marijuana, he makes his readers feel like they’re not alone or judged in any way, especially because today’s society could normalize excessive consumption. 

“Don’t Let it Smoke You” was both an educational and entertaining read; it allows people to understand that seeking help is not a negative thing–that the use of cannabis can be controlled. Even as a non-consumer, I was intrigued by the information I was reading and entertained by his life experiences.

Simultaneously, it was educational.

Alongside Batiste, the readers can self-reflect and impose questions on themselves. 

In doing so, the reader can self improve in empowerment–by not exactly comparing themselves to his situations, per se–but by understanding the author’s process and growing stages within his relationship with cannabis. Batiste’s introspective questions will make you think outside the box, or make you wonder if you are truly satisfied with where you are in life today. 

Some self-help books can be extremely redundant by giving anecdotal advice that carries a, “because this worked for me, it’ll work for you too” tone, but Batiste’s book is a self-reflective journey. 

Don’t get me wrong, this book is not just pages of testimonials. The hands-on research Batiste did throughout writing the book, as well as his life experiences, are presented in an understanding, kind way–opposite of the “I could do it, so can you” type of delivery. 

He discusses the latest scientific research on marijuana, flying out to states like Colorado to get detailed information about the different strains of cannabis, and New York to speak to neurologist Dr. David Rabinovici, who explains cannabis’s long and short term effects on the human brain

Due to how popular and accessible cannabis has become recently, I’d highly recommend this book. 

The message that Batiste tries to deliver was made clear at the end of the first chapter: “All I can do is pay it forward and help those who face the same situations I did, so that you can make a conscious decision about what to smoke or when to smoke—and whether you’re smoking it or if it’s smoking you.” 

The title really lays it out. The outlook of you actually smoking cannabis instead of it “smoking you.” 

I spoke with Batiste about the book, the journey of writing it and its purpose. 

Batiste stated he knew he wanted to write this book about 5 (maybe 7?) years ago, when his struggles with cannabis really began. 

“I didn’t know if it was smoking me too much because I was still getting my shit done,” he said. 

There was no “big moment” of him failing at something in his life that made him question his usage, though. In 2016 Batiste got picked up by the Atlanta Falcons. 

“I think it was 2016, I was smoking so much back then I don’t even remember,” Batiste said. 

Once he was with his new team, he noticed he wasn’t being much of a team member because he wasn’t partaking in any of the after-practice activities others would do. Batiste’s after-practice routine would consist of “rolling up,” while his teammates were putting in extra work. He realized then that he could not stop, and it became a daily routine. 

From then on, the book started.

Batiste and I also discussed where he stood on the legalization of weed. He was open and spoke on both sides of the spectrum. 

“I can understand the six and the nine. By that I mean the six as representing the great cannabis is legal but the nine is where the dispensaries are going to be placed at. They are going to put them in the hood,” he continues. 

“It is basically the war on drugs again, they are basically just putting them in places where they know people will not make smart decisions. So yes I am happy it’s getting legal, but I also see it from the other side where they are coming to hurt our pockets.”

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Ambar Alfaro

Macarena Alfaro is a recent graduate in multimedia journalism from Georgia Southern University. She is originally from Athens, Georgia, and was proudly raised with her Lima, Peru, roots and culture. She is determined to travel the world and cover global news while doing so. When she isn’t glued to her computer, she is outside being a dog mom to the chubbiest chocolate lab, Mila. If the word “friendly” had a picture beside it in the dictionary, it’d be these two.

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