Documentary film as long served the counterculture movement. Especially weed documentaries help give a voice and a face to an area of society that are is not well understood by many people and there documentary format is especially significant for cannabis culture.
Thanks to long-form visual media, like documentaries, the subversive nature of cannabis is a thing of the past. Many of us found out about all things-marijuana through film. This includes documentaries about the nonsensical war on drugs to the wide variety of medical effects. Cannabis culture is spreading, and weed documentaries are one reason why.
Although cannabis culture is no longer underground, there is still a war on drugs. It also isn’t legal everywhere in the United States, nor around the global. Therefore there is still a place for weed documentaries in our lives. There is always tons to learn about the culture of cannabis, and what better way through weed documentaries.
Sit back, get baked, and open up your mind about the culture you participate in.
Science-Based Weed Documentaries
First and foremost, get knowledgeable about the positive effects of marijuana. The science-focused documentaries explore fundamental aspects of pot and how it works in our bodies.
Clearing the Smoke: the Science of Cannabis (2011)
A documentary that first aired in 2011 on PBS Montana, it lays out the basic properties of medical marijuana. In 2011 Montana faced a state-wide repeal of their medical marijuana legislation. At the same time, other lawmakers sought to expand it.
Although this situation has now passed in the state, the science and evidence presented in the documentary live on. What becomes clear throughout the film is that there is a substantial base of scientific research about the plant’s medical properties.
It also becomes clear how difficult it is to study it in the United States. Through a presentation of case studies, interviews, and scientific reviews, Clearing the Smoke: the Science of Cannabis is still relevant today.
Presented by Dr. Sanjay Gupta for CNN in 2015, Weed is cannabis journey around the world. Through the course of his research for this project, Dr. Gupta switched sides. He had previously published articles about why he would vote no to weed legislation, but now believes otherwise.
In his documentary for CNN, Dr. Gupta explores the scientific research supporting the medical use of marijuana. By speaking with patients, he has changed his mind.
He also examines the problematic legislation classifying weed as a Schedule 1 Drug. In his opinion, he believes the Drug Enforcement Agency is dead wrong in their approach.
The Future of Weed: High Country (2013)
Some surprising sources released the first two documentaries on this list including, PBS and CNN. Vice TV, a long time stoner favorite, entered the weed documentary game in 2013 with The Future of Weed: High Country.
Vice takes a no-holds approach to exploring the Silicon Valley of cannabis-tech, Denver, Colorado. They were on the ground just after Colorado legalized recreational weed. By speaking with industry vets and green-tech startups, they examine where the future of cannabis may lead.
The documentary focuses on the business side of marijuana, but also has a heavy dose of science. Through this film, Vice hopes to expose the confusing realities of America’s number one cash crop.
Political Weed Documentaries
Are you looking to get more political? Look no further than the following political weed documentaries. Although many of the science-based documentaries touch on the illicit side of the substance, these films go deep into the contradictions.
Breaking the Taboo (2011)
A Brazilian produced documentary about where it all went wrong: the 1961 Single Geneva Convention on Narcotic Drugs. The documentary examines the near complete reversal of expert opinion. In 2011, The Global Commission on Drug Policy recommended a massive change to the war on drugs. In fact, they advocated for drug liberalization.
This film takes viewers on a journey from complete prohibition to potential liberalization. It looks at the dark underbelly of the global war on drugs. This includes many of the politically destabilizing methods, and drug wars waging around the globe. Be prepared to have your earth shattered.
Pot Fiction (2015)
The Canadian equivalent of PBS released Pot Fiction in 2015. It covered the booming Canadian marijuana industry, that is years ahead of the Unites States. Considering Canada is on the cusp of legalizing weed next summer, it serves as a good study for those south of the border.
The documentary is especially fascinating considering the political climate at the time. In 2015, the Canadian government was proactively anti-pot. At the same time, the cannabis culture in Canadian society was at an all-time high. What led to this dichotomy?
The Culture High (2014)
Some big celebrity names are backing this film. It’s actually one of the few weed documentaries with any celebrity status at all. Notable names who lent their voice to the film are Joe Rogan, Sir Richard Branson, Wiz Khalif and of course, Snoop Dogg.
Throughout the film, the big cannabis questions are ripped open. Why is weed illegal? Why is it called dangerous? Does it truly have medicinal qualities? It attempts to ask the deeper questions that exist between cannabis as a medicine and marijuana as a Schedule I Drug.
Weed Documentaries on Netflix
Considering most stoners are addicted to Netflix, lets not leave them out. There are many potent cannabis films available through the online streaming service.
Rolling Papers (2015)
Taking a different approach to the cannabis industry, Rolling Papers is a look at how the media of Colorado reacted to legalization. In particular, it explores the Denver Post, who went so far as to appoint a Marijuana Editor. They also instituted a weed review column, much like many papers have about restaurants or wine.
Its a full coverage look at Colorado immediately after the green rush. Going where many other documentaries fail to go. Including looking at the pot scammers and other growing pains of legalization.
Super High Me (2011)
Imagine going stone cold sober for a month. Then imagine smoking as much weed as possible for a month. Now film it. That is the basic plotline of Super High me. Watch as lovable stoner Doug Benson puts the effects of cannabis to the ultimate test.
In essence, the film attempts to disprove many of the health issues associated with smoking weed. Throughout the course of the month, Benson goes through the medical ringer. He searches for evidence of the adverse side effects related to pot. It’s a comedic take to a very serious issue.
Degenerate Art: The Art and Culture of Glass Pipes (2011)
One part examination of cannabis counterculture, one part art film. Degenerate art explores how the simple process of blowing a glass pipe has gone into a high art form (no pun intended). A great history lesson for anyone who enjoys smoking a bowl, because that bowl is actually a piece of art history.