by Olivier on 13/02/2018 | Cultural

10 must-see cannabis documentaries

19-01-2018 We’ve updated our article “10 must-see cannabis documentaries” (original article by Martijn, published on 02-01-2014).

×

cannabis documentaries Documentaries are the perfect way to open people’s eyes, so it’s no surprise that there’s a whole series of high-quality documentaries about cannabis that dispel myths and half-truths. We have selected 10 of the best for you. Lights, camera, action!


A good documentary is a bit like the red pill in the Matrix: enlightening, revealing, real. After taking it, nothing will be the same again and you will see the world from an entirely new perspective. In times of fake news and “alternative truths”, blogs and videos are assuming an important role in the formation of opinions. However, even for documentaries, it’s worth taking a closer look! Because every documentary is based on more than just facts; they also incorporate the motive of a director, who wants to create a particular response from his audience.

The following 10 films highlight cannabis from different perspectives and allow smokers, producers, scientists, doctors and politicians to have their say. Overall, they provide a clear overview of a controversial, misunderstood and political plant.

Grass – The History of Marijuana (1999)

A movie poster depicting a 1940s style comic book exploitation style graphic of a large hand holding a burning joint in the foreground. In the background a young woman wearing a green sweater looks at the joint with concern and curiosity. In large jagged orange and yellow 3D letters the title GRASS is written above. The poster background is a swirling purple. The edges of the poster feature triangular shards of yellow. A pull quote from Harry Knowles from AINT-IT-COO-NEWS.COM above the title reads “Fantastic! See this movie!”.

Director: Ron Mann

Interesting fact: the narrator is the actor Woody Harrelson

A good introductory film that offers a historical perspective on the plant and its use. Ron Mann relays serious information, but also understands the importance of conveying it in an entertaining manner. This film demonstrates how cannabis was portrayed badly through targeted propaganda and the type of catastrophic consequences that are arising due to the war against drugs. The soundtrack, which includes a sprinkling of classics such as “Reefer Man” and “One Toke Over The Line“, was particularly appealing to us.

Super High Me (2007)A movie poster showing a close up photo of comedian Doug Benson with over a dozen joints in his mouth. The movie title SUPER HIGH ME is written below his chin in red and green lettering with a yellow outline. Behind him is a cloudy blue sky.

Director: Michael Blieden

Interesting fact: a parody of “Super Size Me” by stand-up comedian Doug Benson

Doug Benson’s answer to the film “Super Size Me” is one of the funniest documentaries there are about cannabis. True to the original, Benson consumes cannabis non-stop for 30 days and takes various tests to check the effects on his body and mental wellbeing. Before the experiment, Benson abstained for a month.

The Union – The Business Behind Getting High (2007)

A movie poster featuring a photograph of a cannabis plant illuminated by sunlight from behind. Around it petals of cannabis leaf float through the cloudy blue sky. The title, written in large white letters, reads: The Union. The “O” for Union is written with a cannabis leaf. Above the title reads “Joe Rogan” and “interview with Tommy Chong”.

Director: Brett Harvey

Interesting fact: probably offers the most extensive overview of the industry there is

Perhaps the most informative cannabis documentary in history. We follow the scriptwriter Adam Scorgie through Canada and learn how exactly an illegal industry is able to exist. During this documentary, everyone involved has the opportunity to have their say – from producers, criminologists, doctors, politicians and economists to leading figures in popular culture. The film looks at the subject of cannabis and says a lot about today’s society and its lack of freedom.

Clearing the Smoke: The Science of Cannabis (2011)

A movie poster depicting a cannabis leaf lying flat on a reflective surface. To its left is a scientific beaker filled with green liquid, from it smoke emerges. Above the beaker is the makings of a chemical diagram. The title “Clearing The Smoke” is written in clean light blue lettering in the top left of the frame. Next to the beaker is written “The Science of Cannabis”. The PBS logo and the words “Montana PBS” is featured in the middle bottom of the image.

Director: Anna Rau

Interesting fact: focuses solely on medicinal cannabis

In her film, Anna Rau focuses on the medicinal aspects of cannabis. She illustrates how cannabis works and what symptoms of illness it can be used to fight. In the manner of a scientific feature, the film contains in-depth interviews with physicians, patients, researchers, as well as sceptics.

A NORML Life (2011)

A photograph of a DVD case featuring the film “A NORML Life”, the text of which is written in large letters at the top. The “O” of the text features the negative space of a cannabis leaf. Above the title on the left of the DVD case are the words “earthNOW!” highlighted by green and blue. Above the title on the right is written “A film by Rod Pitman”. Below the title reads in small brown letters “The American Marijuana Revolution”. In the centre of the frame is a brown medical bottle filled with cannabis flower and a label featuring a cannabis leaf and the pharmaceutical Rx symbol. Around the bottle are many words related to cannabis law and product, the majority written in white on a grey background, and a few highlighted in brown. Below the bottle in small brown letters is written “activist and patients fight to legalize marijuana for its proven medicinal benefits”.

Director: Rod Pitman

Interesting fact: highlights the legislation on medicinal cannabis in the USA

NORML is the acronym for the “National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws”, a US non-profit organisation based in Washington. The aim, as explained in the documentary, is for cannabis to be legalised. “A NORML Life” provides the viewer with a good overview of medicinal cannabis in the USA. Attentive observers will know, of course, that a great deal has improved since the film was released.

When we grow, this is what we can do (2011)

A DVD poster featuring a hand holding a cannabis leaf in front of a cannabis plantation with a sky blue background. The title, written in thin white letters, reads: “When we grow”. Below the title reads “this is what we can do”. Above the title is written: “a film by seth finegold”, “blogtpusvideo”, and “presented by luke bailey”.

Director: Seth Finegold

Interesting fact: one of the few European documentaries about cannabis

A kind of short version of “The Union”, focusing on Great Britain. In his 50-minute film, Seth Finegold looks at many different aspects of cannabis – from industrially grown hemp to the origins of the prohibition, and from medicinal use to equipment for personal cultivation. One of the experts speaking in the film is David Nutt, Head of the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs and former drugs advisor to the British government.

The Culture High (2014)

A movie poster featuring a sculpted hand holding a joint in front of the title “The Culture High’”. The background is of a cloudy blue sky. Above the title reads “From the makers of The Union”. Above that are the names: Joe Rogan, Snoop Dogg, Sir Richard Branson, and Wiz Khalifa.

Director: Brett Harvey

Interesting fact: from the makers of “The Union”

An enthralling story with a sprinkling of famous faces such as Snoop Dog, Joe Rogan and Wiz Khalifa. This star power is supplemented with expert opinions and new research results. “The Culture High” questions the arguments of the legalisation opponents and uncovers their true motives. Brett Harvey breaks down the current cannabis ban like you might a house of cards. A film that’s not to be missed!

Weed I, II & III (2013 – 2015)

A photograph of a cannabis plant and the title “WEED” written in large white letters. Below that is the name Sanjay Gupta next to a orange line and the words “MD special report”.

Director: CNN

Interesting fact: CNN’s DOC series

In 2013, Dr Sanja Gupta recognised that he had been deceiving himself. As CNN’s medical correspondent, he is reported not to have looked into the medicinal effects of cannabis in sufficient detail and misled the public. When he shot “WEED”, he became acquainted with the plant’s medicinal uses and decided to come clean with viewers. Gupta switched from being an opponent to an advocate of cannabis.

GrassRoots: The Cannabis Revolution (2016)

A poster for the film Grass Roots. The city of London is depicted in the background in a green silhouette with the Big Ben clocktower clearly visible. A hand holds up a joint and the words “GrassRoots the cannabis revolution is centre framed. A cannabis logo is above the title. To the right of this image is a photograph of a young man, Clark French, sitting down holding a cup of tea.

Director: Dale Beaumont-Brown

Interesting fact: a British film funded by crowdfunding website Kickstarter

Thirty-year-old Clark French has multiple sclerosis (MS). Because he uses cannabis to fight the symptoms of his illness, he regularly comes into conflict with the law and exposes himself to a social stigma. The true strength of this film lies in its simplicity. Without all the razzle-dazzle, this film portrays ordinary people with an extraordinary amount of courage.

The Legend of 420 (2017)

A poster for a documentary. The text “The Legend of 420” is written in chaotic green graffiti style lettering, save for the “420” which is smoky and white. UFOs with cartoonish aliens hover above the words, the planet earth is in the top right corner on the background with large cannabis leaf shadow over the globe. What might be a cartoon graffiti can is in the bottom left of the frame

Director: Peter Spirer

Interesting fact: shows where the journey to legalisation is going

Part comedy, part documentary, Peter Spirer strikes the difficult balance between fun and seriousness. Because the film covers a large number of topics, it can sometimes appear somewhat chaotic. The last third of the film, which focuses on the cannabis entrepreneurs and their new products, is particularly interesting. They answer the question of where the cannabis industry is headed.

Comment Section

Post a comment

Canna Miss

Awesome list, thanks for putting this together! Any suggestions on recent documentaries in the last 3 years? :D

27/07/2014

Chloe

Try The Culture High, made by the same people who made The Union. Its amazing!

21/11/2014

Mark

I've seen some of these, but need to check out the others. Thanks for sharing! I found some weed jokes https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s4Wg8e0NkhU&list=PLiGtKsnt1S02hcWCuFoL2jL-RjjukqDAO&index=18

13/01/2015

Scarlet Palmer

Nice one Mark, thanks for sharing too!

Cheers,

Scarlet

14/01/2015

Mark

Hey If you haven't seen it check out the documentary Rick Simpsons Run From the Cure https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=khkEpKM93k8 It is a MUST SEE!

13/01/2015

Tracy Rhein

I've seen a few of these, need to watch the others, but I would add to this:
-all three of Dr. Sanjay Gupta's documentaries: Weed, Weed 2, and Weed 3.
-I'd add "The Culture High"
-Doug Benson's follow up to Super High Me, "The Greatest Movie Ever Rolled"
-Cannabis Country
and then NBC just released a Dateline edition for Cannabis on June 7th called "Growing Hope" and it as well as Weed 1&2 focuses on Charlotte's Web and the uses of CBD treating various ailments. (if you have any type of On Demand service, it should be on there *I provided the date because most don't tell you what the episode is about so just look for the one aired on the 7th*)
If you're interested in Marijuana business, I'd check out the CNN TV series called "High Profits." The season is over but you can find the full episodes on YouTube *I believe there are 10 all together about 45mins each*

If you have any other suggestions, please feel free to let me know as I am a Cannabis enthusiast and love studying/researching this topic.

26/06/2015

Noel Johnston

Project Storm is pretty awesome for UK viewers. Would love to get a showing of it put on in Belfast, add me on Facebook, Noel Johnzey Johnston. CISTA (Cannabis is Safer Than Alcohol)

19/08/2015

Jim

Has anyone seen the documentary where interviews are conducted in Amsterdam during the cannabis cup (coffee shops are also visited, i.e. Green House, Grey Area, et al), and if so, can you tell me the name of the movie/documentary?

02/04/2016

sander

Was it '' Nederwiet docu'' ? a documentary about origins of the coffeeshops in Amsterdam.

05/04/2018

Erik

Put "the scientist" on this list. It covers the life and study made by Raphael Mechoulam discovering the cannabis compounds and the ecs. Very motivating

10/03/2018

Scarlet Palmer

Hi Erik,

Thanks for your comment, we'll check it out! Sounds really interesting. We hope you continue to enjoy the blog,

With best wishes,

Scarlet

13/03/2018

Grass Chief

This documentary is very informative in order to gather knowledge about marijuana culture. Thanks for publishing such a list which will meet the quest of many marijuana readers.

25/04/2018

Leave a Comment

Please enter a name
Oops, looks like you forgot something?
Read More
Read More
Read More
Read More
Read More
Read More
Read More
Read More