28 of the Best Marijuana Documentaries:
Documentaries are an important tool for anyone trying to spread education and debunk popular myths. That’s why it’s no surprise that there are so many high-quality documentaries about marijuana. Has there ever been a more misunderstood, needlessly controversial, and political plant?
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The following documentaries are some of the best that you can find online. They educate about real science, politics, history, and culture. If you’re sick of watching hilarious but not exactly informative weed movies like Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, Half Baked, or The Big Lebowski, it’s time to put on your thinking cap and stream one of these informative documentaries.
Politics and Business
The Union: The Business Behind Getting High
Directed by Brett Harvey and released in 2007, The Union: The Business Behind Getting High investigates marijuana use in the nation of Canada. The maker of the film, Adam Scorgie, goes to Canada and sees what marijuana is like there. He argues that it is the most widely accepted illegal activity in the country.
The entire Canadian “black market” is unpacked and explained, giving viewers an idea of how such an industry works when it doesn’t have government approval. Interviews are done with marijuana growers, police officers, doctors, criminologists, economists, and politicians — just about anyone who may be involved in such a scheme.
You can watch The Union in its entirety on YouTube for free.
The Culture High
This documentary was made by the same people who made The Union (see above). The Culture High is a documentary all about the current prohibition of marijuana in the United States. It came out in 2014 but is still perfectly relevant today, as it discusses the reasoning behind the banning of this drug and how the various laws regarding Cannabis came about. It discusses both sides of the issue, including experts, doctors, and celebrities (Joe Rogan, Snoop Dogg, Sir Richard Branson, and Wiz Khalifa are all featured in this documentary).
It is easy to find online. Vimeo, for example, has it listed for “renting” for 48 hours, for $3.99. This means you can stream the documentary online within a certain time period. Otherwise, you can buy it for $9.99, where you can stream it anytime as well as actually download it. Watch the documentary on Vimeo
This documentary, which came out in 2013, starts in a small Colorado town — one of the few places where marijuana is legal both medically and recreationally. The business is booming in Colorado, where there are many dispensaries and clubs. The documentary delves into the more recent history of marijuana in the United States, stemming back to the early 1900s when it was legal and commonly prescribed for medical conditions. It goes from there to 1937, when it first was made illegal in the US.
This documentary explains the propaganda that led to this as well as future restrictions against marijuana, but it also looks into the real science behind the plant and what it can possibly do. It can be streamed on YouTube for free.
Weed 2: Cannabis Madness
An updated documentary by the same Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Weed 2: Cannabis Madness looks into the United States government’s laws regarding marijuana and how they are, in fact, laws that are based on poor and inaccurate information. The documentary is described as looking at “the politicians versus the patients,” comparing politics with science.
Weed 2: Cannabis Madness was released in 2014 and was directed by the Health, Medical, and Wellness unit at CNN (as was the first Weed documentary). It can also be found in its entirety on YouTube for free.
When We Grow, This Is What We Can Do
Directed by Seth Finegold, When We Grow, This Is What We Can Do is a documentary that looks at the industry and business behind marijuana in general. It involves the various medicinal uses of marijuana, the background and many uses for industrial hemp, and the cultural and political aspects of the marijuana prohibition and how that affects the industry today.
One of its main features is the fact that it goes into an extensive interview with Professor David Nutt, a former drug adviser in the United Kingdom and the current head of the Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs. This documentary was released in 2011 and can be watched on YouTube for free.
420: The Documentary
Directed by Amy Porah, 420 is a documentary all about the culture and politics of marijuana. It was produced in 2013 and includes reports of those injured and even murdered for possessing marijuana, as well as footage from peaceful 420 celebrations.
It covers a recent history of marijuana in the United States, dating back to the 1930s when the prohibition began. It delves into the propaganda, the political agendas, and the public fear that is based on false information. It can be found and viewed on YouTube for free.
How Weed Won the West
This is a documentary from 2010 that features marijuana cultivators in California as well as law reform advocates and medical marijuana patients. It takes an in-depth look at the war on weed, as well as the billions of dollars that are in the industry itself.
It takes economic, social, and human factors into account when looking at the marijuana prohibition and how exactly it has affected us as a society. This is a staple documentary that should be seen by anyone interested in the marijuana legalization movement. It can be found and viewed on YouTube for free.
American Drug War 2: Cannabis Destiny
From the creators of How Weed Won the West (see above), American Drug War 2: Cannabis Destiny is all about the legalization of marijuana in the United States. It looks at the most recent scientific research into marijuana’s uses (at least what was recent in 2013, when this documentary was released) and how the public is not being given access to a safe and useful plant because of the government’s control.
It also looks specifically at Cash Hyde, a young boy who needs Cannabis oil to get by even though prescription drugs with harmful side effects are freely prescribed. This documentary can be viewed for free on YouTube.
Lynching Charlie Lynch
This 2012 documentary, directed by Rick Ray, looks at Charlie Lynch, a businessman who opened up a dispensary for medical marijuana in California (Morro Bay). He was responsible about it, taking care to stick to his state’s laws. He was supported by everyone (politicals, Chamber of Commerce) locally until the DEA stepped in and led a federal investigation of his business. Since marijuana is still classified as a Schedule I narcotic federally, he now faces federal repercussion and penalties. Lynching Charlie Lynch can be rented on Amazon for $3.99 (giving you 7 days to stream it), or it can be bought for $14.99. Watch the documentary on Amazon
This is actually a Discovery Channel series consisting of four episodes that highlight Harborside Health Center, the largest dispensary in the United States (at least in 2011, when the series was aired). It delves into not only the business aspect of the dispensary itself but also into the lives of its many patients who depend on it for their healthcare.
The episodes can all currently be found on YouTube for free.
Medical Cannabis And Its Impact On Human Health
This documentary runs for less than an hour and is free to stream on Vimeo.com. Directed by Lindsey Ward, it dives into some of the most prominent myths regarding marijuana and medical cannabis, helping viewers understand what’s real and what’s fake. It gives us tons of information to prove the benefits of marijuana for a variety of human health issues.
It follows the history of marijuana use, including history that dates back more than five thousand years, the trials and studies that have been done on the plant, and what we know for a fact that medical marijuana can help with. Released in 2011, this documentary is still one of the most comprehensive, informative, and data-packed documentaries regarding medical marijuana that is out there.
Bud Buddies: Project Storm
Bud Buddies: Project Storm is a highly engaging 2014 documentary that follows the lives of several people with cancer (six people in total — four adults and two children). They need to take medical Cannabis but aren’t able to do so legally. The documentary is not only specifically about these six individuals, however.
It also dives into Cannabis oil and its treatment for cancer in general. Specifically, it looks at the lives of terminal cancer patients who are in the United Kingdom. There are plenty of people in this film who help out the cancer patients, even with the grave risk of spending time in prison for it. This documentary can be watched for free on YouTube.
A NORML Life
The term “NORML” stands for “National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws,” and is a non-profit organization that is based in Washington, DC. The documentary was directed by Rod Pitman and was released in 2011. It looks at the patients who have used medical Cannabis for various conditions and goes into extensive interviews with them. It also includes interviews with caregivers, doctors, and activists. If you are looking for a documentary about medical marijuana in the United States, this is an excellent place to start.
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A NORML Life can be rented on Vimeo.com, allowing the renter to stream it online for 72 hours for $2.99. Otherwise, it can be bought on Vimeo for $9.99, meaning you can stream it online anytime or download it yourself. Watch the documentary on Vimeo
Clearing the Smoke: The Science of Cannabis
This medical marijuana documentary is more focused on the actual brain activity and functions affected by marijuana – specifically, why and how that happens. While other medical marijuana documentaries focus quite a bit on the cultural and political sides of the medical marijuana issue, this one looks specifically at the actual science. It goes into the ways marijuana can be used to treat seizures, epilepsy, nausea, glaucoma, pain, and even cancer.
While it deals specifically with an American worldview, it applies to people from everywhere. This is mainly because marijuana is misunderstood everywhere these days, making the science more relevant than ever for just about everyone. The documentary was released in 2011 and can be viewed on YouTube for free.
What if Cannabis Cured Cancer?
This documentary was released in 2010 and was directed by Len Richmond. It looks at medical marijuana from the specific perspective of one major ailment: cancer. It investigates the relationship between cancer and cannabinoids, the chemical compounds that are found in marijuana. It highlights the amazing discoveries that have been found regarding medical marijuana and the ones that may potentially be there (but need more research) in the future. What if Cannabis Cured Cancer? is a documentary that will make any viewer truly appreciate the medical wonders of this plant.
The documentary can be watched in full at Vimeo.com for free.
Cannabis: The Evil Weed?
This documentary is a BBC investigation into marijuana, trying to get to the bottom of things such as addiction, schizophrenia, and other issues surrounding the plant. Doctor John Marsden, the doctor featured in the film, wants to know whether marijuana is an undervalued medicine with deep potential in society, or if it is just a run of the mill herb.
As an addiction specialist, Dr. John Marsden is the perfect man to find the answers to common questions and myths surrounding marijuana. He helps viewers understand what exactly is going on in our brains when we consume marijuana. Directed by Annabel Gillings, this documentary was released in 2009 and can be streamed on Vimeo.com for free.
Run From The Cure: The Rick Simpson Story
This documentary was directed by Christian Laurette and was released in 2008. It follows Canadian Rick Simpson and his personal experience with Cannabis. In 1997 he had an injury, and he tried Cannabis out to see how it affected his health — he was struck by its positive effect. Even though he couldn’t obtain hemp oil from his doctor, he nevertheless persisted.
In fact, his story goes much further: he had cancer that he also asserts he cured with hemp oil in 2003. This inspired him to cut through all the negative propaganda surrounding marijuana to share marijuana’s true benefits with the world. It can be watched on YouTube for free.
In Pot We Trust
Directed by Star Price, In Pot We Trust takes an in-depth look at five patients who were prescribed Cannabis as part of their treatments. The value of this documentary truly lies in the fact that it looks at both sides of the issue — opinions from those who are pro-legalization and those who are against any use of marijuana. It does not have an agenda or skew viewers to believe any one thing; it simply shares the various arguments and opinions of both sides of a hotly debated topic.
In Pot We Trust came out in 2007 and can be viewed for free on YouTube.
The True History of Marijuana
The True History of Marijuana describes what really happened in the United States and Canada when marijuana was prohibited nationally. It explains what occurred in the decades before its prohibition in the US in 1937, as well as the propaganda and other shady reasoning behind the sudden wave of cultural disfavor.
It also includes the multitude of uses that medical Cannabis has been used for throughout history, as well as what it is still being used for (whether or not it’s allowed). For example, cancer patients will testify to the usefulness of Cannabis oil in treating the disease.
The documentary can be found to stream for free on YouTube.
Grass: The History of Marijuana
This documentary is all about the documented uses and aspects of marijuana throughout history. Anyone who has looked into Cannabis knows it has an extremely rich and well-documented history. And once you look at the historical uses of Cannabis, it is awfully strange to see the more recent history of marijuana in the United States — the War on Drugs, specifically.
This documentary is especially appealing because it not only is informative and factual, but it also entertains its audience well. It was produced in 1999 and can be streamed online for free at Dailymotion.
The Hemp Revolution
This documentary, directed by Anthony Clarke and stemming back to 1995, has useful information to share about the history of the hemp ban in 1938. This was the time when the production of hemp was prohibited completely, in stark contrast to American government’s earlier history of encouraging farmers to grow plenty of hemp.
This documentary dives into the reasons and series of events that led to the prohibition of hemp and hemp production, giving viewers some thorough insight into the issue. The Hemp Revolution is viewable on YouTube for free.
The Magic Weed: History of Marijuana
Another older documentary, Magic Weed: History of Marijuana dates back to 1995 and tells about the prohibition of hemp as well as Cannabis in the United States. It also dives deeper into history, going back thousands of years and looking at the cultural place it had in a variety of world societies.
It was directed by Martin Baker and has interviews of Michka Seeliger-Chatelain and Todd McCormick. You can find it on YouTube for free.
This documentary is classified under “history” because it stems back to 1969 when the four-year-old son of hippies (named Sean) who smoked pot and never wore shoes was documented. Decades later, a sequel was produced (in 1990) to show that he turned out normal and healthy.
It shows that marijuana may not be as bad as people thought since a child who has smoked it turned out normal. It can be streamed on YouTube for free.
Married to Marijuana
Everyone knows there is a connection between hip-hop and marijuana, but the details behind this relationship are less clear to the mainstream. It investigates the complexities of the two industries, and features interviews with people well known in the hip-hop community: B-Real of Cypress Hill, Method Man and Chef Raekwon of Wu-Tang Clan, Schoolboy Q, Curren$y, DJ Quick, Too $hort, and Kurupt (among others).
This documentary shows the side of marijuana that is more than just marijuana — it’s the deep cultural side that exists with it. It was released in 2014 and is available to stream online for free.
Should I Smoke Dope?
Nicky Taylor, a journalist and one of the directors of this documentary (the other being Ross Anderson), looks into a variety of topics that surround marijuana. She looks at legal issues, cultural issues, medical issues, and more, and then heads off to Amsterdam to dive even deeper into the fascinating world of marijuana. She even tries out marijuana herself and reports her findings for the camera. Of course, it has its own set of assumptions and misguided ideas about marijuana that are common in the mainstream, but it makes for an interesting watch nonetheless.
This documentary is a BBC documentary, and it can currently be found for free on YouTube. It was produced in the year 2008.
Super High Me
An interesting parody of the well-known McDonald’s food documentary Supersize Me, Super High Me was directed by Michael Blieden and involves the adventures of Morgan Spurlock and Doug Benson, a stand-up comedian and frequent user of marijuana.
Doug Benson tries various types of marijuana to see how it affects him. The two together make for a hilarious documentary — a nice addition to an overall serious list of documentaries. Super High Me was made in 2010 and can be streamed on YouTube for free.
The Emperor of Hemp
This documentary looks at the life of the famous Jack Herer, a Cannabis activist born in 1939 who died in the year 2010 (eleven years after this documentary came out). It describes his personal struggle to get Cannabis back into mainstream culture because of its benefits — he famously believed that Hemp can save the world because of its many uses and its rich and educational history.
His goal was to end the prohibition on marijuana. The documentary was made in 1999, was directed by Jeff Jones, and can be found and watched for free on YouTube.
The Future of Weed: High Country
This documentary, produced in 2013, looks at the health effects, background, culture, and politics behind the legalization of Cannabis. It takes a closer look at the industry in locations where it is currently legal (Colorado, for example).
It’s important to look at the past to understand the future of the industry, and this documentary does just that. This documentary can be found and streamed for free on YouTube.