There is an endless sea of information on cannabis available online. Why try to swim through all of it when you can sit on a nice comfy sofa, open your laptop and watch a documentary that will explain all of it for you? We’ve rounded up the six best options out there that will keep you informed and entertained about the marijuana industry. Whether you’re for or against legalization of the herb, these documentaries will have you considering the industry from a new perspective.
“A NORML Life”
In 2011, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) released an hour-long documentary that follows the lives of medicinal users, activists, doctors and caregivers. Their interview approach is quite formal, but effective, allowing viewers to see and hear how cannabis has changed these individuals’ lives. This is the perfect documentary for those wanting an explanation of cannabis from both users’ and doctors’ perspectives.
“Should I Smoke Dope?”
“Should I Smoke Dope” is a single episode in a short series by BBC that follows journalist Nicky Taylor as she dives into various subcultures to explore them firsthand. In this episode, she finds herself in Amsterdam and spends an entire month experiencing cannabis culture. If you've never smoked before, there’s a good chance you’ll want to watch this quirky and fun episode. Taylor narrates her experience and compares it to the likes of alcohol to address the question of why one is legalized and the other isn’t.
"Super High Me"
Comedy and cannabis have always had a special relationship, and comedian Doug Benson capitalizes on it in this parody of the hit documentary "Super Size Me." Comparing being pot-free to being almost always high, this documentary follows Benson’s journey of 30 days of sobriety followed by 30 days of intensive marijuana use. It’s a comedic documentary that provides a lot of information while giving you lots of laughs along the way. This firsthand experience is helpful when understanding how cannabis works, but it should be understood as an extreme case.
"Grass: The History of Marijuana"
While slightly outdated, this cannabis documentary outlines America’s marijuana history from the early 1900s onwards. It provides a great look into the propaganda used by the American government to sway the public opinion to villainize marijuana. From the 30’s onwards they follow the onslaught that trailed the full federal criminalization of cannabis all the way to when the War on Drugs was introduced. The documentary outlines how much money was spent on the campaign, how effective it was and the media coverage on it.
“The Union: The Business Behind Getting High”
“The Union” analyses British Columbia's illegal marijuana trade industry and how it has evolved to generate upwards of $7 billion Canadian annually. This documentary gives viewers the facts on marijuana while explaining how the legal system treats those growing and in possession of cannabis. It also examines the reasons behind prohibition in the United States while discussing the potential revenue the country has to gain from legalizing it. Although it has been described as more of a personal essay than an unbiased documentary, “The Union” is well-worth a watch for those looking to better understand the business behind the marijuana industry.
“What if Cannabis Cured Cancer”
This documentary hones in on a particularly polarizing discussion point within the marijuana industry: cannabis and its potential for treating cancer. “What if Cannabis Cured Cancer” is a scientific documentary that informs viewers on how cannabinoids work in the human body, informing the audience on how its effects might be useful in treating cancer patients. With such a specific focus, this documentary allows you to gain in-depth knowledge of the health benefits of marijuana without having to wade through too much medical jargon. This is a more serious, informative piece that will having you thinking deeply about the potential marijuana has for treating patients suffering from a diverse range of illnesses.
While there can never be too many documentaries made on the topic of cannabis, we found the ones that contain a variety of information related to the bud. Turn on the tube and cue up one of these six documentaries to get a better understanding of the complex world that surrounds marijuana and its various uses. Odds are you’ll walk away with a broader perspective on the plant and its true potential.