8 Must-Watch Cannabis Documentaries On Netflix
Published : May 16, 2019
Not sure what to watch tonight? Why not make it a weed-themed documentary? Netflix has a whole host of shows and films that cover the cannabis industry from a variety of angles. Keep reading to discover seven of the best documentaries the streaming platform has to offer.
LOVE WEED? NETFLIX HAS YOU COVERED
Netflix-and-chill takes on whole new meaning thanks to the streaming platform’s growing volume of weed-focussed documentaries. If you’ve ever wanted to discover the origins of 420, find out the potential of medical cannabis, or explore the darker side of marijuana cultivation, now is your chance! Line up a few carefully rolled blunts and get comfy, because there is a fantastic range of shows on Netflix that cater to virtually all tastes.
Below you will find a selection of some of the best offerings, and while they are not everything Netflix has in its catalogue, they do cover a broad range of topics. However, depending on where you live, different shows may be available. If you cannot find one of the documentaries listed, type “cannabis” in the search bar on Netflix to find out what your region does have available.
8 OF THE BEST CANNABIS DOCUMENTARY FILMS AND SERIES
WEED THE PEOPLE
Weed the People is a documentary that brings the issue of cannabis legality centre stage. Following the lives of several different children, we are shown how, in certain cases, cannabis has truly been life-saving. The power of this documentary lies in its use of real people living through unthinkable circumstances—circumstances made easier by the medicinal value of cannabis. While the footage is intended to provoke a strong emotional response toward cannabis prohibition, the documentary delivers a simple message—more research is desperately needed. It is a message that is not only supported by the families documented, but by the doctors and experts involved.
GRASS IS GREENER
In recent years, cannabis legalization has spread throughout the United States. Marijuana hasn’t always been so widely excepted, and Grass Is Greener takes an objective look at the history of cannabis prohibition and its lasting effects. It is no secret that marijuana convictions disproportionately affect minority communities, specifically young black men, but this is something those outside of the US may not be aware of.
Grass Is Greener helps shed light on America’s complicated relationship with cannabis while using celebrity guests to help explain the situation. Not only do you get to learn more about the rise of cannabis culture, but you get to hear how the plant has affected names like Snoop Dogg, Damian Marley, and Cypress Hill.
The Explained series on Netflix is an attempt by Vox Media to answer questions you’ve always wanted answering. Topics include why we get tattoos, whether we use too many exclamation marks (really. ), and most importantly, the history of cannabis. Only twenty minutes long, the “Weed” episode is excellent for those who want a bite-sized update on all things cannabis. Learn where cannabis strains come from, how the hemp plant has evolved over the centuries, and how cannabinoids work—all on your commute to work.
SUPER HIGH ME
If you ever watched the documentary Super Size Me way back in 2004, then you’ll be familiar with the format of Super High Me. This time, however, there is a slight difference. Instead of consuming only junk food, the comedian Doug Benson smokes weed for 30 days straight before taking a range of tests to see how he was affected. Although technically a spoiler, Doug is still very much alive and well, so at least we know that 30 days of weed doesn’t kill you. To find out what does happen to your body, make sure you add Super High Me to your watch list.
INSIDE MEDICAL MARIJUANA
Inside Medical Marijuana is National Geographic’s take on the world of legal marijuana. Throughout the 45-minute special, they take a look at the science behind cannabis and detail some of the lives affected by its use. The documentary also presents a compelling argument of old versus new. There are those who have dedicated their lives to the advocacy of medical marijuana, but there are also individuals who see the legalization of cannabis as a great money-making opportunity.
While it is too early to tell how legal marijuana will play out, Inside Medical Marijuana does an excellent job of setting the scene for what the cannabis industry might look like in the future.
THE LEGEND OF 420
“420” has become the international reference for all things cannabis-related, not just among stoners, but mainstream media too. The Legend of 420 aims to give viewers an all-encompassing overview of marijuana right from its initial legalization in the American state of California to its current applications on a global scale.
Interestingly, it also tries to present both sides of the argument for and against legalization, although it doesn’t take long to see that the arguments against are grounded in a significant amount of misinformation. The Legend of 420 is an ideal film for those who know very little about cannabis, as it gives a complete overview of the topic. Even if you do know your OG Kush from your Sour Diesel, the doc still has plenty to offer.
Presenting a side of cannabis cultivation many of us don’t think about, Murder Mountain is a series that highlights the growing number of missing people in the cannabis capital of America, Humboldt County. The Emerald Triangle is a haven for large-scale cannabis operations, and as the show suggests, potentially something more sinister.
It is important to point out that while there is plenty of factual substance to Murder Mountain, the show is heavily edited to be as dramatic as possible. There is no doubt that cannabis has become big business with a lot of money at stake, but whether it is as sinister as the show depicts—well that’s for you to decide.
Canada’s decision to legalize all forms of cannabis has changed the world forever. Not just for Canadians, but big businesses too. Rolling Papers follows a struggling newspaper as it decides to dedicate a column to the cannabis community. Like Murder Mountain, the documentary has a hefty amount of editing and special effects, which, while entertaining, do at times detract from the documentary’s main premise. Rolling Papers does highlight an issue that is still prevalent no matter where you are in the world—cannabis is still a highly controversial topic, despite how far it has come.
Follow the link for eight of the best cannabis documentaries currently on streaming platform Netflix. You'll be surprised how much attitudes have changed.
Top 10 Weed Documentary Shows Worth Watching
In my opinion, there’s no better way to learn something new on the topic that you’re already passionate about than by watching documentaries.
Since you’re here and reading this article, it’s safe to say that we both share a passion for cannabis.
When you Google weed-related things to watch, you’ll notice there’s a huge number of weed documentary movies, shows, and sitcoms. So, how to choose what’s good?
To save you time, I’ll be your reader’s digest with this list of 10 best weed documentaries that are worth your while.
Weed the People (2018), 97 minutes
This is an emotional and overwhelming medical cannabis documentary revolving around struggling parents battling both time and outdated laws.
Documentarian Abby Epstein is following a group of parents and their young children diagnosed with cancer, whose only remaining hope is cannabis. The laws are changing too slowly, which inhibits scientific progress needed to fully grasp the therapeutic properties of cannabinoids.
But when their children are sick, most parents are more than ready to break the law and try alternatives that could be life-saving.
This documentary investigates if cannabis has the ability to eradicate some forms of cancer—which it does, but only specific types of this plant, and in highly concentrated forms and precise doses.
The Union: The Business Behind Getting High (2007), 104 minutes
Although it may seem that The Union is outdated and irrelevant because it was filmed more than 10 years ago, that’s really not the case. Long before cannabis was legalized for recreational use in Canada, 85% of all BS’s cannabis production was exported to the US, making it an international issue.
The author Adam Scorgie interviews medical experts, politicians, police officers, economists and celebrities in order to explain the reasons why weed should be viewed in the same light as tobacco and alcohol.
The entire documentary is available on YouTube, and you can also watch it here.
The Culture High (2014), 120 minutes
The Culture High is a sequel to The Union: The Business Behind Getting High, and it has a very interesting approach. This documentary looks at both sides of the coin: cannabis legalization supporters on one side, and its opponents on the other.
The crew behind Culture High gathered a bunch of celebrities who were willing to talk about this delicate matter, including Richard Branson, Snoop Dogg, Joe Rogan, Rufus Hound, Howard Marks and Wiz Khalifa.
Even a couple of politicians and law enforcement officers were willing to share their views.
This movie premiered on several important film festivals around the globe, and it was also nominated for a bunch of awards. You can stream it on Netflix.
11 Best Weed TV Shows You Have to Watch While High
420: The Documentary (2013), 92 minutes
Educational and entertaining—with documentary footage from various 420 civil disobedience festivals, this film tells the story of young people who’ve been arrested (and even shot) for cannabis possession.
In this documentary, you’ll have a chance to hear the heart-warming confessions of former law enforcement officers, who now regret enforcing anti-cannabis policies.
420: The Documentary tells the story of the wrongful propaganda of numerous governments against a plant that so many people can actually benefit from. That’s how pot was made illegal.
The Ultimate Rundown of 35 Best Stoner Movies and TV Shows
The Legend of 420 (2017), 87 minutes
This relatively new documentary gives us an insight into the long and tedious journey cannabis has gone through. The film states facts from both the medical and legal arena, but also provides comic relief through various light-hearted scenes.
Peter Spirer (the director) is an Academy Award nominee (for “Blood Ties: The Life and Work of Sally Mann”), and in this motion picture he interviews patients, lawyers, doctors, growers and artists who talk about the economic, medicinal and artistic potential of this plant.
The Legend of 420 provides an overly optimistic insight about the positive transition of the global cannabis culture.
Plus, it’s available on Netflix.
American Drug War 2: Cannabis Destiny (2013), 90 minutes
Directed by Kevin Booth who became a foster parent himself, this documentary argues that children are the biggest victims of the longest war in America—the War on Drugs.
It follows a 2-year-old boy with brain cancer who underwent surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.
After being in a coma for 40 days, the doctors prepared his parents for the worst.
However, while doing research on alternative therapies, the boy’s father found out about a new version of an ancient drug made from cannabis. The parents started injecting the still illegal hemp oil in their dying son’s feeding tube, without the doctor’s approval.
When a miracle happened, medical professionals were left speechless. This is a very intense and emotional documentary, and is definitely something you should watch if you’re interested in the medicinal aspects of cannabis.
Lynching Charlie Lynch (2011), 100 minutes
Back in 2006, Charlie Lynch opened a medical cannabis dispensary within the limits of Morro Bay city in California. He was offered to join the Chamber of Commerce, and a full license to run his business by the civic leaders of this city.
But as pot remained on the list of Schedule 1 substances, Lynch’s dispensary became a target of DEA raids and he was arrested for weed trafficking, distribution and cultivation, and worst of all, for allegedly selling cannabis to minors.
From a respectful citizen to a notorious drug dealer, Lynch soon became a burning topic in the news.
Lynching Charlie Lynch depicts the hell this man went through in the name of medical cannabis.
How Weed Won the West (2010), 100 minutes
Another documentary by Kevin Booth, How Weed Won the West tells a story about the expanding medical cannabis industry in California, in correlation with federal marijuana prohibition laws. This movie also investigates the facets of recreational use.
You’ll enjoy watching a former LAPD officer who is now completely pro-legalization, as well as the notorious conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his personal views on the matter.
It’s a humorous and informative insight about the times when recreational weed was still illegal in California, and the hypocritical laws which were in full swing not so long ago.
You can watch the entire movie in the video above.
Breaking the Taboo (2011), 80 minutes
When Morgan Freeman narrates it, it can’t be a bad film. Breaking the Taboo is a Brazilian picture on global politics and the War on Drugs.
It tells a story of the Global Commission on Drug Policy (GCDP), which is a panel of world leaders based in Geneva, Switzerland. Their main objective is the “liberation” of controlled substances, which they consider as the best possible solution for ending the War on Drugs once and for all.
The movie was filmed in 18 different cities, and had over 160 participants. Besides the former president of Brazil, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, former US presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter also make an appearance.
My favorite quote from this film is also food for thought:
“If you can’t control drug use in a maximum security prison, how can you control drug use in a free society?”
Code of the West (2012), 75 minutes
Directed by Rebecca Richman Cohen, Code of the West provides a deeper understanding of Montana’s pot laws back in 2011. You’re most likely unaware of this, but Montana is the first and only US state to repeal its medical cannabis laws.
Many users and growers share their views on the entire situation, as well as legalization opponents. Another great movie which unfortunately brings our top 10 list to the end.
If you think I skipped any important documentaries on this subject let me know in the comment section, and I’ll be sure to include them in the article.
Learn more about the legalization of cannabis, current laws and newest medical research by watching these movies.