There is a lot more to marijuana than just getting high for fun or helping to relieve certain ailments and symptoms. The historical, cultural, and political background are just as interesting and important, if not even more so. Luckily for us marijuana enthusiasts, some fascinating documentaries research and explore these topics that surround the world of cannabis. The five most interesting of these are listed below.
This 2013 documentary was made by the chief medical correspondent for CNN, Dr. Sanjay Gupta. He was originally starkly against the use of marijuana, but with research and a deeper understanding came his acceptance of the herb as not posing any health threat to users. The documentary explores not the physical effects of marijuana, however, but rather the beginning of its prohibition in the 1930s in the United States. Before this time period, marijuana was widely used as a medicine for a variety of symptoms and ailments. With certain initiatives came the cultural shift to look down upon the drug, however, resulting in a stigma that remains fairly mainstream today. It also looks at the present-day marijuana world, including Colorado (which has completely legalized recreational marijuana). There are also two sequels: Weed 2 and Weed 3.
2. Clearing the Smoke: The Science of Cannabis
Made by Anna Rau in 2011, this documentary dives into the science behind cannabis. In particular, it looks at the medicinal uses for the herb. It explains its effect on pain, nausea, glaucoma, epilepsy, and potential cancer treatments. Medical professionals and patients are interviewed in the documentary, and the uses as well as the limitations of marijuana are all looked at.
3. Super High Me
Made by Michael Blieden in 2007, Super High Me takes its title from the well-known documentary about McDonald’s, Supersize Me. Just like how in Supersize Me the documentarian eats McDonald’s meals for 30 days straight, Michael Blieden smokes marijuana non-stop for a full month. It’s geared more towards entertainment rather than research, but it dives into some important questions about marijuana culture today.
4.The Union: The Business Behind Getting High
This 2007 documentary was made by Brett Harvey and is all about informing the audience about the marijuana industry. It looks at its benefits for the medical industry, the textile industry, and even the paper industry. It highlights the entire marijuana supply chain -- from farm to consumer -- and shows how it will affect the industries around it. It shows that marijuana helps the world of law enforcement among other industries, and looks into the politics and economy of the weed world.
5. The Culture High
This is Brett Harvey’s 2014 sequel to the aforementioned The Union documentary and is often considered the more interesting of the two. It looks specifically at the “War on Drugs” in the United States and what that has done for consumers and the industry of marijuana. It even highlights the fact that there are certain industries clearly benefiting from marijuana remaining illegal. In fact, the criminalization of marijuana is supported by drug dealers as well as law enforcement. The prison business benefits from it and pharmaceutical companies may suffer from medical marijuana becoming legalized. This documentary has received numerous awards and lots of recognition for its stellar job at highlighting what the marijuana industry is really all about.
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