A few years ago a good friend of mine decided people should watch more documentary films (not just the one that wins the Academy Award that particular year). So she came up with Doctober, a “challenge” to watch at least 10 documentary films in the month of October.
While Doctober still hasn’t quite taken off the way she would like, at least among our circle we spend our October evenings checking out some pretty interesting documentary films that we’d otherwise have scrolled past on our Netflix queue.
This year I decided it was time to delve into some of the better documentaries out there that focus on the world of cannabis. So grab yourself a caramel or two and a bowl of ice cream, and hunker down with these six weed documentaries.
1. Grass: The History of Marijuana
A good starting point. Directed by Ron Mann and narrated by Woody Harrelson (how perfect), the film chronicles the American government’s war on weed that began with the rise of xenophobia spurred by Mexican immigration in the early 20th century. Bonus: Great soundtrack that includes Cab Calloway’s “Reefer Man” and Bob Dylan’s “Rainy Day Women.”
2. Clearing the Smoke: The Science of Cannabis
If you’re more interested in the medical benefits of cannabis as opposed to all the obnoxious political back and forth, this is the documentary for you. The film explores how cannabis acts on the brain and body in order to treat such ailments as glaucoma, epilepsy and even cancer. Bonus: It’s directed by a woman, Anna Rau, who is a documentary producer for Montana PBS.
3. When We Grow… This is What We Can Do
It’s not just the U.S. government that has been stupid when it comes to weed. This British documentary by two young filmmakers explores everything from the origins of cannabis prohibition in the UK to the medicinal benefits of cannabinoids and the uses of industrial hemp.
This one’s near and dear to us because it’s about our home state. In Evergreen, filmmakers Riley Morton and Nils Cowan capture the difficult and often-times antagonistic battle between those favoring cannabis legalization in Washington State and those opposed to the state’s 502 initiative, including the medical marijuana community.
5. Super High Me
Ever wonder what are the effects of getting incredibly stoned for 30 days straight? (I think a few of you may already know that.) In the vein of the famous documentary Super Size Me, the film follows comedian and former Stoner of the Year Doug Benson as he avoids weed for 30 days and then consumes massive amounts of cannabis for 30 days.
6. The Union: The Business Behind Getting High
Oh, Canada, specifically British Columbia. Dubbed “the Union,” BC’s illegal weed trade has evolved into a giant business with up to 85 percent exported to the U.S. and bringing in $7 billion (Canadian) annually. This documentary demystifies the underground market and brings to light how the industry can function while remaining illegal.
What are your favorite weed documentaries? Let us know in the comments below.