Cannabis In Pop Culture: Exploring Its Influence In Music, Movies & Art

Cannabis In Pop Culture: Exploring Its Influence In Music, Movies & Art

The Joint CannabisSep 11, '23

Overstating the influence cannabis has had on popular culture is close to impossible. From art galleries and cinemas to your music streaming platform of choice, there’s a good chance that many of your faves have smoked a joint or two in their lives.

Estimating the impact of marijuana on pop culture is difficult because a lot of people smoke it casually without making it the focus of their art; it would be like trying to guess the influence that booze or Transcendental Meditation has had on pop culture.

We can, however, take a look at art forms that have been directly affected by cannabis, as well as artists who have spoken about their cannabis use and even advocated for legalization. There’s a lot of interesting art to cover, so let’s dive right in!

Cannabis in Music

Cannabis has played a pivotal role in the creation of music since at least the 20th century—and probably since time immemorial. We can see the use of cannabis throughout almost every genre:

  • Jazz music with artists like Louis Armstrong, Cab Calloway, and Miles Davis
  • Rock -The Beatles, Tom Petty, and Neil Young
  • Reggae - Bob Marley and Peter Tosh
  • Metal - Black Sabbath and Dopesmoker (the name says it all)
  • Rap - Cypress Hill, Snoop Dogg, and Wiz Khalifa (as well as basically the entire album Madvillainy by MF Doom and Madlib)
  • Pop - Lana Del Ray and Bruno Mars
  • Folk and country - Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, and Margo Price

The list goes on and on—Sublime, Panda Bear, Water from Your Eyes, and a whole slew of other artists have made songs that specifically reference cannabis or admit to using cannabis while working. Many of these artists feel like cannabis frees them from overthinking and enables them to write and play “in the moment”.

Cannabis in Movies

Seth Rogan loves weed—he compares it to wearing glasses or shoes. That comes as no surprise at all—he is, after all, the writer and main character of the stoner classic Pineapple Express.

He’s not alone in the world of Hollywood stars who love to smoke cannabis. There are dozens of classic stoner movies—Half-Baked, Dazed and Confused, and The Big Lebowski. Many of these movies were created by acclaimed directors like the Coen Brothers and Richard Linklater.

Cannabis aficionados have even turned old anti-marijuana propaganda films like Reefer Madness into cult classics! While most stoner movies feature marijuana prominently (or at least reference it), it’s impossible to say how many movies have been influenced by marijuana—or enjoyed by cannabis lovers.

Cannabis in the Arts

Don’t get us wrong—movies and music are undeniably art, and cannabis has made them richer, more interesting, and more nuanced.

Here, though, we’re talking about the kind of art you might see in an art gallery. Again, it’s impossible to even guess at the influence marijuana use has had on the fine arts—but we do know that several artists, like Fred Tomaselli and Ricardo Cortés, actively incorporate cannabis-influenced themes (or even, in the case of Tomaselli, cannabis buds and leaves themselves) into their art.


We could write several books on the influence that cannabis has had on pop culture—it’s so vast, and every work of art that’s been made under the influence of cannabis or by someone who has used cannabis might have influenced thousands of other works of art. To estimate the impact cannabis has had on art is impossible.

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