The Top Movies That Popularized Cannabis and CBD

For a long time, cannabis was outlawed. Hemp, too, underwent a prohibition. It went from a once profitable crop used for textiles and agriculture to a little-known plant that could garner growers hefty fines. However, hemp and cannabis have undergone a resurgence in more recent times.

 As the natural wellness trend flourishes, numerous Americans are turning to hemp and cannabis. The US Farm Bill placed hemp products firmly back on the shelves, and now it’s easy to find CBD for sale wherever you look. And alongside CBD products, those in many states are using cannabis as a more potent holistic approach to wellness.

 Changes in legislation are happening all the time to fuel this new popularity. Most of the time, states put the choice in the hands of the public, with people voicing their opinions in the ballot box. So, what has changed people’s minds about cannabis and CBD? Why are so many people in favor?

 Here are some of the many popular movies that may have helped to turn the tide.

Up in Smoke (1978)

No list of cannabis-related movies is complete without a Cheech and Chong flick. Tommy Chong and Cheech Marin met in Vancouver, British Columbia, in the 1960s, forging a friendship founded on getting stoned.

 The two formed a comedy duo, often performing skits and songs. In 1978, they released their first feature-length film, Up in Smoke. Despite a low budget, it grossed $44 million at the box office, leading to multiple follow-up films.

 Up in Smoke is a comedy telling the story of two stoners smuggling a van made of marijuana from Mexico to LA, pursued by an incompetent police officer. Unsurprisingly, it was a highly scrutinized movie at the time of its release.

 Cheech and Chong continue to promote their love for marijuana, so there’s no doubt that this duo has helped to change people’s opinions and make cannabis more mainstream over the years.

Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle (2004)

Harold & Kumar is another classic stoner duo portrayed by John Cho and Kal Penn. If you wanted an indication about how much had changed between 1978 and 2004, White Castle gave permission to the filmmakers to release this cannabis-themed movie. The restaurant even released tie-in products at their outlets.

 Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle depicts two friends high on marijuana who subsequently get the munchies. They embark on an epic quest to find a White Castle and get burgers. At one point in the movie, Kumar gives an emotional speech in which he says it is not just about burgers, but “The American Dream.”

 Clearly, by the early 2000s, public opinion had changed so much that a stoner movie was no longer seen as controversial. In fact, Harold and Kumar performed so well that two more films were released a few years later.

Pineapple Express (2008)

2008 was a killer year for stoner movies, with another Harold and Kumar flick released, followed by Pineapple Express. Those who use cannabis may be familiar with this common and popular strain. However, you may not be aware that the real-life strain is a spin-off from the movie.

 Starring James Franco and Seth Rogen, this flick follows stoner Dale Denton, who witnesses a murder while high on a new and rare strain called Pineapple Express. He dumps his joint at the crime scene, but the strain is so rare that it leaves a trace back to Dale and his dealer.

 The movie depicts the paranoia that can be induced by weed, and yet it’s one of the most popular stoner movies of modern times. It was released in the same week as The Dark Knight and was the second-highest-grossing movie that weekend. And, of course, it led to the development of an enormously popular strain.

Weed the People (2018)

Following the great success of several marijuana-themed films, cannabis was firmly embedded in popular culture. By 2018, numerous states had legalized cannabis either for medical or recreational purposes, and a wave of positivity toward the plant swept the United States.

 Now, there was a turn toward science. Instead of comedy flicks, people were hungry for documentaries that cemented weed’s place in the legal realm.

 Netflix released Weed the People in 2018, detailing the stories of families treating their sick children using cannabis. The feature-length documentary also included testimonies from doctors who supported legalization.

 The heart-tugging documentary is undoubtedly a pro-cannabis sentiment that will have changed a few people’s minds.

CBD Nation (2020)

CBD has only hit the mainstream in the last few years. Its appearance in films and TV is just emerging. Though there’s the odd mention in fiction, most media revolving around CBD follows the trend of documentaries.

 CBD Nation offers emotional stories tied in with a deep exploration of the science behind CBD. Those who watch it are often left astounded by what they learn, and many have said that anyone skeptical of CBD should watch this film.

Final Thoughts on the Movies That Popularized CBD

There are now CBD products everywhere, but this likely wouldn’t be the case if it weren’t for the cannabis movies that paved the way. These films placed cannabis firmly in the mainstream and may have shifted public opinion. It’s impossible to know the true impact these movies made.

 Despite the prevalence of CBD products, we are just beginning to see their occurrence in movies and on TV. Perhaps with more documentaries dedicated to this compound, the tide will turn even more in CBD’s favor, bringing exciting new possibilities to this industry.


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