Cannabis and film have had a long and complicated relationship.
For decades, the plant has been used as a source of inspiration for filmmakers. As well as a way to enhance the movie-watching experience for viewers.
Cannabis has been used in film since the early days of the medium. One of the earliest examples is the 1915 film The Cheat, in which the protagonist uses cannabis to calm her nerves before committing a crime. In the 1930s and 1940s, cannabis began appearing more frequently in films, often in reference to jazz culture or as a way to indicate that a character was “exotic” or “foreign.”
The 1950s saw a marked increase in the use of cannabis in film, coinciding with the rise of the counterculture movement. This began with beatnik films such as The Subterraneans and Pull My Daisy. Which featured characters who were often shown smoking marijuana. These films were followed by others that dealt with drug use more directly, such as The Man with the Golden Arm and The Manchurian Candidate.
The 1960s were a high point for cannabis in film, with dozens of movies referencing the drug. This decade saw the release of classics like Easy Rider, The Trip, and Up in Smoke. The latter, a comedy starring Cheech & Chong, is perhaps the most well-known example of a film about cannabis.
In recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in cannabis-themed films. This is likely due in part to the growing acceptance of marijuana use among the general population. Films such as Pineapple Express and We’re the Millers have capitalized on this trend. While also serving to normalize the drug in the eyes of mainstream audiences.
Looking to the future, it seems likely that cannabis will continue to play a role in film. As attitudes towards marijuana continue to evolve, we can expect to see more films that explore its various uses and implications.