Cannabis culture is a set of beliefs, behaviours and ideals shared by cannabis users. Like all cultures, it is constantly evolving, especially as legal systems shift and mindsets change.
Cannabis culture has a rich and fascinating history. It has influenced music, art and literature. It is associated with some of the world’s defining subcultures. It even has its own language and brand of humour.
Cannabis culture started developing when people started using cannabis to unlock spiritual experiences. A modern example of this is the key role that cannabis plays in Rastafari, an Abrahamic religion born in Jamaica in the 1930s. This is why a lot of contemporary cannabis paraphernalia carries the Rasta colours of green, gold and red.
Smoking cannabis is an important ritual in Rastafari. It is referred to as the ‘holy herb’ and prized for the feelings of peace and love it induces. It’s important to note that not all who practice Rastafari smoke weed – some believe that they are able to access a higher level of consciousness without it.
In the 1940s, cannabis culture spilled into the hipster subculture. These hipsters didn’t sport man-buns, beards and super-skinny jeans. They were jazz enthusiasts, lovers of sarcasm and very laid back. Cannabis slotted perfectly into the relaxed hipster lifestyle. (Of course contemporary hipsters, beards and all, are also stereotyped as enjoying a good spliff.)
In the 1950s, the intellectual beatnik subculture brought weed into the fold – picture dark, smoky rooms, free love and dramatic poetry readings. This would go on to influence the hippie subculture in the 1960s. In fact, a lot of hippies renounced alcohol in favour of smoking cannabis. These peace-loving creatures, with bell-bottom jeans and flowers in their hair, believed in self-exploration and spiritual experiences. To them, smoking a blunt was as natural as singing out loud at a music festival.
Cannabis has a profound connection to the arts, as many believe it aids creativity. Many popular musicians and artists, such as Bob Marley, Snoop Dogg and Willie Nelson, have made their love for cannabis widely known. You can learn more about cannabis and cannabis culture in publications such as Cannabis Culture and High Times. Or perhaps you’re in the mood for a stoner film (a recognised comedic movie subgenre). High Times even sponsors the Stony Awards (the Stonys), which awards excellence in stoner film and television.
With laws changing and more and more influential people speaking out, is cannabis culture undergoing a renaissance? What role will you play? What does cannabis culture mean to you and your friends?
Tell us what you think in the comments below or on The Growroom. (Better yet, tell us what you’ve named your bong.)