If you've spent any amount of time smoking weed and watching movies, you already know the two activities make an ideal pair.
You might say film is the most psychotropic art form, engaging multiple senses and modes of thinking and feeling at once for an experience that, at its best, you can intuit sensorily as well as emotionally. The late filmmaker and legendary stoner Robert Altman once described the ultimate cinematic experience as such on The Dick Cavett Show in 1972.
“Ideally, the audience can look at a film, emotionally get the whole thing, and not necessarily be able to explain it to somebody else,” Altman proposed. “To themselves, they should feel and know what it means. You get an impression, and you know what it means but you can't articulate it.”
If Altman's onto something here — and of course he is — it stands to reason that the cannabis high would sort of open up one's third eye and, by extension, a new hyper-sensory channel where a movie becomes the ultimate version of itself: a psychedelic, electronic dream transferred to waking life and most effectively intuited with the right combination of cannabinoids and terpenes in your system.
And if you want to get the best experience out of watching a movie while baked, finding the right cannabinoid profile is key. That's why we interviewed a stellar lineup of entertainment industry insiders and seasoned stoned movie watchers to find the best strains for watching movies and tapping into the optimal psychotropic, cinematic trip.
Here's seven of their favorites.
It's been a few years since Blue Dream dominated the legal cannabis market as the most popular strain, but if our interviewees have anything to say about it, you may want to return to this one next time you're toking up for a good movie. For Mia Vicino, the Los Angeles-based film columnist known for her blithe, witty reviews and a massive following on Letterboxd (a rapidly growing social media app for film fans), Blue Dream is where it's at.
“I usually go to sativa for movies because it keeps me alert and paying attention and in it, rather than just couch-locked and zoning,” Vicino told Weedmaps. “Blue Dream is my favorite. I feel like that one also opens my mind in a different way, like the synapses start cracklin' and I'm getting new avenues into the movie that I hadn't gotten before. It just makes me think in a different way that I really appreciate.”
Vicino's in good company. Blue Dream was also the first strain that came up when we talked to audio engineer and podcast producer Emma Erdbrink.
"Blue Dream is definitely a favorite of mine for beach hangin', but I think the beach-hang vibe and the movie-watching vibe can be pretty similar, especially if it's a rainy day and you're staying in," said Erdbrink. "I also think Blue Dream makes everything around you feel 'pretty' which is why I like it for the beach and for movies. It enhances the visual of whatever you're looking at in a really pleasant way."
Comedian, writer, and culture commentator Ashley Ray finds Pacific Stone's Blue Dream an optimal herb for augmenting the movie theater experience.
"I was recently at a documentary film fest that had these giant outdoor screenings and it reminded me how excited I am for theaters to open back up," Ray shared. "Before COVID, I used to love getting absolutely stoned, going to a movie alone and getting lost in the visual details of the big screen, in surround sound. There's probably nothing better than Blue Dream when you're nestled up in some nice comfy movie seats."
"I do also really like Sour Diesel for watching," Vicino added. Sour Diesel is the most recommended strain by her local budtenders, and Vicino appreciates the uplifting cinematic experience it fosters. "I tend to pick Sativa strains that don't make me fall asleep right away. [Sour Diesel] has been awesome because the strain really knows what it's doing, like Blue Dream."
Though sativas can be good for unlocking your movie lizard brain, Erdbrink finds that Indica-leaning hybrids relax the body and mind for optimal evening movie watching. The winning cross of Dutch Passion Seeds' Skywalker and JoshD's OG Kush, Skywalker OG is Erdbrink's go-to happy-relaxing strain for "clearing your mind at the end of the day and settling onto the couch for a few hours."
"My boyfriend and I also have a projector with a 110-inch screen and some 3D earth and plant movies narrated by David Attenborough … Always a great watch when stoned on an indica-heavy strain."
Though drawn primarily to sativa strains for cerebral stimulation, Vicino finds the indica-leaning hybrid, Strawberry Fields, an excellent strain for watching a lowkey arthouse movie at home in bed.
"Strawberry Fields is so nice and relaxing, but not in a way that puts me to sleep immediately. And it doesn't make me disengage in the movie either, which sometimes can happen when you're high and distracted. This one doesn't make me do that. I can still focus and I'm nice and relaxed."
Shannon McGrew is a film critic, the founder of horror site Nightmarish Conjurings, and an outspoken cannabis advocate well-versed in the art of watching horror movies while baked.
"I'm a big indica smoker, especially at night which is when I do all of my work for Nightmarish Conjurings," McGrew told Weedmaps. "Stone Road is one of my favorite brands, and their Strawnana is divine. It has a high potency but isn't too overwhelming."
King Louis OG
"I also really like King Louis OG from Source Cannabis," McGrew added. "It's not too heavy of a high, though it also has a high THC count. That said, it'll pull you into the zone allowing for the scarier moments of a movie to have a larger impact."
Emma Erdbrink is a big fan of the classic GG4 "because it will, in fact, glue you to the couch, which can be great for movie watching."
"Usually, whatever I'm smoking before or during a movie has to be something that will mellow me out and shut my brain down a little bit so my thoughts don't start wandering away to emails and to-do lists," Erdbrink clarified. "This also might be why I have to watch things more than once to remember it correctly, but that's fine. Just roll another one and start [the movie] over."
Featured image by Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Find hundreds of strains and where to buy them on Weedmaps Strains.