Cannabis is becoming more widely accepted, but there is still a long way to go. Despite its long history of criminalization, weed has been consumed for centuries. From the 1960s and 1970s stoner culture to the pre-criminalization era of early jazz, marijuana has always had a special place in the music industry. Here are 51 of the top songs about weed to enjoy with or without a joint.
1. Roll Me Up And Smoke Me When I Die — Willie Nelson
There aren’t many people who don’t know by now that the red-headed stranger is a fan of marijuana. But he never wrote a song about his love for the plant until 2012’s Roll Me Up And Smoke Me When I Die. To be fair, the lyrics never explicitly say anything about weed, but the reference to rolling something (or someone) up and smoking it is a pretty clear reference to a blunt. In case it wasn’t clear enough, Nelson collaborated on the track with Snoop Dogg, another famous weed enthusiast.
2. Irie — Ty Dolla Sign featuring Wiz Khalifa
Irie might not be a word that everyone knows, but every marijuana enthusiast knows the feeling. The word is a Jamaican slang term meaning happy, content, or at peace with yourself. With the rest of the lyrics, there is no doubt that this track is all about the content feeling of being stoned. It’s impossible not to feel that same feeling when you hear this catchy song.
3. I Get Lifted — KC & The Sunshine Band
Back in the 1970s, stoner culture was in its heyday—but in terms of beating censors, things still had to be pretty tame. If you’re not paying attention (or if you’re just an innocent person) it’s easy for the real meaning of this song to go over your head. But “You got the match, oh that lights the fire, I get lifted up hi-high – hi-high” is pretty clearly about weed.
4. Let’s Go Get Stoned — Ray Charles
Long before the commercial popularization of marijuana, people were singing about its effects. Ray Charles recorded the song in 1966, and it promptly climbed to the top of the R&B charts. In an interesting coincidence, the track was released just after he left rehab for his addiction to heroin, which he had struggled with for a decade and a half. The song remained so popular that it was recorded by other artists including Big Mama Thornton and James Brown and was even performed at Woodstock in 1969.
5. 4-2-0 — Kottonmouth Kings
The number 420 has become synonymous with smoking weed, with April 20 even being named International Cannabis Day. The Kottonmouth Kings’ ode to weed referenced the number to describe people who are perpetually high. The lyrics say “My clock’s stopped at 4:20,” but the opening line is even blunter, pun intended, “You know I got two states of mind – stoned and asleep.”
6. Got To Get You Into My Life — The Beatles
The Beatles’ 1966 song Got To Get You Into My Life was the topic of hot debate for many years. Some people said it was a love song, while others pointed to lyrics that were undeniably a nod to psychedelic drugs. In 1997, Paul McCartney, who had composed the song, admitted that it was an homage to marijuana, saying, “It’s actually an ode to pot, like someone else might write an ode to chocolate or a good claret.”
7. High By The Beach — Lana Del Rey
Lana Del Rey’s 2015 jam is about using pot as an escape, in this case, from a troubled relationship. Plenty of people can probably relate to wanting to leave their problems behind and just vibe by the ocean. The lyrics include the lines “Don’t need your money money, To get me what I want, All I wanna do is get high by the beach.” It is a more introspective song than many pot-themed ballads, dedicated to the kind of living-in-the-moment contemplativeness that marijuana can induce.
8. Kaya — Bob Marley & The Wailers
Bob Marley was one of the most famous representatives of stoner culture in the music of the 20th century. Kaya is a 1971 song about smoking weed while watching the rain fall. The title is a Jamaican slang term for marijuana that gradually worked itself into cannabis culture in other parts of the world. The track is an amazing example of how a musician like Marley could take such a simple experience and turn it into a poem.
9. Mexico — Jefferson Airplane
Jefferson Airplane’s 1970 song Mexico was part political ballad, part ode to marijuana. It was composed in criticism of President Richard Nixon’s Operation Intercept, intended to stop drugs from crossing the border between Mexico and the United States. The song gives a nod to Woodstock and urges young people to take a stand for what they believe in. Unsurprisingly, the track wasn’t played much on the radio but remains a classic marijuana-themed song to this day.
10. James Joint — Rihanna
Rihanna’s extra-short song James Joint is a blip in her discography, but the track is undeniably catchy. Clocking in at just over a minute long, the tune starts out strong with the words “I’d rather be smoking weed, Whenever we breathe.” From there, the lyrics continue alternating themes of marijuana, attraction, and love in a song that makes you wonder to whom it’s really addressed.
11. Homegrown — Neil Young
Neil Young was best known for his love songs, but Homegrown goes in a slightly different direction. This track is all about the benefits of marijuana, particularly the strain that the singer gets back home. We’re not going to judge; marijuana enthusiasts know that everyone has their favorite strain. The song’s lyrics are veiled enough to fool your grandmother, but Young is a well-known marijuana user.
12. Only a Roach — Humble Pie
The band members of Humble Pie were nearly blocked from reentering the country when a roach was confiscated from their luggage. The song points out the absurdity of ruining people’s lives over a small amount of cannabis and even draws parallels to how alcohol is considered socially acceptable but weed is not.
13. Rainy Day Women #12 & 35 — Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan’s 1966 song is so famous that it is sometimes referred to as “Everybody Must Get Stoned.” The line is repeated many times over in the chorus, with plenty of wordplay on “get stoned.” Does it mean being executed by people throwing stones, or does it mean what we think it means? It doesn’t become completely clear until that last line of the chorus. Dylan’s lyrics were a tongue-in-cheek effort to avoid radio censorship, and ultimately, they worked.
14. Because I Got High — Afroman
Because I Got High is a humorous take on how a single decision can change the course of our lives. The singer points out that his love of marijuana made him lose his chances at a college degree and a job, and eventually his family and his freedom. Call it a black humor tribute to the way that addiction can wreck your chances.
15. Reefer Man — Cab Calloway
It’s worth noting that when Cab Calloway recorded Reefer Man in 1932, marijuana was still perfectly legal in the United States. The plant was growing in popularity but wouldn’t be criminalized until 1937. The song is all about being sober and watching someone who is high—an experience that most of us have probably had.
16. My Collie (Not a Dog) — The Selector
This 1980 indie rock song is fairly simple, but the title alone makes it clear that it’s deeper than it seems. The track starts out with a tongue-in-cheek “government warning” about how smoking can damage your health, then continues to describe how the “collie” (slang for marijuana, if you didn’t know) makes the singer feel high. Yeah, we get the real meaning here.
17. If You’re a Viper — Fats Waller
Back in the 1930s, marijuana was usually referred to as “reefer,” thanks to the propaganda movie. Reefer Madness. The jazz song If You’re A Viper is so tied to cannabis culture that it is sometimes called “The Reefer Song.” “Viper,” in case you didn’t know, is a 1930s Harlem term for a cannabis user—the habit was widespread amongst jazz musicians.
18. Hash Pipe — Weezer
Hash Pipe came out in 2001, and in many ways was ahead of its time. The indie rock ballad is obviously about smoking cannabis, but the members of Weezer have also come out to say that it is more specifically about a trans sex worker. Pretty open themes several decades later, but not all the way back in 2001.
19. Cheeba Cheeba — ToneLōc
Cannabis has about a million slang terms, probably because it has been outlawed for so long. “Cheeba” is one of many, and this 1989 song is an ode to the plant’s ability to get a party started. The lyrics point out that in comparison to other drugs, it is much cheaper and less harmful to your health—which we have to admit is true.
20. Pass That Dutch — Missy Elliott
“Dutch” was first used as a slang term to get past radio censors, but eventually it made its way into cannabis culture as a word, for, well, cannabis. It’s pretty obvious what Missy Elliott’s 2003 club hit is about, but the lyrics contain many more elaborate references to other weed enthusiasts in the music industry, including Cab Calloway.
21. Smoke Break — Chance The Rapper
Is Smoke Break relatable or sad? We’ll let you decide. This 2016 song is all about the chaos of regular life and how a couple rarely has time for one another anymore. The only time they feel like the frantic pace slows down is when they sit down together to share some weed. It’s simultaneously a lament for the daily grind and an ode to the ritual of sharing a smoke.
22. Don’t Step On The Grass, Sam — Steppenwolf
Don’t Step On The Grass, Sam is a 1968 song addressing the legal crackdowns against the use of cannabis. “Sam” is a reference to Uncle Sam, who is spreading lies about how marijuana will ruin the nation’s children. It’s amazing to hear how the way politicians talk about cannabis has barely changed in many decades.
23. Wacky Tobacky — NRBQ
Wacky Tobacky is all about how marijuana was becoming more and more ubiquitous in American culture during the late 1970s. Even the “old people” who claimed to be opposed to it were partaking, though they would never admit it. It just goes to show a glimpse into the cannabis culture of the time.
24. Mary Jane — Rick James
We’ve all heard the slang term “Mary Jane” as a stand-in for marijuana. The term was already losing popularity when Rick James released the track in 1978. Suffice it to say that when he sang “I’m in love with Mary Jane… She makes me feel all right, She makes my heart sing,” everyone knew exactly what he was talking about.
25. Sweet Leaf — Black Sabbath
Many songs about cannabis start out sounding like love songs, which just goes to show how people really feel about the plant. Black Sabbath’s 1971 track took a break from their usual topics to praise the “sweet leaf” that healed all their ills. But we’ll be honest—the song tricks you into thinking it’s about a woman at the beginning.
26. Wildwood Weed — Jim Stafford
Wildwood Weed was written in the early 1970s, at a time when censors were cracking down on any mention of marijuana from musicians. Nevertheless, Jim Stafford managed to get a studio to let him perform the song live on television and went on to have a successful career afterward.
27. One Toke Over The Line — Brewer & Shipley
If you are a long-term marijuana user, you probably know that there’s a thin line between a good high and imbibing too much. Brewer & Shipley’s 1970 song One Toke Over The Line is about going just a little bit too far and feeling like things are spiraling out of control as a result.
28. (Let’s Go) Smoke Some Pot — Dash Rip Rock
There is something to be said for songs that just lay it all out there. The 1995 song (Let’s Go) Smoke Some Pot is the polar opposite of the cannabis-themed songs cloaked in metaphor. It’s a straight stoner anthem and an unabashed invitation for everyone to find their instrument of choice to go, well, smoke some pot.
29. Hi, Hi, Hi — Paul McCartney & Wings
It’s not exactly a secret that The Beatles were into drugs—Strawberry Fields Forever cemented it firmly in our minds. But Paul McCartney’s love affair with cannabis continued long after the breakup of his group in 1970. Six years later, the BBC wouldn’t let him perform Hi, Hi, Hi despite McCartney’s insistence that the song wasn’t about drug use.
30. Broccoli — D.R.A.M. Featuring Lil Yachty
Of all the slang terms for marijuana, “broccoli” has to be one of the strangest. We kind of get it—cannabis is green, broccoli is green, but it’s still an odd choice. The weirdness of the term didn’t stop D.R.A.M. from busting out this dirty but danceable tune back in 2016.
31. Hits From The Bong — Cypress Hill
There are few songs as visceral and open as Hits From The Bong. This 1993 track has no subtlety to it—it is openly and proudly about marijuana. More specifically, it is about passing a bong between friends and feeling the high wash over you.
32. Legalize It — Peter Tosh
Some weed-themed songs are written in praise of cannabis, while others, like 1976’s Legalize It are part political anthem. The track extols the health benefits of marijuana and criticizes the strict anti-weed measures of the Jamaican authorities. It would take decades after Tosh’s song for Jamaica to decriminalize marijuana possession.
33. Pass The Kutchie — The Mighty Diamonds
Pass The Kutchie is a 1981 reggae song dedicated to Rastafarian cannabis culture, with a kutchie being a ceremonial pipe. The track received a high amount of public backlash. However, this didn’t stop it from being adapted a year later as Pass The Dutchie (Dutchie being a reference to a cooking pot). The food-themed cover slipped past the censors but “Dutchie” eventually made its way into stoner slang.
34. Addicted — Amy Winehouse
Amy Winehouse was open about her addiction issues and described herself as jumping between substances. Earlier in her twenties, she was a heavy marijuana user; it was this period that she was referring to with Addicted. Sadly, her fixation later turned to alcohol, leading to her death from alcohol poisoning at the age of 27.
35. How High — Redman & Method Man
How High was a 1995 rap song by Redman & Method Man that later lent its name to a film. The track uses other classic song terms that reference marijuana, most particularly “’Excuse me as I kiss the sky”—a reference to Jimi Hendrix’s classic term for getting high from nearly three decades earlier.
36. I Got 5 On It — Luniz
I Got 5 On It is a 1995 hip hop song describing the practice of making a group weed purchase. The title refers to putting five dollars on the sale because the singer says they’re broke. The rest of the track is about going to a corner store to buy Swisher Sweets to turn into a blunt.
37. Gin And Juice — Snoop Dogg
For a song entitled Gin And Juice, there is a surprising amount of content about weed in this track. From the repeated phrase “smokin’ indo” to references to “fat ass J,” it is as much an anthem to cannabis as it is to the titular gin and juice.
38. Indica Badu — Logic featuring Wiz Khalifa
Wiz Khalifa is a known proponent of cannabis usage, so it’s no surprise to find him featured on this 2018 hit. The song is an ode to smoking marijuana with a subtle play on words between Indica, a strain of cannabis, and musician and activist Erykah Badu.
39. Medication — Damian Marley Featuring Stephen Marley
Cannabis usage seems to be a time-honored tradition in the Marley family; Damian Marley is the youngest child of Bob Marley. His 2017 song Medication is a poem about the medicinal benefits of cannabis, including pain relief and easing symptoms of epilepsy.
40. Sativa — Jhené Aiko featuring Rae Sremmurd
If you know much about marijuana, you probably know that Sativa is a cannabis strain that improves energy (as opposed to Indica, which improves feelings of relaxation and can cause people to experience “couch lock”). The song is about using Sativa before a night out to feel pumped up and excited.
41. Smoke Two Joints — Sublime
Smoke Two Joints was originally written by the band The Toyes in the early 1980s, but the ska cover by Sublime is by far the best known. The track’s upbeat rhythm makes it a fun party song, and it’s hard not to get into the spirit of things. The lyrics are all about how there is no bad occasion for smoking cannabis, whether you’re getting up in the morning or going to bed, feeling happy or feeling sad.
42. Willin’/Don’t Bogart That Joint — Little Feat
Cannabis slang has changed a bit since Little Feat recorded this song in 1978, but long-time marijuana users can still relate to this song. The lyrics are straightforward, describing the experience of sharing a joint with a group of friends and feeling like one of them is taking just a bit too long to pass it. The title is just a way to say “Don’t hog all the weed!”
43. One Draw — Rita Marley
Rita Marley is the widow of Bob Marley and an accomplished singer in her own right. In the grand tradition of the Marley family, she also had a signature song all about the pleasures of cannabis. This quintessential reggae song begins with the repeated line “I wanna get high,” and it pretty much continues in the same vein throughout the whole song.
44. Get High Tonight — Busta Rhymes
Busta Rhymes’ Get High Tonight was released on his second album in 1997. The song alternates between complex verses and a simple repetitive chorus urging listeners to, well, get high tonight. Life is complicated, he says, and sometimes all you need to kick back and unwind is “a nickel bag.” His reference to “smoking lye” is yet another slang term for marijuana.
45. The Pot Smoker’s Song — Neil Diamond
Neil Diamond recorded The Pot Smoker’s Song in 1968, and it was fairly uncensored for its time. The track parodies some of the anti-drug propaganda of the time, with lines like “Hip, hip, you wanna be hip, You’re no one at all, If you don’t take a trip.” Sounds a lot like the peer pressure our parents told us to expect.
46. How to Roll a Blunt — Redman
How To Roll A Blunt is a call for a return to the classic ways of smoking marijuana. It might just be one of those arguments that only weed enthusiasts can partake in. Redman’s lyrics about using your fingertips instead of a razor to line the blunt sound a bit like more modern complaints about fancy coffee drinks. Apparently, he is a traditional sort of guy.
47. Dopesmoker — Sleep
Dopesmoker might be the stoner anthem to end all stoner anthems. This 1998 song is a single track and a whole album all at once. The track runs a total of 63 minutes, with the whole thing dedicated to smoking marijuana. There is also plenty of Biblical imagery, just to make the song feel even stranger. It is now considered one of the most important songs of the stoner rock genre.
48. That Cat Is High — The Ink Spots
The lyrics might be pretty dated, but if you’re a weed enthusiast, you’ll immediately relate to That Cat Is High. The song dates from 1938, but it goes to show that some experiences are universal. We might not use all the same slang terms these days, but we can still relate to feeling mellow and having the munchies—as the singer sings, “I want the home cookin’ mama with the fryin’ pan.”
49. You Don’t Know How It Feels — Tom Petty
You Don’t Know How It Feels is pretty openly about smoking weed. If the first few lines don’t convince you, you’ll know by the time you get to the chorus. At that point, the lyrics bluntly invite you to roll a joint (while driving, which is probably not a great idea). Though the track was recorded at a time when drug use was still heavily censored, it’s hard to miss the meaning here.
50. We Be Burnin’ — Sean Paul
Sean Paul was one of the leading voices of reggae in the early 200s, and We Be Burnin’ was one of his top tracks. The original version was openly about marijuana and its therapeutic effects; though censorship had come a long way, there was still a radio version released that changed the lyrics to be about women rather than weed.
51. Illegal Smile — John Prine
Illegal Smile is all about using marijuana to combat feelings of depression and ennui. The lyrics describe it as a “key to escape reality.” It can be difficult when life feels overwhelming, and you don’t feel like you have any recourse except escape. Unfortunately, the escape doesn’t last very long before reality sets back in.
As the Head Editor and Writer at Music Grotto, Liam helps write and edit content produced from professional music/media journalists and other contributing writers. He works closely with journalists and other staff to format and publish music content for the Music Grotto website. Liam is also the founding member of Music Grotto and is passionate in disseminating editorial content to its readers.
Liam’s lifelong love for music makes his role at Music Grotto such a rewarding one. He loves researching, writing and editing music content for Music Grotto.