CULTURE

How Weed Memes Both Help and Hinder the Community

Is meme culture more impactful than we realize?
Is meme culture more impactful than we realize? /

The cultural relevance of the meme is something none of us could have predicted a decade ago, but in present day, memes are deeply woven into the fabric of our society and profoundly representative of our collective experience at any given time.

Functioning as a form of modern day hieroglyphics, a successful meme can have a powerful influence on the way we view and handle global catastrophes, political climates, and the ins and outs of modern culture – and one of the hottest topics in meme history? Cannabis.

While weed memes bring the community together with common experiences, cannabis colloquialisms, and even updates in legalization, regulation, and industry trends, they also hold the dangerous power to perpetuate stigma and misinformation.

Because of this, it’s up to the cannabis community to utilize the weed meme world for good – to spark conversations and spread education in a share-worthy and effective manner. 

Weed Memes: Helpful or Harmful?

Today’s society is in an era of Internet culture where we’re more in touch with one another than ever before. 

Breaking news events are spread, consumed, and recycled into sarcastic, ironic banter to both poke fun at and help us collectively cope with tragedy or shock – typically in the form of a widely-shared meme. 

Some of the world’s most notable moments in time have been turned into memes, like the reign of Grumpy Cat or the Suez Canal blockage. However, seemingly-mundane moments have also gained meme-famy, like Sad Keanu, Michael Jackson eating popcorn, or the stock photo that just keeps giving

Basically, memes are an opportunity for anyone and everyone to get hilariously creative, and the cannabis community has definitely made a lot of contributions to the universal meme library. 

However, there are two sides to every meme: those who are in on the joke, and those who just don’t get it. And unfortunately, that can be rather detrimental for the cannabis industry. 

Here are some of the best weed memes the Internet has to offer – and all of the ways they can be misinterpreted and weaponized to perpetuate stigma:

1. Elon Musk Smoking Weed on Joe Rogan’s Podcast

This moment when Elon Musk smoked weed on Joe Rogan’s podcast instantly went down in Internet infamy – a.k.a., it was transformed into an endless number of memes, many weed-related. 

This particular meme pokes fun at “high thoughts” – a.k.a., the bright ideas we all come up with when we’re high. 

Of course, anyone who consumes cannabis is aware how profound an experience this can actually be. Cannabis allows us to expand our minds and question the reality we live in, which is an incredibly powerful thing.

However, this can easily be misconstrued and utilized to perpetuate the age-old stigma of the confused, bumbling, giggly stoner who can barely articulate a sentence.

2. Weed Mama Martha and Uncle Snoop

This one’s got layers. The meme reminds us of those special cannabis-infused kitchen moments where we can really get free and creative, using our cannabis auntie and uncle to get the message across. 

Much like the “high thoughts” meme, this weed-and-cooking-themed pic is an experience most consumers can relate to, but if you’re anti-cannabis, this meme could easily come across as glorifying functioning addiction.

3. The Ever-Relatable Floor Weed Scrounge

Here’s another weed meme for you  Again, hilariously relatable – especially if you know what it’s like to live under prohibition, where cannabis consumers have to scramble for quality product.

We’ve all been here, whether it was floor weed, a tobacco-heavy spliff, or a good ol’ resin bowl. Desperate times can call for desperate measures, but can also convey the message that people who consume cannabis are addicts.

Cannabis dependency is a real thing, and it’s something to be wary of if you’re prone to addiction. However, it’s also important to remember that someone with an addictive personality can abuse anything under the sun, from hard drugs to chocolate.

4. Last Famous Words: “This Edible Ain’t Shit.”

This is one of the most commonly-shared weed memes on the Internet, and the reason for that should be pretty obvious – especially if you tried the kind of edibles they were making back in the early 2000s.

Again, the meme pokes fun at a universal stoner experience: taking way too much of an edible and not realizing what a ride you’re in for. 

As uncomfortable as it may be, getting taken down by an edible can be an incredibly educational moment, helping you figure out your tolerance level, your preferred method of consumption, and more. 

However, this can also be used to demonize edibles and the cannabis industry as a whole, painting it as an unpredictable substance that could have a seriously negative effect on you.

5. Too High To Function

This is another widely-spread meme of a television moment so bizarre, it’s almost impossible to assume that Barry Burbank was anything other than…well, high as f*ck. 

But similar to the Snoop-and-Martha meme, this can also perpetuate ideas of glorifying addiction, which is incredibly dangerous for a community working so hard to rise above its false stigma.

6. The Distracted Boyfriend: Weed Edition

When your topic of choice has become an iteration of the Distracted Boyfriend meme, you know you’ve made it. Such is the case for this meme, which highlights the main issue with today’s community: ignorant opposers. 

In fact, this is an example of what every other weed meme needs to keep in mind. These tired old anti-cannabis stigmas are ludicrous, and yet they continue to be perpetuated. How can we fix that?

7. Weed-Fueled Anxiety

This meme is fascinating, because it’s one of the few that addresses a topic both consumers and non-consumers can likely relate to.  

Almost everyone who’s tried cannabis has had at least one negative experience – usually from consuming too much too fast – that results in increased anxiety and/or paranoia.

While seasoned consumers know to simply wait it out, sleep it off, and be more mindful next time, many first-timers experience weed-induced anxiety and swear off the plant for the rest of their lives. 

Sharing a meme like this might spark that conversation and get some opposers to expand their mind a bit to different possibilities with the plant.

8. Life is Prettier With Cannabis

This meme has fun with consumers while capturing that fantastic feeling of picking up a fresh new eighth of flower or popping open a pack of edibles. But for non-consumers, does this look like someone who can’t live happily without the aid of cannabis? 

The blunt truth is, that could very well be reality. Many cannabis consumers’ lives are significantly improved with the aid of the plant, and it has absolutely nothing to do with getting high.

Cannabis is a powerful medical, spiritual, holistic tool for healing and reflection, but much of the world still doesn’t see beyond the lazy stoner stereotype.

While a lot of these memes poke fun at that stereotype while allowing consumers to relate to one another, a big, incredibly important piece is missing: the actual busting of the stigma. 

It’s great to share a funny meme with like-minded friends, but if we’re not careful, are we actually perpetuating these tired ideas from within?

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