by Dan Ketchum
You don’t have to be high to enjoy sweeping vistas, majestic creatures and all the wonders of nature in full HD, but enhancing the audio-visual experience with your favorite strains can turn a night in nature into a wonderfully out-of-body experience. These 10 documentaries all carry the Mistifi crew’s stamp of approval for their transportive power, immaculate vibes and stunning cinematography — but don’t forget to pair them with just the right pen for the journey.
Our Planet (2019, Netflix)
It may seem impossible to follow in the footsteps of Planet Earth, but Netflix’s Our Planet manages the impossible. From the moment each episode starts — with a 4K, Dolby Atmos-powered view of Earth from space — you know you’re in for gorgeous globe-trotting. But the clearest difference from its predecessor is that Our Planet puts a climate change rallying cry front and center. And you know we couldn’t start this list without the iconic, soothing tones of narrator David Attenborough — but this one’s also available in Spanish, thanks to the ASMR-worthy voices of Penelope Cruz and Salma Hayek.
Pair with: Go for clear-eyed Over the Rainbow, as this one’s all about putting things in perspective.
Secrets of the Whales (2021, Disney+)
At this point, getting high to whale songs has taken its place right next to pairing The Wizard of Oz with Pink Floyd, but it’s undeniable that underwater biomes make for perfectly trance-like documentaries to watch while high. National Geographic’s 2021 journey truly ups the ante in this subgenre, covering three years, 24 locations and five different species of whales. Elegantly narrated by the legendary Sigourney Weaver, Secrets combines fascinating animal social systems with absolutely unreal seascapes.
Pair with: Houdini’s Herijuana will put you in an appropriately meditative place.
Nature’s Great Events (2009, Amazon Prime Video)
Also known as Nature’s Most Amazing Events and yet another hit from the Planet Earth team, the keyword here is “uplifting.” Great Events delivers on beautiful backdrops, but its core visual thrills come in the form of incredibly captured moments of Earth’s wildlife triumphing over the odds, with majestic scenes like an Alaskan salmon migration and a first-hand view of humpback whales hunting as a co-op pod.
Pair with: That euphoric Electric Lemonade feeling, as found in Over the Rainbow.
Night on Earth (2020, Netflix)
Most nature documentaries impress with epic technicolor scenery, but let’s not forget that some of the best weed documentaries are those with a low-key, almost surrealistic vibe. In its review, IndieWire compared Night to “a dispatch from another planet,” a wholly distinct nocturnal journey that revels in texture, movement and, yes, color in ways that are completely unexpected and wonderfully strange.
Pair with: This calls for indica all the way — start with a pull from 2021 Emerald Cup Winner, Houdini.
March of the Penguins 2: The Next Step (2018, Hulu)
You and your whole extended family have probably heard of the first one, but the March of the Penguins follow-up from 2018 somehow slid right under the radar. Director Luc Jacquet and the incomparable voice of Morgan Freeman both return to reprise the perfect pairing of indescribably soothing frozen landscapes with a heartwarming family narrative.
Pair with: Keep things in harmony and balance with Phantom’s THC-CBD blend.
Love Thy Nature (2016, Kanopy)
Narrator Liam Neeson will look for you, he will find you, and he will make you feel at one with planet Earth in this multi-award-winning doc available for free viewing (provided you have a library card) on the impeccably curated Kanopy. Sylvie Rokab’s film starts by reminding us how we’ve lost touch with nature, but it all builds into an almost spiritual exploration of how we can reforge that vital connection.
Pair with: “Profound” and “Houdini” were made for each other.
Blue Planet II (2017, discovery+)
We’ve established that some of the very best weed documentaries dwell under the waves, but this Attenborough-BBC series explores our planet’s oceans from just about every perspective — under, over and all around. The submarine camera tech behind the docuseries allows for cinematography that’s sweeping and humbling at times, while intimate and soothing at others.
Pair with: The Jellyfish strain in Phantom isn’t just thematically appropriate, the energizing lavender aroma feels just right.
Down to Earth with Zac Effron (2020, Netflix)
Down to Earth has a lightly educational tilt and poses some serious environmental questions, but overall manages to feel like hanging with an old buddy on eye-shattering trips from Iceland to the Amazon rainforest. Take it from Decider critic Brett White: “Efron brings his natural affability to the sometimes self-serious subgenre, taking in the sights and smells and tastes […] with an inquisitive joy [….] Yeah, this is a serious nature documentary that might also make you LOL.”
Pair with: Over the Rainbow’s Sweet Tangie strain makes the laughs come easy.
Serengeti (2019, discovery+)
We’d go anywhere with Lupita Nyong’o, and Discovery’s own Serengeti pretty much lets us do that. While plenty of nature docs take a broad, macro view of Earth — both in thematic and visual scope — this Nyong’o-narrated adventure embraces a more personal, micro tone. Among African plains hardly touched by human hands, an uplifting series of real-life wildlife stories gives this one a ton of heart.
Pair with: Triple-strain Houdini will make you feel just as warm as the calming, sunset-drenched vistas.
The Year Earth Changed (2021, Apple TV+)
In 2020, pretty much everyone collectively agreed that we weren’t ready to watch things about the COVID-19 pandemic, but leave it to another BBC-produced David Attenborough doc to change that opinion. While human society was on lockdown, something quietly special happened: The world reawakened. As cabybara curiously appear in South American suburbs and whales flock to Glacier Bay, Apple’s original is there to capture the moments with painstaking beauty, making for the hopeful catharsis we all need.
Pair with: Phantom, putting you in just the right place to appreciate the scenery and ponder the future.
Set the Scene
When it comes to the best documentaries to watch while high, the experience isn’t limited to the screen. Nature is best enjoyed with company, so set the scene with food and cocktails curated to pair with your favorite strains. Arrange the seating for a comfy, communal experience and light up the space with soothing LEDs themed to the content of the film (like TV backlights that turn blue when the ocean’s onscreen or orange as a volcano erupts). In the spirit of the finest nature docs, get hold of a projector and enjoy a movie night under the stars for a truly immersive experience.
Dan Ketchum is an LA-based freelance lifestyle, fashion, health and food writer with more than a decade of experience in publishing and filmmaking. He’s been fortunate enough to collaborate with companies such as Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, eOne, Livestrong, Out East Rosé, SFGate, the Seattle Times and more.
Common Sense Media – Nature’s Most Amazing Events
Disney+ – Secrets of the Whales
BBC One – Blue Planet II
Apple – The Year Earth Changed