Cannabis is the preferred subject of many talented songwriters, with musical references to weed ranging from the obvious to the obscure. Here are ten of our favorites.

Cannabis’ ability to expand the creativity of many artists has made it the perfect topic for a diverse array of popular songs. From The Beatles and Bob Marley to Sublime and Cypress Hill, musicians have championed the power of cannabis for a long time. 

Musicians love weed. We know it’s shocking, but it’s true (clearly, we’re kidding). 

Ever since the likes of Cab Calloway, Louis Armstrong, and other jazz legends first uttered the word “reefer” in musical cadence way back in the early 1900s, getting high has been the subject of countless songs for a genre-spanning collection of musicians.

And with good reason!

Weed and music go hand-in-hand, connected by a psycho-acoustic marriage that heightens perception and expands horizons.

Existing in a Lennon/McCartney dynamic, the presence of the other enhances each one. As such, there are a lot of weed songs on the airwaves.

Now, it’s essential to distinguish between songs with a pot theme and songs to listen to when high. 

Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd, for example, is top-tier stoner music. So light up, don a pair of high-quality headphones and sink into your favorite recliner type of music. 

But beyond abstract metaphors, there’s no literal mention of marijuana anywhere on that album. So this list will not include that highly appreciated genre of songs.

Instead, here’s a list of our top 10 favorite canna-centric songs, packed full of weed rhymes and stoner references.

10. “Because I Got High” – Afroman

“Because I Got High” seems to rank high for everyone, but for us, it falls at the bottom of our list. This weed anthem by hip hop artist Afroman starts as a fun, jangly tune about the comical misadventures of a stoner. Still, it quickly devolves with the narrator lamenting that he “lost his wife and kids” and is “sleepin’ on the sidewalk,” all because he got high. Yet, despite that somewhat stigmatized tone, it’s a laid-back track that hits smoothly every time, with a constant hook that’s catchy like a cold.  Back To List

9. “You Don’t Know How It Feels” – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

While not explicitly about smoking weed, “You Don’t Know How It Feels” features a lyric in the chorus that alone embodies the spirit of cannabis consumption. The line, “let’s get to the point/let’s roll another joint,” has been screamed in bars, cars, and concert halls by everyone, with even a passing fancy for pot. The tune’s comforting and ever-present harmonica breeze only bolsters the mellow vibe.  Back To List

8. “Hash Pipe” – Weezer

What’s he saying in the opening verse? It doesn’t matter—he’s got his hash pipe. This Weezer song from the 2000’s “green” album attacks the senses with buzzsaw guitars and guttural grunts from Rivers Cuomo, in a hail of tongue-in-cheek rebellion that only a true stoner understands. “Hash Pipe” rides the wave of a killer pop hook and fun-to-decipher lyrics, all while educating the listener about hashish, a potent form of marijuana.  Back To List

7. “Burn One Down” – Ben Harper

Maybe it’s the acoustic guitar or the mere presence of bongos, but “Burn One Down” is the audio equivalent of lighting up a campfire fatty. Somewhat obscure outside a particular circle of listeners, Ben Harper’s 1995 tune is a throwback to the pro-marijuana melodies of ganja forefathers like Bob Marley. The song implores naysayers to “try it first,” reassuring them that they’ll “see it’s a blessing and not a curse.”  Back To List

6. “Sweet Leaf” – Black Sabbath

When the flower children of the late 1960s wanted to rebel against the hippie aesthetic without ditching their stash, many looked to Black Sabbath. Led by legendary madman Ozzy Osborne, Black Sabbath stood out from their contemporaries with tracks like 1971’s “Sweet Leaf.” It is a pot song with attitude, trudging forth like an old diesel engine. Ozzy displays a deep affinity for pot, guaranteeing by the end that “soon the world will love you, sweet leaf.”   Back To List

5. “Got To Get You Into My Life” – The Beatles

In retrospect, a song about weed, “Got To Get You Into My Life” from the Beatles 1966 classic Revolver, gleams like a pop song about a groovy chick. But 30 years after its release, Paul McCartney clarified that the piece is only masquerading as a love song and is “actually an ode to pot.” Hearing the lyrics today and knowing what we know about John, Paul, George, and Ringo, it should have been obvious.   Back To List

4. “Smoke Two Joints” – Sublime

These legends of Long Beach are no strangers to the stoner delights of regular marijuana consumption, as Sublime simply wafts the sweet smell of sensimilla. But nothing in the band’s catalog matches the pure recreational spirit of “Smoke Two Joints,” a cover of early ’80s reggae band, The Toyes. Singer Bradley Nowell makes the song his own, and when he croons, “I smoke two joints before I smoke two joints, and then I smoke two more,” you believe him.  Back To List

3. “Kaya” – Bob Marley and the Wailers

A pure, joyful expression of weed love amidst the deeply political period of his career, “Kaya” is the title track to Bob Marley’s 1978 album of the same name. All about needing to get stoned because the weather is rainy and gross, “Kaya” floats along with sentimental praise, bouncing with a reggae beat while Marley “touches the sky” and clears away the rain clouds by sheer force of will—and weed.  Back To List

2. “Roll Me Up And Smoke Me When I Die” – Willie Nelson

Released on April 20 (naturally) in 2012, “Roll Me Up And Smoke Me When I Die” twangs as a country-gospel thesis on the merits of marijuana. The world-famous pothead, who once claimed to have smoked a joint on the roof of the White House, proudly tells all of us precisely what we can do with him when his time runs out. The tune is plucky and festive, serving as a rebellious celebration of the cannabis lifestyle.  Back to List

1. “Hits From The Bong” – Cypress Hill 

Before the laid-back groove sets the relaxed tone, the first sound you hear in this track is the telltale percolation of a bong hit. “Hits From The Bong” describes—in great detail—the practice and pleasure of smoking from a bong, praising the method over blunts and cones, and even warning against spilling the stinky water. From the moment of the song’s release, Cypress Hill became the forerunners of early 1990s stoner consciousness—while the pot-smoking public was treated to a soundtrack for getting high, complete with a deep bassline.   Back To List

Honorable Mentions:

“Mary Jane” – Rick James

“Purple Haze” – Jimi Hendrix

“Legalize It” – Peter Tosh

“Reefer Man” – Cab Calloway

“Gin and Juice” – Snoop Dog

“Rainy Day Women #12 & 35” – Bob Dylan

“Habits (Stay High)” – Tove Lo

“Pass The Kouchie” – The Mighty Diamonds

“Weed Party” – Band of Horses

“The Next Episode” – Dr. Dre

“Ganja Farmer” – J Boog

“Pass The Dutch” – Missy Elliott

“Let’s Go Get Stoned” – Ray Charles

“Stay Fly” – Three 6 Mafia

man laying down and listening to music

What are your favorite canna-centric songs?

We want to know. 

Swing by and tell your favorite Lightshade budtender. But, before you do, click here to access a Spotify playlist featuring the songs on our list.

Lightshade's Songs about Weed Playlist