3 amazing TED Talks about Cannabis

TED is a non-profit organisation ‘dedicated to ideas worth sharing’. They’re most famous for their TED Talk series. If you haven't watched any before you should check them out!

TED talks can be inspiring or educational but they’re almost always interesting and a lot of fun to listen too. They’re usually less than 15 mins long - I tend to listen to one whilst eating my breakfast in the morning!

The talks cover a wide variety of topics including science, philosophy and technology. However, they have some great talks about cannabis too!

Below are three great perspectives on cannabis to get you started… ENJOY!


Stoners coming out – beyond the marijuana monster myths | David Schmader

This is an informative (but funny!) talk where David Schmader argues that society's perception of who a cannabis user is needs to evolve. 

He believes that more of us need to ‘come out of the closet’. David explains that currently, the most visible cannabis users are caricatures, for example, ‘Cheech & Chong’ and Snoop Dogg. He argues that stereotypes do more damage than good and in fact, most of us are just normal people! 

He then compares cannabis users to the Gay Community and describes how the public was forced to change its perception of what a gay person was once an increasing number of gay people came out of the closet.

In the UK alone, over 5 million of us use cannabis regularly. How many of us hide our use from friends, loved ones and colleagues despite being great parents, employees and friends.? 

...Something to think about!


The Untapped Promise of Cannabis Legalization | Akwasi Owusu-Bempah

Cannabis is being legalised across the globe and big business is poised to make millions. In this TED Talk, Akwasi Owusu-Bempah questions whether or not cannabis business should be trying to affect economic and societal benefit.

He tells the story of Daryl and Ryan, two teenagers from Canada. Daryl was born in a bad neighbourhood, whilst Ryan benefited from a nice, middle-class upbringing.

When they were both 15, Daryl was arrested for possessing a small amount of cannabis. This led to a series of events that ruined his life. On the other hand, Ryan was caught selling cannabis but didn’t even get charged.

Fast-forward ten years and cannabis is now legal in Canada. Ryan is now the proud owner of a multi-million dollar cannabis company whilst Daryl can’t even get a job in a cannabis dispensary due to his criminal record.

Akwasi Owusu-Bempah makes the argument that the cannabis industry should be doing more to help those hurt hardest by its prohibition.


The Cannabis Mirror | Blair Brown

Our opinions are usually affected by unconscious bias based on what we think we know about a topic. This is important because societies around the globe are currently rethinking cannabis.

However, how many of us are reconsidering what we actually know about the plant?

For example, did you know: 

  • Negative opinions were only formed about cannabis less than 100 years ago?
  • Queen Victoria used cannabis?
  • That your great grand-parents probably used cannabis tinctures?
  • Cannabis was an important medicine in ancient China, Egypt and Rome?
  • King Henry VIII ordered farmers to grow hemp in record numbers?

In this TED Talk, Blair Brown tells the story of why cannabis became so vilified and explores potential opportunities we might unlock by seeing it in a new light.