Medically reviewed by Alexander Tabibi, MD
January 28, 2021

The 1960s was a decade of profound cultural and social change, and the world of rock music was no exception. It was a time when music became a powerful voice for a generation that questioned authority, championed freedom, and explored new horizons. One notable aspect of this era was the growing association between rock bands and cannabis, commonly known as weed. In this article, we will delve into the top 5 60s rock bands that embraced weed culture, exploring their influence on music and the counterculture movement.

This post is intended as information and for general knowledge only. It is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It is recommended that you talk to a healthcare professional about this before introducing cannabinoids into your daily routine (especially if you have been diagnosed with any medical conditions or are under any medication). It is not recommended to drive or operate any machinery when using cannabis- or hemp-derived products. Use responsibly!

The 1960s Counterculture Movement and Weed

The 1960s were marked by a tumultuous sociopolitical backdrop, with the Civil Rights Movement, anti-Vietnam War protests, and the rise of the counterculture challenging the status quo. It was within this atmosphere of rebellion and experimentation that marijuana, often referred to as Mary Jane, found its place. The counterculture movement not only sought to redefine societal norms but also shifted perceptions of marijuana from a taboo substance to a symbol of rebellion and liberation.

60s Weed Rock Bands

In the realm of rock music, the 1960s counterculture movement played a pivotal role. Rock bands became the heralds of a new era, using their music to express the changing social landscape. The use of weed in this context symbolized a break from tradition, an embrace of individuality, and a rejection of conformity. It was a soundtrack to a revolution, and the following five bands embodied this spirit.

The Beatles

One of the most iconic and influential bands of the 60s, The Beatles, were no strangers to the allure of marijuana. John Lennon and George Harrison, in particular, were open about their use of cannabis, and their experiences with the herb played a significant role in shaping their music.

The Beatles’ experimentation with marijuana began in the mid-60s, coinciding with their shift towards a more psychedelic sound. “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” a song from their groundbreaking “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” album, is often associated with a hidden nod to LSD, but it also exemplifies the band’s exploration of altered states of consciousness induced by marijuana.

The Rolling Stones

The Rolling Stones, another legendary 60s rock band, were no strangers to controversy, particularly when it came to their drug use, including marijuana. The band’s reputation as “The Bad Boys of Rock” was fueled in part by their legal entanglements related to drug possession.

60s weed bands

Marijuana was not just a recreational indulgence for The Rolling Stones; it deeply influenced their music. Songs like “Mother’s Little Helper” openly addressed the subject of prescription drugs, a reflection of the era’s growing concerns about pharmaceuticals. Their album “Their Satanic Majesties Request” was heavily influenced by psychedelics, including marijuana, and marked a departure from their earlier sound.

Jefferson Airplane

Jefferson Airplane was at the forefront of the psychedelic rock movement in the 60s. This San Francisco-based band was not only known for their mesmerizing sound but also for their outspoken advocacy of marijuana legalization and participation in cannabis-related events.

The band’s embrace of marijuana culture was evident in songs like “White Rabbit,” which lyrically alluded to the drug’s influence on the counterculture. Jefferson Airplane’s music was a reflection of their times, and their support for the legalization of cannabis mirrored the broader push for drug reform in the 60s.

The Jimi Hendrix Experience

When it comes to the quintessential rock guitar hero of the 60s, Jimi Hendrix is often at the top of the list. Hendrix’s personal relationship with marijuana was well-documented, and his encounters with the law due to drug possession were part of his larger-than-life persona.

For Jimi Hendrix, weed was more than just a recreational choice; it was a creative and spiritual muse. His groundbreaking guitar techniques, the mind-bending lyrics of songs like “Purple Haze,” and his mesmerizing stage presence were all influenced by the psychedelic experiences induced by marijuana. Hendrix’s music was a sonic journey, and weed was the passport to those otherworldly realms.

The Grateful Dead

No discussion of 60s rock bands and weed culture would be complete without mentioning The Grateful Dead. This legendary jam band was deeply intertwined with the counterculture movement and embraced communal use of marijuana, among other substances.

The Grateful Dead’s association with the “hippie” movement and their legendary live performances were often fueled by the spirit of experimentation that marijuana represented. The band’s extended improvisational jams were known to transport audiences to new dimensions, and cannabis played a pivotal role in shaping their unique musical style. Their songs like “Reefer Man” celebrated the stoner culture of the era.


In the turbulent 1960s, rock music became a powerful voice of rebellion and change, and the use of marijuana was an integral part of this cultural revolution. The top 5 60s rock bands that embraced weed culture – The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Jefferson Airplane, The Jimi Hendrix Experience, and The Grateful Dead – not only pushed musical boundaries but also challenged societal norms.

These bands used their music to reflect the changing perceptions of marijuana, from a taboo substance to a symbol of freedom and creativity. Their songs, lyrics, and lifestyles left an indelible mark on the cultural landscape, and their influencecontinues to resonate today. In many ways, these rock bands paved the way for the acceptance and legalization of cannabis, leaving a lasting legacy in both music and the annals of counterculture history.

As we look back at the 1960s, we can’t help but appreciate the role these bands played in shaping an era of experimentation and freedom, forever intertwining rock music and weed culture in the annals of history.

60s weed bands


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Top 5 70s Rock Bands That Embraced Cannabis Culture