youtubers who smoke weed

The WeedTubers: these people make a living getting stoned on YouTube

These entrepreneurial twentysomethings are riding a wave of marijuana legalization to online celebrity. Call them Cheech and Chong for the digital age

Josh Young makes as much money smoking weed on Youtube as he did working in the restaurant industry. Photograph: Handout

Josh Young makes as much money smoking weed on Youtube as he did working in the restaurant industry. Photograph: Handout

Last modified on Tue 23 May 2017 15.52 BST

J osh Young smokes weed before he eats breakfast. He gets high before lunch, too, again before dinner, and usually one or two more times on top of that. Most days, on at least a few of those occasions, he’s filming it for his YouTube channel, StrainCentral, which has more than 373,000 subscribers. Millions watch him every month.

This is how Young pays his bills. And if that’s a hard idea to wrap your head around, Young said it’s even harder to answer the question of how he makes a living.

“It’s a pretty impossible conversation to have with just about anyone – Uber drivers, people in elevators,” Young said. “I’m like, ‘I smoke pot on the internet, I guess?’”

Often, his devoted followers come to his channel to learn about marijuana and the many ways to use it. They want to know, for instance, whether blunts are more potent than joints or how to make edibles. Other times, they want to see feats of consumption they’d never dare try – smoking a gram of cannabis in one minute, for instance – and, of course, the grisly aftermaths. Frequently, they watch simply for the company of a charismatic fellow smoker as they light up wherever they are in the world.

“A lot of people on YouTube are just looking for a smoking buddy,” Young said.

Coral Reefer, from Santa Cruz, makes about as much money through YouTube as she did as a waitress.

Young, a 21-year-old medical cannabis patient in Washington who suffers from gastroparesis, is one of a group of popular weed-centric YouTubers – or WeedTubers, as they call themselves – riding a wave of marijuana legalization and its concurrent growth in mainstream visibility to online celebrity. They’re Cheech and Chong for the digital age.

But unlike the iconic stoner duo, who came to national fame through Hollywood films, WeedTubers are bootstrappers who have paved their own way creatively and financially in an arena that’s sometimes hostile to their “420-friendly” labor.

Google AdSense, a big money-maker for equally popular YouTubers operating in more family-friendly industries, is less lucrative for WeedTubers, since the video-sharing site doesn’t permit monetization for age-restricted videos. Instagram, meanwhile, sometimes shuts down accounts with marijuana content – a devastating blow for content producers who depend on large followings across multiple platforms for their livelihood.

They may not be millionaires like some YouTube stars, but the most successful WeedTubers have managed to build full-time careers through a combination of sponsorships, branded content deals, and merchandise sales. Young, for one, started StrainCentral shortly after getting his medical marijuana card in 2014, and by last February he was making enough money online to leave his job as a line cook and waiter. He makes about as much money online as he did in the restaurant industry.

The key to breaking out of the pack, he said, was consistency – that is, making sure his followers could rely on a steady stream of content to smoke along with throughout the week. Recently, as the WeedTube community has become more crowded, he said it’s also become important to heed his followers’ requests to participate in “challenges” involving increasingly extreme consumption.

“Things like that are going to be shared a lot more than educational videos a lot of the time,” he said.

That formula has proven especially effective for WeedTube’s irrefutable king, Joel Hradecky, whose channel, CustomGrow420, has amassed a following of more than 1.2 million since 2013. A video in which he tries to smoke a gram of THC oil has racked up more than 1.3m views. A subsequent video of him coughing for nearly seven minutes straight after the attempt has more than 1.5m views.

“People obviously like watching other people suffer,” said Bryan Gerber, the 25-year-old co-founder and CEO of Hemper, which sells monthly subscription boxes for smoking accessories.

I only urge people to get into this if they have a message. If they’re looking for fame or money, I suggest porn

Hradecky isn’t just an entertainer, Gerber said, he’s also a connoisseur –“like the Billy Mays of WeedTube” – and audiences take his recommendations for bongs, marijuana strains and other accessories to buy. That’s why Gerber pays Hradecky and other knowledgable WeedTube stars, ideally those with more than 100,000 subscribers, between $300 and $1,000 per video to promote his product on their channels, plus money for every new customer they refer.

Gerber usually works with between 15 and 30 WeedTube channels at any given time, he said, finding them to be a relatively cheap and highly effective advertising platform. Other entrepreneurs in the burgeoning cannabis industry turn to YouTube influencers for that same reason, and to avoid stringent cannabis advertising regulations, which vary from one locality to the next.

Cannabis companies may have their sights set on WeedTubers, but the interest, for many WeedTubers, isn’t exactly reciprocal. Cody Miller, 20, who lives with his father in Connecticut, said he could probably sustain himself on earnings from his channel, xCodeh, if he were to move out, but focusing on business “ruins the fun” and takes away from YouTube’s appeal as “a creative outlet”.

Companies regularly get in touch looking to partner with him, but he usually turns them down, he said, mostly out of a desire to avoid losing “credibility” with his fan base.

Kimmy Tan, a prolific WeedTuber.

Kimmy Tan, a 22-year-old tattoo artist, musician and model living between New York and LA, is best known on YouTube for taking 100 hits of weed in a row. She said she’s “really wary” about working with cannabis companies after a few bad experiences. She makes videos, she said, to “have a good time” and “connect people” rather than to make money.

Santa Cruz-based Coral Reefer, 28, said she makes about as much money through YouTube as she did as a waitress, and doesn’t recommend a career as a WeedTuber for those planning to get rich.

“I really can only urge people to get into this industry if they have a message they want to share. If they’re looking for fame or money, I suggest porn or waitressing,” she said.

For his part, Young’s ambition is simply to keep doing what he’s doing as long as he can, and to help pave the way for a future in which a life like his won’t seem quite so unusual.

“I want my grandkids to be able to smoke weed without being looked down upon or being stereotyped as a stoner. If I can be a small part of the legacy of smart, responsible cannabis consumption, that’s the major long-term goal,” he said.

These entrepreneurial twentysomethings are riding a wave of marijuana legalization to online celebrity. Call them Cheech and Chong for the digital age

7 YouTube Channels Every Stoner Needs To Watch

Keep reading for a list of 7 YouTube channels that all have one thing in common—a love for cannabis! Covering all aspects of the illustrious herb, there are videos to suit all tastes. Forget subscriber count, this is about highlighting passionate content creators.


Despite the regular advertiser intervention that takes place on YouTube, a thriving cannabis community has persisted. You could be a seasoned stoner who wants to learn more about growing, a novice who wants to see a blend of cannabis and culture, or you could just be fascinated by the potential of marijuana. Regardless, YouTube has a channel to suit all tastes, and has become an excellent source of both education and entertainment.


To help get you started, we have put together 7 YouTube channels committed to weed. Each one offers something unique, so be sure to check out the entire list. You’ll also find that subscriber count varies massively, but don’t let this put you off. We are still a long way from having cannabis-focussed channels on the trending page. Until then, you have to search a little harder for authentic, weed-loving content.


Weedmaps has quite literally put cannabis on the map. Their website allows you to put in your postcode in exchange for a comprehensive list of cannabis-related retail locations. To make life even easier, the app is available on both android and iOS. When Weedmaps isn’t busy connecting all things cannabis, they are uploading a diverse mix of content to their YouTube channel.

Weedmaps has strain showcases, product reviews, and a range of tutorials and how-tos. A highlight has to be their strain showcases, which take an in-depth look at individual cannabis cultivars. The videos are presented clearly and often feature a prominent figure from the seedbank or the actual breeder, so you get a first-hand breakdown of how the strain was developed.


The Royal Queen Seeds YouTube channel is a rich source of information. It features guidance on every step of the cannabis cultivation process. There’s basic knowledge for beginner growers, including overviews of the cultivation timeline and how to feed cannabis plants, as well as more advanced information for experienced growers that covers the nuances of growing great weed.

Learn how to maximise the germination rate of your seeds and keep them healthy during the seedling stage. Discover everything you need to know about the vegetative and flowering phases and how to detect any deficiencies. The archive teaches growers how to control stretching, how to remedy deficiencies, and how to avoid yellowing leaves. You’ll learn exactly what nutrients plants need at different times, and how to apply them.

The Royal Queen Seeds YouTube channel also offers in-depth strain reviews of some of the most well-known cultivars. These videos will help you decide which strain to grow next. The channel also reviews several CBD products and pieces of RQS merch.


Arguably the most popular YouTuber on our list, chances are you may have already seen one of CustomGrow420’s videos. If you like watching a larger than life personality taking fat rips for your viewing pleasure, then CustomGrow420 is the channel for you. Granted, the intro can get a little tiresome, especially as he approaches 1,000 videos. However, get past that, and there is a lot of good insight into the American medical cannabis scene.

If you have yet to try dabs, then be sure to check out the “Dabs Reviews. ” playlist. The videos cover the low and high-temperature attributes of dabs, while also giving you a close-up perspective on the concentrate being reviewed.


Cannabis YouTube channels are not just dominated by guys or girls getting stoned alone in their room. They also feature guys and girls getting stoned together, something that forms the basis of the channel The High Couple. Based in Hollywood, Alice and Clark share their experience of getting high together.

Videos feature topical discussions, stoner showcases, and blog content. An enjoyable feature of their videos is that several of them are exactly four minutes and twenty seconds long. Not only can you pay homage to the 420 lifestyle, but it makes videos short and snappy. Perfect for watching on the train home, or while rolling a few of your own. The High Couple also streams live once a month for that personal touch.


Growing cannabis requires skill, determination, and knowing what to look out for. That last point is vital because cannabis plants are living, breathing organisms that do an excellent job of telling you when something isn’t right. That is one crucial aspect that makes YouTube the perfect platform for cannabis content—you get to see precisely what cannabis should look like.

In the case of Mr. Canucks Grow, his videos offer first-hand advice on cannabis growing. If you need help setting up a grow tent, fitting in-line fans, spotting nutrient problems, harvesting, you name it—chances are Mr. Canucks has a video on it. Beautifully shot, every video is a masterclass in cannabis cultivation. With content aimed at both beginners and experts, you are bound to learn something.


RuffHouse Studios pride themselves on being a hub for cannabis culture. Based on their 500-strong video catalogue, that statement appears to ring true. Their most popular uploads focus heavily on homemade edibles. This is by no means a bad thing, as the beauty of cannabis is that it can be consumed in a variety of ways.

The market for edibles has grown significantly in recent years as some users dislike smoking marijuana. If you are one of those people, seeing how to prepare infused shortbread or cannabutter makes the process far easier to understand than just reading the recipe online. Head over to RuffHouse Studios for a well-presented and well-edited highlight of everything cannabis culture has to offer.


The banner of Coral Reefer tells you everything you need to know about the content on offer. “I believe in cannabis and you should too” is a statement that underpins everything Coral does on her channel. Whether that is Stoney Sunday or News Nug, there is a clear focus on trying to portray the beneficial influence cannabis can have on your life. The stigma attached to marijuana is slowly starting to lift, and YouTube channels like Coral Reefer do an excellent job of supporting the cause.

Coral actively encourages her audience to comment and send her suggestions on anything from places to visit and strains to smoke to the best doughnuts to eat (check out the Donut Deliberations playlist). With feel-good vibes in every video, Coral Reefer is a channel flying the flag for positive cannabis use.

Follow the link for some of the best cannabis-themed video content. You'll find seven YouTube channels united by their love for good ol' Mary Jane.