National Geographic Presents: High Science

Presented by National Geographic

Curated by Kurt Mutchler

Featuring Lynn Johnson

Weed, ganja, reefer, Mary Jane, smoke, laughing grass, devil’s lettuce—smoke it, vape it, boil it for tea, make hash for a high or oil for life.

Today’s Cannabis is enjoying a new status as legal plant of choice for altered consciousness—the center of a billion dollar industry and real medicine for thousands of people with pain, cancer, seizures and trauma.

Photographing this story for National Geographic was an education, not just about this plant—revered and reviled—and its devoted users in the recreational world of weed but more importantly, about the courage of parents determined, in spite of laws, distance and resources, to give their children the best life possible.

Lynn Johnson photographs the human condition. A regular contributor to National Geographic, Johnson is known for finding beauty and meaning in elusive, difficult subjects—threatened languages, zoonotic disease, rape in the military ranks, the power of cannabis. She collaborates with the people she portrays to honor their visions as well as her own. At National Geographic Photo Camps, she helps at-risk youth around the world find their creative voices. At Syracuse University’s Newhouse School, she is developing a mentoring program that challenges master’s students to push past their comfort levels in pursuit of their own truth, frame by frame.