Marijuana Slang: a Must-Read for Modern Stoners

Marijuana has been used for hundreds of years, and over the course of time, it has acquired many nicknames. To date, there are at least 1,200 recorded marijuana slang terms. This is not surprising considering the wide variety of people who smoke the weed across the globe. In this article, we will try to cover as much of the hundreds and hundreds of words for marijuana – or weed, or cannabis, or blunt, or pot, or, as some say mary jane.

Slang is non-standard words or phrases that people come up with to be funny, different, clever, or secretive. In the case of marijuana, the slang terminologies were coined by people who did not want authorities or outsiders to know what they are talking about. For instance, the term 4:20 was coined by five high school students in the 1970s to talk about a plan to search for an abandoned cannabis crop. Their meeting time was at 4:20 pm when they would start searching for the elusive crop, pile into a car, and smoke the free weed.  

The Criminalization of Marijuana and the Creation of Nicknames

The hysteria surrounding marijuana reached astounding levels in the 1930s when Harry Anslinger, head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, launched a war on the herb or planted the was brought in by the Mexican immigrants to the US. Marijuana was demonized and heavily associated with the unruly new citizens, crime, and violence. Thus, bringing the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 into law. The Act made illegal any cultivation, possession, and sale of marijuana, and any disobedience and opposition were met with stiff penalties. It is because of this act that people who understood and enjoyed the many benefits of marijuana began speaking about the drug in code words or nicknames.

While public opinion has now greatly shifted in favor of legalizing the drug, many of the slang terms and nicknames remain popular. 

Below is a collection of marijuana slang, grouped by their context.

Slang for marijuana

  • Airplane. Marijuana is known for getting people high; thus, the term airplaneAlligator cigarettes. A hazy recollection of this slang includes relating it to the way the joint is shaped
  • Blunt. Coined from the Phillies Blunt brand cigars, which were used to roll joints in the early days
  • Bob Hope. This slang first appeared in the 1996 novel Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
  • Brown Frown. Referring to marijuana of exceptionally low quality and potency
  • Bud. Widely used slang in the US, which means potent cannabis taken from the bud of the plant
  • Cabbage. Another slang that means poor quality marijuana. This terminology may be related to how an unintelligent person is called a cabbage
  • Catnip. Refers to fake or inferior marijuana
  • Devil’s Lettuce. This name came into fruition thanks to a 1936 film called Reefer Madness. Cannabis is portrayed as a devilish plant and the most dangerous drug in the world.
  • Dirt Weed. As implied, this refers to very low-quality marijuana that tastes like dirt (extremely bad)
  • Dona Juanita. This term means Lady Jane in Spanish. It is a wordplay that is rooted in the word marijuana (Mari + Juana)
  • Mary Jane. This term is rooted in the Mexican word marijuana. Broken down into two words, marijuana becomes Mari and Juana. The English version of these two words would be Mary Jane
  • Nixon. Coined after the President, this refers to weed that is of poor quality but still being sold as a superior bud
  • Pot. This slang has nothing to do with the kitchen tool. Instead, it is short for the Spanish word potiguaya, which is a wine in which marijuana buds have been steeped in.
  • Ganja. This is actually a Sanskrit (old Indic language) word for hemp that westerners have made into slang for marijuana
  • Grass. Because marijuana is a green plant, this is a fitting slang
  • Nugs or Nug. This slang comes from the word nugget as cannabis buds come in nuggets of varying sizes. Nowadays, people refer to a chunk of high-quality cannabis as nugs. 
  • Schwag. Similarly used as dirt weed, this term means weak and impotent cannabis
  • Thirteen. The number is a representation of the letter “M,” which stands for marijuana
  • Trees. A lighthearted slang for the herb
  • Tooka. Refers to very potent weed rolled into a nice blunt
  • Weed. This slang is perhaps the most broadly-used term for marijuana nowadays. While there is still a debate on how this term first came about, many people think that weed was simply coined as a more sophisticated alternative than the terms hemp or cannabis

Slang for Marijuana Users

  • Dope Head or Doper. Dope means an illicit drug or a stupid person and a dope head is someone who is foolish and uses drugs for its intoxicating effects
  • Hippie. Also called a hipster. This word was used in the 1950s to define someone who is always high and is usually exotically dressed
  • Grasshopper. This word is popularized in Peru for someone who smokes marijuana 
  • Moocher. Refers to someone who does not own any stash of weed of their own but is willing to smoke your bud in a second
  • Stoner. This is perhaps the most common marijuana slang to describe anyone who is habitually high on drugs
  • Space Cowboy. This slang became popular in the 1960s and is pretty self-explanatory. Anyone high on drugs is detached from everyday life and will find it difficult to communicate with other people. Also sometimes referred to as space cadet or space case
  • Tree Hugger. This essentially means lover of trees, which is slang for marijuana

According to surveys, marijuana has the most slang words than most other words in the English dictionary. And as the use of marijuana becomes more mainstream, we can expect even more nicknames or marijuana slang to be created. Many terms have faded into history over time, and it may not be surprising that weed and pot will soon not be the most popular slang terms for cannabis, too.

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