16 Names for Cannabis and Where Did They Come From?

Whether you’re new to the world of weed or a connoisseur, keeping track of its many names can be a task–or a delight! We put together these 16 different fun ways to refer to weed & the etymology behind them. 

  1. Pot. Derived from the Spanish potación de guaya, which means “drink of grief”, where cannabis was steeped in wine. 
  2. Weed. Likely originated in the 70s by young people who were referring to how it grew like a weed around the world. 
  3. Marijuana. Became popular in the 1900s in the U. S. because of anti-immigration discrimination: people who were anti-weed tried to emphasize the correlations between weed and Mexico. 
  4. Kush. This is the name of a mountain range in Pakistan, where the Hindi Kush weed is from.
  5. Bhang/ banga. Derived from the Hebrew term “bannag” and probably brought to Pakistan or India in the early 1,000s. 
  6. Ganja. Probably derived from a Sanskrit word, ganjya—alternatively, it could come from “ganga”, which is a river in India where cannabis grows freely. 
  7. Mary Jane. This is the English translation for María Juana, which is a Spanish association of a personal name with marihuana. 
  8. Tea. One of the weaker (and more budget-friendly) ways to consume weed was sipped, just like tea. People sometimes enjoyed making jokes about “teapots”: an example referenced in the Hartford Courant is: “I’ve got the tea, but who has the pot?”
  9. Hemp. Probably derived from the Dutch “hennep” and German “hanf”, derived in their turn from the root “hanap”. 
  10. Reefer.  This dates to the jazz era, potentially based on “Reefer Man,” a son by Don Redman. It could also be related to reef, Spanish for “to roll”, referring to the process of rolling joints. 
  11. Grass. Likely because marijuana is green just like grass!
  12. Skunk. Originating in the U.S., this is a reference to the smell of weed being “skunky”. 
  13. Dinkie Dow. Likely brought to the U. S. by the U.S. military after serving in Vietnam, blending the military slang dinky dau (crazy) and Vietnamese dien cai dau (he is mad). 
  14. Joint. Initially this term related to opium, but in the 1940s it was used in reference to cannabis. 
  15. Good giggles. Likely originating due to marijuana’s effect on people.
  16. Dope. Originally used for opium, this word morphed into usage for cannabis in the 1900s. 

We hope you enjoyed some of these practical and ridiculous names for cannabis! What’s your favorite?  Did we miss any?  Please comment below!

+ posts

Recent Articles