Among the exciting peculiarities of weed/marijuana are its slang words and phrases. These quirky expressions dominate in social gatherings, music, and friendly settings. As of today, there are more than a thousand street slang and even a thousand more to code different related activities and intoxication. Undoubtedly, not knowing these words makes the average young lad feel like a fish out of water. Hence, in a bid to feel among, they take to learning weed names, strains, etc.
These common terms are nothing but code words to conceal meaning from public understanding largely because weed is/was an illegal substance. Also, students and children tend to use these words to hide from teachers and parents. Therefore, the community keeps reinventing new words unfamiliar to law enforcement and guardians not to risk arrest or grounding.
10 Popular Weed Slangs
This slang originated from the Spanish practice, which involved steeping cannabis plants in alcohol – wine or brandy. It is from the root term “potiguaya,” short for “potación de guaya,” which literally means “drink of grief.” According to an etymology school of thought, “Pot” only became a popular word in the United States in the 1930s through the jazz culture. While another says, it refers to the ancient Indian practice of preparing cannabis-infused tea in a pot.
Weed is grass. Therefore, the logic behind this slang is self-explanatory. Friends can go on with conversations like “I’ve got some grass to mow” without being suspected. In fact, those present may just assume the speaker is a gardener who is merely passionate about his job. Questions about its origin, however, are largely unanswered.
- 420 and 710
420 or 4/20 was the invention of five friends in San Rafael High School in the 70s. The term, pronounced as “four-twenty,” was the code word to inform one another to meet at 4:20 pm to smoke. Over the years, it became popular, so much so that several festivals celebrate the existence of weed. These celebrations usually happen on the 20th day of the fourth month, which ordinarily translates to 4/20. Also, whenever you see stickers that read “420-friendly,” perhaps in a hotel or lounge, it simply means, “You are free to use cannabis. We won’t call the cops.” Some fans even take it a step further by celebrating the “710,” which falls on July 10th. Interestingly, when you turn the number upside down, you get “OIL.” They say, “710 is the new 420.”
This is a widely used slang for several controlled substances, including cocaine, heroin, opium, and many more. It goes without saying that it also means weed. So, it is left to you to decipher the use of context to understand specific conversations. In a more specific context, it could be one of the cannabis indica strains which people describe as pain relief buds and anti-anxiety. It also refers to some other sativa strains that produce energizing effects. In all, it could be any drug capable of eliciting psychoactive effects in the body.
- Mary Jane/MJ
When you split the word “marijuana” into two, you get “Mari” and “Juana.” “Mari” as in “Mary” and “Juana” as “Jane,” coming together to mean “Mary Jane,” while “MJ” serve as initials. Such creativity! Though widely used to mean weed, it originates from the Mexican culture and then spread into the US in the early 1900s. Today, the French refer to cannabis as “Marie Jeanne” and the Spaniards as “Maria.” While having conversations, some also say, “Aunt Jane.”
This is another cute slang term to describe a joint. Reefer became popular in the 1930s following the release of the satirical movie – Reefer Madness. The film features two high school students who got enticed to use the drug. Eventually, they became addicts, committing several crimes, including murder. Etymologists say it’s derived from a Spanish word for weed – grifa. sailor slang “reef,” meaning “to roll up the sail.” The rolling of a joint is quite similar.
People generally mistake this as a Rastafari term because of its popularity within the Rastafarian community and Jamaica at large. It features extensively in their films and music, particularly reggae music. It has since found its way into pop culture vocabulary. “Ganja” is an Indian word that refers to cannabis sativa, which is a popular cannabis strain. People use it for its medicinal properties to relieve pain and boost overall health.
“Skunk” is the name of a mammal predominantly present in North America. Perhaps the most notable characteristic of this mammal is its ability to release an unpleasant smell as a defense mechanism against predators. The name was imbibed due to the strong smell of some weed strains, which users refer to as “skunky.” One of the most notable skunky-smelling weed strains is the “sour diesel, ” unlike marijuana strains like “blue dream” with fruity scents. In other words, when someone says “skunk,” they may be talking in general terms or referring to a specific type.
As funny as it may sound, “flower” is another word that loosely translates to weed. Like every other plant, Weed grows flowers that make for the cream of the crop of the cannabis plant. For more advanced conversations, “flower” may refer to the trichome-rich, smoke-worthy part of the plant. In other words, this is the part that holds higher levels of THC content and therefore guarantees a more potent effect.
The word “chronic” is an invention of American rapper Snoop Dogg. He explained on a show that he was at a party where someone explained how weed is grown hydroponically. Apparently, he misheard and called it “hydrochronically.” He liked the word, adopted the short form, and the rest is history. Several artists, including Dr. Dre, have since co-opted the word into their music. Little wonder it made it into pop culture as slang meaning cannabis.
Other Slang Words for Weed
Acapulco Gold Aunt Mary Black Russian
Blanket Blaze Blunt
Bo-Bo Bush Bomb Broccoli
Buds Burrito Cali
Candle Colombo Cripple
Dagga Devil’s Lettuce Dinkie Dow
Donna Juana Doober Doobie
Dope Hash Gasper Giggle Stick
Good Giggles Joint Jolly Green
Joy Smoke/Stick Juanita Kif
Lettuce Mary Jane Mota
Nuggets Panama Gold Roach
Texas Tea Thai stick Whifty
Slang Terms for Smoking Weed
This refers to the various slang words and phrases used to describe the actual act or process of torching up. As mentioned above, there are thousands of these terms; therefore, capturing them all in one single piece is almost impossible. However, here are some of the most common lexicons by stoners;
Smoking trees Mowing the grass
Biting one’s lips Blasting, Blowing
Chasing Firing one up
Going loco Hitting the hay
Torching up Getting the wind
Weed Combination Terms
Some people mix marijuana with other drugs to achieve a stronger high or tone down the negative symptoms of stimulants like amphetamine, cocaine, etc. These combinations have their unique street names in the US. Find them below.
Weed and Cocaine
Cocktail Coco puff
Hooter Jim Jones
Weed and Crack
Crack back Fry daddy
Geek Juice Joint
Weed and Heroin
Atom bomb/A bomb Canade
Weed and PCP
Weed and Food
How is Weed Consumed?
Before the legalization of weed in many states in the US, consumers often scouted for hotspots within communities. However, since it has become legal in many states, anyone (adult) can get cannabis products at medical and recreational dispensaries legally. Generally, people buy the plant’s dried leaves, which they sometimes refer to as nuggets or flowers. Below are four common ways to consume marijuana: topical application, sublingual, oral ingestion, and inhalation.
People smoke marijuana using rolling papers. They stuff the papers with enough of the substance and then hand-roll such that it looks like a cigarette. Alternatively, in place of rolling papers, some use a filtration device popularly called “bongs” and “water pipes.” Another but more sophisticated method is the use of vaporizers. These devices, e-cigarettes, and vape pens extract the marijuana’s active ingredients, including THC, and store the vapor the user inhales.
They are also used to extract cannabinoid concentrates and oils, which are about five times stronger than marijuana. The practice of smoking oils, concentrates, and extracts is called “dabbing.”
2. Topical Application
The term “cannabis topicals” refers to a wide range of products intended for skin application. They include lotions, salves, oils, bath salts, and sprays. These products are mainly consumed because the cannabinoid constituents work to reduce chronic pain, inflammation, nerve pain, arthritis, muscle cramps, and even migraines by penetrating the skin. Though more common with older consumers, younger ones now opt for it.
One of the biggest benefits is that topicals will not make you high or show up on drug tests. Cannabis topicals only interact with the receptors beneath the skin and are not absorbed into the body in ways that may cause intoxication. However, some products contain penetration enhancers and high amounts of THC sufficient to cause intoxication. They mostly come in transdermal patches.
3. Oral Ingestion
Though, to activate its THC and CBD content, it must be exposed to heat, either by baking or smoking. However, a person may also eat cannabis, but it would not have the same effect as when smoked. Depending on the kind of feeling the consumer is in, it can also be infused into foods like cookies, cakes, brownies, or drinks. It is the second most common method of using cannabis products after inhalation, mostly because the effects last longer than when smoked. It goes into the body as a solid to digest like every other food.
Sublingual administration is the art of putting a substance underneath the tongue for a brief period. As weird as this sounds, this method guarantees a faster absorption rate. Just beneath the tongue is a porous tissue that allows the content to diffuse into the bloodstream about three times faster than smoking or eating. Effects through the sublingual method manifest in as little as 10 minutes. The ideal products include tablets, dissolvable strips, sublingual sprays, tinctures, etc.
N.B: It is noteworthy that marijuana comes in three major cannabis strains: sativa, indica, or hybrid strains of both. Also, marijuana is not the same as CBD or THC. Marijuana is the dried leaves and seeds, while THC and CBD are compounds in the cannabis plant. Finally, the potency and character of weed vary by method and strain. In other words, different strains and different ingestion methods bring different effects.
Common Signs of Cannabis Abuse
Behavioral and physiological changes are peculiar to weed abusers. These changes may manifest in the following ways;
- Bloodshot eyes
- Constant use of eyedrops, mouthwash, and strong body spray
- Loss of memory
- Frequent mood swings
- Slow reaction to situations
- Sudden disinterest in real-life matters and decline in motivation
- Cut back on relationships with family and friends
- Truancy and absenteeism
- Dry eyes
- Regular feelings of nausea
- Dry mouth
People turn to cannabis and cannabis products for several reasons. Many opt for it for its mood-lifting ability and recreational purposes generally. Also, its energizing effects, ability to drop stress levels and help you fall asleep fast, pain-relieving effects, etc., make it a top choice for consumers. In fact, studies show that CBD products and medical cannabis can help reduce symptoms of depression by at least half. However, abuse is on the high side resulting in hundreds of thousands of deaths in recent years. According to CNN Health, cannabis use peaked at an all-time high in 2021.
Knowing these weed street slang can help you help someone. Note that weed terms are location specific. Par adventure, some words you hear are not on this list; we would like to restate that the terms in this article are those particular to the United States. That said, if you know someone who often uses any of the above slang or is showing at least five of the signs listed above, help is not far away. American Addiction Centers will welcome them with open arms and provide all the necessary help. You can find a list of treatment centers close to you here.