January 14, 2024

The Top 50 Weed Slang Terms

January 14, 2024
Cannabis slang terms

As we all know, marijuana is celebrated worldwide and embraced by a culture filled with enthusiasts, and it often goes by various slang terms. From devil’s lettuce to wacky tobaccy and ganja, there are countless slang words for marijuana that have a foothold on cannabis culture. And that’s not to mention all the terms for the various strains, consumption methods and even numbers that have found their way into cannabis communities.

Understanding weed slang is no easy feat even for the most experienced stoner. If you’re feeling lost or overwhelmed by all the words, we’ve got you covered. This guide aims to demystify the vast array of weed slang so you can immerse yourself in stoner culture and speak like a pro. 

Read on for a deep dive into the world of weed slang, from its humble beginnings to the modern-day words every stoner needs in their vocabulary.

The Origins of Weed Slang

Weed slang’s proliferation is due primarily to the prohibition of cannabis. The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937, marking the beginning of this prohibition, focused more on taxation than outright banning.

However, in 1969, the Supreme Court ruled the law unconstitutional and overturned it for promoting self-incrimination in Leary v. United States. By 1970, the U.S. had classified marijuana as a Schedule 1 substance.

John Ehrlichman, President Richard Nixon’s senior advisor, disclosed in 1994 how the Nixon administration used marijuana criminalization as a campaign strategy to disrupt groups seen as adversaries. Ehrlichman stated:

“The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”

He admitted to associating marijuana with these groups to vilify and disrupt them, knowing well they were spreading falsehoods about cannabis.

Today, despite advances in legalization, with 47 states legalizing weed in some form, the stigma and racism intertwined in cannabis prohibition persist, necessitating the continued use of marijuana slang terms for discreet communication.

Weed Slang and Racial Prejudice

The term “marihuana” has a complex history interwoven with racial prejudices, particularly against Latino communities. In the early 20th century, as the United States experienced significant Mexican immigration due to social and political turmoil from the Mexican Revolution, negative sentiments and xenophobia towards these new arrivals were rampant.

The cannabis plant, commonly known as “marihuana” in Mexico, became a focal point of this animosity. U.S. authorities and media began to associate the use of marihuana with Mexican immigrants, painting it as a dangerous drug that led to insanity, violence, and criminal behavior. This association was not based on scientific evidence or public health concerns but was a tool for racial discrimination, aiming to stigmatize and control the Mexican immigrant population. The term “marihuana” itself was used deliberately to alienate the substance from the familiar “cannabis,” making it sound foreign and sinister, thus amplifying racial fears.

Mexican culture also brought us the term “pot” around the same time, growing in popularity in the 1930s. The word is a shortened version of the Spanish “potiguaya” or “potaguaya,” which came from “potación de guaya,” a wine or brandy in which cannabis flowers were steeped. Ironically, given pot’s current connotation, the phrase literally means “the drink of grief.”

Legislation and Discrimination

The propaganda against “marihuana” and its racial undertones were further institutionalized through legislation and law enforcement practices. The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 effectively criminalized the possession and sale of cannabis, and its enforcement disproportionately targeted Mexican Americans and other minority communities. 

Newspapers and politicians of the era contributed to a climate of fear, using the weed slang term “marihuana” to invoke images of moral decay and social disorder allegedly brought by these communities. This period marked the beginning of the drug war’s racialized policies, which have had long-lasting impacts on Latino communities and other people of color. 

By labeling cannabis with a term that emphasized its “otherness,” the U.S. government fostered an environment of discrimination and inequality that persisted, reinforcing stereotypes and contributing to the systemic marginalization of Latinos.

Pop culture has played a pivotal role in the popularization of weed slang, influencing how cannabis and its associated terms are perceived and understood. 

In the 1930s, it was the country’s jazz music scene that brought us “weed” and “reefer.” Then, as the counterculture movement of the 1960s re-discovered cannabis, which was still illegal, of course, it developed its own slang terms around the plant that appeared in the music and films of the time. For example, Janis Joplin used to perform the song “Mary Jane” live and Bob Dylan crooning “Everybody must get stoned!” Even the Beatles got into the act, writing songs that reference the plant and its effects, including the line “I get high with a little help from my friends” on their single “With a Little Help From my Friends” on their iconic Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album.

Additionally, iconic figures like Bob Marley, the reggae legend and advocate for cannabis use, helped popularize terms like “ganja” and “herb” through his music and persona. Marley’s association with cannabis not only elevated these terms within reggae culture but also introduced them to a global audience, further embedding them in popular vernacular.

The comedic duo Cheech and Chong further brought weed slang into mainstream consciousness in their iconic 1978 movie “Up in Smoke.” Their ensuing films helped popularize terms like “joint” and “reefer” by introducing them to new audiences in a time when marijuana use was much less normalized.

By the 1990’s, the Hip Hop community picked up thread with acts like Cypress Hill singing about “Hits from the Bong” and Dr. Dre achieving massive mainstream success with his album “The Chronic,” named after Southern California slang for high quality cannabis.

The cultural shift towards cannabis legalization has also propelled weed slang into mainstream discussions. Today, you’ll routinely hear weed slang like 420, distillate, THC, and more mentioned in the discourse around marijuana on the local and national stage. 

Countless television shows and movies have also helped people familiarize themselves with weed slang. From stoner comedies like Pineapple Express and Half Baked to prestige shows like Weeds, weed-friendly media has introduced slang terms to broader audiences while also contributing to the normalization of cannabis use.

How Extensive is Weed Terminology?

Understanding weed slang is not only essential for seasoned users but also offers an intriguing perspective for newcomers. The U.S. showcases a vast array of these terms, reflecting the diverse ways cannabis is referred to globally. Here’s an extensive list of the most common and popular marijuana slang terms, providing insight into the rich terminology of cannabis culture.

List of Marijuana and Cannabis Slang Terms (alphabetical order):

  1. 420 – A code for cannabis use, originating from a group of high school students smoking at exactly 4:20 p.m. Now, 4/20 is a popular weed slang for anything related to cannabis.
  2. 710 – A code celebrating cannabis concentrates and dabbing (710 is “oil” spelled upside down).
  3. Assassin of Youth – A term from a 1937 film, used negatively to refer to marijuana.
  4. Aunt Mary – Refers to stale weed, akin to old kush.
  5. Baked – Slang for being high off weed.
  6. Bash – Cannabis sprayed with a substance to increase its weight.
  7. Bazooka – A popular strain of cannabis.
  8. Blunt – Cannabis rolled in a cigar wrapper, popularized in New York.
  9. Blunt wrap – A tobacco or non-tobacco wrap or leaf that you put your weed in.
  10. Booty – The last hit from a bowl of weed (that has a less than stellar taste)
  11. Bowl – Where you pack your weed in a pipe, bubbler, or bong.
  12. Bud – The cannabis flower and a slang term for weed.
  13. Budtender – Employees at a dispensary.
  14. Burning bush – A biblical reference, also a top-quality slang for smoking cannabis.
  15. Cannabinoid – The chemical compounds found in cannabis, such as THC and CBD, responsible for its effects.
  16. CBD – short for cannabidiol, is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid found in cannabis plants that has been studied for its potential therapeutic effects.
  17. Chronic – Snoop Dogg’s term for top-quality cannabis, originally a misunderstanding of ‘hydroponic’.
  18. Cabbage – Refers to the buds of the cannabis plant.
  19. Cherry – The lit end of a joint, blunt, or bowl.
  20. Dab – Refers to a concentrated dose of cannabis extract, often vaporized and inhaled using a dab rig.
  21. Dank – A term for high-quality cannabis, also used to describe something excellent.
  22. Delta-9 – The primary psychoactive cannabinoid responsible for the “high” associated with cannabis.
  23. Distillate – a highly refined cannabis extract that is produced through a process of distillation, resulting in a potent product high in cannabinoids.
  24. Dope – A versatile term used differently across regions and generations.
  25. Doobie – Possibly derived from ‘Scooby-Doo’, refers to a cannabis joint.
  26. Fatty – A large joint or blunt.
  27. Flower – The bud of the cannabis plant, useful for discreet conversations.
  28. Ganja – A term with origins in India, synonymous with cannabis.
  29. Grass – Popular in the 60s and 70s, often referred to lower quality cannabis.
  30. Grinder – The tool used to break down weed into smaller particles.
  31.  Hash – Concentrated cannabis made from the resin of the plant, often used in various forms like hashish.
  32. Herb – A term emphasizing the natural aspects of cannabis.
  33. Indica – One of the main types of weed. It’s known for having relaxing and sedative effects.
  34. Joint – Ground cannabis rolled in paper, a global staple.
  35. Kief – The potent and concentrated resin glands (trichomes) that have been sifted from cannabis flowers.
  36. Kush – A strain of indica cannabis from the Middle East.
  37. Mary Jane – A universally recognized term for weed.
  38. Nug – A dense and high-quality bud of weed.
  39. Pot – Derived from Spanish potiguaya, meaning ‘the drink of grief’.
  40. Pre-Roll – a cannabis joint that is already rolled and primed for smoking.
  41. Reefer – A term with origins in nautical language.
  42. Resin – A sticky, gooey substance produced by cannabis trichomes.
  43. Roach – A small remnant of a cannabis joint or blunt that’s left after smoking, typically containing resin and burnt plant material.
  44. Sativa – One of the main types of weed. It’s known for having uplifting and energizing effects.
  45. Spliff – A roll containing both tobacco and cannabis.
  46. Stash – A hidden supply of pot.
  47. Sticky Icky – A term for high-quality, resinous weed, popularized in the ‘90s by Snoop Dogg.
  48. Terps – Short for terpenes, the aromatic compounds in cannabis responsible for its distinct smells and flavors.
  49. THC – The primary psychoactive compound in cannabis responsible for producing the “high”.
  50. Weed – A term for cannabis, emphasizing its undesired status in the past.


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