Should Consumers Only Refer To Marijuana As Cannabis?
About once every few months I get an e-mail from a concerned marijuana consumer. The e-mail is almost always the same. It criticizes The Weed Blog for using the word weed and not being politically correct by calling it something else, usually cannabis. I have long debated with people why I don't think it's as big of a deal, although I completely respect other people's opinions on the matter and am still considering taking the 'politically correct leap of faith.' Below is the last conversation that I had with a reader (keeping them anonymous). Please put your opinion in the comments section whether or not you think marijuana should be called a particular word, and why that particular word is the best. I come from Oregon where saying I'm a 'pothead' or a 'stoner' and that I 'smoke weed' is not a bad thing. In fact, people say it with pride up here. I know that's a bit different than other parts of the nation, namely California and Colorado:
TWB Reader - It seems to me that if you want to convince people that marijuana is something that is good for any medical conditions that many of us suffer from, you should not refer to it as something (that by definition) should be eradicated. I also think this must be quite comical to "the other guys". I refer to this fine gift from the gods as herb, something that by definition is used for food and medicine. Peace
Johnny Green - I talk about this with my fellow medical marijuana patients frequently. It's definitely an ongoing discussion here at our website. I personally feel that whatever word we use (weed, pot, cannabis, herb, marijuana, etc) is not as important as following it up with actions. I could be wrong, and I'm writing an article about this topic to get the discussion going. I know a lot of people that only use the term cannabis, yet do nothing to further the movement. On the flip side, I know a lot of people that use multiple terms to describe the plant, and fight hard everyday for reform and to spread awareness. Another factor that a lot of people don't realize is that some terms for the plant are much more popular on Google and other search engines than others. Based off of our research, marijuana was the first most popular search term for the plant (which the domain name was taken) and weed was a close second, with all the others coming in far less frequently. The message isn't as good if no one is reading. I know there are many people that don't like that our name has the word weed in it, but quite frankly, we wouldn't get nearly as much traffic to direct to activist causes. It's kind of like a two edge sword I suppose. I thank you for reaching out and look forward to chatting with you again soon.
TWB reader - I disagree, no matter how much "action" you follow up with, a "weed" can not be taken seriously by modern society. You have to change the way people feel about marijuana, not support what they already think! "Refer madness" is still alive in the memory of our lawmakers.
Johnny Green - There was a big movement a few years back to only call marijuana cannabis, in order to try to shed the stereotypes that go with the other words used for the plant. I found that out of 100 people I tried to get to change their vocabulary, maybe one or two actually did it. However, when I told people that I smoke 'weed' and that I'm a 'stoner,' yet I can still be educated, can still articulate my ideas, that I can still get into a private law school on a scholarship, and that I could start my own successful business, I shattered the stereotypes in people's minds and changed them around at a much, much higher rate than when I played the word game. I know for a fact that even though we have the name 'weed' in our domain name, we are taken very serious by modern society, especially in the marijuana activist community. That's why we got over 3 million hits in 2011 alone, and will likely triple that in 2012. Those are all people that were educated on marijuana news and information that likely never would have found us if our website was theherbblog.com. Like I said previously, the message is almost worthless if no one ever reads it. We will have to agree to disagree, but I really do respect your opinion and am glad that you reached out to start this discussion. As I hinted to before, I'm drafting up an article about this very topic, and would love for you to join.
TWB Reader - I believe your right and I look forward to your article.