Tuesday, July 5, 2022

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Why do we call marijuana “weed”?

It’s definitely a fun little exercise to go through the list of cannabis nicknames we’ve all accrued in our lexicon, and right at the front of that list is “weed”. The most stigmatized, loaded, meaning-drenched of the nicknames. It means something different to everyone.

Well a nice little article over at Greenstate dives into some of the titles, and where they came from. Although not the most thoroughly researched, it still has some nuggets (another one!) of interest.

“[Weed] was first listed as one of the “new words” for cannabis in the 1929 edition of “American Speech.” At the time, there were only two widely-used terms for marijuana in the U.S. – the English term, “hemp,” and the scientific word, “cannabis” – so canna-lovers were experimenting with new names to avoid being discovered.

The nickname “weed” didn’t exactly hit at first – mostly because the more exotic term “marijuana” infiltrated the American lexicon in the ‘30’s. It wasn’t until the early 2000’s that it really became popular, according to Google search records. Some speculate this is because millennials needed an alternative to their parent’s hippie nicknames, like “grass” and “flower.””

Kind of an ingenious way to get the authorities to lose interest–who cares about some random weed the kids are gushing over.

Another fascinating one in the article is “Dope”. “It comes from the 19th century Dutch word ‘doop,’ meaning ‘thick dipping sauce.’ Originally a cooking term, it eventually became synonymous with a thick-headed or slow person.”

“When semi-liquid opium became popular around 1889, the word ‘doop’ was first used in reference to narcotic stupefaction – A.K.A., getting stupid high.”

Check out the article for more on the origin of “reefer,” “marijuana,” or “grass,” and feel free to act like a total smart ass next time you get high with your friends.

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