The Crazy, Colorful World of Cannabis Slang

By Mark S.
Published: July 26, 2018 | Last updated: April 6, 2021 10:59:31
Key Takeaways

For centuries, cultures around the world have used cannabis for its medicinal properties and also for the feel good high that it bestows on the user. With such a long and illustrious history, it is no wonder that marijuana has become known by literally hundreds of nicknames and slang slogans.

Cannabis Terms from Around the World

There is no denying that the love of weed is a worldwide affinity that is shared by many. If you are a world traveler and cannabis connoisseur, the chances are good you will want to familiarize yourself with these common marijuana monikers. Here are just a few of the names that denote marijuana in many parts of the globe:


North Africa – Kif

South Africa – Dagga, Zol, Jut


However, if you are visiting South Africa and you want the good stuff, then you better ask for some zol to get the sticky, resin-laden buds. Cheap and far less potent marijuana is referred to as jut and tends to carry a far cheaper price tag than zol.

Jamaica – Ganja

The word ganja is actually the Sanskrit word for hemp.


Turkey – Ot

Egypt – Bango


Although in Egypt ‘bango’ is the common term used for marijuana, it actually refers to a joint, which is how it is commonly smoked in the region.

Columbia – Bareta

Puerto Rico – Moto

The origins of moto can be traced back to Puerto Rico; however, the term is widely known to refer to cannabis in any Spanish-speaking country.

India – Bhang

In India, cannabis is commonly used as an edible and referred to as bhang. The marijuana plant is crushed and rolled into a potent paste-like concentrate and then added to yogurt or other fruit foods.

Mexico – Churro

Yes, a Mexican churro is a fried cinnamon stick, but it is also slang for a joint.

Russia – Plan

France – L’Herb

Afghanistan – Kush

Japan – Dank-on

United Kingdom – Bifter

China – Ma

Argentina – Faso

With more than 200 countries around the world, these are just a few of the terms used to refer to weed. Virtually every country has a variety of names that denote the plant.

Hollywood and the Early Days of Weed

During the 1930s, the government undertook a huge movement to demonize marijuana. Strong anti-weed propaganda films erupted across the big screen to let citizens of the US know just how ‘dangerous’ cannabis could be.

The term ‘Reefer Madness’ was soon coined on the Silver Screen. Even today, most cannabis enthusiasts still chuckle when they hear cannabis referred to as reefer madness.

Hollywood filmmakers from the bygone era also started to call cannabis, ‘magic dragon’ to give it a mythical, dangerous feel. They were trying everything to scare the general population away from cannabis use.

Here are a few common names for cannabis during the 1930s and 1940s:

  • Gage, Jive, Pot

The term ‘pot’ for cannabis is thought to have its roots in the Jazz music of the time. It is believed to a shortened word for the Spanish word potacion de guaya, which is an alcoholic drink made by soaking pot leaves in brandy or wine.

See also:

  • Muggles, Indian Hay, Loco Weed, Tea, Blue Sage, Bambalacha, Mooter, Mary Warner, Giggle Smokes

The Dark Days of Weed in the United States

During the late 1960s and 1970s, the popularity of weed started to grow by leaps and bounds. The youth of America were falling in love with marijuana. The enamored adoration was fueled by the music of the times, the hippy movement, and the burgeoning never-before experienced freedoms of the era.

A passion-fueled rebellion was rolling across the country as citizens started to stand up in open defiance against the stifling and repressive culture. People started to say no to war, the Civil Rights Movement gained momentum, and the empowerment of women became a reality as many young girls started to burn their bras.

It was an open atmosphere of acceptance, tolerance, and love, but cannabis remained an illegal drug. To counter and evade the cops, weed lovers started talking in code when referring to the green stuff.

By the 1980s, the fear of drugs was running wild across the United States with the government focusing an all out ‘War on Drugs’. However, the drug that was grabbing the headlines was cocaine. Cannabis started to be focused on far less by officials as law enforcement swerved toward hard, deadly substance. Here are a few cannabis terms that became famous during the late 1960s and 1970s.

  • Dope, MJ, Mary Jane, Joint, Doobie

The United States’ Love of Marijuana Slang

Today in the United States, cannabis has been undergoing a massive metamorphosis as it gains legal status not only for medicinal purposes but also for recreational use in many states. Popular songs, television shows, movies, and the general public all widely refer to marijuana.

Whether on the streets or in the homes of most Americans, slang monikers for weed have become commonplace. Here are just a few of the hundreds that are being bandied around on a daily basis.

  • Pot, Grass, 420, Herb, Nuggets, Nugs, Stinkweed, Chronic, Blaze
  • Reefer, Skunk, Wacky Tobacco, Loco Weed, Dope, Black Gold,
  • Hocus, Chicken Fingers, Broccoli, Bomb, Panama Red
  • Hawaiian Homegrown Hay, Rainy Day Woman, Love Boat

The Cannabis Evolution: More and More Strains to Fit All Needs

Nowadays, in many states, a cannabis user simply has to walk into a dispensary to purchase either medicinal or recreational cannabis and cannabis-laced products. When they first enter a dispensary, most people are overwhelmed with the mind-boggling variety of marijuana that is readily available for purchase. It’s literally like a weed mecca.

The second thing that most people notice are the multitude of strains they have to choose from. Many people simply don’t know what to ask for because everything has a fancy name nowadays. However, as weed purchases become more commonplace, many people are starting to refer to cannabis by its strain:

  • Blue Dream – Blue Dream is a potent strain of sativa marijuana and one of the best selling in dispensaries across Colorado. Lovers say it provides an energetic high.
  • Hell’s Angel – An indica strain, Hell’s Angel generally gets the user exceptionally high quickly.
  • Girl Scout Cookies – Users seeking a strong high won’t be disappointed with the THC-rich cultivar Girl Scout Cookies.
  • Sour Diesel – Medical users often turn to Sour Diesel to alleviate pain, depression, and feelings of stress.
  • Durban Poison – A sativa strain, Durban Poison helps users feel creative.
  • Blue Dream – Blue Dream gives users a relaxing feeling that helps aid in sleeping.
  • Blueberry Diesel – Blueberry Diesel actually smells like – you guessed it – blueberries! It’s a cross between Sour Diesel and Blueberry.
  • Bruce Banner – A cross between the strains Strawberry Diesel and OG Kush, Bruce Banner gives the user an uplifting effect. It also helps relieve pain and improves appetite.
  • Kosher Kush – Kosher Kush packs a very high level of THC and will impress even seasoned smokers.
  • Banana Kush – Banana Kush not only smells like bananas but it also contains ample THC.

Nowadays, there are literally thousands of terms that are used to denote cannabis. The terms grow and expand as our language and acceptance of marijuana for its medicinal wonders and its recreational enjoyment becomes accepted, broader, and more matter-of-course.

Cannabis names are like a journey through history – always changing and always evolving to fit each culture.


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