The plant that can make life so much better at times. More and more people try this wondrous plant each day, and it begins to play a unique role in their daily lives. But many people want to know – “how did this plant get all these names?” It’s been referred to as pot, herb, marijuana, ganja, cannabis, weed, wacky tobaccy, Mary Jane, and so many other names. In this article, we’re going to give you another history lesson but this time about the origins of these names. Many of these names that are used are very modern names. Over the years, different cultures have named this plant for various reasons.
Cannabis. During the 19th century, this was a very common word used for the plant in the United States. It was once listed in scientific journals as an effective medicine that could treat a wide array of symptoms. This was more than likely the first name that the plant had been given. It’s first noted around the year 440 BC kánnabis in Ancient Greece. The Greeks used it as a reference to recreational use in Herodotus’ The Histories. Cannabis was mentioned in English during the mid-1500s in the Oxford dictionary. It was then dubbed as the scientific name for the hemp plant.
Pot. This word was commonly used during the 70s, possibly earlier. There’s controversy surrounding the origins of this term. The most likely origin is related to Potiguaya, which is a wine or brandy that is mulled and buds of the cannabis plant are steeped. People are still unsure, but that’s the most logical answer.
Ganja. This word derives from the Sanskrit language. Ganja is an Indian word for Cannabis sativa, which is a common strain. In Sanskrit, ganja is referring to cannabis sativa that goes through a potent preparation process and definitely doesn’t compare to the typical herb mix. It is often believed that the Indians had named the Ganges after this plants because of the gorgeous herbs that grew along the riverbanks.
Weed. The newer generation dubbed the plant in either the late 80s or early 90s as “weed.” Weeds can basically grow anywhere in any type of conditions so the name seemed appropriate for the plant. It’s grown worldwide and has played a major part in many cultures. The newer generation was more than likely stepping away from the term “pot” that their parents once used.
Marijuana. This word probably has the most history tied into it. It derived from the Mexican Spanish language and definitely hasn’t always been used to refer to cannabis. In Mexico, it was the name of a mixture of herbs that they used for other purposes. Mexicans were allowed to legally immigrate to the United States in 1910 while trying to escape from the Mexican Revolution war. During this time, cannabis was not thought to be for recreational purposes. Once this hit the mainstream, these immigrants were blamed for this new smoking trend. This resulted in the United States government beginning their 100-year war on weed. The first bill was passed in 1913 which criminalized “locoweed.” The press played a big part in the plant being called “marijuana” during this time of racial tension. To this day, many refrain from using the word and stick to its scientific name.
Whatever you may call it, we can all agree on one thing; cannabis is one of the best plants Mother Nature gave us.