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Cannabis Slang and Terminology 101

The Ultimate Guide to Cannabis Terminology and 420 Slang

Cannabis culture is a vibrant, dynamic world with its unique language. Over the years, this culture has developed a rich lexicon of terms and slang that encapsulate the myriad ways people refer to cannabis, its consumption, and the experience of being high. This comprehensive guide delves into the colorful and often amusing terminology of cannabis, offering insights into the origins of terms and how they became popular.


Names for Cannabis

Cannabis is known by many names, reflecting its qualities, origins, or cultural significance. There are hundreds of strains/hybrids of weed, such as Northern Lights and Sour Diesel, that we won't even try to list here as there are just so many, and new strains are created all the time. Instead, this list will focus on the standard lexicons of cannabis. Here they are, organized alphabetically:

differnt types and grades fo weed from low quality to high quality
  1. Aunt Mary: A playful, personified term for marijuana, similar to Mary Jane. It evokes a familiar, almost familial connection to cannabis, highlighting its longstanding presence in popular culture.
  2. Bammer: "Bammer weed" originated as a slang term within American urban cannabis culture to describe low-quality cannabis that lacks potency and overall desirability.
  3. Boom: Refers to cannabis that delivers a powerful or intense high. The term likely emerged from the explosive impact of potent strains, especially during the 1970s when stronger varieties began circulating.
  4. Brickweed: Low-quality, compressed cannabis often associated with illicit trade. Brickweed is usually hard and dry, pressed into bricks for easier smuggling. It frequently contains seeds and stems, reflecting its poor quality.
  5. Bud: The flowering part of the cannabis plant, prized for its high concentration of cannabinoids. "Bud" is a straightforward term and has been widely used since the 1960s as cannabis culture became more mainstream.
  6. Bush: the same as why weed, or green as used, bush is a descriptive word to describe how the plant grows and is used to reference it.
  7. Cheeba: The slang term "cheeba" (sometimes spelled "cheba") is another colloquial term used to refer to cannabis. Its exact origins are murky, but it is believed to have developed in American urban street culture, possibly influenced by the Spanish language and Caribbean slang.
  8. Chronic: Slang for highly potent cannabis, popularized by Dr. Dre's 1992 album The Chronic. This term came to symbolize high-quality weed and is now synonymous with superior potency.
  9. Dank: Originally meaning damp or musty, "dank" in cannabis lingo describes highly potent and aromatic weed. The term became popular in the 1990s, coinciding with the rise of high-grade strains.
  10. Devil's Lettuce: A tongue-in-cheek term mocking anti-cannabis propaganda. It highlights the humorous way cannabis enthusiasts respond to the plant's vilification.
  11. Ditch Weed: Wild-growing, often low-THC cannabis that was not cultivated for consumption. Found growing in the wild, particularly in rural areas. Wild-growing cannabis generally descended from industrial hemp plants and has a low THC level. In the 1940s, at the government's request, farmers added 36,000 acres of seed hemp to help supply the navy as imports from india and asia were blocked by the Japanese. Much of this hemp is still goring in the mid west.
    Cannabis also grows wild in many counties around the world, in SE Asia, Vietnam, Cambodia and also China and India. Ditch weed
    is typically regarded as inferior so ditch that weed.
  12. Flower: Refers to the dried and cured buds of the cannabis plant, ready for consumption. This term emphasizes the natural form of cannabis as opposed to extracts or edibles.
  13. Ganja: Derived from Hindi, "ganja" underscores the spiritual and cultural use of cannabis in India and within the Rastafarian movement. It gained popularity in the West during the 1960s counterculture movement.
  14. Grass: A term from the 1960s, often used to describe cannabis leaves and buds. It was popular among the hippie generation and remains a nostalgic reference to cannabis.
  15. Green: This is pretty obvious because it is a green plant.
  16. Herb: This term highlights cannabis as a natural, botanical product. It's widely used in holistic and wellness communities, emphasizing the plant's natural origins.
  17. Indica: A type of cannabis known for its sedative effects and bushy growth. Originating from the Hindu Kush region, Indica strains are renowned for their relaxing properties, making them popular for nighttime use.
  18. KGB: Stands for "Killer Green Bud," indicating exceptionally high-quality cannabis. The term likely surfaced in the 1990s as cannabis connoisseurs sought to distinguish superior strains.
  19. Kif (Kief): The delicate, powdery resin collected from the trichomes of cannabis flowers. Known for its potency, kief can be sprinkled on top of bowls or used to make hash. The term comes from the Arabic "keef," meaning pleasure or well-being.
  20. Kush: Refers to strains originating from the Hindu Kush mountains, known for their potency and distinct earthy flavors. Kush strains gained prominence in the 1990s and are highly regarded for their potent effects.
  21. Magic Dragon: A whimsical term for cannabis, popularized in the 1970s by the song "Puff, the Magic Dragon." It often denotes the mystical or euphoric qualities of cannabis.
  22. Marijuana: The formal term derived from the Mexican Spanish "marihuana." It was popularized in the United States in the early 20th century as part of anti-cannabis campaigns and has since become the standard legal term.
  23. Mary Jane: A playful, personified name for marijuana. This term became popular in the 1960s and is a pun on the word "marijuana."
  24. Maui Wowie: A famous strain from Hawaii known for its sweet pineapple flavor and energizing effects. Maui Wowie gained fame in the 1970s and remains a classic sativa strain.
  25. Mids: Short for "middle" grade, referring to cannabis that is average in quality. Mids are neither the best nor the worst, offering a balance between cost and potency.
  26. Nug: Short for nugget, a term for dense, high-quality cannabis buds. Nugs are usually trimmed well and are free from stems and seeds, making them desirable for consumers.
  27. Pot: The term "pot," as a slang word for cannabis, has a fascinating linguistic and cultural history. Its origins can be traced back to the Spanish language and its usage in the Americas, particularly in the 1930s and 1940s. The word "pot" is derived from the Spanish phrase "potiguaya" or "potación de guaya" which is an old Mexican Spanish term that translates to "the drink of grief." It referred to a traditional beverage made from steeping cannabis leaves in alcohol
  28. Reggie: Some believe this is just short for "regular," indicating low-quality cannabis. The term is also thought to come from Reggie Bush, a US football player. From there, the name association with Reggie Bush and bush weed became shortened to Reggie.
  29. Reefer: A term from the early 20th century, popularized by jazz musicians and the 1936 propaganda film Reefer Madness. It typically refers to cannabis cigarettes.
  30. Shake: The tiny bits of cannabis that fall off buds, found at the bottom of a bag. While less potent than full buds, shake is often used in cooking or for rolling joints.
  31. Skunk: Named for its pungent smell, skunk refers to strong-smelling strains. Originating in the 1970s, Skunk #1 was one of the first widely recognized strains for its distinctive odor.
  32. Sativa: A type of cannabis known for its uplifting and energizing effects, typically associated with daytime use. Sativa plants are tall and thin, often originating from equatorial regions.
  33. Sticky Icky: Refers to cannabis that is particularly resinous and sticky, indicating high potency. This term was popularized by the rapper Snoop Dogg in the 1990s.
  34. Trees: A playful slang term for cannabis, especially among urban users. It likens the plant to a tree, highlighting its natural growth and abundance.
  35. Weed: The most ubiquitous slang term for cannabis, popularized during the Prohibition era. "Weed" became a common term as cannabis use spread across diverse social groups.
  36. Zaza: Modern slang for exotic, high-grade cannabis. Frequently mentioned in contemporary rap music, Zaza indicates top-tier, often rare strains.

Cannabis Measurements

Cannabis is often sold in various quantities, each with its unique slang terms.

A note on measurements: While we are aware that an Oz is, technically, 28.349 grams, many places will operate on an ounce being 28 grams. When it comes to buying a pound, you typically get 28*16, or 448 grams, not the total 453.59 grams. When people were measuring out and dealing weed, it just made measuring the weed easier. Sometimes, if you have a good dealer or it's your first purchase, they may add a little extra, but be aware all measurements are based on an ounce having 28 grams.

weighing a nug of weed on an electronic scale

Here are the terms for measurements, listed by size from smallest to largest:

  1. Gram: The basic unit of cannabis measurement, weighing 1 gram. This is the smallest standard quantity for purchasing cannabis, ideal for single sessions or trying new strains.
  2. Nickel (Nick): A $5 bag, typically containing around 0.5 grams. This term dates back to the 1970s and 80s when small, affordable bags of cannabis were typical.
  3. Dime: A $10 bag, usually holding about 1 gram. The term "dime bag" became popular in the 1960s and remains in use today, especially for small purchases.
  4. Dub: A $20 bag, often containing 2 grams. "Dub" is a more recent term, emerging in the 1990s and reflecting the standard cost for a small amount of cannabis.
  5. Teenth: Short for sixteenth. It is a half of an eighth, approximately 1.75 grams. This term is less common now but used to be common when weed was less frequent, and people could only affod small amounts.
  6. Eighth: An eighth of an ounce, approximately 3.5 grams. This is a standard purchase size for many consumers and is commonly used in both recreational and medical markets.
  7. Quarter (Q): A quarter-ounce, about 7 grams. "Q" is shorthand for this quantity, popular among regular users who buy in more significant amounts.
  8. Half/Halfy: Half-ounce, weighing 14 grams. Buying a half-ounce is often more economical for frequent users, providing enough supply for an extended period.
  9. Ounce (OZ): 28 grams of cannabis. Ounce or "OZ" is a common way to refer to an ounce, which is the legal limit for personal possession in many areas.
  10. Zip: Another term for an ounce, derived from the Ziploc bags typically used to store this quantity. "Zip" is a casual and widely recognized term in cannabis culture.
  11. QP/QPEEZY/QT: Short for quarter-pound, equal to 4 ounces or 112 grams. QP is a significant quantity, often used by heavy consumers or for sharing among friends.
  12. HP/Halfy: short for half-pound is 8 ounces or 224 grams. An HP is more than most people would buy for personal consumption. You could roll 224 joints from this, which is a lot, even for heavy consumers.
  13. 1 Pound/Elbow/Lb/Full Thing/Pack: Elbow is slang for a pound of cannabis, from the abbreviation 'lb'. It and mixes phonetic sounds to create 'el-b' which somehow became elbow. L also stands for pound. A pound and other terms are used for this large quantity typically used by growers or distributors.
  14. 10 Pack: Sometimes called 10 Piece, it would be 10 pounds.
  15. Box: Generally refers to a large quantity of 100 pounds. "Box" is used in commercial contexts where cannabis is packaged and sold in bulk.
  16. Stash: A personal supply of cannabis, often kept hidden or stored safely. "Stash" reflects the private nature of cannabis possession, especially during times of prohibition.

How much is weed?

We have not covered prices here as they vary greatly depending on where you are, state taxes, and the quality of weed. Generally, the more you buy, the better deal you will get. A gram of weed can cost anywhere from $7 to $20 in the US, and an eighth of weed can be anywhere from $20 to $75.

Cannabis Consumption Methods and Related Slang

Cannabis can be enjoyed in numerous ways, each with its own terminology. Many of the terms for cannabis and wax are from how they look or their appearance. Here they are, organized alphabetically:

  1. Bat: A small, cigarette-like pipe used for quick hits, often part of a "one-hitter" setup. Bats are convenient for discreet and portable consumption.
  2. Blunt: Cannabis rolled in a cigar wrap, known for its longer-lasting smoke session. Blunts became popular in the 1980s and 90s, especially in hip-hop culture.
  3. Bong: A water pipe that cools and filters smoke, enhancing the smoking experience. Bongs have been used for centuries, with modern glass designs becoming popular in the 1970s.
  4. Bowl: The part of a pipe or bong where cannabis is placed and smoked; also refers to the act of smoking from such a device. "Bowl" is a versatile term commonly used by smokers.
  5. Batter: A creamy, smooth concentrate with a consistency similar to cake batter. Batter is prized for its ease of use and potent effects.
  6. Budder: A buttery, whipped concentrate that is easy to spread and dab. Budder offers a high THC content and is known for its smooth texture.
  7. Cannabinoids: These are a class of compound that interact with cannabinoid receptors in the humab bodys endocannabinoid system (ECS). Photocannabiniods are producted by plants. The teo most common cannabinoids in cannabis are THC and CBD. 
  8. Cured Concentrates: Concentrates made from dried and cured cannabis flowers. These include various textures like shatter, wax, and crumble, each with its own characteristics.
  9. Dabs: Small amounts of cannabis concentrates are used in dabbing. Dabs deliver intense effects due to their high cannabinoid content and are consumed using a dab rig.
  10. Diamonds: these look like tiny crystals or diamonds of extracts.
  11. Distillate: Highly purified cannabis oil known for its potency and lack of flavor or aroma. Distillates are versatile and often used in edibles, vape cartridges, and topicals.
  12. Doobie: Another term for a joint, popular in the 1960s and 70s. "Doobie" evokes a sense of the counterculture era and communal smoking.
  13. Globs: Large quantities of soft concentrate with a smooth consistency that's prepared for dabbing. Globs are favored by experienced dabbers looking for powerful hits.
  14. Hash: A traditional concentrate made by compressing trichomes from the cannabis plant. Hash has been used for centuries, particularly in regions like the Middle East and India.
  15. Jazz Cigarette: A vintage term for a cannabis joint, popular during the jazz era of the 1920s and 30s. It reflects the early association between cannabis and jazz musicians.
  16. Joint: Cannabis rolled in a paper, the most traditional method of smoking. Joints are simple and portable, making them a staple in cannabis culture.
  17. Live Resin: Concentrate made from solvents to purge the terpenes and cannabinoids out. Also known as BHO, utain hash oil. Live resin is known for its robust flavor and aroma.
  18. Live Rosin: Solventless concentrate made by pressing fresh cannabis with heat and pressure. Live rosin retains the full spectrum of the plant's cannabinoids and terpenes without chemical extraction.
  19. Nail: The heated surface on a dab rig used to vaporize concentrates. Nails are typically made of quartz, titanium, or ceramic, and they are essential for the dabbing process.
  20. Phatty: A large, thickly rolled joint or blunt. Phatties are designed for extended smoking sessions or sharing with friends.
  21. Pinner: A small, thin joint, often rolled for solo use. Pinners are economical and convenient for quick, personal smokes.
  22. Rig: A device used for consuming cannabis concentrates via dabbing. Rigs include a nail and a water chamber, similar to a bong, and are essential for vaporizing dabs.
  23. Roach: The small end of a joint or blunt that's left after smoking. Roaches are often saved and smoked later or used to make roach clips for easier handling.
  24. Shatter: This is a brittle form of wax or extract, like a sheet of glass. If you pick it up and drop it, it will break into little pieces.
  25. Solventless: Concentrates made without chemical solvents, such as rosin or dry sift. Solventless extraction is prized for its purity and natural processing methods.
  26. Spliff: A mix of cannabis and tobacco rolled together. Spliffs are popular in Europe and among smokers who enjoy the combined effects of both substances.
  27. Stogie: A term borrowed from cigars, sometimes used to refer to large blunts. Stogies are often thick and long-lasting, providing a robust smoking experience.
  28. Sugar: Crystallized concentrate resembling sugar granules. Sugar concentrates offer a balance of potency and flavor with a texture that is easy to handle.
  29. Terpens: These are a class of organic compounds producted in various plants including cannabis. They are responsible for the aroma and taste profiles of plants as well as contrinuting to the medicinal effects. 
  30. Tommy Chong: A term for a high-quality joint or blunt, named after the comedian and cannabis advocate known for his role in Cheech & Chong. It signifies premium, well-rolled cannabis.
  31. Vape: A device that vaporizes cannabis flower or concentrates for inhalation. Many types of vapes, erig, and electronic nectar collectors exist. Vaping offers a cleaner and often more discreet method of consumption compared to smoking.
  32. Wax: this is used to describe many sorts of wax, like extract or concentrate, usually a soft, pliable concentrate with a waxy texture. Wax is popular for dabbing due to its high potency and ease of use.

Cultural Terms for Being High

Describing the state of being under the influence of cannabis involves a rich array of terms. Here they are, arranged alphabetically:

  1. Baked: Feeling very high, as if "cooked" by the cannabis. "Baked" conveys a sense of deep, relaxing intoxication.
  2. Blowback: A technique where smoke is blown into another person's mouth, often as a playful or intimate gesture.
  3. Buzzed: Experiencing a mild high. "Buzzed" suggests a light, pleasant level of intoxication, often the initial stage of being high.
  4. Couch-Lock: A state of deep sedation where one feels glued to the couch. This term is often associated with potent strains that produce strong lethargy effects.
  5. Cottonmouth: The dry mouth sensation commonly experienced when high. "Cottonmouth" is a well-known side effect of cannabis use, often remedied with water or snacks.
  6. Fried: Feeling extremely high or out of it. "Fried" suggests a disoriented, intense level of intoxication.
  7. Greening Out: Feeling nauseous or unwell after consuming too much cannabis. "Greening out" is similar to an alcohol hangover and can be a distressing experience.
  8. High: The general state of being under the influence of cannabis. "High" is the most common and broadly used term to describe cannabis intoxication.
  9. Hot Box: Smoking in an enclosed space to trap the smoke and increase the intensity of the high. Hotboxing amplifies the effects by exposing users to secondhand smoke.
  10. Lit Up: Being very high, often visibly so. "Lit up" conveys a state of exuberant or pronounced intoxication.
  11. Mashed: Another term for being extremely high. "Mashed" suggests a heavy, overwhelming level of intoxication.
  12. Munchies: The intense craving for food that often accompanies being high. Munchies are a well-known effect of cannabis, leading to intense and sometimes unusual food cravings.
  13. Pothead: A casual or pejorative term for someone who frequently uses cannabis. "Pothead" reflects both the user's identity and a stereotype often associated with heavy use.
  14. Powerhit: A method of inhaling a concentrated hit of smoke. Powerhits are designed to deliver a large amount of smoke in a single inhalation.
  15. Puff Puff Pass: A social smoking etiquette where each person takes two puffs before passing to the next. This practice is common in group smoking sessions to ensure everyone gets a fair share.
  16. Roasted: Feeling very high, implying a thorough, intense experience. "Roasted" is often used to describe a satisfying, deep level of intoxication.
  17. Shotgun: A technique where smoke is blown from one person's mouth to another's. This method is often used for fun or as a bonding activity.
  18. Stoned: The classic term for being high on cannabis. "Stoned" suggests a heavy, relaxed state often associated with deep introspection or sedation.
  19. Toke: A single inhalation of cannabis smoke. "Toke" is commonly used to describe taking a hit from a joint, pipe, or bong.
  20. Toasted: Another term for being high, often implying a warm, pleasant feeling. "Toasted" suggests a cozy, enjoyable level of intoxication.
  21. Wasted: Feeling extremely high, often to the point of incapacitation. "Wasted" conveys a sense of being thoroughly intoxicated, sometimes to an uncomfortable degree.

Additional Cannabis Terms

Beyond the basics, there are many more terms and slang words that are part of the rich tapestry of cannabis culture. Here are a few more to round out your cannabis vocabulary:

  • 710: Refers to oil, which, when flipped upside down, spells "710". It's a popular term in the concentrate community, with July 10th celebrated as "Dab Day."
  • Hydro: Cannabis grown hydroponically, without soil. This method allows for precise control over nutrients and water.
  • 420: The term "420" (pronounced "four-twenty") has become a universal code word in cannabis culture, symbolizing both the act of consuming cannabis and the broader movement advocating for its legalization and normalization. The origins of "420" are rooted in a mixture of historical fact and cultural lore. Still, the most widely accepted story traces back to a group of high school students in the 70s in San Rafael, California, who called themselves The Waldos.

This guide captures the vibrant language and culture surrounding cannabis. Whether discussing different forms of cannabis, how it's measured, the various ways it can be consumed, or the myriad ways to describe the experience, this lexicon highlights the richness and diversity of the cannabis world. We used many online references to put this together. If you know some terms we missed, please leave it with an explanation in the comments; we'd love to learn more. 

One fun source for weed terms and culture is Dope as Yola. Check his YouTube channel for some fantastic content; this is his video on 420 slang.

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