Weed, cannabis, marijuana, or pot, which term is better?

Published Jan 10, 2020 10:00 a.m. ET
iStock / artJazz

Now that federal marijuana legalization is quickly reaching all corners of the globe, people are much more willing to openly discuss their love for the plant. This is a truly great freedom that many of us could have only dreamt of not long ago, which keeps the atmosphere intriguing, but we are playing an important role in history. One that will be documented as society shifts away from hysterical weed plant propaganda and towards a new age of knowledge and growth.

That means that the conversations we have now, will significantly influence the future, and we have a responsibility to ask all the hard questions like, which stoner terms should be preserved and what ones should get tossed out with yesterday’s trash. Right now, most educational facilities use the term cannabis, but consumers are much more likely to comfortably use slang terminologies such as marijuana, pot, or weed.

This has sparked controversy over the history of each of the notorious names, and the ultimate question of whether or not anyone is truly better than the rest. Since we want to set the very best example moving forward as we try to wash away the grimy history of stereotypes, it is important to recognize where each one comes from so that you can choose one that aligns with the values that you would like to become common in society.


Cannabis Sativa is the proper name for the plant, but it refers to all the different strains, including what we now call hemp plants. Hemp plants are designated that way due to their high cannabinoid content and fibrous nature, but they are all from the same genetic line of Cannabis Sativa plants.


Marijuana was initially spelt marihuana, and it’s a term that was coined by the government of Canada at the beginning of prohibition but used to reference an activity that was often directly associated with people of color. If you pay close attention to federal documents, even today, you will often find the oddly spelt word scattered throughout, and to many, it is a symbol of oppression and discrimination.



A lot of consumers believe that pot is a term that was used by pre-legalization times to talk about cannabis discreetly, but the truth is that it is a short form of the Spanish phrase ‘Potiguaya’ aka ‘Potaguaya’ which is an alcohol that has been infused with cannabis buds. Though it certainly earned a place in the vocabulary of millions of non-Spanish speaking individuals during prohibition, it means nothing derogatory and actually references a delightful traditional drink.


The use of the word weed goes as far back as 1833, at a time when cannabis plants grew wild in ditches and natural areas all over the globe. Cannabis would spread like wildfire, or as many would say, just like a weed, and it’s a phrase that doesn’t appear to be going anywhere, anytime soon. Luckily, it doesn’t have any type of demonizing intent. Instead, it’s just a relaxed way of talking about weed leaf or buds.

Though we always recommend that our viewers thoroughly research each and every aspect of the weed plant, it is just as essential to recognize human comfortability. Though most consumers would have a difficult time ignoring the fact that terms like marijuana have a deeply racially driven history, those who use them don’t necessarily mean any ill will by it.

Language is amazing that way as it evolves with the needs of the many, so if you do hear someone using a less professional name for cannabis, don’t judge them by it, simply use your power of influence by setting your best foot forward while displaying the best example for cannabis enthusiasts everywhere. There will always be a massive library of different terms that people use to describe cannabis, but very few of them mean anything negative, and no one needs to apologize for their word choice.

Witnessing the next evolution of stoner stereotypes


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