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Common Names for Marijuana

Marijuana is known by various nicknames that are diverse. The most common names for marijuana will vary somewhat by region. Some of these nicknames come from their appearance or effects, while other slang terms are associated with their consumption. These names are ingrained in popular culture, offering a unique way to refer to the substance in a way that the average person won’t pick up on.

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Most Common Nicknames for Marijuana

Depending on where you live in the country, the most common names for marijuana will vary. 

Top 10 Most Common Nicknames 

Of all the terms for marijuana, these are the 10 most common:[1-6]


Weed has long been used as an informal reference to the cannabis plant due to its rapid growth and resilience as well as its appearance. Most marijuana plants look very much like common weeds.


Pot is an informal term for marijuana that first made its debut during the 1930s. The word may have come from Spanish potiguaya or potacion de guaya, which refers to drinks made from cannabis buds. Over time, this evolved into pot, becoming one of the most common terms for cannabis in use today. 


Marijuana is an umbrella term for the plant and its products with roots in Mexican Spanish, specifically maria juana. It was first adopted into American English during cannabis prohibition eras in the United States. This term is now used widely across North America to refer to cannabis plants.


Cannabis has its origins in ancient Greek, reportedly derived from the word kannabis. Today, cannabis is the botanical name for the plant, but it is also used as a term to refer to any marijuana product.


Dope was initially used to refer to cough medications that featured opium, which was commonly sold in the 1800s. Over time, however, its use was expanded to include all drugs, including marijuana. Some people use this term to refer to heroin as well. 


Hashish refers to a concentrated form of cannabis that is created using only resin harvested from the plants. The word comes from Arabic and means grass or dry herbs.


Ganja comes from Sanskrit, specifically a word referring to the flowers of the marijuana plant. In the U.S. and around the world, it is just another name for any form of marijuana. 

Mary Jane

Mary Jane is another widespread nickname for marijuana that emerged from the Mexican word Maria juana.


Reefer may have its origins in the Spanish word grifa, which was originally used to refer to low-grade cannabis in the early 20th century. Over time, its usage became common due to its use in anti-cannabis propaganda promoted during the 1930s and 1940s, like the well-known movie Reefer Madness.


Bud is an informal term used to describe the flowering part of cannabis plants that have high concentrations of cannabinoids. It’s also often used as shorthand to refer to marijuana in general.

Additional Nicknames for Weed

There are far more than just 10 nicknames for marijuana. Here are some additional terms that might not be as commonly used as the 10 terms above:[6-9]


Cheeba is an informal term for marijuana that probably originates in the Caribbean region. It has since spread throughout various cultures worldwide.


When used to refer to marijuana, dank usually means a high-grade, potent marijuana plant that is strong smelling and sticky with resin.


Chronic is another term that means a high-quality type of marijuana. The term was popularized in pop culture and music in the 1990s. Today, it may be used to reference any type of marijuana. 


Because marijuana is a green plant, some people use the term grass to refer to it. It is an innocuous word, so many people like it due to the fact that you can use it in public without people necessarily knowing what you’re talking about. It was popularized in the 1960s and 1970s. 

Devil’s Lettuce

Over the years, marijuana has been viewed in a negative light by some who are highly religious. Many preached against it from the pulpit, calling it the devil’s lettuce to communicate the idea that they viewed use of the drug as sinful. 

Full List of Marijuana Terms

Here’s a full list of terms used to reference marijuana:[6,9,10]

  • 420
  • Ace
  • All-Star
  • Ashes
  • Aunt Mary
  • Barbara Jean
  • BC Bud
  • Biggy
  • Black Gold
  • Blue Jeans
  • Boom
  • Broccoli
  • Bud
  • Buddha
  • Bush
  • Cali
  • Catnip
  • Christmas Tree
  • Churro
  • Crazy Weed
  • Creeper Bud
  • Dank
  • Diesel
  • Dojo
  • Donna Juana
  • Doobie
  • Downtown Brown
  • Dry High
  • Escoba
  • Fattie
  • Flower
  • Flower Tops
  • Fluffy
  • Fuzzy Lady
  • Garden
  • Gauge
  • Gangster
  • Ganja
  • Gash
  • Ghana
  • Giggle Smoke
  • Gold Leaf
  • Gorilla
  • Grass
  • Grasshopper
  • Green
  • Green Goblin
  • Green Goddess
  • Green Skunk
  • Hay
  • Herb
  • Homegrown
  • Jolly Green
  • Joy Smoke
  • Juanita
  • Khalifa
  • Kilter
  • Kona Gold
  • Kush
  • Laughing Grass
  • Leaf
  • Little Green Friends
  • Little Smoke
  • Loco Weed
  • Magic Smoke
  • Maria
  • Mary Jones
  • Matchbox
  • Mexicali Haze
  • Monte
  • My Brother
  • Northern Lights
  • Nug
  • Owl
  • Palm
  • Phoenix
  • Pine
  • Pink Panther
  • Plant
  • Pocket Rocket
  • Puff
  • Purple Haze
  • Ragweed
  • Rasta Weed
  • Reefer
  • Root
  • Sativa
  • Schwag
  • Skunk
  • Smoke
  • Spliff
  • Stems
  • Stinkweed
  • Trainwreck
  • Trees
  • Wake and Bake
  • Weed Tea
  • Wheat
  • Yellow Submarine
  • Zip

Why Are There So Many Names for Marijuana?

The wide range of names for marijuana can be attributed to a combination of historical, cultural, linguistic, social, and legal factors. These are just some reasons why people use a number of names to refer to marijuana and its products:[7]

Cultural & Regional Differences

Different cultures and regions have their own unique slang terms and nicknames for marijuana that are influenced by language, dialects, and local customs. As the use of cannabis became a widespread practice, cultural shifts had an influence on what people were calling the drug.

Historical Context

Throughout history, marijuana has been utilized for medical, recreational, and spiritual uses around the world. In many cases, the names used reflect the purpose of marijuana in different cultures, the effects of the substance, or the attitude of the time toward the plant and its use.

Linguistic Creativity

Language is continually developing. As marijuana became an increasingly common substance used by more and more people, novel terms and nicknames were created for the purposes of variety and creativity. This is especially true of names for the drug that are used and popularized in music.

Secrecy & Legal Restrictions

Due to legal and social constraints on marijuana use in certain locations and at different times in history, people were often compelled to use coded language and secret names. Similarly, people who use the drug in a context where they may experience repercussions if they are caught — such as teens who live with their parents, people who are in jail, or those in the military — may make up names for the drug to avoid detection. People who are dealing with addiction often use slang to cover up their substance abuse. 

Marketing & Branding

Legalization and commercialization of cannabis have led to an explosion in name creation in order to rival the names of the drug on the black market. The goal is to stand out as distinctive and target specific audiences.

Updated March 25, 2024
  1. What is marijuana? National Institute on Drug Abuse. Published July 2020. Accessed November 10, 2023.
  2. Why is marijuana also called pot? Published July 20, 2010. Accessed November 10, 2023.
  3. Marijuana or cannabis. University of Washington. Accessed November 10, 2023.
  4. Marijuana panic won’t die, but Reefer Madness will live forever. Hunt, K. JSTOR Daily. Published April 23, 2020. Accessed November 10, 2023.
  5. Marijuana. United States Drug Enforcement Administration. Published 2019. Accessed November 10, 2023.
  6. The name of cannabis: A short guide for nonbotanists. Pollio A. Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research. 2016;1(1):234-238.
  7. 420 Day: Why there are so many different names for weed. Steinmetz K. TIME. Published April 20, 2017. Accessed November 10, 2023.
  8. Where all those marijuana slang terms came from. Content C. New York Daily News. Published December 19, 2017. Accessed November 10, 2023.
  9. Here’s what people called pot in the 1940s. Rothman L. TIME. Published April 20, 2015. Accessed November 10, 2023.
  10. Marijuana, reefer, weed: Language and the Devil’s lettuce. Holson LM. The New York Times. Published July 4, 2019. Accessed November 10, 2023.
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