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Do You Call It Marijuana, Cannabis, Weed, Pot, Or Something Else?


Cant We All Just Get A BongShould Consumers Only Refer To Marijuana As Cannabis?

About once every few months I get an e-mail from a concerned marijuana consumer. The e-mail is almost always the same. It criticizes The Weed Blog for using the word weed and not being politically correct by calling it something else, usually cannabis. I have long debated with people why I don’t think it’s as big of a deal, although I completely respect other people’s opinions on the matter and am still considering taking the ‘politically correct leap of faith.’ Below is the last conversation that I had with a reader (keeping them anonymous). Please put your opinion in the comments section whether or not you think marijuana should be called a particular word, and why that particular word is the best. I come from Oregon where saying I’m a ‘pothead’ or a ‘stoner’ and that I ‘smoke weed’ is not a bad thing. In fact, people say it with pride up here. I know that’s a bit different than other parts of the nation, namely California and Colorado:

TWB Reader – It seems to me that if you want to convince people that marijuana is something that is good for any medical conditions that many of us suffer from, you should not refer to it as something (that by definition) should be eradicated. I also think this must be quite comical to “the other guys”. I refer to this fine gift from the gods as herb, something that by definition is used for food and medicine. Peace

Johnny Green – I talk about this with my fellow medical marijuana patients frequently. It’s definitely an ongoing discussion here at our website. I personally feel that whatever word we use (weed, pot, cannabis, herb, marijuana, etc) is not as important as following it up with actions. I could be wrong, and I’m writing an article about this topic to get the discussion going. I know a lot of people that only use the term cannabis, yet do nothing to further the movement. On the flip side, I know a lot of people that use multiple terms to describe the plant, and fight hard everyday for reform and to spread awareness. Another factor that a lot of people don’t realize is that some terms for the plant are much more popular on Google and other search engines than others. Based off of our research, marijuana was the first most popular search term for the plant (which the domain name was taken) and weed was a close second, with all the others coming in far less frequently. The message isn’t as good if no one is reading. I know there are many people that don’t like that our name has the word weed in it, but quite frankly, we wouldn’t get nearly as much traffic to direct to activist causes. It’s kind of like a two edge sword I suppose. I thank you for reaching out and look forward to chatting with you again soon.

TWB reader – I disagree, no matter how much “action” you follow up with, a “weed” can not be taken seriously by modern society. You have to change the way people feel about marijuana, not support what they already think! “Refer madness” is still alive in the memory of our lawmakers.

Johnny Green – There was a big movement a few years back to only call marijuana cannabis, in order to try to shed the stereotypes that go with the other words used for the plant. I found that out of 100 people I tried to get to change their vocabulary, maybe one or two actually did it. However, when I told people that I smoke ‘weed’ and that I’m a ‘stoner,’ yet I can still be educated, can still articulate my ideas, that I can still get into a private law school on a scholarship, and that I could start my own successful business, I shattered the stereotypes in people’s minds and changed them around at a much, much higher rate than when I played the word game. I know for a fact that even though we have the name ‘weed’ in our domain name, we are taken very serious by modern society, especially in the marijuana activist community. That’s why we got over 3 million hits in 2011 alone, and will likely triple that in 2012. Those are all people that were educated on marijuana news and information that likely never would have found us if our website was theherbblog.com. Like I said previously, the message is almost worthless if no one ever reads it. We will have to agree to disagree, but I really do respect your opinion and am glad that you reached out to start this discussion. As I hinted to before, I’m drafting up an article about this very topic, and would love for you to join.

TWB Reader – I believe your right and I look forward to your article.


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Johnny Green


  1. Man. That’s incredible.
    “3 million hits in 2011 alone, and will likely triple that in 2012”
    How do you get any work done?.

  2. in closed groups, people should call it whatever they want; weed, pot, mary jane, herb, leaf, green, doobie snacks, grass, 420, whatever. but when used in a situation where political correctness is a factor, the plant’s original name should be used, which in this case is, Cannabis.

  3. just an advocate on

    For the purpose of advocating and speaking in medical terms, the correct wording is Cannabis. There are no other words that have been used except Marijuana to describe this plant as a medicine. In medical books of our past and/or pharmacopoeas, it’s simply referred to as Cannabis. So I suppose the bottom line is it depends on what you are talking about, and with whom.

  4. May I refer you guys to the correct spelling of “reefer”? One of my favorite things to call my favorite herb, btw.

  5. In the fifty years I’ve smoked it, I’ve called it everything you’ve probably ever heard. The only thing I’ve avoided calling it is “marijuana”, because I’ve always known that the word was pushed on us by the Great Cannabis Prohibition of the 1930s. Why submit to a name pushed on us by our slave masters? has always been my view.

  6. Not really in for the whole politicaly correct thing; however, Marijuana is a derogatory word made up by prohibitionists so that they could slip it passed the public who already knew it as cannabis. So just don’t call it marijuana, lol ;-)

  7. I believe it is a cultural thing depending on were when and what kind of crowd you are in. I find my self using all of the above plus some others at different times.

  8. I call it bud, weed, tree, herb, green and some others that are just code for distributors. I cannot think of one time that I referred to weed as cannibus and if I use marijuana its because I’m around older people and dont want to confuse anyone.

  9. Steve in Oakland on

    My friend Berry, who is even more paranoid than I am, calls marijuana Louise. It’s almost like a code: “Have you seen Louise?” “She’s been staying at my house – I will invite you over.” Meaning do you have any marijuana, answered by “Yes,” I have some at home.
    Personally, I have always called marijuana reefer or muggles. Those names have that old timey ring to them.
    Steve in Oakland

  10. Did this person really use “Refer Madness” as an example of how modern day society views marijuana or cannabis (which ever you prefer)?? If that film had that much of a negative effect on society, then there wouldn’t as many users today… The fact of the matter is, whatever it’s more popularly known as, is what’s going to get results!! More often than not, using the more primitive term for such things has helped to open the eyes of persons finding knowledge in areas they didn’t even realize they wanted to learn about. Furthermore, whatever name you decide to go by & type into whatever search engine, you’re sure to come up with most of the same results… I think that people take political correctness far to seriously!!! What difference does it make what you call something?? Stop being so damn sensitive & move on with YOUR life! You don’t like what something is being called; leave, don’t look, don’t listen, or you could just mind your own business!! All the terrible, insane, nonsense, that’s taking place in the world today & people are concerned with what terminology is being used!! We’re killing ourselves, & destroying our homes, our planet!! Do something to help with what’s more important & not name calling & titles!!! 

  11. hemp,cannabis ,marijuana  its all cannabis, hemp is for industries, marijuana is to smoke and use for medicine, very simple no confusion,

  12. I call it weed by habit, or cannabis, herb, marijuana, or just green stuff. I don’t think of “weed” as something that needs to be eradicated… more like something that can’t be stopped no matter how hard lawmakers try to kill it! Also, “weeds” grow naturally and spread naturally without human’s help… I think of the cannabis plant the same way. The properties and uses of the plant are evident and when people try it or scientists do research, it’s obvious. These facts are the “weeds” that can’t be eradicated no matter how much reefer madness falsehoods are cultivated!

  13. The 92% Vegan (not bragging) on

    I dunnnnooooooo…. did people’s stop associating stigmas and stereotypes to African-Americans once the n-word was de-glamorized (for lack of a better term)?  Does the wording of something ever change people’s minds about something?  Semantics as game-changers? I disagree.  I think good will only come when all those respectable hard-working, tax-paying smokers come out of the closet FULLY to show the world what a smoker looks like.  I think most Americans will be surprised by who’s in the closet.  Only when this happens, when we’re ALL willing to show our faces, our mothers will call the politicians until the cows come home and the laws will be changed lickety-split quick.  

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