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Is Marijuana A Weed?


cannabis plantFor those of you who don’t spend time cruising the Google Adwords Keyword Tool, it shows how many searches occur each month for a given keyword. For example, people search for “Is marijuana a weed” over 7.5 million times each month. I had no idea so many of you had this question. Being that we are THE Weed Blog, I set out to answer the question once and for all.

I had always assumed ‘weed’ was just a slang term that started with prohibition, but had become a term of endearment. And, I had heard other growers say ganja is basically a weed because of how hardily it grows and spreads. I dug in. First, I turned to Google, and found this answer on wiki.anwers.com: “that’s just a slang term because it is a plant that comes from the ground.” True, but so are tulips, and roses. I get why and how the slang term started, but the question remains–is cannabis a weed by horticultural standards?

According to Wikipedia, “A weed in a general sense is a plant that is considered by the user of the term to be a nuisance. The word is normally applied to unwanted plants in human-controlled settings, especially farm fields and gardens, but also lawns, parks, woods, and other areas…” Again, I’m not sure that answers the question. I personally don’t know any farmers or gardeners with excess ganja that just won’t go away. If you do, let’s talk. Next, Wikipedia says weeds are plants that “interfere with other cosmetic, decorative, or recreational goals, such as in lawns, landscape architecture, playing fields, and golf courses.” I’d love to see a world, sometime soon, where cannabis is used in landscape architecture, and on golf courses. Finally, this definition explains it well for me: “the term weed in its general sense is a subjective one, without any classification value, since a plant that is a weed in one context is not a weed when growing where it belongs or is wanted.”

Ultimately, it is as I first suspected: for those of us who love it, marijuana is not a weed in the strict sense of the word. We welcome it, nurture it, and risk our lives and freedom to ensure its survival. But, the term ‘weed’ is no longer negative. It’s our word now. By taking over derogatory terms, we take another arrow from our enemy’s quiver. I’ve heard weed activists debate the point, and I immediately tune them out–whether it’s weed, pot, grass, ganja, bud, marijuana, mota, cheeba, cannabis, or the chronic, I’ll take it. What’s your favorite slang term for weed?


About Author

I'm an Attorney, Activist, Chef, and Gardener--poking holes in the media filter that obscures the truth about ganja in this country daily.


  1. Marijuana is a plant. A flowering plant (sending pollen) (male) with a completely separate seed plant (receiving pollen) (female). It is not a weed outside of it’s original source environment (all plants and flowers were weeds at one point, the point of origin) But to get absolutely technical, a weed could be any plant outside of it’s original environment, that is very aggressive in nature and hard to eliminate as it takes over and kills off other species. Marijuana is no where near aggressive enough to be called a weed, it is more like a delicate flower and needs nurturing. Dandelion is edible and can be made into wine, yet is called a weed because of it’s ability to persevere and propagate under harsh conditions.

  2. Can it be considered a vegetable being that it is a complete protein with 10 amino fatty acids?

  3. I personally made this same search because many moons ago I was picked up hitch hiking by 2 Christians. Because of their generosity in giving me a lift I offered them a chance to get stoned. They were not judgemental of me in the slightest but declined. I can’t remember their exact words but it was along the line that somewhere in the bible it states that, thanks to Lucifer, pestilence and WEEDS were unleashed upon the earth. Apparently Eden had no such nuisances :))) before we became sinners. Although I am not a Christian, each to their own and all that, I was interested to know if my beloved pot was a weed or not… thats all. These guys were actually quite cool, fun and happy on life and I was happy not having to walk and being fairly stoned too, win win situation. I must say that although I am not convinced either way of a higher power I am happy with your feedback and indeed agree that Ganga is not a weed weed but a wonderful plant. I wish I was straight enough and more knowledgeable at the time to have proved to them that pot is not……….. a weed because I may have succeeded in getting a couple god squaders off their faces LOL.

  4. A weed as pests in my veg garden or be it on big farms to my knowledge is a plant that grows without you having planting them and if you pull them out they grow back 80 percent of times hence my garden and lawn has to “Weeded” and this can carry on for a very long time if not forever. Cannabis is is grown naturally as a seeded plant. If you pull out the plants which can only be grown where seeds has “fallen” or PLANTED will ensure you don’t have to deal with them again since the life cycle if the plant in where many seeds of the flowers fall to the ground when the plants die and of that many do not germinate so you can eliminate them once or most twice. THEN THEY GONE FOREVER. Cannabis doesn’t just grow wild anywhere like cracks in tared roads unless THERE ARE SEEDS DISPLACED. So it is a flower plant like a rose or tamatoe plant. And no I don’t smoke Cannabis this is my common sense knowledge gathering information of facts in horticulture.

  5. i have a friend who is from Russia, and she says that marijuana grows wildly on peoples land and they look at it as a nuisance and rip it out the ground and throw it in the trash. In Russia i guess it is a weed.

  6. ‘Contents of Oreo’ is my personal favorite. When a friend of mine was a teenager, she had a dog named Oreo. She also had a stuffed dog, whom she called Oreo as well. She kept her stuff in the stuffed Oreo and referred to it as ‘Contents of Oreo’.

  7. Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best: “What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not yet been discoverd.”

  8. @MaximusCannabis on

    Mary Jane is English for Marijuana. Not the other way around, dumb people didn’t want to “speak Mexican”

    The term, originally spelled variously as marihuana, mariguana, etc., originated in Mexican Spanish.[2] The ultimate derivation is unknown. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, it may come from the Nahuatl mallihuan, meaning prisoner.[1] Author Martin Booth notes that this etymology was popularized by Harry J. Anslinger in the 1930s, during his campaigns against the drug.[3] However, linguist Jason D. Haugen finds no semantic basis for a connection to mallihuan, suggesting that the phonetic similarity may be “a case of accidental homophony”.[4]:94
    Additionally, traditional association with the personal name María Juana (“Mary Jane”) is probably a folk etymology.[5] The original Mexican Spanish used forms with the letter ‘h’ (marihuana). Forms using the letter ‘j’ (marijuana) seem to be an innovation of English, though they later appeared in French and in Spanish, probably due to English influence.[1]

  9. eating_sunshine on

    I like using the sword cannabis when I’m talking to an anti-cannabis person.  When talking to like minded people any word that communicates the meaning is sweet music. 

  10. I prefer to call it muggles.

    Cannabis may not have been the first plant domesticated by man but it was almost certainly one of the first 5.

    I’ve never quite understood why people think part of being a weed is a
    plant that grows very quickly and very large. By that definition both
    tomatoes and corn are weeds. I can quickly think of two weeds which do
    not grow fast and large. Algae is a weed and you don’t get any smaller
    than microscopic. Japanese knotweed is a very slow growing plant that
    the Japanese have been diligently trying to eliminate for decades.


    defining cannabis as slang in position 4. Tobacco is number 3 and I’ve never heard anyone claim that tobacco is a weed.

    I’m sure that I care too much about this particular issue but it annoys
    me when people call it a weed. Then again I had my panties in a bunch
    about calling it marijuana. That’s Spanish for Mary Jane you know. I’d
    really like someone to explain who this Mary Jane woman is, and how her
    name came to be synonymous for cannabis. I did get over my annoyance
    over the m-word but still don’t use the word as a general rule of thumb.

  11. Don’t forget that Northern Lights–pure Indica:

    Photo Courtesy of http://www.northernlightsseeds.com/

  12. Ganja, considering it was in the name of a Marley song. “Ganja Gun” all the way!

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