There’s a lot to know about the plant we’re talking about. What to call it actually has a whole history to it. So let’s take a look at the language of the plant and what you should or maybe shouldn’t call it.
Legend has it that cannabis was discovered by a man named Haydar, the founder of the Persian Sufi Hyderi sect in the mountains of northeast Iran. It’s been said that on a walk he came upon a standing withered plant. He was curious about it ability to withstand the heat, cut off a few leaves, and chewed on them. The effect of the plant was noted by his fellow monks who he swore to secrecy about the plant.
Eventually in 1753, the ‘father of botany’ Carolus Linnaeus gave the plant it’s full botanical nomenclature as Cannabis Sativa. The name was derived from Latin meaning “cultivated.” Cannabis was derived from the Sanskrit cana or “cane,” and the Hebrew bosm or Aramaic busma or “aromatic.” Giving cannabis the meaning of fragrant cane.
The name for the plant evolved with new discoveries. Three species were found growing in different parts of the world- Cannabis Sativa in Europe, Cannabis Indica in India, Cannabis Ruderalis in western Siberia and Central Asia.
All of the cannabis plants and it’s byproducts have been used over the years for many different purposes. Culturally the cannabis plant has derived many slang terms and code names. In Cannabis: A History, author Martin Booth explains:
As with most drugs, cannabis has given birth to its own jargon spoken by those who use it. The colloquial names given to cannabis, hashish and, especially marijuana are legion. In English, they were or are known as grass, hash, weed, pot, dope, shank, skunk, wacky baccy, cake, dank (or dignity dank if the quality is high), muggles, gage, buddha, king bud, Mary Jane, cheeba, stuff, smoke, spinach, Mr Alexander (or Mr A) and tea. Some names, such as ganja (Jamaican but derived from the Hindi) and kif (Arabic) have moved over into more general usage. A hand-rolled marijuana cigarette is known as a joint, reefer, spliff, doobie, blunt (which uses cigar leaf), bomber, jay, hooter, and jive. To score is to purchase marijuana of hashish; a toke is a single puff of smoke whilst to hit is to inhale; a roach is a joint butt; a high, a trip or a buzz is the psycho-active effect of the drug on the brain and to be stoned is to be under the influence (throwed, wasted, or lambasted means to be very stoned); a dope- or pot-head is a regular user; a head shop is a store that sells cannabis users’ equipment; a stash is a personal supply; a narc (or pot cop) is a drug law-enforcement officer. Much of the slang originated in America, some (such as muggles and jive) dating back to the jazz era of the Roaring 1920s.
“There are 100,00 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz and swing result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others.” This is one of many colorful statements given by bureaucrat Harry Anslinger who was the leader of the Prohibitionist movement. Predating civil rights, Anslinger and the Prohibition argument was colored by discrimination, miscegenation, ignorance, and fear. This movement used the plant and specially term “marijuana” to discriminate against people of diverse backgrounds. Their arguments led to the United States deeming cannabis a Schedule I drug and no longer allowing medicinal use. These racist ways have been the cause of the lack of research and understanding of a plant that has the ability to provide everything from cures to clothes and more.
I was unaware of the history of the plant before naming my site. “Weed” is the term I have used since my rebellious, experimental teenage years when I first tried to use it. Naturally I gravitated to using that cannabis synonym in naming my blog. Now knowing more about language associated with the plant and its history, I know I would have used the word cannabis. If “cordial cannabis” had the same something as “welcoming weed,” I would consider changing it now but it doesn’t.
Therefore Welcoming Weed uses the term cannabis in all posts as it’s not only scientifically accurate but also lacking stigma. I hope to set the record straight about some of the misrepresented understanding of this plant with each and every post.
It’s also worth noting that some have reclaimed the term “marijuana.” This feat has been compared to the LGBT community reclaiming the term “queer.” While I believe this may important to do, I don’t think there is enough awareness about the prohibition of cannabis yet to properly do so. Therefore cannabis it is for this site.