Jargon Watch: Weed Users And The Language Of The Cannabis Industry

Whether celebrating 4/20 or describing product quality, weed slang is an iconic part of the growing cannabis industry. Here’s a guide to pot jargon, from bongwater to roach.
weed slang

Weed slang has been a part of many people’s lexicons for some time, but right now it’s as mainstream as ever. Weed is particularly relevant as more and more states legalize recreational cannabis use (10 have as of this article’s publication). You’ve probably heard terms like “pot,” “hash,” “grass,” “ganja” and “reefer” to refer to cannabis itself, as well as expressions like “420 [four-twenty] blaze it!” to refer to smoking weed at 4:20 pm or on April 20 (which is considered an unofficial holiday for cannabis culture).

You may have noticed that there’s one word we’re not mentioning: “marijuana” (well, right now we’re mentioning it). That’s because of its racially charged history. In short, some Mexican migrants brought cannabis with them when they came to the United States after the Mexican Revolution in the early 20th century. The Spanish word marihuana, or mariguana, was anglicized as “marijuana” and used to incite anti-immigrant sentiments and fear of a foreign-sounding substance when efforts to outlaw the drug swept the United States in the early 1900s. Today, weed companies are choosing to use the scientific word “cannabis” over the term “marijuana” in order to make the industry seem more legitimate.

Whatever you call it, it appears the green stuff is here to stay, so we might as well learn some of the jargon that goes along with it. Here’s a quick, non-comprehensive guide to weed slang.

A Brief Guide To Weed Slang

Bong — a glass or ceramic pipe used to smoke cannabis (or tobacco), which cools and filters the smoke through water before the user inhales it. Bongwater is the dirty, foul-smelling water at the bottom of a bong after its use

Cabbage  — poor-quality weed that may resemble the eponymous vegetable

Cannabidiol (CBD) — simply put, it’s one of the chemical compounds in the cannabis plant, which is often extracted and processed into oils or topicals (see below) and used to treat pain, anxiety, depression, cancer symptoms, arthritis and more

Dank — high-quality, very potent weed; also used to describe other high-quality things, like memes

Dispensary — a store that legally sells cannabis in various forms

Fatty — a particularly thick joint (see below) that contains a lot of weed

Glass — pipes, bongs or other glass apparatuses used to smoke cannabis

Green out — a state of nausea, blurred vision, dizziness and other unpleasant symptoms caused by too much cannabis; a play on “blackout,” which is induced by heavy alcohol consumption

Indica — one of the main types of cannabis (along with sativa); it’s indigenous to colder climates and tends to cause a more relaxing high

Joint — a rolled cigarette filled with weed (and possibly other substances)

Kind — high-quality, potent cannabis

Nixon — low-quality weed being sold as high-quality; named after the former president

Roach — the end of a joint after the rest is smoked; usually too small to be smoked on its own

Sativa — one of the main types of cannabis (along with indica); it’s indigenous to warmer climates and tends to cause a more energetic high

Skunk — a specific strain of cannabis that is highly potent and has a strong smell, similar to that of a skunk

Spliff — a joint rolled with both tobacco and weed

Topical — a cannabis-based product applied externally to a person’s body, usually in the form of lotions or creams, to treat skin problems or pain

Vaporizer (vape) — a device used to inhale cannabis without smoking it; it heats up the weed enough to transmit its ingredients via vapor. A vape pen is a portable vaporizer that’s essentially an e-cigarette for weed

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