The word “marijuana” may have racist origins, at least when it comes to its use in the United States.


One of the coolest things about the cannabis community is that we don’t hold back when it comes to thinking of creative nicknames for our favorite strains. It’s as much a part of the culture as (stereotypically) listening to Bob Marley and celebrating 4/20 as if it was Christmas.But while cannabis strains have a variety of unique names, so does cannabis itself. We call it weed, grass, pot, ganja, the list goes on and on. But, the name that is arguably most prevalent and embedded in American culture is, of course, “marijuana.”

Though “cannabis” is the scientific name for the plant, politicians, doctors, and newscasters often use “marijuana” instead. Hell, “marijuana” and “cannabis” are used so interchangeably that you could say both words in the same sentence and no one would blink an eye.

However, if we wind the clock back to a time when the United States economy was suffering, and an influx of foreigners from Mexico was unfairly blamed, the word “marijuana” was used in place of “cannabis” to evoke fear and hatred of these foreigners by Americans. This was the start of “reefer madness,” an anti-cannabis movement executed so well that we are still struggling with its effects today.

Check out the video above as we explore the history of the term “marijuana.”