As a long time weed smoker, I’ve called weed many things (weed, trees, bud, loud, etc.). I’ve always known “marijuana” to be the proper term for the sweet cheeba and used it as such. I always thought that cannabis was a scientific term for bud. However, after reading an article on the High Times website, I have now decided to refer to weed exclusively as cannabis. The term “marijuana” has an ugly past and is racist in nature, according to the piece.
High Times quotes Dr. William C. Woodward, the legislative counsel for the American Medical Association. In opposition to the “Marihuana Tax Act of 1937,” he said:
“There is nothing in the medicinal use of Cannabis that has any relation to Cannabis addiction. I use the word “Cannabis” in preference to the word “marihuana,” because cannabis is the correct term for describing the plant and its products. The term ‘marijhuana’ is a mongrel word that crept into this country over the Mexican border and has no general meaning, except as it relates to the use of Cannabis preparations for smoking . . . In other words, marihuana is not the correct term.”
Classic writer H.L. Mencken expressed that there was no use of the term “marijuana” before 1894. Bud was referred to as “devil’s weed” by folks in favor of its prohibition back in the day. The Spanish word “marihuana” was then applied to the plant to connect it to Mexican immigrants who prohibitionists blamed for introducing it to the country (the Nixon administration changed the spelling to “marijuana” in the early 1970s). As High Times put it, “Being anti-marijuana was also a way to be anti-immigrant.”
So, there’s a little perspective. Now, on “The Smoke Out,” you will see weed referred to “cannabis,” as the proper term for the plant. No more “marijuana” use. Well, linguistically, anyway.