The Many Names of Marijuana: From Botanical to Street Lingo

Marijuana, a plant that has been cultivated and consumed for centuries, goes by a plethora of names. These names range from scientific nomenclature to colloquial terms and even street names. This article aims to provide a comprehensive list of the various names that marijuana is known by, shedding light on its cultural, historical, and social significance.

The Many Names of Marijuana: From Botanical to Street Lingo

Botanical Names

Cannabis Sativa

This is the scientific name for the marijuana plant and is commonly used in academic and medical contexts.

Cannabis Indica

A subspecies of the Cannabis Sativa plant, Indica strains are known for their relaxing effects.

Cannabis Ruderalis

Another subspecies, Ruderalis is less common and is primarily used for hemp production.

Traditional Names


Historically, hemp refers to the non-psychoactive varieties of the Cannabis Sativa plant, primarily grown for industrial use.


Originating from Sanskrit, “Ganja” is one of the oldest names for marijuana and is widely used in India and Jamaica.

Mary Jane

This name is popular in American culture and is often used in a playful or affectionate manner.

Street Names


Perhaps the most commonly used street name, “weed” is universally understood to refer to marijuana.


Another popular term, “pot” is widely used in North America.


A more vintage term, “grass” was popular during the 1960s and 1970s.


While “dope” can refer to various drugs, it is often used to describe marijuana, particularly in older generations.


This term is often used to describe strong, pungent strains of marijuana.


A more neutral term, “herb” emphasizes the plant aspect of marijuana.


This name focuses on the color of the marijuana plant and is commonly used among younger generations.


Originally coined by rapper Dr. Dre, “chronic” refers to high-quality marijuana.


This term refers to the flower of the marijuana plant, which is the part that is commonly smoked or vaporized.


An older term, “reefer” was widely used during the early to mid-20th century.

Slang Names Based on Strains

Purple Haze, Blue Dream, Sour Diesel

These are specific strains of marijuana, but they are often used colloquially to refer to marijuana in general, especially if the strain is well-known.

The many names of marijuana reflect its rich history and the various cultural, social, and scientific contexts in which it appears. From its botanical names to the myriad of street names, each term carries its own set of connotations and significance. Whether you call it Cannabis, Mary Jane, or weed, the plant continues to be a subject of fascination, debate, and ever-growing popularity.

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