Common Weed Names: Alternative Names For Marijuana

There are seemingly endless names for weed. So where did all these weed names come from? And why are there so many other names for weed? Here’s your guide.
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For many, one of the most fascinating aspects of cannabis is that it’s spawned a rich culture all its own. Obviously, at the end of the day it’s all about the bud. But the process of growing, selling, buying, and smoking weed is always situated within weed’s unique culture. Interestingly, language plays a huge role in this culture. Most immediately, there are tons of different weed names. The list of names for weed is huge—and it’s always changing. With that said, here’s a list of other names for weed. Some you may know, others maybe not.

Weed Names: The Basics

Let’s start our list of weed names at the beginning, with the basics.


Technically speaking, this is probably the most “correct” of all names for weed. Cannabis is the scientific word for the plant. And it can be broken down even further to specify the type of strain you’re talking about.

Cannabis indica refers to any indica strain. These are traditionally thought to produce primarily bodily effects. Then there’s Cannabis sativa, the class of sativa strains. These ones traditionally produce heavy cerebral effects.

Finally, there’s Cannabis ruderalis. When it comes to other names for weed, this one is probably the least known. This is a low THC variant of the cannabis plant.


This is another one of the most common names for weed. While it’s easy to assume this name has to do with the plant, most people actually think it’s actually a slang term for a marijuana cigarette. Most agree this term came from 1920s cannabis culture in the U.S.


According to, the term pot actually comes from the Spanish word potiguaya or potaguaya, both of which are a type of alcoholic drink in which cannabis flowers have been steeped.


Most agree that the term “marijuana,” sometimes spelled “marihuana,” is of Mexican-Spanish origins. The term seems to have come into common use during the 1920s and 1930s, primarily as a way of spreading anti-cannabis propaganda and fear.

Essentially, the theory goes that term was used by U.S. law enforcement to link cannabis with broadly-held racist and anti-immigrant views of Mexican people. As a result of this history, many people in the cannabis community are moving away from this term, citing concern over its racist and xenophobic origins. Use of the term remains hotly debated.

Other Names for Weed: Descriptive Words

Now that we’ve got some basics, let’s move into other names for weed. Specifically, let’s look at weed names that in some way describe a quality of the plant.


This is one of the more obvious weed names. You’ll hear weed referred to as “grass” primarily because it’s a safe way of referring to something that is also simply a green plant.


Herb is a favorite term among many weed smokers because it really gets at some of the unique attributes of cannabis. In particular, the word herb highlights the powerful and distinctive smells and tastes of the plant.

Similarly, herb also hints at the fact that cannabis can be used tons of different ways, just like other herbs. You can smoke it, cook with it, infuse other substances with it—you can even juice it raw.


If you’re looking for other names for weed to work into your lexicon, “bud” could be a good choice. This one is also kind of obvious, but it also displays some base understanding of what part of the plant you’re actually smoking.

Bud refers to the tight clusters of flowers—or buds—produce by the cannabis plant. These buds contain the most cannabinoids. They are what growers harvest, dry, and cure.


From time to time, you’ve probably heard people talk about “nugs.” Like “bud” this is one of the names for weed that has to do with the flowers produced by the cannabis plant.

Typically, these buds are tightly clustered and dense. Kind of like little green nuggets—or nugs.


One of the most distinctive qualities of cannabis is its smell. And many strains carry a strong touch of skunky scents. And that’s exactly what people have in mind when they use weed names along the lines of “skunk.”

Names for Weed: Wordplay & Language

To round out our list of other names for weed, let’s turn to wordplay and terms for cannabis from around the world.


Today, ganja is most strongly associated with Jamaican Rastafarians. But it turns out that the word actually derives from Sanskrit. In fact, many people believe that the name of the Ganges River may share its roots with ganja.

In either case, the term “ganja” in today’s lexicon usually suggests some connection to Jamaica and Rastafarianism. Specifically, it’s one of those names for weed often reserved for very strong weed.

Mary Jane

This one is pure wordplay. It’s a punny way of saying “marijuana.” Like a lot of the words on this list, Mary Jane is essentially a coded way of talking about cannabis. And obviously, the need to invent a rich dictionary of slang codes is largely because of cannabis prohibition.

The Common Weed Names We Know and Love

This list of weed names is nowhere near an exhaustive collection of all possible names for weed. There are definitely tons of other names for weed that did not make this list.

In fact, it’s pretty much impossible to catalog each and every term for cannabis, since other names for weed are constantly evolving and being invented. But in any case, this list is a good starting place. And whatever name you hear, there’s probably some sort of story behind it.

  1. You guys might want to finally graduate fro the dorm room and stop calling cannabis “weed” in your articles (unless of course you’re actually smoking weeds) SMH!

  2. Hey,

    I am fan of you blog, it helps me to improve my study. Thanks for presenting such nice and great informative article named “Common Weed Names: Alternative Names For Marijuana”.


  3. “The article makes it plain that cannabis is a culinary herb without ever mentioning the word herb.
    May I encourage everyone who cares to elevate the status of cannabis to use the word herb rather than the diminishing word weed which has always been used to hide the herbs true place in our culture.
    Weeds are unwanted, pulled out, plowed, poisoned, burnt, despised.
    Herbs are sought, gathered, medicinal, culinary, loved, cultivated, nurtured, consumed, selected, improved with each generation.
    The cannabis we consume is a Herb.”

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