Names For Cannabis, Weed, Marijuana, Ganja. Where Do They Come From?

names for cannabis

The Story Behind the Different Names for Cannabis

There are so many different names for cannabis, ranging from marijuana and ganja to pot and weed among many others. Besides the scientific name, cannabis, all the other names are actually modern names that people used to refer to this much-loved herb. Over time, people have referred to cannabis in different ways due to different reasons as explained here below:


One of the first names for cannabis was coined in Ancient Greece – kánnabis. It was used to refer to the recreational use of the herb, as wrote by Herodotus who talked about cannabis use in steam baths. Since the first sightings of cannabis, nearly 450 BC, the herb has mainly been referenced for medicinal and recreational. Later on, in the mid-15th century, the term “cannabis” was listed in the English Oxford dictionary as the scientific term for the hemp plant.

names for cannabis


During the 19th century, America referred to the herb as cannabis, as seen in American Scientific Journals during that period. The word cannabis itself has Mexican Spanish roots. It was given to a different herb mixture which was used for various other reasons by the Mexicans. It was during the Mexican revolution that when many immigrants were bringing in with lots of weed. In effect, America started their prohibition era in 1913 when they criminalised weed and called it marijuana in the bill. Marijuana has risen to be one of the most popular names for cannabis.

names for cannabis


Many people mistake one of the names for cannabis – ganja as a Rastafarian name. It is actually a Sanksrit word that originated in India for a common species of weed, cannabis sativa. It was mainly used for its intoxicant effects. Many believe that the Ganges River was named after the sacred herb plant that grew plentifully on its riverbanks.

names for cannabis


Pot is among the common names for cannabis that was largely used during the 1970s. It is also quite controversial with regards to its origins. Many people think that this word is related to culinary tools. However, pot is closely associated with a Spanish mulled wine known as potiguaya, which are basically steeped marijuana buds.

names for cannabis


One of the newer names for cannabis, weed, likely came up in the early 90s or early 80s. In this particular word, the herb is likened to regular weed, which can grow nearly anywhere all around the globe and can be traced back through most of human existence.

names for cannabis

These are only a few of the many names for cannabis currently used by many cultures across the world. What name do you call your favourite herb? Tell us here below.