The cannabis industry has grown at an unprecedented speed. Ten years ago, very few would have predicted that over half the United States has legalized cannabis in one way or another. In medical states, it has opened up countless opportunities for medicine, therapy, mental health care, exercise, cancer treatment and alternative methods of healing. Recreational laws have expanded this list even further — people are increasingly turning away from alcohol and other drugs to enjoy our favorite herb, finding unexpected pleasures along the way. It can’t be denied: cannabis has become an integral part of many American lives and its popularity doesn’t show any signs of waning.
This is also why language around cannabis is changing, and that matters. The way we discuss certain topics affects how we think about them, including cannabis. If we are working collectively to improve cannabis’ image, there are many words, some of which we have included below, that are increasingly being eliminated from our lexicon for good reason.
This word can be used to describe someone who often smokes cannabis. It has a negative connotation, and is often associated with being lazy or unmotivated. While some of us might use cannabis every day, it doesn’t meant that we are lazy — that stereotype is disproved time and time again. Contrary to popular belief, people who use cannabis often prioritize health and exercise. We prefer “cannabis patient” or, if you’re feeling a little fancy, “cannabis connoisseur.” 😉
An out-dated term to describe cannabis, “weed” has increasingly been shunned for its association with the black market. As cannabis has entered the spotlight as an effective and safe substance, it needs a title to match its normalization. Weed just doesn’t cut it anymore. Alternative words to use: medical marijuana, flower, cannabis.
This term, popularized by the 1936 film Reefer Madness, refers to a cannabis cigarette. Its origins however, has less innocent connotations: the film follows a community’s descent into insanity after smoking cannabis. Even though the concept seems unrealistic and laughable today, it truly reflected a societal stigma against cannabis. Thank goodness we are (somewhat) past those times — and done with using the word “reefer.”
A word used to describe the feeling cannabis gives an individual after smoking. These feelings range anywhere from pleasant euphoria to a heavy sedation — it can’t just be described as “getting high.” Using cannabis is a much more faceted and unique experience than one might think, and it is different for everyone — it’s really not just about getting that “high.” — Words by Taylor Haynes
What words do you feel should be eliminated out of the cannabis vocabulary? What words do you feel should be introduced? Let us know!