🏡|420 Culture|The origin of the word Marijuana

The origin of the word Marijuana

cannabis leaf

The word “marijuana” itself plays a highly controversial role in world cannabis culture. Many well-known organizations condemn the use of the M-word, replacing it with cannabis. And some see the word as a racist connotation.

Mainstream culture is becoming much more tolerant of various natural remedies, so the terminology has meaning. But why is the word “marijuana” so controversial and called racist?

To reduce the reading of long and lifeless historical facts and academic articles, we have put all the facts together:

The Mexican Revolution 1840 – 1900

Until 1910, “marijuana” did not exist as a word in American culture, nor in any other. The term “cannabis” was most commonly used for medicines and natural remedies. In the early 1900s, pharmaceutical giants used cannabis and its extracts in their drugs. At that time, Americans (especially Bohemians) were experiencing a hashish boom. And literary personalities like Alexander Dumas, experimenting with cannabis, were considered oddball in society.


Although cannabis was part of world history, the idea of recreational smoking was not as common as other forms of consumption. Mexicans brought the habit of smoking cannabis to America after the civil war.


Laws that criminalized the cultivation of “crazy grass” have emerged. It was also the impetus to regulate the use of opiates and psychoactive drugs. By 1930, marijuana was completely banned in many countries.



The Great Depression in the United States began, and people were looking for the culprit. During this period, Mexicans were actively migrating to America, and the word “marijuana” started to spread with slang. Many conservative people considered cannabis a substance that degraded the brain due to the flow of immigrants and the emergence of jazz music.

Harry Anslinger

Harry Anslinger was one of the founders of the negative image that developed around cannabis. In leading the Drug Enforcement Administration, he resorted to the help of the film industry. Reports that explained to people how dangerous and harmful marijuana was spreading in cinemas. “Marijuana is the most violent drug in human history … Most of those who smoke marijuana are blacks, Hispanics, Filipinos, and pimps. Their satanic music, jazz, and swing are marijuana products!”

All these efforts have led to the spread of the word marijuana throughout the United States and the world.

1937 – 1960

Marijuana and its cultivation were fully criminalized in most countries.

Although today the word “marijuana” is the most common name for cannabis around the world, its history begins with politics and a compound cultural revolution. Some claim that the use of the word ignores the history of oppression of entire races, yet it is difficult to deny the racial prejudice that is associated with the word.

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