What’s in a Name
What’s in a Name
What’s In A Name
Solving the Name Riddle
So what’s the deal with all the names? As with many aspects of cannabis, it all goes back to the perceived stigma associated with the drug. In some cases, the names were created to conceal its use. Sometimes it was just about having fun. Whatever the reasons, the many variations on the name have added to the confusion about its medicinal value and general use.
First, let’s understand a bit more about the plant itself. Marijuana, Ganja, Weed, Cannabis, Hemp (yep, they’re all names for the same plant) also has a scientific name, Cannabis sativa L, and is one of the oldest domesticated crops in the world. Stalks can grow as high 18 feet and has either male or female flowers, small and greenish in color.
Famously, George Washington grew a subspecies of Cannabis sativa – more commonly known as hemp – on his Mount Vernon plantation as the plant was widely used at the time for products such as rope, boat sails, and paper. In fact, the Declaration of Independence and the Gutenberg Bible were originally printed on it. Over the years, due to breeding and modification, two versions of the plant with distinct uses came to be known: Hemp (for food, paper, clothing, etc.) and marijuana (for medicine, spiritual practices, and recreational use).
Hemp (the product) is derived from seeds and fibers primarily found in the stalk that has a greater amount of cannabidiol (CBD) and lower levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Hemp has no psychoactive effects, nor does it alter your perception in any way. Certified seeds are usually defined as seeds that contain less than 0.3 percent THC or produce hemp plants that contain less than 0.3 percent THC. Hemp is a durable plant, tall and narrow, which produces very strong fibers. Hemp can be used in a wide variety of products and replaces less environmentally friendly materials like cotton and plastic.
Cannabis, on the other hand, has more THC, the component that produces the psychoactive effects, which is what we refer to as “getting high.” The varieties of Cannabis sativa plants that contain THC are shorter and wider than hemp. This allows more sunlight, air, and water to reach the plant, creating more flowering buds.
In the 1930s, the US government passed the Marihuana Tax Act, placing an exorbitant tax on all cannabis products – hemp and marijuana were to be treated as the same. Thus, it became harder for manufacturers to use hemp for products. Ironically, after the plant was made illegal, the awareness of it grew and with that came an underground lexicon such as marijuana, weed, pot, reefer, ganja, etc.
At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter what you call it. At Three Wells, we prefer to call it “cannabis” as it is truly the correct name and helps to remove the unfair stigma associated with this wonderful plant. We also recognize that marijuana is another popular term that helps to delineate the type of cannabis that is mainly associated with medicinal use. So, we use both terms, cannabis and marijuana, on our site, but we prefer cannabis.