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Why Is Cannabis Called “Pot”?

Juicy Network by JuicyFields
May 23 · 3 min read

Most people know what “pot” refers to. But for those who didn’t get that education, Pot is cannabis. Specifically, marijuana.

Don’t make the mistake of calling industrial-grade hemp, pot. It’s not. And there may be a few people pretty upset if you were to confuse the two.

Cannabis is the general name. It was first used by the botanist Carolus Linneaus in 1753 in his drawing of the plant he called Cannabis sativa. He derived the name from the Greek word for hemp, kannabis. The Greeks got their name from the sanskrit word for hemp, cana.

Neit h er of these root ancient words looks anything like the slang word pot, even though they describe the same plant.

“Pot” is the most well-known modern alias for marijuana. Ask someone about “pot” and most likely they’ll know what you’re referring to.

But where did the name “pot” come from?

While there are no official records showing when and where the name “pot” came from, historians believe it may have come from one of two places.

Potiguaya

As early as 1938 “pot” became an accepted slang for marijuana. But its linguistic origin is still a matter for debate between cannabis historians. According to the author of the book “Cannabis: A History” One possibility for where the word came from is the Mexican Indian/ Spanish word Portiguaya.

Potiguaya is a slang word for marijuana.

And man, oh man did they need the relief in Mexico during the 1930s.

The United States was going through the Great Depression and the hardships of the great depression spread to Mexico. The Mexican people, like people today, likely sought relief from the potiguaya. But instead of saying the entire word, Potiguaya, people shortened it to “pot.”

It became easier to say, “Hey man, pass the pot” instead of “Hey man pass the portiguaya.”

Potiguaya as the extended version of the word seems logical. We shorten words all the time to suit our needs.Think of nicknames. But another origin seems equally likely. The word “pot” may have its origins in Arabic.

From Kif to Pot

Kif comes from Arabic speaking north-west regions of Africa. Africans used dried tobacco leaves mixed with powdered marijuana to make a kif. According to the author, John Rosevear, elderly men in Morocco sat around smoking pipes filled with kif.

These elderly men kept their marijuana in a pot. So, when these men wanted to partake in a kif, someone would say, “Please pass the pipe and the pot.”

And so the saying “pass the pot” could have caught on.

Either way, the slang word for marijuana caught on and has been used ever since.

Weed vs. Pot

Another well-known slang word for marijuana is “weed.” The word came from exactly where you’d think it would…the plant itself. Cannabis’ ability to grow in the wild without being tended led to people calling the plant the “weed”.

The name caught on. But “weed” makes more sense for a plant whose flower induces a feeling of one with nature.

People still call marijuana pot. Ask anyone what pot is and they’re likely to tell you with accuracy. In fact, the word is seen in cannabis culture with some endearment.

When friends get together to smoke pot the focus is on relief and fun. Hear “pot” in a movie and you know things are going to get a bit silly. It’s the way the word is used.

There’s other lingo for marijuana. Mary Jane, reefer, ganja, even dope, but none of them seem to sound the same to the listener.

One thing is for certain, pot was here at the time of the Greeks, in the Vedic texts, in Carolus Linneaus’ time and now. It has made it through history, hiding itself under various names in different languages around the world. Used for medicine, spirituality, and fun.

Most people know what “pot” refers to. But for those who didn’t get that education, Pot is cannabis. Specifically, marijuana. Don’t make the mistake of calling industrial-grade hemp, pot. It’s not…

Why Is Marijuana Also Called Pot?

Weed. Mary Jane. Chronic. There are dozens of slang synonyms for marijuana. But one of the strangest is the word pot. How did the word for a common kitchen instrument become slang for marijuana?

The origin of pot has nothing to do with the culinary tool. The word came into use in America in the late 1930s. It is a shortening of the Spanish potiguaya or potaguaya that came from potación de guaya, a wine or brandy in which marijuana buds have been steeped. It literally means “the drink of grief.”

Like pot, the word marijuana refers to cannabis, the hemp plant Cannabis sativa (or Cannabis indica). The plant grows naturally in central Asia and other warm regions. Its uses vary from recreational to medicinal to religious.

Marijuana is the dried leaves and female flowers of the hemp plant. The word’s origin dates back to the late nineteenth century. It is an Americanism for the Mexican Spanish marihuana or mariguana, which is associated with the personal name María Juana. Mary Jane, by the way, is the English version of María Juana.

Why Is Marijuana Also Called Pot? Weed. Mary Jane. Chronic. There are dozens of slang synonyms for marijuana. But one of the strangest is the word pot. How did the word for a common kitchen