Cannabis is a plant that has been used by mankind for thousands of years for various purposes, from medicinal to religious and recreational. But where does it get its name and where does it come from? the multiple jargons that have been created to refer to it?
Although it is difficult to know for sure, in today's article we tell you the story behind the name of cannabis and its slang.
The term "cannabis" was assigned to the plant in its first record, almost 6 thousand years BC, although as mentioned above, its exact origin is uncertain. The most accepted theory is that it comes from the Sanskrit term "ganjika", which means "that which belongs to the songs". This term would have been adopted by the Persians, who called it "kanab" and would have taken the plant to India, where it became popular as "ganja".
In the West, the plant arrived via trade routes from Asia to Europe, where it was given the name "kannabis". However, due to the difficulty of cultivating the plant in the European climate, its use was limited to textile purposes, such as the production of paper and cloth, or medicinal.
It was in America where cannabis began to be used for recreational purposes, and where much of the jargon used today to refer to the plant was created. The term "marijuana" is the most popular in the United States, but its origin dates back to the 19th century in Mexico, where it was used to refer to the plant in a derogatory manner. In fact, the term "marijuana" does not appear in any Spanish dictionary until 1917, when it was used for the first time in an American publication to refer to the plant.
Another popular word for cannabis, especially in Anglo-Saxon countries, is "weed". This term arose in the 1930s, when the plant began to be used by jazz musicians in the United States. "Pot" is another commonly used term, which comes from the Spanish word "potiguaya", which means "dry leaves" and was used by the Spanish colonizers in Latin America.
Finally, "ganja" is a popular slang term in countries such as Jamaica and India, and refers to the cannabis plant in its smokable form. The term comes from the Sanskrit "ganja" and was adopted by the Rastafarians in Jamaica, who use it in their religious rituals. This term would later be adopted and widely used in other parts of the world, thanks in part to the popularity of reggae worldwide from the 1970s onwards.
In short, cannabis has had multiple names throughout history, adapting to each culture and language. Although its exact origin is uncertain, it is interesting to know the history behind the words we use to refer to our favorite plant and that is why we tell you a little of the origin of each of its names.