Jump to content

Changing Attitudes Of Medmj With The Words We Use

Recommended Posts

NOTE: I did not write this. I'm just posting it. Without permission (i hope thats ok bobby)


"I just received a message about legalization of "medical weed", and I'm going to explain why that disturbs me.


ADHD and narcolepsy are conditions occasionally treated with pharmaceutical methamphetamines. The medicine isn't called "crank", "speed", or other street names, and it's time we stop referring to medical cannabis by the terms so embraced by those opposed to its legal access.


Most of you know the derivation of the word "marihuana", as well. That's another slang term, but has been part of the American lexicon it is difficult to avoid. I try to avoid its use, and encourage others to use the proper term, although I can forgive the more commonly used word.


As many of us in non-medical access states are struggling to change our laws, we only hamper our efforts by throwing around street terms. Doctors don't do it, and neither should we.


When Americans were trying to get alcohol prohibition repealed, they didn't shout, "Bring back booze!" or "Legalize hootch!" Why not? Because statements like that would only have served to promote the idea that all drinkers are drunks. Potheads and stoners use pot and weed. Patients use medical cannabis, and I think the difference in terminology is significant.


Not all cannabis users, especially those who use it for medicine, are potheads or stoners. Some recreational users use cannabis much like a person might enjoy a martini or beer after a hard day's work. Just like a drinker might not drink half a bottle of liquor or a 12 pack in one sitting, a cannabis user isn't necessarily going to smoke a huge quantity at each sitting. I'm no advocate of cannabis abuse anymore than I am of alcohol abuse. True, it may be much safer to over-indulge in cannabis use than alcohol consumption, but often a bombed stoner is just as annoying as a drunk.


All I'm suggesting is that those who are supportive of medical cannabis should afford it the same dignity as any other medicine. Calling it by street or "pet" names just plays into the hands of those who love to criticize its supporters.


As Dennis Miller said often, "That's just my opinion, I may be wrong."


Peace to all,




Robert E. Delaney

Executive Director

NORML Louisiana

Compassionate Louisiana


Link to comment
Share on other sites

ADHD and narcolepsy are conditions occasionally treated with pharmaceutical methamphetamines. The medicine isn't called "crank", "speed", or other street names, and it's time we stop referring to medical cannabis by the terms so embraced by those opposed to its legal access.


Ive often had to refer to methamphetamines as speed when explaining the medicinal uses of such drugs, as in childhood ADHD...because people dont know what methamphetamines are!


The most obvious point is that you are talking about pills vs. plants. And the plant, well, looks like a big weed! The fact that we have so many names for marijuana/marihuana/cannabis in our vernacular i think is testimony to how vast and prevelent it is in our culture, although anti-drug proponents would have you think otherwise. Everyone has grown up with it in high school, at parties, and in college...and for 12 million americans it is part of their daily life...Whether people want to refer to it as weed, pot, medicinal cannabis, however, is not as important as them understanding is medicinal uses, which gradually will become more accepted and hopefully, eventually, the proper term to label it will be used, as people learn more about it. Old habits are hard to break tho. And whether you have referred to something your whole life as weed (in my experience...midwest), pot (mostly east coast), cannabis/medical marijuana (cali/west coast) or ganja (Jamaica!) it can take some relearning.


btw, thesaurus.com listed the following words for "marijuana" and "hashish"


Main Entry: marijuana

Part of Speech: noun

Definition: grass, pot

Synonyms: Acapulco gold, Columbian, Jamaican, Maui wowie, Mexican, Panama red, bhang, cannabis, doobie, dope*, ganja, hash, hashish, hemp, herb, joint, loco weed, maryjane, reefer, roach, sinsemilla, tea, weed*

* = informal/non-formal usage

Main Entry: hashish

Part of Speech: noun

Definition: cannabis resin

Synonyms: black hash, black oil, cannabis, dope, drug, ganja, grass*, hash, hemp, marijuana, narcotic, pot



they forgot wacky-tabaccy, which i have always hated, i think it makes people sound like a crackhead. oh wait. i mean cocaine hydrochloridehead :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Words set our perceptions and perceptions set our actions.


Don't know who said that but it fits I think.


Like a good boy I ALWAYS use the word 'cannabis'.


Weed, skunk, dank, boo, dope, etc, give it a whole nother meaning don't cha think?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Great piece. I've been saying for a while, call it by it's scientific name cannabis. It started being called marijuana when Anslinger and Hearst started their smear campaign to make it seem foreign and dangerous (70+ years later they are doing the same thing to Obama), when the spokesman for the AMA found out this evil drug Anslinger was fighting against was cannabis they were shocked because they knew all about cannabis, it was widely used medicine.


Also, yesterday I realized we should make an effort to say patient rather than medical user. Most people around here already do but hopefully when the media writes about MMJ they will pick it up. User conjures up the an image of a "drug user" aka. a junkie.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Narcotic??????? I'm trying to recall if it ever was classified that way, though I think it was at some time, when that movie /doccummentary came out about how it leads to other drugs, the name of that film is somewhere in my mind, I'd know it if I saw it, it was a propaganda piece. This topic is very important because it does point out how words can alter perceptions in any situation. I remember many times when my words, though well-meaning, unintentionally sent the wrong message and my listener lost interest, though often, no matter how clearly I articulated my ideas, they were still misinterpreted, twisted around and thrown back at me in an unrecognizable form, then they were used against me. Politicians seem to have that tactic down well. That is a most frustrating situation. It seems communication, especially listenning, is a lost art.. In any stereotype there are specific terms that enhance the negative image, then the targeted group tries to redifine itself with a different name that may show them in a more positive (acceptable) way. Words are fascinating, and extremely powerful. Listen to the words people use and you'll learn a lot about them, though we have to be careful with that, too and beware of generalizing and labeling. If I say "pot" instead of "cannabis" it doesn't mean I'm a stoner. People see and hear what they want, pick and chose what they think applies, and often forget the most important points. They get stuck on semantics and forget the message. It's impossible to please everyone, so whatever term is used, someone will be upset. To many, it's not what we say, but how we say it. That can be a real relationship breaker, I know that one all too well. I'm no scholar, just a deep thinker. Once I was accused of "thinking too much". Sometimes it seems people, including me, do overanalyze things though, but it's something to think about.



Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...