There’s No Such Thing As Marijuana

cannabis leaf

You know how everyone seems to say either, “Marijuana is bad” or “Marijuana is good”?

You know how some people say, “People can get paranoid from smoking pot” or “Medical marijuana helps people with paranoia, anxiety, and depression”?

You know how one person can say, “I got really screwed up after smoking weed and passed out”, and someone else can say, “I’ve smoked weed every day for 12 years and nothing bad has ever happened to me”?

Well, they might all be right. Because there’s no such thing as marijuana.

Wait a minute, Old Hippie! WTF are you talking about here?

Well, there are two aspects to this problem. The first one is — and thanks to the Ent ARMacre for bringing it to my attENTion in precisely the right terms — that the very word marijuana was publicized and virtually created specifically by the government agents whose agenda was to demonize and ban it. And now, thanks to a side effect of Google Books, we have “smoking gun” proof:

Marijuana Word Search
Marijuana Word Search

That is the result of searching all the 15 million books digitized by Google and written since 1750 for the word “marijuana”. It barely appears before the mid-1930s, and then suddenly it’s being used quite a bit. Now compare that for the results of the same search for the term that was and is really used by most literate people, which is cannabis:

Cannabis Word Search
Cannabis Word Search

That’s right folks. Just as we (pro-cannabis advocates) have been shouting from the rooftops, this amazing plant and its flowers, leaves, oil, and fibers have been used by mankind for thousands of years, so it’s not surprising that people have been writing about it literally since it was first classified (the first spike on the chart is from Linnaeus’ book).

People were using cannabis and writing about it — especially in the 19th century, when medicine and chemistry were coming together in a big way. And that’s when even Queen Victoria used cannabis to help menstrual cramps. But at the very moment when the word “marijuana” was taking off due to the misguided Marihuana Tax Act of 1937, “cannabis” was suddenly very quiet…because they had made it illegal (along with hemp, but that’s another story).

And then everything pretty much stayed status quo until the 1960s, when my generation discovered it again. But let’s get to point #2.

It’s The Same…But Different Somehow

There’s no such “thing” as marijuana…because it’s all physically different.

Let’s take the plant itself. You can have two virtually identical plants, both of which are technically “marijuana” for legal purposes in the United States, and yet one of them could be completely legal in another country…even though marijuana is illegal there! How? Because the hemp plant has no THC to speak of (i.e. it is not considered psychoactive or in other words it can’t get you high), so in many countries it is simply considered to be hemp, not marijuana, and it is grown for seeds (to crush for hemp oil, or as a food source themselves) or for its fiber. No high, no harm, no foul.

But wait, there’s more.

Not only is the male totally different from the female, but there are also two major subspecies of Cannabis, called Sativa and Indica. Generally, sativa-based strains have a higher ratio of THC to CBD, and tend to have more of a cerebral effect (which includes everything from stimulating your thoughts and creativity to paranoia). Indica-based strains generally have more CBD and less THC, so their effects tend more towards a body effect (couch lock, pain relief, physical relaxation, and easier sleep).

Don’t, Like, Strain Yourself, Man

Medical marijuana users have the advantage of accurate access to different hybrid strains of cannabis, which have been individually bred for specific characteristics and effects. This is often hard to understand for new MMJ users who have lifelong experience with alcohol: imagine if every brand of beer not only tasted differently, but worked differently!

And you can go into far more detail. Much more than even with fine wine grapes, the exact method and location that cannabis is grown will greatly affect the final product, especially when you take into account whether it was grown indoors or outside, in soil or hydroponically, using artificial or organic nutriENTs, filtered or city water, and using natural, CFL, HPS, MH, or LED light.

The grower can affect the final product yet again by simply choosing to harvest the plant at different times, and then even curing the buds in different ways. This last step alone totally changes the taste, the look, and (again) the effects of the buds.

Finally, you can consume cannabis in different ways — smoking, vaporizing, tincture, or edibles — each of which also has a different effect! In fact, with a digital vaporizer, you can literally control every aspect of your experience; whether you get high with THC, or physically mellowed with CBD, no matter which strain of cannabis you use.

So you can see how — as with the apocryphal story of the blind men trying to describe an elephant by what part they happened to be standing near — a number of people can describe “marijuana” in completely different ways, depending on their own different personal experiences, because the word “marijuana” covers all these different aspects. And they could all be right…or at least think they are.

For More Detailed Information:

Old Hippie is a father of two boys and thankfully living in California where all this kind of thing is legal. He started smoking marijuana in 1967 in high school, experimented with mind-expanding drugs of all kinds, and then straightened out 15 or so years later to become an airplane pilot. After being diagnosed with depression in 2000, he lost his job and most of the following decade to prescription medications (such as antidepressants) which sapped his energy and will. Finally, a chance conversation with a friend led to a doctor’s recommendation for medical marijuana (MMJ). This changed his entire life, health, and outlook for the better. is his continuing story. It’s also his way to provide experienced advice on using medical marijuana effectively and responsibly, as well as advocacy, activism, and support for others. Old Hippie teaches about safe use of cannabis edibles, Canna Caps, vaporizers, dosing, and even microdosing.


One thing worth mentioning, if I am correct,(no references, sorry) is the blatant racism used in choosing a cannabis term of Mexican origin. There is plenty of historical reference out there that relates the Black and Mexican terms and affiliations to associate the herb with not only a lower class, but specifically using racist fears to oppose the public to this very important herb.

it’s not a “mexican” term for the “educated” here. it’s spanish. there’s a big difference. one is a language, one refers to people or things of the country of mexico. there is nothing better or worse in referring to the plant as cannabis or marijuana. you could also choose to call fruitflies “drosophilia” but again only linnaeus carolus would do such. i call faux intellectualism and snobbery.

But it is a Mexican word. There was no such word in Spain for this plant; the word “marijuana” was only used in Mexico. And it’s not snobbery to call things by their right name in any case.

I dig what you’re saying – and the history of the word is very interesting – but of course new words are added to the English language all the time.

I’m kind of tired of all the pro-cannabis rhetoric. Yeah, okay, you can make pants out of them, it would create jobs, it’s less addictive, the government isn’t telling the truth, and all of that. Fine, but the fact of the matter is people want to smoke it for fun.

Why can’t they?

speaking of the racism one claim made during the reefer madness propoganda ere (early stages, it really hasnt ended) one slogan went along the lines of saying that it caused the seduction of white women by drug-crazed, sex-mad negroes. while at the same time blaming it for rape and murder by minorities. its great that many countries are now growing or allowing medical and or industrial crops though and i think it’s at least a move in the right direction.

i broke my back last spring and i can attest to the medical benefits of cannabis over some other conventional pain meds. prescribed narcotics (which i took regularly for two months) have many negative physical side effects from constipation, lack of ability to urinate, drowsiness accompanied by insomnia (yeah let me tell you thats no fun, when you can’t even lay down comfortably for over a couple hours). those are just a few that stood out to me. also with continued use i got to the point that i needed three norcos (kinda like 6 standard dose hydros with less acetaminophen) to get any relief. after doing some research i started smoking pot and pretty soon i quit taking narcotics and muscle relaxers. i wasnt smoking “good weed” and i wasnt even smoking everyday but i sure wish i’d started smoking cannabis sooner after my injury. i hadnt smoked since early in highschool but i havent stopped and dont plan to. even once every 1-2 weeks when i have increased lower back muscle tenseness or spasms is extremely helpful.

that being said i feel the biggest and most important reason hemp should be legalized is it’s practically endless industrial uses. it is truly a miracle plant and should be treated so

I have a preference for Sativas.
It sounds counter-intuitive to most, given my issues with depression and PTSD, but the reason it works so well is the fact that it doesn’t sedate me at all.
Equally counter-intuitive is that downers have been prescribed for years to treat depression. Remember Quaaludes? Yep! I’ve been fed that, Phenobarbital and a host of other stuff along those lines to treat depression and anxiety since childhood.
Anything that makes you sleepy and a little discombobulated actually makes anxiety worse. Give alcohol to someone with PTSD during a flare up and you’ll see exactly what I mean…that is, if they don’t own a firearm or are 2 feet taller and 50 pounds heavier. Things get really ugly.
A heavy Sativa snaps me out of the rage and gets me back to a fairly normal mental state. (Whatever that is..)
Indicas do serve their purpose as well. Less problems with insomnia and my arthritic knees and shoulders breathe a sigh of relief.
This all boils down to why dispensaries with a knowledgeable staff are so damned important.
Buying on the street, there’s no guarantee as to what herb you’re getting.

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