Smoking Slang: Where It Comes From and Why We Have It
Smoking slang is dank. Stoners love coming up with new ways to express themselves, especially after a couple hits. Many slang terms for smoking have been passed down for decades; others come from specific regions or from inside jokes.
There are well over 1,000 slang terms just for the plant alone, with more being created on the regular in ciphers worldwide. Sometimes the meaning is obvious, but not always. We’ve compiled a list of terms and their meanings so you can expand your own smokabulary and your friends’ too.
Check out some of the smoking slang words and phrases you’re likely to hear in the wild below. Next time you’re firing up some sticky-icky jazz cabbage with your bud buddies, try seeing how many smoking terms and phrases you can think of (or invent on the spot).
Reefer is a term that originated from the Spanish word grifo, which eventually became greefo, a Mexican slang term for someone with frizzy, disheveled hair. The word was eventually used to refer to someone who had smoked a bunch. Eventually greefo evolved into reefer.
Herb is one of the most common and obvious slang terms. Like bud, flower, and other similar smoking slang terms, it’s simply referring to part of a plant. Try calling it twig, branch, or shrubbery instead sometime and see if anybody notices.
The devil’s lettuce is a fun one. Because herb was demonized for so long, the name makes sense—it’s the dark side of plants (eye roll). Feel free to come up with your own variations like Cthulhu’s cabbage or Beelzebub’s broccoli.
Pot is a mysterious one that you probably wouldn’t guess. The term has been used since the 1930s, and it stems from the Spanish word potiguaya, a type of brandy or wine that has been steeped with herb.
Ganja is a smoking slang term that comes from the Sanskrit word for hemp.
Chronic and hydro (or just dro) are terms originated by the Doggfather himself, Snoop. These words refer to hydroponic herb, a way to cultivate the plant using water. Few others have helped slang terms for smoking evolve like Snoop!
Now that you know the origins of some of the more common slang terms for herb, you may be wondering about some other terms you’ve heard. Now, many slang words have been around for decades, and it’s not always possible to trace their origins. Here are some with known histories.
420 is one of the most common smoking slang terms, yet one of the most misunderstood. It’s a common misconception that it refers to the best time of the day to smoke, although words do take on new meaning over time.
420 was a code word that a group of high schoolers called The Waldos used for smoking in the ‘70s. One of The Waldos eventually became a Grateful Dead roadie and passed the slang along. One day, the Dead put out a flyer for a 420 party on 4/20 and at 4:20, and the rest is history.
Bogart is a term used when someone is hogging the joint, bowl, or other smoking device. This smoking slang term is a reference to Humphrey Bogart, a famous ‘40s actor who was known for nursing his cigarette for unreasonable stretches of time.
Getting stoned is one of the most common terms for the effects associated with smoking. As you might have guessed, it’s a reference to the herb being so potent that the effects are like getting hit with a rock. Jack Kerouac may have been the first to use the term in his famous novel, On the Road: “I had finished the wine while Terry slept, and I was proper stoned.”
Cherried is a smoking slang term that refers to a bowl that is burning on its own. When a bowl is cherried, you can hand it from person to person with no lighter required, The term is likely used simply because a cherried bowl glows round and red, much like a cherry.
Cannivore is a name for people who prefer eating edibles over smoking. It’s a play on the word carnivore, which refers to an animal or person that only eats meat. You can probably guess what an herbivore is—an animal or person who only eat plants, of course. That said, you could probably call a stoner who’s not a cannivore an herbivore too!
Budtender is a more recent smoking slang term that became popular as medical dispensaries started popping up. A budtender is the bartender of the bud world, meaning someone who assists you in selecting your herb.
A one-hitter is a portable smoking tool that lets you take just one hit at a time. One-hitters can be used on their own, but they’re often included with a dugout, which is a compact box that stores your smoking materials, your one-hitter, and in some cases, tools and accessories.Our 2 inch Smokit and 3 inch Smokit are both all-in-one dugouts that include everything you need to light up on the go.
Shop the World’s Finest Smoking Accessories
We’ve only scratched the surface here. There are endless slang terms for smoking out there, and many (most) of them exist without any rhyme or reason. Whether you’re a bona-fide smoking slang wizard or a newbie looking to expand your smokabulary, learning more about the culture is always a blast.
Know what else is always a blast? Smoking with quality devices and accessories! Smokit is making waves with our ultra-portable and discreet dugouts and smoking accessories. We take serious pride in what we do, and it shows. Once you’ve experienced the difference, you’re not going to want to go back.
Now that you know more about smoking slang, why not celebrate? Treat yourself to a new piece that’s just waiting to be filled with Dracula’s asparagus. Check out our FAQ or contact us if you have any questions. We also sell wholesale smoking products so you can stock your store. Elevate how you smoke with an all-in-one Smokit!