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Is Cannabis the Same as Marijuana?


Weed, pot, grass, dope, herb, bud, kush… Cannabis is known by many names and these often change over time. A new generation of cannabis enthusiasts are influenced by the new brands and strains of product, changes in language and the evolving nature of cannabis to put their own colloquial spins on the name. But, when you hear from official sources, you’ll likely hear the plant referred to as cannabis or marijuana. So, what does each term refer to? Are cannabis and marijuana the same? Where does hemp come in? Here’s what you need to know about the many names of Mary J.



When we’re talking about the plant, we’re talking about cannabis. This term refers to the genus of plant in the Cannabaceae family—it’s a botanical and scientific term. For this reason, you’ll often see it used as the official name for the product on government sites or when considered broadly medically. Because cannabis is broad—it’s the umbrella term—you’ll find many sub-categories including marijuana. Other examples include cannabis sativa and cannabis indica.



Marijuana, though often used interchangeable with the name cannabis, actually does refer to something more specific. It typically refers to the dried portions of the cannabis plant and the term denotes a specific production and preparation of cannabis. It’s one of the products of the cannabis plant. Marijuana is used for medical or recreational purposes and is considered a psychoactive substance because of the presence of THC which gives users that euphoric high. But, because language is always evolving, Marijuana is often used to describe the plant—in the same way you might say mint (the colloquial name) when referring to the herb instead of Mentha (the genus name).

The colloquial names for marijuana can go even further. Obviously, many of us know weed, pot, grass and dope. But as certain strains of cannabis become popular, they take on their own nicknames, too. Kush, Haze, BC Bud are all names that originated from certain strains or regions where cannabis is grown and became popular or beloved enough to enter the English lexicon as references for marijuana.



Most people understand that hemp is derived from the cannabis plant, but that it’s different from marijuana. In fact, hemp is defined typically by its use, though it is a variety of cannabis plant itself, cultivated mostly for industrial purposes. Most places (including the U.S.) hemp is defined by its low level of THC and can therefore be used in a range of industries and ways. Think textiles, construction, health supplements and more.

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