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Where the Term “Marijuana” Originated

Marijuana Term
With marijuana laws changing, especially with recreational marijuana legalization beginning in both Colorado and Washington state, the term “marijuana” is often used by the media.  And with more and more states looking into legalization efforts, it’s also a term that will continue to be used in the media.

“Marijuana” is a fairly recent term. Throughout the 19th century the term used was “cannabis” because it is from a genus of flowering plants species: Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica or Cannabis ruderalis. Cannabis was used in many prescription drugs sold between 1840 and 1900 to help with migraines and insomnia.  Multiple articles were written in U.S. scientific journals about the many benefits of cannabis.

During the Mexican Revolution in 1910, thousands upon thousands of struggling Mexicans fled their home country for the U.S. border states to avoid war, and with them they brought their favorite recreational substance, which they referred to as “mariguana.” (Nowadays spelled: marijuana.)

In an effort to slow down the increasing immigrant population, anti-marijuana laws began to be implemented.  Many believe that bigotry played a large part in these initial laws, and this is the main reason that the U.S. border states were the first states to begin anti-marijuana campaigns disguised under the new term brought on by the Mexican immigrants.

Today, Americans’ perception of marijuana is shifting back towards a positive light as a result of scientific research proving that marijuana has medical benefits, and some economy-enhancing aspects. Americans have also done their best to create and use other terms for marijuana:  weed, grass, pot, ganja, and others are all terms that have been adopted by Americans and the rest of the world alike.

Learn more about marijuana.

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