Hemp, Medical and Recreational Cannabis

By now it is likely that you will have heard people talking about: Hemp; Cannabis Sativa, Cannabis Indica, Cannabis Ruderalis, medical cannabis, recreational or adult-use marijuana, and of course pot and weed.

Hemp is different from the others in some keys ways, and all the others can be grouped under one term – your choice of cannabis, marijuana, weed, or pot. We use the term cannabis commonly and are happy to explain why. In 2018, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) Weed published a list of over 300 terms they commonly use/see which are synonymous with Marijuana / Cannabis. A lot of the terms are misused by the DEA, and I’ll list them all below so that you don’t need to visit the DEA’s website.

Throughout the website we use the terms cannabis. It’s the proper name of the plant from which all the derivatives come from. Almost everywhere in the world outside the USA, Cannabis is the commonly used term, but in the US, Marijuana and Pot are the dominant terms. When writing news stories on the subject The Associated Press’ guidelines are that writes are to:Use marijuana on the first reference generally; pot and cannabis are also acceptable. Cannabis is the usual term outside North America. Slang terms such as weed, reefer, ganja or 420 are acceptable in limited, colloquial cases or quotations.” Interestingly, when one discusses ‘Cannabis’ you are referring to the plant, and the product made from the plant, however when one uses the term marijuana/pot /weed, etc… you are only referring to the product. Furthermore, in common usage marijuana/pot /weed are only used to refer to smokables, including vapes.

When discussing Cannabis plants, people are generally referring to plant varietals classified as Hemp, Sativa, Indica and sometimes Ruderalis.

With regards to the overall usage, it’s wise to differentiate between recreational cannabis and medical cannabis, and also to understand why people refer to the product by so many different names.

Cannabis Usages:

Recreational or Adult-Use Cannabis

  • Medical Cannabis

Medical cannabis is a category of cannabis-based products that have medicinal benefits. In many / most markets outside the USA, these products are available via prescription, and globally the term should be applied to ‘cannabis as recommended by a doctor for the treatment of a specific condition.’

Medical cannabis products that are available in global markets are prepared to a higher standard and subjected to more rigorous testing than recreational products. Cannabis grown for medical purposes can be used as a recreational product, as the plant itself is identical. What differs is in the way that the plant is grown and what pesticides and contaminants are used during production. For example, in Canada medical cannabis is grown to a higher standard than organic produce, while recreational production allows for more tolerances. In general, this is true of recreational products globally and as such, they are not as thoroughly tested. As a result of the more stringent rules, medical cannabis is also more costly to produce.

In the US, medical cannabis is not treated the same as it is elsewhere in the world as the regulatory restrictions do not yet exist. In general, consumers consider the purpose as opposed to the preparation as the demarcation between rec/adult use of Cannabis and medical use. In many cases, people also use wellness products referring to them as medical. Until federal legalization occurs, this is unlikely to change.

  • Wellness

When people talk about Cannabis as a wellness product, they are referring to CBD-based products that are sold or are expected to be sold alongside any other consumer packaged goods in the wellness space. These types of products are usually marketed as having benefits that are mental or physical, and some are targeting spiritual/whole mind and body holistic benefits.

CBD, and cannabinoids as a whole have a myriad of benefits for both physical and mental wellness. CBD is well noted for its broad anti-inflammatory effects on the human body. It also helps with sleep, and peace of mind, among other benefits. With these major benefits, it becomes easier for people to keep healthy as we age.

The wellness market is one that many CPG companies are eager to enter upon federal legalization in the US. Wellness and sports drinks alone is a highly sought-after market for wellness products. We can also expect to see supplements either as stand-alone products or infused into protein powders for things such as smoothies.

The thing to remember is that the wellness category is separate from the Medical or Recreational markets. While offering wellness benefits that people generally consider to be medicinal in nature, it is considered that these products can be treated along the same lines as vitamin supplements.

  • Novel Foods

As a result of governments in Europe struggling to control the usage and distribution of CBD products, countries started to classify products containing CBD as “Novel Foods.” Normally, the Novel Foods definition is applied to consumables that are new to the market and accordingly had not been heavily consumed prior to May 1997. Of course, it’s possible to argue that cannabis has been heavily consumed for thousands of years, but as it was a prohibited substance for decades to regulators it was ‘novel’.

is defined as food that had not been consumed to a significant degree by humans in the EU before 15 May 1997, when the first Regulation on novel food came into force.

Examples of other Novel Foods include new sources of vitamins, or new extracts from existing foods, so essentially new forms of delivery, or created by way of new production processes. The novel foods regulations are designed to ensure consumer safety when dealing with a new product, until such time as safety can be documented via large-scale consumption.

Currently, if a product falls under the Novel Foods guidelines, producers have to obtain a pre-market authorization to be able to bring the product to market. There continues to be general confusion with regards to the authorizations, and the CBD marketplace. It is wise to seek assistance navigating market entry to help avoid running afoul of the rules.

The UK and the rest of Europe following differing rules on a variety of matters since Brexit. If you are considering bringing a product to market in either or both jurisdictions, it’s wise to consider all the implications.

The Origen of common names for Cannabis

  • Marijuana
    • Marijuana, or marihuana, was the word used to describe the drug in Mexico dating back to the 1840s. Interestingly despite the common spelling of “Marijuana” when the Government of Canada went through legalization they chose the spelling “Marihuana” as if the connotations were different. Regardless, the term was popularized in the United States in the early 1900s, when U.S. newspapers started to publish stories about crimes committed by people high on the drug. The term “Mary Jane” is simply an Anglicanization of the term Marijuana.
  • Pot
    • There’s a rumour that the slang term “Pot” was derived from “potación de guaya”, a drink that combined a glass of wine or brandy mixed with marijuana. There are others that point to the habit of making cannabis-infused teas, ergo “a pot of cannabis tea.” In reality, the etymology seems to be lost and overly vague to place the source with any certainty.
  • Bud
    • This is probably the easiest of the terms to qualify. The part of the Cannabis plant that is consumed is the cola of flowers where the cannabinoids and terpenes are expressed (found). A cola is actually a collection of multiple (hundreds) of flowers into a tight-packed grouping. As consumers, we buy the flower buds, but commonly look at the grouping as one unit or one large ‘bud.’
  • Weed
    • This term has a logical source. There is a weed that grows in Mexico and the South-Western USA that is referred to as “Locoweed”. Spreading through grassland, it. sometimes was grazed upon by cattle, and made them ill. At some point, the plant got conflated with Marijuana and a legislator in California used the term “locoweed” in a bill designed to criminalize the cultivation of marijuana in 1913. The common idea was that the plant was a weed that made you crazy, hence people just called it “weed.”

Legalization ond the Prohibition of Cannabis

Many books have been written about the prohibition of cannabis that occurred around the globe in the 1930’s. The most famous step being the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937.

Suffice it to say, prior to its prohibition, Cannabis was used for medical, wellness, and recreational purposes globally until prohibition. The plant and its usage were demonized, and millions of people were denied access to medicines that could alleviate their suffering. All out of a combination of ignorance, and campaigns by the pharmaceutical companies who sought to profit from prohibition.

DEA Synonyms for Marijuana

Some of the terms are actually fairly common cannabis varietals, others are cannabinoids and generic terms like “extract” that could also apply to the vanilla extract in my kitchen. I do see Tex-Mex on the list, which gave me an idea for dinner!


420; A-Bomb (marijuana mixed with heroin); Acapulco Gold; Acapulco Red; Ace; African Black; African Bush; Airplane; Alfalfa; Alfombra; Alice B Toklas; All-Star; Almohada; Angola; Animal Cookies (hydroponic); Arizona; Ashes; Aunt Mary; AZ; Baby; Bale; Bambalachacha; Barbara Jean; Bareta; Bash; Bazooka (marijuana mixed with cocaine paste); BC Budd; Bernie; Bhang; Big Pillows; Biggy; Bionic (marijuana mixed with PCP); Black Bart; Black Gold; Black Maria; Blondie; Blue Cheese; Blue Crush; Blue Dream; Blue Jeans; Blue Sage; Blueberry; Bobo Bush; Boo; Boom; Branches; Broccoli; Bud; Budda; Burritos Verdes; Bush; Cabbage; CaféCajita; Cali; Camara; Canadian Black; Catnip; Cheeba; Chernobyl; Cheese; Chicago Black; Chicago Green; Chippie; Chistosa; Christmas Tree; Chronic; Churro; Cigars; Citrol; Cola; Colorado Cocktail; Cookie (hydroponic); Cotorritos; Crazy Weed; Creeper Bud; Crippy; Crying Weed; Culican; Dank; Devils’s Lettuce; Dew; Diesel; Dimba; Dinkie Dow; Diosa Verde; Dirt Grass; Ditch Weed; Dizz; Djamba; Dody; Dojo; Domestic; Donna Juana; Doobie; Downtown Brown; Drag Weed; Dro (hydroponic); Droski (hydroponic); Dry High; Elefante Pata; Endo; EscobaFattie; Fine Stuff; Fire; Flower; Flower Tops; Fluffy; Fuzzy Lady; Gallina; Gallito; Garden; Garifa; Gauge; Gangster; Ganja; Gash; Gato; Ghana; Gigi (hydroponic); Giggle Smoke; Giggle Weed; Girl Scout Cookies (hydroponic); Gloria; Gold; Gold Leaf; Gold Star; Gong; Good Giggles; Gorilla; Gorilla Glue; Grand Daddy Purp; Grass; Grasshopper; Green; Green Crack; Green-Eyed Girl; Green Eyes; Green Goblin; Green Goddess; Green Mercedes Benz; Green Paint; Green Skunk; Greenhouse; Grenuda; Greta; Guardada; Gummy Bears; Gunga; Hairy Ones; Hash; Hawaiian; Hay; Hemp; Herb; Hierba; Holy Grail; Homegrown; Hooch; Hoja; Humo; Hydro; Indian Boy; Indian Hay; Jamaican Gold; Jamaican Red; Jane; Jive; Jolly Green; Jon-Jem; Joy Smoke; Juan Valdez; Juanita; Jungle Juice; Kaff; Kali; Kaya; KB; Kentucky Blue; KGB; Khalifa; Kiff; Killa; Kilter; King Louie; Kona Gold; Kumba; Kush; Laughing Grass; Laughing Weed; Leaf; Lechuga; Lemon-Lime; Leña; Liamba; Lime Pillows; Little Green Friends; Little Smoke; Llesca; Loaf; Lobo; Loco Weed; Loud; Love Nuggets; Love Weed; Lucas; M.J.; Machinery; Macoña; Mafafa; Magic Smoke; Manhattan Silver; Manteca; Maracachafa; Maria; Marimba; Mariquita; Mary Ann; Mary Jane; Mary Jones; Mary Warner; Mary Weaver; Matchbox; Matraca; Maui Wowie; Meg; Method; Mersh; Mexican Brown; Mexicali Haze; Mexican Green; Mexican Red; MMJ; Mochie (hydroponic); Moña; Monte; Moocah; Mootie; Mora; Morisqueta; Mostaza; Mota; Mother; Mowing the Lawn; Muggie; My Brother; Narizona; Northern Lights; Nug; O-Boy; OG; O.J.; Owl; Paja; Palm; Paloma; Palomita; Panama Cut; Panama Gold; Panama Red; Pakalolo; Parsley; PastoPasturePeliroja; Pelosa; Phoenix; Pine; Pink PantherPinturaPlant; Platinum Cookies (hydroponic); Platinum Jack; Pocket Rocket; Popcorn; Porro; Pot; Pretendo; Prop 215; Puff; Purple Haze; Purple OG; Queen Ann’s Lace; Red Hair; Ragweed; Railroad Weed; Rainy Day Woman; Rasta Weed; Red Cross; Red Dirt; Reefer; Reggie; Repollo; Righteous Bush; Root; Rope; Rosa Maria; Salt and Pepper; Santa Marta; Sasafras; Sativa; Shoes; Sinsemilla; Shmagma; Shora; Shrimp; Shwag; Skunk; Skywalker (hydroponic); Smoke; Smoochy Woochy Poochy; Smoke Canada; Sour OG; Spliff; Stems; Sticky; Stink Weed; Sugar Weed; Sweet Lucy; Tahoe (hydroponic); Tangy OGTerpTerpenes; Tex-Mex; Texas Tea; Tigitty; Tila; Tims; Top Shelf; Tosca; Train Wreck; Trees; Trinity OG; Tweeds; Valle; Wake and Bake; Weed; Weed Tea; Wet (marijuana dipped in PCP); Wheat; White-Haired Lady; Wooz; Yellow Submarine; Yen Pop; Yerba; Yesca; Young Girls; Zacate; Zacatecas; Zambi; Zip; Zoom (marijuana mixed with PCP)

Marijuana Concentrates/Hash Oil

710BHNO; BHO; Black GlassBubble Hash; Budder; Butane Hash OilButane Honey OilCaviarCBDCBD oilCrystallineCrumble; Dabs; Dipper; Ear Wax; EdiblesENail; Errl; ExtractFull MeltGlobGorilla Glue; Heady; Honey Oil; IWEIce Water HashKlearLive ResinMoon RocksRosinRosin Tech; SAP; Sauce; Shatter; SolventlessTerp SauceTHCATHCA CrystalTHCA CrystallineTHCA PowderTrichrome; Wax