At the end of the day, weed is always going to be one of the human being’s favourite ways to get high. At least, my observation is that it doesn’t matter where in the world you go, people love to smoke the herb. There are even some religions that have formed around the use of this plant! Ok – so we’ve established that human beings love it. Now is the opportunity to take some quality time to appreciate weed.
So what is the world consensus about it? Is it legal? Is it cheap? What’s the deal with marijuana? In this article you might discover a few things about weed that you didn’t know before – like where it got all of its names! If you want to learn more about the world’s favourite recreational and medicinal substance, keep reading this article!
Where did weed get all of its names?
The Western world is quite familiar with the term “weed”, and we Westerners have coined many other names for it, too. It is arguably called “weed” because in many parts of the world it grows in the same way that weeds do, is sturdy and hard to kill. “Herb” and “bud” are relatively newer terms for this plant. Perhaps they were created by the younger generation to conceal their marijuana use from their parents!
Cannabis is a more scientific name that has been given by the Western world. It refers to cannabis sativa as a species of plant, and within that obviously, fall the many strains of cannabis that we have come to know and love.
Marijuana? Well, this word has a very interesting story. In the moment where weed as beginning to make it’s way across the Mexican border into the USA, the American government became very peeved. In the heat of wanting to prohibit the traffic of this plant, the US government banned Mexicans from travelling with all that “marihuana”. However, they didn’t know that the plant itself was not called “marihuana”, but in fact this word referred to a whole different group of herbs that Mexicans used for other reasons. Now, in the modern world marijuana definitely refers to the herb we love to smoke, but it got that name from a political mistake!
You might think that the word “ganja” comes from Rastafarian culture, but in fact that name comes from the Himalayas of India, where it grows wild and abundantly. The word ganja is taken from the Ganges river, where it was common to find marijuana growing. The herbal material is still called that in India, while “charas” is the name given to their finger hash.
“Pot” is a term that almost everyone is familiar with, by why on Earth is a psychedelic plant named after a boring household cooking item? This word may not come from the English language, but from the Spanish word, “potiguaya”. It is a beverage that comes from Mexico, consisting of cannabis that has been steeped in red wine. It is the beverage of removing worries and grief.
There are probably many more (like reefer madness!) ways to refer to weed. They are all terms of endearment for a plant that people have been so connected to throughout history. We can almost consider all the different terms as pet names for the herb!
Why do people use weed?
There is a big controversy surrounding the reasons that people use weed. For some, it is the best recreational substance. For others, it is completely medicinal. Thanks to modern research and the marijuana movement, there are so many different kinds of weed that it can be used for almost anything. There are even strains of weed that have no psychedelic properties, which means the products made from these strains can be used completely medicinally.
In general, the effects of THC can range anywhere from increased mental activity to euphoria, all the way to sleepiness and pain relief. There is a generally an association with relaxation overall when it comes to using weed, whether that is a physical or creative relaxation. One of the token qualities of weed is “the giggles” – it makes people feel really good – and that is probably one of the most fundamental reasons that people use weed.
For some people, that “feel good” comes from the relief of chronic pain, or from the ability to sleep after a long bout of insomnia. For others, that good feeling comes from the freedom to delve into creative endeavours such as music or art. The very unique thing about weed is that everybody uses it for a different reason and it has a different effect on everybody it comes into contact with. However, the general idea is that this effect is quite wonderful.
Where do you buy it and how much does it cost?
Depending on where you are in the world, you can have extremely easy access to weed. In many states of the USA, it has become legal to buy medical marijuana, if not recreational marijuana, too. That means that there are licensed vendors of marijuana all over the place. The same is even true in some parts of Europe, and even in South America. For those parts of the world that haven’t yet legalized our favourite herb, people are forced to grow illegally or to wander into dark alleyways in search of drug dealers.
Unfortunately, the fact that there is still such a thing as a black market for weed means that the price varies dramatically from place to place. Even in places where weed is legal, street weed may have a lower price, which naturally draws people to the black market option. Having said that, there are still people who prefer quality over a bargain, and will opt for well grown, legal weed.
In general, you can pay anywhere from $10-$20 per gram of weed in the USA. It will all depend on the quality, the strain and of course, where you bought it. The price can drop when you start to buy in larger quantities, such as eighths (3 grams) or quarters (7 grams) or ounces (28 grams). This is the general price for herbal weed, but it changes again when it comes to the myriad of products that we now make out of weed.
In Europe, you can average anywhere from 5-15 Euros for a gram of weed, once again depending on where you are. In countries like Spain, where weed can be purchased legally from coffee shops, it is only 5 euros for a gram of decent weed or hash. The same is true in Holland, although there is a huge variety of legal weed there, meaning the price varies a lot. It is extremely economic compared to the street option of buying weed in Europe. Things can get way more expensive in France or Italy, for example, where marijuana is still extremely illegal.
Weed affects both the body and brain
The effects of weed can reach the physical part of the user and even the subtle part, such as thoughts and emotions. The system with which weed interacts in the human body is called the endocannabinoid system, which has its branches all throughout the brain, body and nervous system. The cannabinoids inside of weed bind to perfectly fitting receptors in the brain and body, which causes a plethora of things to happen afterwards.
Some kinds of weed are designed to target the more subtle parts, and are effectively more psychedelic in their nature and properties. Some other kinds of weed are designed to deal with physical symptoms such as pain or seizures, in which case they may lack some of the psychedelic properties of other varieties.
The ability of weed to reach so many different parts of the human experience is also what makes it so special. It is considered a “whole plant medicine”, which makes the experience itself holistic. The healing properties can reach further than just healing the physical body, delving into worlds of creativity and exploration.
Different strains of weed
Within the framework of weed, there are so many different varieties and strains. What differs between them can be very subtle in much the same way that wine connoisseurs note the differences in wine. Although all of these strains belong to the same plant, the variations in their genes essentially produce slightly different phenotypes. The way we experience this as humans is differences in smell, taste and even the psychoactive effects.
In general, weed is split into two types – indica and sativa. All strains that we smoke or use medicinally are a pure breed of indica or sativa, or are a hybrid of the two. Marijuana genetics have been a point of interest for so long, and the breeding process to create a strain of marijuana with specific properties is deep and involved. The more we experiment with different strains, the harder it is becoming to find pure strains of marijuana. There are some that have remained popular such as Pure Kush (pure indica) and Haze (pure sativa). They are extremely sought after by both consumers and growers.
Cheese is a hybrid strain that is extremely famous for its smell, and is clearly named appropriately. Blueberry Kush is another hybrid example, where the phenotype ended in a very fruity taste and smell. There are so many different kinds of weed that basically anybody’s needs can be met with this plant. There are even such strains that have very low THC levels and very high CBD levels, meaning that the effect is not so psychedelic, but has effects in other parts of the body.
The variety of genetics within what we call “marijuana” is what makes it so versatile and accessible to so many people. It also creates a huge variety of experience even within the community of cannabis users who use purely recreationally. In any case, for a single plant, humans have been able to inspire many different kinds.
Weed is so many different things, but most of all it is something that we love. The human body is responsive in such a positive way to the use of weed, and for that reason we have used it throughout so many different ages. When weed is compared to other forms of recreational substance or even prescription medicine, it is the better choice for so many people. It may not be true for everybody, but there are many who prefer weed over many of the options presented in the Western world.