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A Historical Look at the Word ‘Marijuana’ | UR Wellness LLC

Updated: Jun 3, 2023

Discover the history of marijuana and its usage throughout different cultures. Learn why it has been a part of our society for centuries, as well as what it means today. This a must-read educational post from UR Wellness LLC!



When we hear the word 'marijuana', we instantly think of a recreational drug that people use to get high. However, the history of this word dates back to several centuries ago. The term was not always associated with the drug and had a different connotation before the 19th century. In this blog post, we'll be taking a historical look at the word 'marijuana' and uncovering the lesser-known facts about its origin.


The word 'marijuana' can be traced back to the Aztecs who used it to refer to a wild tobacco plant that grew in Mexico. The plant was believed to have medicinal properties, and the natives would smoke it during religious ceremonies. The word 'marijuana' is derived from the Aztec word 'Mara Wana' which meant 'the plant that intoxicates.'


Other origins held through indigenous oral stories of conquistadores wiping out mother plants; so the indigenous peoples referred to the plant via the word "marijuana' referring to the Mother Mary, hence relating it to one of the conquistador's own deities which in turn saved the plant from extinction. Others report the word being used to describe the female and male deities "Maria' and "Juan" that would be reportedly seen when in trance or ceremonial rituals.


The word was introduced to the English language by Mexican immigrants who migrated to the United States in the early 20th century. The word "marijuana" was first published and written during the Mexican Revolution in a well-known song called "La Cucaracha."



It was during the 1930s that the word took on a negative connotation due to the government's propaganda against marijuana. The federal government launched a campaign to demonize the drug, and the word 'marijuana' was used to create a negative stereotype about the substance.




Interestingly, the word 'marijuana' was not used by scientists and pharmacists in the Western world until the early 20th century. Instead, they used the term 'Cannabis' to refer to the plant. The word 'Cannabis' was derived from the ancient Greek word 'Kannabis', which means 'hemp' and was used to describe the plant's fibers. As the use of the plant gained popularity in the Western world, the term 'Cannabis' was slowly replaced by the word 'marijuana.'


In the 1970s, the term 'marijuana' took on a new meaning when it became associated with the counterculture movement.


The term was used to describe a social and political movement that opposed the government's drug laws. People who identified with the counterculture movement would use marijuana to rebel against the establishment.


Today, the word 'marijuana' is used to describe the dried flowers and leaves of the Cannabis plant. The use of marijuana, for both medicinal and recreational purposes, is becoming increasingly popular in many parts of the world. However, the word still carries a negative connotation to some, due to the decades-long stigma associated with its usage.


The historical look at the word 'Marijuana' is fascinating, and it's interesting to see how the meaning and connotations of the term have changed over the years. While the word may have been used to describe a ceremonial plant with medicinal properties, it later came to be associated with a negative stereotype of a recreational drug. As the world becomes more accepting of the plant's usage and legal acceptance, we should always strive to educate ourselves on the history of the word and its usage to understand its impact on our society.



As we understand more about cannabis history and its connection with our culture, it is essential we honor and proceeds with caution and industry-specific passion. An example of this is the understanding surrounding word origins.


Nydia’s knowledge of the cannabis plant, and spiritual and historical contexts makes her one of a kind in her consultation services.


Let us light the path for others to follow by investing in thoughtful conversations on proper education before partaking or consuming – something that is only offered through professionals like Nydia.


If you want to learn even more, reach out and make an appointment for a consult today.


You will develop a much deeper respect for the plant, as well as receive advice tailored directly to you. Education is key so go forth knowing we have the powerful gift of knowledge within our grasp. Now is the time to use it.



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