The most diverse plant on earth?
Maybe. How many other plants can provide cutting edge medicine, consumer oils, industrial fibers and construction building material at the same time?
One plant. Many words.
The plant name Cannabis is derived originally from a Scythian or Thracian word, which loaned into Persian as kanab, then into Greek as κάνναβις (kánnabis) and subsequently into Latin as cannabis.
Biologically, hemp and cannabis are the same species of plant however the difference in naming comes from the amount of THC it contains and the intended use. If this plant gets you high, it's called cannabis. If it doesn't get you high, it's called hemp. Cultivators can control the amount of THC using a variety of growth and breeding methods.
Culturally, the cannabis sativa plant has been referred to by many names. More recent examinations of one in particular has given rise to a backlash against the name 'marijuana' because of what many accountings point to as a discriminative word meant to incite discomfort with immigrants in the early 20th century. The following articles examine that notion: NPR, The Guardian, Al Jazeera, Time.
Despite all of this, and given that the ancient name of the plant was cannabis and the scientific name of the plant today is cannabis sativa, we can say that every other name is a form of slang - and may be subject to esoteric nuances in meaning.
At this project we feel that all slang for cannabis, other than 'weed', should be limited. Weed is a fun, culturally neutral and an extremely popular form of a slang term for cannabis.
When you say 'weed' most people know you're talking about cannabis. Notice that's not true for 'weeds' which instead invokes images of unwanted and overgrown yard plants.
In fact it's fair to say that cannabis has the highest number of slang terms versus any other plant. Here are a few examples we were able to compile:
Weed, Pot, Marijuana, Ganja, Herb, Mary Jane, Bud, Reefer, Grass, Dope, Chronic, Green, 420, Joint, Blunt, Spliff, Doobie, Bong, Pipe, Mary Warner, Skunk, Potpourri, Shake, Wacky Tobacky, Devil's Lettuce, Aunt Mary, Mota, Acapulco Gold, Thai Stick, Ganjika, Blaze, Burnie, Blaze it up, Dank, Giggle smoke, Green Goddess, Jazz Cabbage, Left-handed cigarette, Magic dragon, Sticky-icky, Sweet leaf, Thunderbud, Fire, and Electric lettuce, to name a few. Although there are more and every geographic region across the globe seems to have a localized version of a slang word for cannabis.
With cannabis, even the slang has slang. For instance, a Slate article lists other variations of slang 'weed' found on Urban Dictionary to include: weeda, Weedabis, Weedable, Weedache, WeedAcres, Weedacus, Weedafarian, Weedagasm, weedage, Weedaginity, Weedaholic, weedajuana, Weed Album, Weedalicious, Weed and Feed, Weed Angel, weed anthem, weedar, Weedarm, weedasaurous-rex, and Weed-ash.
To say that it's a popular plant would be a huge understatement!