Say What? Why ‘Cannabis’ Is Rising and ‘Marijuana’ Is Fading


During alcohol prohibition, you could get zozzled at a juice joint. Half-screwed, half-shot, half-seas over. You could have the heebie jeebies, the screaming meemies, the whoops and jingles. You could burn with a low blue flame. You could be squiffy, scrooched, and sprung. Slopped to the ears. Stewed to the gills. Fried to the hat.

It sounds dated now, and a little ridiculous, but the social vocabulary around drinking was rich and vibrant and filled with creativity. It was also short-lived. With language, what’s considered correct changes over time. New words become introduced, or borrowed, or invented, while others become endangered and lost, or dwindled down to a regional specificity, or fall out of favor socially.
The weight and meaning of words changes and adapts because language changes and adapts, and right now a lexical shift is occurring around cannabis. There’s a propagation of terminology that’s emanating not just from changing social norms, but business, law, and government.

From ‘Mariguana’ to ‘Marihuana’ to ‘Marijuana’

In recent history “marijuana” has enjoyed a prominent position in the North American lexicon, but that wasn’t always the case.
Early in the 20th century, the plant was known by its botanical name, cannabis. Marijuana is a derivative of the term mariguana, a nickname for the plant that was popular among Mexicans who migrated to America after the Mexican Revolution.

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