Like any fully-developed subculture, cannabis has a whole lexicon of terms to describe its various accessories and practices. Here’s our glossary of weed lingo, from the common to the more obscure:
Baptize – The act of lightly coating a joint in saliva to ensure that it burns as slowly as possible. Although this is a good idea in theory, it sometimes has the unintended effect of moistening the filter end of the joint, making it difficult to draw smoke.
Vaporizer – An electronic pipe for cannabis consumption. Vaporizers (or vapes) heat cannabis to over 300 degrees, combusting terpenes and THC content into a bioavailable vapor that can be easily inhaled. Said to be more efficient than smoking, vape technology has been around since the early 1960s but skyrocketed in popularity in the first decades of the 2000s, piggybacking on innovations in the electronic cigarette market.
Dabbing – A method of smoking highly concentrated cannabis via superheating. Like vaping on steroids, dabbing involves using a butane torch to melt concentrated cannabis products (like wax, shatter, or butane hash oil) on a heat-conducting surface (or “nail”) and inhaling the resulting smoke through a pipe (or “rig”). Dabbing typically results in a more potent and longer-lasting high than traditional smoking, due to the high THC content of concentrates.
Nail – An apparatus used for melting cannabis concentrate in the process of dabbing. Nails are hollowed-out and cylindrical in shape, and usually made of steel or titanium, though sometimes of quartz, ceramic, or heat-resistant glass.
Rig – A pipe used for inhaling the smoke from cannabis concentrate in the process of dabbing. Although many rigs are designed specifically for dabbing, a traditional standing water pipe can be transformed into a rig by placing a nail into the chamber where a traditional removable bowl would usually go.
Hash – A concentrated cannabis product made of compacted resin. Short for hashish, hash originated thousands of years ago in North Africa and the Middle East. It is prepared by scraping or chemically extracting the sticky trichome resin from cannabis buds and compressing it into a solid.
Blunt – Cannabis leaves rolled into a cigar wrapper; typically only consists of cannabis, with no added tobacco. The name “blunt” comes from Phillies Blunts, a brand of packaged, pre-rolled, and shorter-than-average cigars. Because of their larger size, blunts are usually intended for social rather than strictly solo use.
Spliff – A joint that contains some amounts of added tobacco. Spliffs may appeal to cigarette smokers, or to those who’d prefer to mask the smell and taste of cannabis.
Pinner – A thinly-rolled joint that contains a relatively small amount of cannabis. Intended to minimize or shorten a high, pinners require small (1” to 1 ¼” wide) rolling papers. The term pinner has also lent itself to a delicious, lower ABV beer from Oskar Blues Brewery.
Roach – The butt of a joint. A joint that is smoked down to its filter tip is not considered a roach; a roach contains traces of partially-burnt cannabis residue. If no whole bud is available, roaches can be saved and smoked for their small amounts of concentrated cannabis. Any mechanical means of holding the small roach end (tweezers, alligator clips, etc.) is called a roach clip.
Shake – Low-quality packaged cannabis. So named for the debris that shakes out of larger quantities of whole cured buds, shake consists of woody stems, seeds, and a small amount of consumable leaves. Shake is considered a dishonest tactic of packaging cannabis, as the mass of the plant debris can inflate the weight and value of the total product.
Piece – Any handheld, blown-glass cannabis pipe. Also known as a bowl. One of the more popular methods of cannabis consumption in the United States.
One-hitter – A small, narrow pipe designed to hold very small amounts of cannabis. One-hitters are constructed from a variety of materials, including steel, glass, or ceramic. They are intended to limit the intensity and duration of a high; sometimes disguised to look like cigarettes, they are also used to consume cannabis in circumstances that call for discretion.
Resin hit – Burning and inhaling the caked resin residue at the bottom of an empty pipe bowl. As THC is still present in this residue, a resin hit can produce a palpable high. This method is typically reserved for situations in which no cannabis bud is present; it’s the functional equivalent of eating cereal for dinner.
Loud – As an adjective, trippy or psychedelic. As a noun, any potent cannabis that exerts these properties. The term might describe the cerebral psychological “noise” of a strong sativa high; that is, the loud inner monologue comprised of rapid-fire thoughts and associations.
Gangja – Jamaican or American slang for cannabis. This term originated in Jamaica, and is derived the Bengali word gañja (গাঁজা), for hemp. Indentured servants were brought from India to Jamaica by British colonists in the 1840s; with them, these Indian servants brought cannabis plants which took well to Jamaica’s equatorial climate.
Eighth – Short for “eighth of one ounce”; one of the most common quantities in which cannabis is measured and sold.
Bogart – to hog a joint for oneself, and prevent it from rotating in a social situation. The term is thought to stem from archetypal tough guy actor Humphrey Bogart, often pictured with a cigarette between his lips.
Spice/K2 – These are catchall terms for synthetic cannabis, derived from two of the many brand names under which it is packaged. Only nominally related to actual cannabis, synthetic cannabis is a preparation of dried plant matter sprayed with manufactured chemicals that mimic the structure of organic cannabinoids. Because it does not technically qualify as cannabis, synthetic cannabis is legal; it is openly and cheaply sold around the world. However, it is very dangerous and its use has been linked to increased blood pressure, blurred vision, hallucinations, seizures, and even psychosis.
Jazz cabbage – A sarcastic term for cannabis that grew out of Instagr
am meme culture. This one may not have caught on quite yet, but it’s hilarious and it deserves to. While we’re at it, can we bring back the old-timey “jazz cigarettes,” for joints?