Ganja: A Specific Strain, or Just Slang?

When Rastas smoke “ganja,” are they referring to a specific strain (like Acapulco Gold or OG Kush), or is it a generic word for cannabis (like doobie or weed)?

What about Chronic? Maui Wowie?

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Off the top of my head, with no attempt at research involved, I’d say that it’s mostly a generic slang term for cannabis. In regions where the word is mostly used however, the most common cannabis is likely to be of the Sativa type. So insofar as it has any particular implied meaning, the reference is likely to be to that.

Ganja is just a generic word for cannabis. It isn’t even Jamaican but is a Sanskrit word.

The other trade names, marketing terms, like Maui Wowie, Hindu Kush, are not taxonomic classifications, just essentially marketing terms.They sound cool but mean nothing. There are two kinds of plants, Sativa and Indica, and now many hybrids in between.

While it used to be true that most of the new exotics were Sativa, the skunky smelling buds are often Indica. And are now interbred to produce many strains. Indica and Sativa look quite different if you are familiar with the plant. Sativa has the thin fronded leaves and produce taller, thinner plants. Indica plants have wider leaves and typically shorter, more robust plants.

But like a “friend” told me, these differences are being hybridized all the time and there are many strains.

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First time I heard it called “Ganja” was on the old ABC SNL clone Fridays circa 1980. The token black guy did a popular sketch which consisted of little more than the (LA not NYC) audience waiting for him (dressed as a Jamaican dude) to finally say “Ganja!” so they could start hooting & hollering. Don’t think Cheech & Chong ever called it that…

I have the sense that the term “ganja” entered the American popular consciousness as a result of research about Bob Marley and Rastafarianism.

De slang for de cheeba, mon.

The Thai language has borrowed many many words from English. This is largely unreciprocated, but there are at least two Thai words that have made their way into English:

กัญชา (“gancha”), cannabis

บ้อง (“bong”), a tube for smoking cannabis