Back in 2017, the Drug Enforcement Agency needed to make sure law enforcement officials were keeping up with the evolving nature of drug slang. When someone referred to “lucy,” “ganja,” “Yayo,” “flake,” or “School Bus,” they wanted to be sure of what type of drug was being described.
The report was extensive, listing every known variation of slang for a specific drug. Here’s just the list for marijuana slang starting with the letter K— “Kaff; Kali; Kaya; KB; Kentucky Blue; KGB; Khalifa; Kiff; Killa; Kilter; King Louie; Kona Gold; Kumba; Kush.”
While it does document the slang itself, it doesn’t actually pinpoint who is saying what and where. To understand how the evolving vernacular being birthed in various communities, Project Know surveyed more than 1,150 men and women regarding the changing drug terminology and what terms they could identify as which drug.
The study also raised an interesting question: with growing legalization efforts, would marijuana slang change all that much?
It turns out, not really. Most terms popularized in various states are known slang to describe cannabis. In 14 states including California, Texas, and Florida, “dope” was the most unique term to label marijuana. Which isn’t that unknown term at all.
While terms like “‘grass,’ ‘Mary Jane,’ and ‘ganja’ [persist] in various parts of the country, the legalization and popularity of marijuana may have reduced the need for such abstract terminology,” theorizes the study.
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Also of note is how slang changes across genders and generations. While baby boomers are most likely to call marijuana “grass,” most people consider the term outdated and doesn’t make someone appear cool for knowing the term. What’s an example of a cool term to know for marijuana? “Ganja,” according to the study.