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Speaking Stoner, A Beginner's Guide

Whether it's your first high or your 50th, these are some terms you should know.

Close up of a marijuana plant (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

"Weed? 420? Blunt? What are all these things?" you might be wondering. We'll cover those and some other common terms, so sit back and relax with your favorite strain while we dive into marijuana jargon and slang.


Marijuana has had dozens of names over the years, everything from Mary Jane to Wacky Tabacky. Though nowadays you're most likely to hear it referred to as either "pot" or "weed," another common term is "trees."

Trees or tree, a favorite among the Reddit community, is usually used to refer to individual buds, but can be used to describe an entire plant. In the /r/trees community, users of marijuana are known as Ents. Many attribute the term Ent to J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings series, in which Ents are described as large, mobile, humanoid trees.


420, pronounced four-twenty, is a rather all encompassing term when used in various contexts. On it's own, 420 has a somewhat clouded origin, with many attributing it to Hitler's Birthday (April 20th). This is not the case however. In 2010 Huffington Post was able to track the earliest uses of the term yet, to a group of high school kids known as the Waldos. In what's a rather complicated, and ultimately rather boring story, the term 420 came from the time 4:20pm, which is when the Waldos would meet up to smoke weed.

Now, however, 420 is used as everything from an interjection to a statement, to a question, all on its own. Asking someone, "420?" could mean anything from, "Are you selling?" to "Want to go smoke?" or "Are you high right now?" and pretty much everything in between. 420 can also be used as an adjective such as asking if someone is "420 friendly," meaning they may or may not smoke themselves, but they don't have a problem with people who do. I could go on all day about 420, but there's more to cover.


Blaze, or blazing, is a term used to describe the act of smoking weed. Usually in reference to smoking a joint, the term blazing is likely to be a reference to the lighter, or the burning joint itself. Other terms with similar meanings are "smoking a bowl," "doing a hit," "taking a puff" and "vaping," the last of which has fallen into semi-disuse recently in the community with the rise in prevalence of tobacco vaporizers. Smoking a bowl can be used in reference to smoking with basically any device that incorporates a bowl, be it a bong, pipe, hooka, aqualung, or whatever.


Blunt, likely one of the first terms most people learn when they start smoking. A blunt is simply another name for a joint, or a marijuana cigarette (Note: no one ever calls them marijuana cigarettes unless it's in a news story). While joint and blunt are two of the most common terms, "cone" and "spliff" are also sometimes used. A cone, as you may imagine, is simply a cone shaped joint, while "spliff" is an all encompassing term that is used less frequently.


There are many, many ways to smoke weed outside of a joint. As mentioned we have bongs and pipes and all sorts of stuff. In the simplest terms, a bong is comprised of 4 parts. The neck, which is the long, vertical tube extending from the main body of the bong, this is the part from which you inhale. The body is usually rounded or conic in shape and is filled partially or fully with water. The stem is inserted into the body and submerged in the water, and holds the final part, the bowl, which is subsequently filled with weed.

The prospective smoker fills the bowl, places it in the stem and, while inhaling through the neck, holds a flame to the bowl to burn the marijuana. The smoke is then filtered and cooled through the water for what many describe as a cleaner hit compared to joints and pipes. It is typical of new smokers to cough their first few times with a bong as the cooler smoke doesn't irritate the lungs as much, and you can easily over inhale. Despite that, and other complications with bongs, they remain one of (if not the) most popular choices among younger smokers and have been a mainstay among stoners for decades.


Pipes are the perhaps the simplest way to smoke weed, consisting of only a bowl and a neck. A special class of pipes, known as one hitters, are designed to look like normal cigarettes are, essentially, just a neck. As with bongs, the bowl of the pipe is filled and lit while inhaling through the neck. 

Stoner Ingenuity

You may be familiar with the term "stoner ingenuity" and this is typically where that comes in to play, as a surprisingly large number of objects can be transformed for use as a pipe or bong. For example, a regular soda can. 

By opening the tab as normal and emptying the can, one can indent the side of the can near the bottom edge to act as a bowl, then all that is needed is to place a small hole in the bowl, with a key or pocket knife for example, in order to use the can as a pipe. This is not recommended however as it effects the taste and introduces many possible contaminants. Aside from the ink in the can's label, you may be aware that canning facilities are routinely found to contain trace levels of rat feces, neither of which is something you want to smoke. While many other ways to smoke weed exist, bongs, pipes, and joints are by far the most common.


There are many terms to describe people who smoke weed. As mentioned already, "ent" and "stoner" are two such terms. A stoner, by definition, is one who gets stoned, a term for being high on marijuana. Another common term is simply "smoker," though that's also used to describe tobacco smokers. A somewhat uncommon term you may here is SWED (suh-wed), which is an acronym for Smoke Weed Every Day, a phrase which is typically used as more of a suggestion than a label. A SWED is simply someone who smokes weed every day.


Oil, sometimes 710 (if you flip the number upside down it resembles the word Oil), generally refers to concentrate (also sometimes called distillate). There are many terms for the slight variations of oil, common among them "wax" and "shatter." Oil is smoked by first heating an element of some kind, typically referred to as a nail due to the shape it most commonly takes, then placing the oil on the nail. If heated properly, the nail will be able to instantly vaporize the oil, which is then inhaled in its vaporous form, typically with a device similar in appearance to a bong.


The last two terms I want to introduce are, in my experience, not generally agreed upon. By that I mean that there is no consensus among smokers as to the specific definition of these terms or the "official" terms for these things. The first is "tish" or sometimes "res," also "crystals," "cast off," "shed," the list goes on. 

When you grind marijuana using a grinder, it is usually the case that your grinder will contain a compartment specifically designed to catch this substance. If you look closely at a bud, you'll often notice the individual structures in the bud appear to have a dusty, sometimes slightly yellow or green, coating, usually referred to as crystals. These crystals contain an amount of the active ingredients of your strain (THC and/or CBD, though in varying proportions based on strain), and are sloughed off during the grinding process. These crystals can then be used for various purposes, but can also be smoked on their own. Be advised though, burning these crystals will almost always produce a harsher smoke compared to marijuana. 


Finally, there's res, or goop, or sometimes oil (though that's no longer accurate with the rise in popularity of concentrates). Typically not referred to as much, this is the sticky, smelly, black residue that builds up over time on and in devices used in smoking weed. You may notice as well that the butt of a smoked joint turns dark brown or black, this is a result of the same residue. This dark brown/black butt is commonly referred to as a roach. Typically you'll see that stoners who prefer joints will save their roaches as they will still contain small amounts of cut or ground marijuana that can be combined with other roaches to form a full joint.

While some smokers claim smoking this residue is just as good as smoking weed, the experience is typically rather unpleasant. Producing a foul tasting and foul smelling smoke with very limited effectiveness in terms of getting high.

While not an exhaustive list, these terms should be more than enough to get you talking like and understanding other stoners.

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