When I was at school it was always dope. My mate grew it in a glass house over the road from school and got pinged by his neighbour..who happened to be John Graham. He left school soon after and AFAIK is still growing…cactus…which was his other hobby.
But we all called it dope back then.
I’ve hardly ever heard it called grass or pot except by old codgers.
Weed though is very popular now, online, and in articles elsewhere. So when and how did these terms become popular.
Marijuana¬†itself is an Anglicized corruption of¬†mariguana¬†or¬†marihuana,¬†Spanish terms for the¬†Cannabis sativa¬†plant, traditionally known in English as hemp.¬†The¬†Oxford English Dictionary¬†notes that the “currency” of¬†marijuana¬†“increased greatly in the United States in the 1930s in the context of the debate over the use of the drug, the term being preferred as a more exotic alternative to the familiar words¬†hemp¬†andcannabis.”
Most of the slang variations date to that period as well, including¬†weed. In 1929,American Speech¬†included it “Among the New Words” and defined it as “marijuana cigarette.” Three years later, the¬†OED¬†cites¬†Chicago Defender¬†as reporting, “The humble ‘reefer,’ ‘the weed,’ the marijuana, or what have you by way of a name for a doped cigarette has moved to Park Ave. from Harlem.” It doesn’t surprise me that the first author cited using the term in its currently popular manner (no¬†the¬†in front, referring to the drug in general rather than to a cigarette) was the master, Raymond Chandler: “They were looking for ‚Ä¶ a suitcase full of weed.” (The Little Sister, 1949.)
For decades,¬†weed¬†lurked in the weeds, as it were. Google’s Ngram Viewer (showing relative frequency in American printed sources) gives a rough sense that it started making its move to prominence in the early 1990s:
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