MMJ_THC

I need to know if the word “marijuana” is offensive or not, so I can stop fighting with my friends. - Sem Antiks

This is a great question worthy of some discussion. The word “marijuana” is beloved by many in cannabis culture. “Mary Jane” (that’s marijuana in English) gave Rick James a hit song. “Merry Jane” is the name of Snoop Dogg’s canna-centric website. There is a hip-hop band named “Los Marijuanos.” The word “marijuana” is embedded deep into the everyday lexicon of the cannabis user. Thing is: The word “marijuana” has racist origins.

Harry Anslinger, racist prohibitionist and father of the movement to make cannabis use into a crime, had this to say about weed: “There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the U.S., and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz and swing result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others.” Make that racist and sexist.

Anslinger used the word “marijuana” to make cannabis – which was used in a variety of over-the-counter medicines before prohibition – seem more exotic and vaguely Mexican in order to drum up support for his racist dreams of prohibition. It worked. Not only did he succeed in making cannabis illegal, cannabis law enforcement became a tool to enforce systemic racism and imprison people of color.

Now, as cannabis becomes increasingly legal, many would like to phase out the term “marijuana” because they say it feeds a negative stigma. Changing popular language is an uphill climb, but worth the effort. Language is forever changing.

Is there anything you’d recommend smoking that has minimal bad effects on COPD, or are edibles my only option? - @rudyreber (via Twitter)

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease covers a variety of lung ailments, from chronic bronchitis to emphysema. It’s generally caused by irritation and inflammation in the lungs. Cannabis is an anti-inflammatory medicine, but smoking weed (or anything, for that matter) is definitely a lung irritant. I am not a doctor, but: available research recommends people with COPD avoid smoking anything. I would advise everyone to moderate their smoked cannabis intake, lay off the tobacco and eat an edible once in awhile. I hope you feel better soon.

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