Five Cannabis Word Origins

in Culture


ShutterstockThe word “hemp” is of Germanic origins adopted into Old English. According to the Etymology Online Dictionary, “hemp” comes from the Old English word “hænep,” referring to Cannabis sativa. It originates from the Proto-Germanic word “hanapiz,” which is also the word source of the Old Saxon word “hanap,” the Old Norse word “hampr,” the Old High German word “hanaf,” and the German word “hanf.” It really goes to show how words evolve over time. It’s also related to the Dutch word “hennep.” Nowadays, of course, hemp only refers to non-psychoactive varieties of cannabis.


ShutterstockWhile countries in northern Africa use different terms, in South Africa and surrounding areas, “dagga” is commonly used to describe cannabis. Dagga is the Afrikaans word for cannabis that became widely used in the 1660s. Dagga derives from the word “dacha” in the Khoekhoe language, used by Hottentot people, and is a term used to describe cannabis and other various psychoactive plant species such as Leonotis leonurus, a smokable shrub also called lion’s tail. Today, legendary strains like Durban Poison and Malawi Gold put South Africa on the map.


ShutterstockAccording to English Words of Arabic Ancestry, the earliest known archived record of the word “hashish” is from 1598, but it has been commonly used at least since the Middle Ages. Hashish comes from “assassin,” originating from the 13th century French and Italian words “assissini” and “assassini,” and transforming from the Arabic “hashīshīn” in the 12th century. Legend has it that assassins from the Hassan-i Sabbāh sect used hashish to recruit more members by drugging themselves and others with the potent cannabis concentrate, as described in Marco Polo’s writings.


ShutterstockThe ancient Sanskrit word for cannabis is exceptionally old and dates back to the 5th century BC or 400 CE. …

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Author: Benjamin M. Adams / High Times

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