weed vs pot

Hash vs. Weed

Both hashish and marijuana — also called weed, pot or ganja — are parts of the cannabis sativa plant. The major difference between the two is that the term “weed” usually applies to dried pieces of the plant, mainly flower buds, while hash is a paste from resin, or sap of the plant. Hash contains a higher concentration of psychoactive chemicals.

Comparison chart

Hashish versus Marijuana comparison chart

Hashish Marijuana
Introduction Hashish, often known as “hash”, is a cannabis product composed of compressed or purified preparations of stalked resin glands called trichomes. The dried and cured flowers of a female is a preparation of the cannabis plant intended for use as a psychoactive drug and as medicine.
Legality in the U.S. Illegal under U.S. federal law Schedule 1 drug under U.S. Federal Law. Medical cannabis is legal in 29 states including the territories of Guam and Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia. 8 states have legalized recreational use. (As of November 6th, 2017)
Derivation of Cannabis plant Cannabis plant
Ingestion Smoking, eating, vaporizing Insufflation: Combustion through pipes, bongs, wraps, cigarettes etc. Vaporization through vape pens. Edibles, creams, and transdermal patches are used.
Active ingredient Tetrahydrocannabinol Tetrahydrocannabinol
Form Semi-solid or paste Dried and cured flower, hashish
Name origin Arabic America Latin American

Contents: Hash vs Weed

  • 1 Origin
  • 2 Cultivation
  • 3 Legal status
  • 4 Availability
  • 5 Benefits
  • 6 Strength
  • 7 Side effects
  • 8 Other Negative Associations
  • 9 Recent News
  • 10 References


For centuries, the cannabis plant has been used in the Americas for its psychoactive and perceived health benefits. Most recently, weed, also called marijuana or pot, has been a popular recreational drug in North America.

Cannabis was also used in other parts of the world. Users in Africa and the Middle East preferred ingesting the resin of the plant, which contains a highly concentrated dose of the psychoactive substance THC. In Arabic, hashish means “grass.”

Despite strict prohibitions on drugs of any kind, hash is widely available across Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Middle East.


In general, marijuana is a type of grass plant that grows quickly – a reason for its nickname “weed” – in tropical or subtropical climates. Buds, stems, and flowers from a mature plant are typically dried and turned into smoking weed, or pot.

To get hash from a marijuana plant, cultivators separate glandular hairs called trichomes and compress them into a dense block using heat. Looked at under a microscope, trichomes appear as clear, viscous tentacles. The resulting product resembles a sort-of marijuana sap.

Legal status

Broadly, marijuana products are illegal across the world with a few notable exceptions.

Marijuana is illegal but tolerated and openly used in Pakistan; it is also legal in the Netherlands and Uruguay. Spain and Iran allow for the cultivation of marijuana, but not the use.

In the United States, marijuana use and cultivation is illegal at the federal level, but legal with some restrictions in Colorado and Washington State.

Hashish is not specifically illegal in Pakistan, Netherlands, Uruguay, Colorado or Washington.

A number of countries and states have decriminalized marijuana use, which means that possessing a small amount is not punishable.

Some states and countries have legalized marijuana use for medical purposes. These laws do not generally distinguish between weed and hash.


Both hash and marijuana are believed to be widely available in illegal black markets around the world.

While hash is available in America, it is less popular than marijuana. Generally, the hash form of cannabis is more popular and more widely used in Europe and Asia.

In North America, hash is also called “resin,” and some drug users cultivate it from drug paraphernalia. When the marijuana plant is smoked, it leaves behind a thick black resin on pipes. That resin can be scraped off and smoked, though it does not contain as powerful a dose of THC as pure hash.


Many cultures believe that marijuana has spiritual and physical benefits. Modern scientific studies have shown that THC reduces nausea and pain associated with diseases like AIDS and cancer. THC may also aid in mediating symptoms of glaucoma.

For many, the main benefit of using marijuana is recreational, as it induces euphoria in users. Physically, it is not possible to use so much of either hash or weed that a person would overdose like with alcohol or cocaine; however, using too much of either product could lead to extreme paranoia, anxiety, and panic.

Both weed and hashish are used by medical marijuana patients to treat various symptoms, including pain, nausea, swelling, depression, and anxiety.


Because hashish contains such a high concentration of THC, much less of it is needed to attain the same high as with the plant form. Though hash may vary in quality due to its producer and the plant it came from, in general, users should moderate the amount they use to avoid negative psychoactive effects.

Side effects

Smoking marijuana does have negative effects on the body, causing tar to build up on lungs, which can cause certain types of cancer.

Both hashish and weed have similar negative effects on short-term memory. Though there is no evidence that use of either drug is physically addictive – no withdrawal symptoms result from stopping use – they are habitually addictive, causing users to feel a necessity to use out of habit.

What’s the difference between Hashish and Marijuana? Both hashish and marijuana — also called weed, pot or ganja — are parts of the cannabis sativa plant. The major difference between the two is that the term “weed” usually applies to dried pieces of the plant, mainly flower buds, while hash is a…

Pot? Weed? Marijuana? What Should We Call It?

Pot? Weed? Marijuana? What Should We Call It?

You know this already: Legal weed is coming to Illinois and that comes with a lot of questions— everything from: “Can I get a DUI?” to “When can I buy a joint?” to What’s the proper terminology for the drug?”

WBEZ listener and reader Susan Okimoto asked us that last one. Here’s what she said sparked her curiosity: “I just heard news organizations calling it weed and I was wondering what the proper term for it is. Weed almost sounds like you’re high when you’re smoking it. Cannabis sounds too medical and marijuana sounds too stiff.”

So we asked a linguist at the University of Chicago, Jason Riggle, and a historian at the University of Cincinnati, Isaac Campos, to help us dig through some of the drug’s nicknames. It turns out there are plenty (check out this list of nearly 300 marijuana slang terms compiled by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration), but we’ve narrowed it down to five for the purposes of our own sanity.

(P.S. You can submit your questions about legal weed here.)

Definition (Webster’s New World College Dictionary): 1. hemp; 2. its dried leaves and flowers, smoked, esp. in the form of cigarettes, for euphoric effects

U.S. origin: Starts to show up in U.S. newspapers in the 1890s from Mexico through the transnational press

Backstory: Marijuana, or marihuana, was the word used to describe the drug in Mexico dating back to the 1840s. It was popularized in the United States at the turn of the century, when U.S. newspapers started to publish English-language articles from Mexico, largely about crimes committed by people high on the drug. Marijuana had a “wicked reputation” in Mexico long before it did in the U.S., according to Campos, because it was associated with lower class Mexicans like soldiers or prisoners.

Should I use the term? Some avoid the word because of the argument that it was popularized in the United States to stoke anti-Mexican sentiment. But Campos argues avoiding the word erases the influence Mexican immigrants had on U.S. culture. He said the term became popular because of Mexican influence on U.S. culture, not because of a conspiracy to demonize Mexican immigrants.

Definition: 1. Hemp; 2. Marijuana or any other substance derived from the flowering tops of the hemp plant.

U.S. origin: Established in the 1700s as the scientific name of the hemp plant, from which marijuana is derived

Backstory: This is the word that Illinois lawmakers decided to use in the 600+ page law legalizing recreational marijuana and the state law legalizing medical marijuana in 2013. A lead sponsor of the recreational cannabis bill said lawmakers were uncomfortable using the word marijuana, and wanted to stick to the scientific name because of the plant’s controversial history. Several dispensaries and industry groups have also shifted toward using the word cannabis as opposed to marijuana or pot, some say to emphasize the drug’s medicinal benefits.

Should I use the term? This is the preferred term of some industry folks and lawmakers.

Definition: 1. A round vessel of any size, made of metal, earthenware, or glass, used for holding liquids, cooking or preserving food: 2. a pot with its contents; 3. potful; 4. a pot of liquor; drink; potation; 5. short for flowerpot, lobster pot, chimney pot, etc.; 6. a) chamber pot b) a toilet; 7. a) Poker, etc. all the money bet at a single time .

U.S. origin: Starts being used as a term for marijuana in the U.S. at the beginning of the 20th century; starts to take off culturally in the 1960s.

Backstory: There’s a popular theory that the word was abbreviated from the Spanish expression potación de guaya, or potion of grief, which was supposedly a glass of wine or brandy mixed with marijuana in the early 20th century, according to Riggle, though he says there’s really no evidence to prove this origin of the word pot as it’s used today. He said it also could refer to a tea pot — referencing early usages of marijuana-infused tea, though there’s little evidence to support that either.

“Basically the answer is we have no idea, so I want to call pot a mystery,” Riggle said.

Should I use the term? This seems to be a generational preference. People we spoke to agree that, at least anecdotally, it’s used more by Generation X, as opposed to young millennials or Generation Z. That’s in part supported by data from Google Books that show the use of “smoking pot” in U.S. literature starts to decline in the first decade of the 21st century.

Definition: 1. any undesired, uncultivated plant, esp. one growing in profusion so as to crowd out a desired crop, disfigure a lawn, etc.; 2. [Informal] a) tobacco b) a cigar or cigarette c) marijuana; 3. something useless; specif., a horse that is unfit for racing or breeding

U.S. origin: Starts to show up as a term for marijuana in the U.S. at the beginning of the 20th century, but used as a term for an undesirable plant as far back as the 1400s, and as a term for tobacco dating back to the 1600s.

Backstory: The term could be a shortened version of the word “locoweed,” a species of plant that grows in southwest and northern Mexico, according to historian Campos. It was often eaten by cattle or horses but had terrible effects on them. This word was sometimes used interchangeably with marijuana in late 19th century Mexico, so when stories about marijuana started to make their way to the U.S. the two plants got conflated.There’s a California bill from 1913 that aimed to criminalize the cultivation of marijuana that referred to the drug as “locoweed,” according to Riggle.

Should I use the term? Like pot, it seems to be a generational preference, this time used among young millennials as opposed to Gen Z. The use of the term “smoking weed” started to spike in U.S. literature in the first decade of the 21st century, while “smoking marijuana” and “smoking pot” started to decline.

Definition: 1. lasting a long time or recurring often; 2. having had an ailment for a long time [a chronic patient]; 3. continuing indefinitely, perpetual, constant [a chronic worry]; 4. by habit, custom, etc.; habitual; inveterate [a chronic complainer]

U.S. origin: Almost certainly popularized as a term for marijuana by the 1992 album The Chronic by Dr. Dre

Backstory: It’s unclear whether Dr. Dre’s album popularized a term that was already being used or if the album itself innovated that term, but Riggle says it’s difficult to find it being used in media or literature much before 1992. The term is associated with habitual use of potent marijuana (get it? chronic?).

Should I use the term? Some South and West side organizers in Chicago who are helping folks get into the industry say they’re using the word as a way to connect to people harmed by the war on drugs. The economic justice group Equity and Transformation is holding a series of workshops called “Chronic Conversations.”

“Some people kind of have an idea what cannabis is,” said Richard Wallace of Equity and Transformation. “But it still doesn’t speak directly to them . the word “chronic” is a great way to highlight and center the voice of our community within the discussion around cannabis.”

If the information above doesn’t change your mind about what you’ll call the drug, linguist Jason Riggle says that might just be because of your age.

“Whatever the slang was when you were in your late teens, early twenties — that’s likely going to be the slang you use for the rest of your life, aside from a few additions here and there,” he said.

But he also had a caution: Pay attention to the words major players in this new industry are using — especially if they’re choosing new words, rather than the phrases used by groups who have been most affected by the criminalization of pot.

As for news organizations, our question asker might be onto something. The Associated Press Stylebook provides these guidelines: “Use marijuana on first reference generally; pot and cannabis are also acceptable. Cannabis is the usual term outside North America. Slang terms such as weed, reefer, ganja or 420 are acceptable in limited, colloquial cases or in quotations.”

About our question asker: Susan Okimoto lives in Chicago’s North Center neighborhood with her husband and kids. She said, jokingly, she’ll draw from the expansive list of slang terms from the Drug Enforcement Administration to describe marijuana going forward.

Mariah Woelfel is a producer at WBEZ. You can follow her on Twitter at @MariahWoelfel. Illustrations are by WBEZ’s interactive producer Paula Friedrich. You can follow her on Twitter @pauliebe. This story was produced for broadcast by WBEZ’s Alyssa Edes. You can follow her on Twitter @alyssaedes.

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From a wild weed in Mexico to Dr. Dre’s iconic 1992 album, we dig into the origins of some of the drug’s nicknames.