Difference Between Weed and Pot

Marijuana is the more formal connotation used for the drug, while both ‘weed’ and ‘pot’ are informal terms of reference.

While ‘pot’ is often used by the older generation to denote cannabis, the younger generation prefers the term ‘weed’ to reference the same substance.

Weed vs Pot

The difference between ‘weed’ and ‘pot’ is that while the former is associated with cannabis as a standard term of reference, the latter is often only used as slang to connote the same intoxicant.

Weed vs Pot

‘Weed’ is considered to be a standard referential term for marijuana, but ‘pot’ is a slang used in colloquial speech to connote the substance.

The most seminal difference between the two is in terms of the formality of usage each term has with respect to the drug.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonWeedPot
Kind of UsageThe term ‘weed’ is used commonly as a generic term to connote cannabis or marijuana.The term ‘pot’ is commonly used as a slang for cannabis or marijuana.
Alternative MeaningsThe alternative meaning of the word ‘weed’ is ‘unsolicited foliage or undergrowth’.The alternative meaning of the term ‘pot’ is a ‘large earthen or metallic vessel’.
Origin of the TermThe term ‘weed’ seems to have originated from the word ‘locoweed’.The term ‘pot’ seems to have originated from the Spanish term “potiguaya” meaning ‘cannabis leaves’.
Historical UsageThe term came to be associated with cannabis in the US during the early years of the 20th century.The term ‘pot’ came to be associated with cannabis in the US during the 1960s.
Preference and Popularity of the Term‘Weed’ is the preferred term of reference among the younger millennials.‘Pot’ is popular as a term of reference among the older generation.

What is Weed?

The term ‘weed’ is often used as a generic term of reference to connote marijuana.

The term originated in the US from ‘locoweed’ meaning a certain species of unwanted plants commonly found in the Northern and Southwestern regions of Mexico.

Weed is procured from the female Cannabis Sativa plant. The intoxicant produced from the dried flower of the plant is used as a psychoactive drug as well as a medicinal substance.

In some countries around the world, both these uses are sanctioned by law, while in some others the latter is recognized while the former is prohibited.

Weed prescriptions are needed to consume the drug legally. Consumption of the drug has shown improvements in patients with glaucoma and has also been effective in assuaging the nauseating effects of chemotherapy.  

The term ‘weed’ came to be associated with marijuana during the early 20th century in the US. It still holds sway as a preferred term for marijuana among the older generation of users.


What is Pot?

‘Pot’ is a common slang used to connote the same intoxicant drug- cannabis. The word originates from the Spanish word “potiguaya” which translates to literally ‘cannabis leaves’.

Like ‘weed’, ‘pot’ is used both as a palliative medicine as well as for recreational purposes.

The Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC found in pot (as well as weed) accounts for the pain reduction function that the drug is usually prescribed for.

The term came to be used to connote marijuana in the 1960s. It gained currency as a novel pop-cultural nomenclature for marijuana during this period. Millennials still prefer the phase ‘smoking pot’ instead of ‘smoking weed’.

Consumption of pot produces hallucinations and several other bodily effects including -but not limited to- hastening of the user’s heart rate, mood alterations, reduction of blood pressure levels,

and in extreme cases it may lead to complete blackouts and memory loss. Studies that examine the long term consequences of using the drug have mostly been inconclusive.


Main Differences Between Weed and Pot

  1. The main difference between weed and pot is that the former is used as a standard term to refer to cannabis or marijuana, while the latter is used as slang to reference the same substance. 
  2. The next difference between the two can be noted in terms of the origin of each term. While the word ‘pot’ originated from the Spanish term “potiguaya” meaning ‘cannabis leaves’, the term ‘weed’ is often said to trace back its origin to the word “locoweed”.
  3. The third difference between the two can be noted when the historical trajectories of both terms are assessed. The term ‘pot’ started to be used as a term of reference for cannabis during the 1960s in the United States, while the term ‘weed’ came to be associated as a generic term for cannabis during the first part of the 20th century.
  4. Another difference between the two can be noted in terms of the popularity and preference of each of these terms. While the term ‘pot’ is preferred by the older generation of people, the term ‘weed’ is the preferred term of reference used for cannabis by the younger generation. The so-called Gen X prefers the term ‘pot’ over ‘weed’. While Gen Z or the younger group of millennials prefer the term ‘pot’ over ‘weed’.
  5. The alternative meanings of each term are also quite contrary to the other. Apart from their association with cannabis, the words ‘pot’ and ‘weed’ mean different things. ‘Pot’ can be used to refer to a ‘large vessel made of diverse materials’. Similarly, apart from its informal association with cannabis, the term ‘weed’ can also mean ‘undesirable foliage’.
Difference Between Weed and Pot


  1. https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=i6kwDwAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PA1&dq=weed+vs+pot&ots=E–CzMKvgA&sig=UproEEFY5uzzNrc9JR7nL3B3wBU
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0165614716301857
  3. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1526590018307351
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