Difference Between Weed and Pot

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


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

Key Takeaways

  1. Weed and pot are slang terms for marijuana, a psychoactive drug derived from the cannabis plant.
  2. “Weed” is more commonly used in the United States, while “pot” is more common in Canada and the United Kingdom.
  3. Both terms can be considered derogatory or offensive in certain contexts, and using the scientific name for the drug is generally more appropriate.

Weed vs Pot

“Weed” and “pot” are interchangeable terms used to refer to the dried leaves, flowers, and stems of the cannabis plant, which can be smoked, vaporized, or ingested to produce a range of effects. They are slang terms not commonly used in medical or legal contexts. Cannabis use and possession are illegal in some countries and states and subject to various laws and regulations in others.

Weed vs Pot

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

The most seminal difference between the two is the formality of each term’s usage concerning the drug.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonWeedPot
Kind of UsageThe term ‘weed’ is commonly used 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 ‘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 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?

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

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

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 and 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 horrendous effects of chemotherapy.  

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


What is Pot?

‘Pot’ is common slang for 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 and for recreational purposes.

The Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC found in the pot (as well as weed) accounts for the pain reduction function 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 ‘smoking pot’ phase instead of ‘smoking weed’.

Pot consumption produces hallucinations and several other bodily effects, including -but not limited to the 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 for 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 its origin back 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 older generation prefers the term ‘pot’, the term ‘weed’ is the preferred term of reference used for cannabis by the younger generation. The so-called Gen X prefers ‘pot’ over ‘weed’. While Gen Z, or the younger 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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