Medical marijuana, medical weed or medical cannabis – What do you call it?

29th June 2021

We humans have used cannabis for a variety of things including industrial products such as clothing, paper and weapons. Perhaps the most influential use of the crop, though, has been as a medicine.

The cannabis plant has been around for millennia and it is one of the earliest domesticated crops, having been cultivated by humans for approximately 10,000 years – so there is no surprise that, in that time, we have developed a huge repertoire of names for the crop.

Here at Canex, we have heard a huge range of names for the humble cannabis plant, as well as medical products derived from the plant, which led us to wonder – what do our readers call medical cannabis?

Medical cannabis or medical marijuana?

Here in the UK, when we hear about the”official” medical use of the Cannabis Sativa plant – whether that be in plant form or as derivatives such as cannabinoid extracts – it is most often referred to, simply, as “medical cannabis”. However, these products are referred to in a number of different ways by the wider population.

Although the term “marijuana” is now largely considered an Americanism, it was actually only adopted by the Americans following the Mexican Revolution in the early 20th century.

Mexican immigrants of that time brought with them the use of cannabis for recreational purposes. This was quickly adopted by the American people more widely, which didn’t sit well with lawmakers. Politicians and the media soon began to refer to cannabis by its Spanish name “marihuana” in their anti-drug campaigns.


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To this day, cannabis is often referred to as recreational or medical “marijuana” in US legislation as well as in dispensaries and by users throughout the nation. Despite the source of the term, people from all over the world have also now adopted the word “marijuana” – including here in the UK.

Nonetheless, the reigning term used to describe cannabis-based medical products (CBMPs) in the UK and most of Europe is still “medical cannabis”. This class of medicines includes a diverse range of products, such as Epidyolex (a CBD-based medicine that is licensed for the treatment of epilepsy), and Sativex (a CBD:THC formulation prescribed for spasticity), as well as flower products.

Other names for medical cannabis

While “medical cannabis” and “medical marijuana” may be the most officially used terms, there are so many more names for the plant, that it is probably impossible to mention them all. But that won’t stop us from going through a few of the most common…

Medical weed – “Weed” is probably one of the most used words to refer to cannabis, especially in the UK. While this slang term is often used when referring to recreational cannabis, the word “weed” may also be applied to medical products – particularly flower-based products and whole plant extracts.

Flower¬†– Medical cannabis can come in a variety of forms, from oils and sprays to tablets and capsules. Cannabis “flower” is the term used to describe products made from the buds, leaves, and flowers of the cannabis plant. While these products may often be associated with smoking, medical guidelines in the UK ensure that they are vaporised, offering a less harmful route of administration.

Sativa and Indica РOf the three recognised varieties of cannabis plant, there are two which enjoy the most attention РCannabis Sativa and Cannabis Indica. These names refer to the species of the plant, however, in cannabis culture, they have also been used to refer to high-CBD and high-THC cannabis strains: Sativa being high-CBD products and Indica being high-THC.

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