What Does It Mean To Be A Cannabist: A Slam Or A Compliment?


Not too long ago the term “cannabist” was used as shorthand, interchangeable with “pothead,” “stoner” or even “wastoid.” Think Thurgood in Half Baked, Jeff Spicoli in Fast Times at Ridgemont High, or just about anyone in Dazed and Confused.

But just as cannabis has been mainstreamed over the last decade, weed terminology has matured as well.

Today, “cannabist” is normally used in a more positive way, as a compliment rather than an insult. In fact, during the 2010s it even became a brand name.

Here’s more than you ever wanted to know about the term.

When Someone Calls You a Cannabist

People who have wine with dinner usually just enjoy wine. But those who go further, cultivating their palate and becoming an expert on varietals and vintages, are called wine aficionados.

It works the same way for cannabis. People who take a few hits off a bong at a party, or indulge themselves at home from time to time, simply like to smoke pot. Those who develop a deep affinity for marijuana, a high level of weed expertise and a robust enthusiasm for sharing their knowledge, however, are the ones who deserve the label of cannabist.

Want to know which strain is best to help with your back pain? Whether you should be buying Indica or Sativa to celebrate the end of final exams? The difference between early and late harvest products? A cannabist will have the answers.

He or she will also be able to tell you how (and why) to decarb your plant before baking brownies, how to collect resin and make hash, and the best type of lights to use for an indoor grow.

Honestly, there are still those who don’t use the term in a positive vein. A person who makes a show of checking out their buds with magnifying glasses or microscopes, or who talks virtually non-stop about weed (and nothing else) day and night – someone commonly referred to as a weed geek – may also be called a cannabist by those who just want to get high in peace.

In general, however, the word cannabist is a compliment. So much so, that it was adopted by a reputable news organization for its extensive coverage of marijuana-related stories.

The Cannabist

A man smoking marijuana in a dark background

Shortly after Colorado became the first state in America to legalize weed in 2013, Denver’s largest newspaper, the Denver Post, started a website completely devoted to cannabis news and issues. Fittingly, it named the online publication “The Cannabist.”

The site became a powerful resource not just for Coloradans, but for all pot enthusiasts. Reporters covered a wide range of stories, from medical marijuana breakthroughs to analysis of THC levels in products sold in the state. The same journalistic standards applied to regular news coverage at the Denver Post were used at The Cannabist, resulting in balanced and professional coverage of both consumer and industry issues.

However, the financial woes that have hit all major newspapers took its toll on the website, with its dedicated staff laid off. The Cannabist is now a site that primarily accumulates marijuana news from a large number of sources. However, it remains a valuable resource site on topics including pot culture, recipes, and reviews – and is still deserving of its name.

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