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Ganja

A Hindi term for cannabis that refers to the plant’s buds, which are meant to be smoked. The term is most commonly associated with Rastafari culture and is used in Jamaica but originates in India. 

“This ganja is fire.” 

“The best ganja I ever had was in Kingston, Jamaica.”

History of ganja 

Cannabis use in India has been documented for thousands of years. “Ganja,” originally a Sanskrit word, refers to the flowers of the cannabis plant. Some speculate it may come from the river Ganjes in North India, where wild cannabis abounds. 

The word is commonly associated with Jamaican and Rastafari communities due to cultural exchanges that occurred while Jamaica was a British colony. Thousands of indentured Indian workers were brought to Jamaica in the 19th century to supplement plantation labor once slavery was outlawed, and Indian workers brought cannabis with them. 

Rastafari culture began in Jamaica with origins as a pro-Black, anti-colonial movement, and followers use cannabis as a meditative practice to better experience the world. The term “ganja” entered the broader American lexicon as Jamaica achieved independence and with the increase in popularity of reggae musician Bob Marley. 

Is ganja cannabis? 

Yes. Ganja refers to the flowers/buds/nugs of the plant, and there are other Hindi terms to refer to the sugar leaves, seeds, and stalks. “Ganja,” like “weed” or “pot,” is a general term and does not specify a cultivar or subset.