The History of the Word 'Weed' with David Bienenstock

Grammar Girl joins David Bienenstock, co-host of "Great Moments in Weed History," to talk about the origin and evolution of weed terminology in this bonus episode for Stitcher Premium.

Mignon Fogarty
12-minute read

GG: That's great. We missed April—we were trying to set this up, but we didn't get it in on time for April. But if I know my listeners, one thing they're wondering is why weed is associated with the number 420. That's a question I've been asked many times before. Do you know the answer?

DB: Do I know the answer!? We did an entire episode of “The Great Moments in Weed History” podcast on this very story because it's a fascinating story about how these things can spread, and in this case, completely through the underground and in a pre-internet era. It started with a very small group of friends in northern California who were meeting at 4:20 everyday for a very limited period of time to enjoy some cannabis and go on an adventure together. And the story of how it spread from there all the way up to 420-friendly roommates and now this big national day of celebration is a long and winding and hilarious and heartfelt and very endearing story and maybe if your listeners are so inclined, maybe they'd want to hear us talk about it for an hour and smoke weed and have a few laughs while we do.

GG: Okay. So, yeah. Listeners, you can check out that full episode on “Great Moments in Weed History with Bean and Abdullah”—or is it “Abdullah and Bean”?

DB: It's “Abduella and Bean,” but we're pretty relaxed guys.

GG: I imagine. Well, weed—I'll call it "weed" like you—was legalized in my state, Nevada, within the last year, and I know that sales have already dramatically exceeded expectations and there are movements across the country to legalize it in other states. So I imagine we will be hearing a lot more about it in the next few years, so I'm so glad to have these stories of all the different words we can use to refer to this plant that is spreading in acceptability across the nation. Thank you so much for being here David. And again, everyone check out “Great Moments in Weed History.”

DB: It was absolutely my pleasure.

GG: Thank you listeners for subscribing to Stitcher premium. I'm Mignon Fogarty better known as Grammar Girl. That's all! Thanks for listening.

Thanks again to David, and thank you for listening. You can find the entire back catalogue of Grammar Girl episodes on Stitcher Premium. And if you want to find the articles, essentially transcripts, to go with them, you can find most of those at quickanddirtytips.com.


About the Author

Mignon Fogarty

Mignon Fogarty is the founder of Quick and Dirty Tips and the author of seven books on language, including the New York Times bestseller "Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing." She is an inductee in the Podcasting Hall of Fame, and the show is a five-time winner of Best Education Podcast in the Podcast Awards. She has appeared as a guest expert on the Oprah Winfrey Show and the Today Show. Her popular LinkedIn Learning courses help people write better to communicate better.