Do We Need to Stop Using the Word ‘Stoner’?
The word ‘stoner’ can be used a thousand ways to describe a thousand different people, but a quick Google search will tell you that a stoner is defined as “a person who regularly takes drugs, especially marijuana.” It is hard to disagree with that neutral statement, but being known as a stoner in the past has had many negative connotations. (Although being a stoner these days is not a bad thing!)
Even in the growing world of legal cannabis, if you were to ask many folks to describe a stoner, they would describe someone with very little ambition and drive to do well. Stoners sit on the couch and eat, playing video games. They’re useless and can’t hold down a job. They smell bad and have mangy dreadlocks. ‘Stoners’ tend to be unpopular, unless you identify as one yourself.
The origins of the word stoner are unclear, though there are a couple theories that are intriguing. One suggestion is that the term stoner comes from the Italian word stonato which means confused, foggy or bewildered. This theory suggests that when Italian Americans on the US East coast were getting into booze, they shortened the word stonato to stonat or stonad, and it’s use took off from there.
The word stoned was also used throughout the last century to describe an intoxicated state — whether inebriated by way of cannabis, alcohol, opium, heroin or any other form of ‘dope’. Back in LIFE Magazine in 1952, the phrase was being defined by jazz and bebop musicians just as we know and use it now: “Stoned: drunk, captivated, ecstatic, sent out of this world.” General understanding is that the word stoned has been used for years and years to describe a state of intoxication, first with other drugs, and now, more commonly it is recognized as being used to describe cannabis consumption.
The word used to describe consumers of cannabis matters to some, and to others it means nothing. I am a total stoner: a fit, healthy, productive, ambitious, clean, employed, dedicated member of society with goals that cannabis will help me achieve. There are folks out there who prefer to be known as cannabis enthusiasts or cannasseuers, while some people are 420-friendly. There are Ganja Girls and Bong Beauties, ganjapreneurs and cannabusiness men and women around the world. The cannabis industry is a REAL industry, and with that comes a responsibility to stoners and cannabists — keep it real, you guys. Do not let society’s expectations of typical ‘stoners’ become who you are.
Be mindful of your cannabis use, and use it to your benefit not to your detriment. Coming out as a stoner can be tricky for some, read my advice on that topic here. If you’re a pot smoking parent — and there are so many of you — check this article out. It discusses how to be a responsible cannabis consumer with children in your life. In fact, there is a lot of great advice for pet owners and the general pothead community in that article. If you’re on a journey, spiritual or otherwise, or if you want to learn more about how cannabis can help you achieve your goals, read this article and be aware of self medicating! Lastly, if you have friends or family who just don’t get it, send them the link to this feature on why stoners make the best partners, and people. The key to eradicating society’s ‘stoner = loser’ mentality is to own it and to educate others as best you can!