We’ve all heard the word “stoner” used to describe someone. Typically it is used to refer to someone who is laid back and frequently smokes weed—perhaps to the point of having no ambition. But what do we know about where the word comes from, and how it’s used?

Stoner Meaning

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Photo credit: Ryan Mannie via Flickr

Just as there are different terms for “marijuana,” there are different interpretations of the term “stoner”. Many people use the term to refer to someone who habitually smokes weed, but some people who object to any drug use might refer to someone who smoked weed once as a stoner. Also, according to the Merriam Webster dictionary, a stoner is a person who “habitually uses drugs or alcohol”. Some use it to describe a lifestyle—people whose sole purpose seems to be using drugs and avoiding responsibility, while others see highly ambitious career-oriented recreational smokers as stoners. To some, stoners and hippies are interchangeable, while to others there are clear differences between the two. Some “stoners” may also prefer the term “marijuana enthusiasts” (not to be compared to how bartenders like being called “mixologists”—uh?)

Generally, the term doesn’t refer to people who use hard drugs—it is almost exclusively used to refer to marijuana users. Medical marijuana users also don’t generally fall under the term “stoner” either. Of course, this doesn’t cover those cannabis lovers who claim they have a prescription, but use the plant recreationally, much like a typical “stoner”.

Stoner Stereotypes

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Depending on your relationship to marijuana, “stoner” can either hold a positive or negative connotation. Some people are concerned that the term is followed by negative stereotypes, such as the sluggish, tie-dye t-shirt wearing hippie who rambles about UFOs or conspiracies and listens to Bob Marley on his front lawn. This stereotype is of course true if you know the guy above, but it is often far from the truth. Stoners are also entrepreneurs, mothers, CEO’s, celebrities, politicians—the list goes on.

Stoner History

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Photo credit: Leah Grace via Flickr

It seems that no one is sure about where the term “stoner” comes from. There is speculation across the web that the term reflects the physical condition of someone who has been “physically stoned”—as in stoned with actual rocks. There is also a theory that the word derives from the Italian word, “stonato/confuso,” which means “confused, foggy or bewildered.” Although there is no concrete etymology for either claim, at least we know that “getting stoned” is one way to refer to smoking weed, naturally making one who gets stoned, a stoner. Let’s just spark a joint and leave the stone throwing to the confused Italians at the dawn of the 20th century, alright?

Stoners in Culture

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Photo credit: lindseo via Flickr

Regardless of the ambiguity of the term’s origin and meaning, there are many celebrities who have merged their stoner and celebrity status into hilarious (and sometimes unfortunate) films. This includes dynamic duos Cheech and Chong, as well as Jay and Silent Bob. We also love the relationship between the hilarious Seth Rogen and James Franco, who showcase their marijuana enthusiasm in Pineapple Express (2008) alongside co-stars Danny McBride and Craig Robinson. Unsurprisingly, frequent marijuana users Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa star in stoner film Mac & Devin Go to Highschool (2012).



Header photo credit: Prensa 420 via Flickr