Slang terms for substances like coke are usually pretty straightforward - snow, sleet, ice, etc. Anything white, really. However, marijuana slang names are as random as they are plentiful. Sure, sometimes they make sense - when referring to color or the effect they have - but there are some pretty weird slang terms out there that, seriously, only stoners could come up with. While they aren't exactly the word-smiths of today, coming up with slang like “a rock-bottom pirate,” to describe the cringe-worthy combination of nutmeg, alcohol, and opiates, certainly takes a certain level of drug-induced creativity.
Old slang words for drugs, especially those from the 1920s through the 1960s, encompass a variety of barbiturates, bootleg liquor, and of course marijuana and cocaine. Collected here are just some of the many old drug slang words scattered throughout history.
A "jazz cigarette" was a slang term referring to marijuana cigarettes, or ‘joints’ back in the 1920s. Jazz cigarettes were actually commonly sold in jazz clubs (hence the name) and, much like the music played, they provided the illusion of a slower sense of time. Plus, with a stoned audience, musicians felt like they could improvise with more confidence.
LSD was pretty much embedded into the counterculture of the 1960s, and since it’s often sold on paper squares, inside gelatin, or dropped on sugar cubes, many of its slang terms are rooted in its appearance. "Smiley tab" refers to LSD stamps, which are basically a tablet of the hallucinogen with a smiley face on it.
"Ludes" was the lazy 1970s term for Quaaludes. Since the drug is a sedative-hypnotic, its users probably couldn't muster up the energy to say the full word and just slurred "ludes" instead.
The 1940s should really get an award for all the amazing marijuana terminology it spawned. In 1943, TIME published its first full article about "the weed," and as if calling it "the weed" weren't fabulous enough, they came out with a pretty impressive list of pot slang. "Giggle Smokes" was among the most accurate in describing the direct cause-and-effect relationship the substance has, plus it's the most catchy.