What’s in a name? Cannabis vs Marijuana

A recent study finds what’s in a name has no bearing on support for the Legalization of Marijuana. Some legalization proponents believe it’s important to stop using the term “marijuana” and instead refer to the substance only by its scientific name, “cannabis.”

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Proponents argue, it’s better to go with the less controversial name, Cannabis, that doesn’t carry the historic baggage Marijuana does. A new study, however, suggests that reframing the drug as such doesn’t make much difference to the average person. While the origins of the name “marijuana” has several versions, it’s clear that it was  coined in the 20th century and adopted by prohibitionists.

According to a survey done by researchers at Vanderbilt University partnering with YouGov, 50.1 percent and 50.3 percent support the legalization of marijuana and cannabis, respectively.  Survey questions covered a broad range of terms and topics to get the best overall view of how participants felt about legalization.

“In each and every test, the name frame (‘marijuana’ versus ‘cannabis’) has no impact on opinion toward the drug.”

When analyzing the answers in other categories, researchers found similar results. However the study shows the name has no bearing but, public support suggests views were still more favorable legalization for medical use.

Ultimately, the authors write, their findings “undermine the notion — widely espoused by policy advocates — that abandoning the word ‘marijuana’ for ‘cannabis’ by itself will boost the prospects for reform or soften public attitudes toward the drug.”

“We find no support for the notion that changing the name of the drug from ‘marijuana’ to ‘cannabis’ affects public opinion on the drug or the policies governing it.”

NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said. “Reformers are winning the legalization debate on the strength of our core arguments — namely, the fact that legalization and regulation is better for public health and safety than is criminalization — and not because of any particular change in the lexicon surrounding the cannabis plant.”

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Calling It ‘Cannabis’ Instead Of ‘Marijuana’ Doesn’t Boost Legalization Support, Study Finds | Marijuana Moment

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