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Understanding Ganja


Ganja is central to Rastafarianism.

Both a religion and social movement, Rastafarianism values ganja as a gift from Jah to use during community gatherings of music, prayer, and discussions.

Rastafarianism grew in Jamaica in the 1930s in response to social and economic crisis. It’s an Afrocentric movement and some members call for the African diaspora to collectively return to Africa.

Bob Marley is a Rastafarian reggae musician who rose to fame and made mainstream the connection between ganja and Rastafarianism.

The Etymology of Marijuana: Where Did the Word Come From?

The etymology itself of marijuana is complex and can be traced very far back!

“Marijuana” was coined in Mexico in 1840 to refer to cannabis.

One theory is that it sounds like “Maria Juana” which is derived from the word mariguan, which is a psychoactive plant in Mexico.

It may also be traced back to the word used to describe hemp used by Chinese laborers when working in Mexico. This word can potentially be traced back to Semitic words for the plant marjoram.

It also relates to Mexican slang words used to refer to cannabis, mejorana Chino.

Other examples worldwie abound of words and terms that all sound like marijuana.

The term “marijuana” carries a lot of political weight. It now has a connection to being utilized against Mexican immigrants to claim that they bring “marijuana” to the United States and are therefore dangerous people.

Some people believe that the term should be antiquated because of its political connotations, whereas others believe that it’s important to respect the etymology of the term- which carries with it a rich history of the cannabis plant.

How Did Ganja Arrive in Jamaica?

In 1494, Christopher Columbus conquered the Taino people, native to Spain. It was colonized by Britain in the 1650’s, and by then most of the Taino people had been killed by diseases and slavery.

Between the 1650’s and mid-1800’s, the British brought slaves to Jamaica from West Africa to work on sugar plantations. Slavery continued in Jamaica long after it was abolished, and eventually there was a mass slave rebellion- eventually leading to emancipation in 1838.

Post-rebellions, the plantation owners now had a lot of work and no one to do it- so they began to recruit East Indian indentured servants.

Laborers from East India brought cannabis seedlings to Jamaica, hence its arrival!

Where to Find Ganja?

The Health Center serves recreational and medical users at two Denver locations and one Boulder location.

Different cannabis products have different effects. The levels of THC and other cannabinoids, the terpene profiles, the strain, the consumption method, and more can all impact how a product will affect you.

This means that you actually need to know a lot about cannabis if you want to find a product with a particular goal in mind.

Our staff is highly trained (and experienced!) and love spending their days talking about their favorite plant. Come stop by and we’ll make sure you get matched with the right product!

And if you can’t swing a hello, you can still shop our extensive selection online!

Exploring Rastafarianism: An Overview

Rastafarianism is a religious and social movement that grew in Jamaica starting in the 1930’s. There isn’t a particular figure who is in charge of the movement, and the members of the movement are quite diverse.

Rastafarians interpret the Bible as monotheistic with a belief in Jah, a God who is found within every person. This belief of Jah living within every person translates to an ethic of treating each person as though they are holy.

For many, Haile Selassie- an Etheopian emperor- is believed to be a Jah incarnate, but other followers of the movement view him as a regular human prophet.

Rastafarianism is Afrocentric, and a lot of Rastafarians call for the African diaspora to resettle in Africa, aka the Promised Land.

Rastafarians have communal meetings called groundations which include music, talks, chanting, and smoking marijuana. The cannabis is meant to form a greater sense of unity and help members connect to a higher power.

Rastafarians focus on what they believe to be living naturally, which includes an ital (vegetarian) diet and having dreadlocks.

Rastafarians often face many stereotypes, so it’s vital to be educated to avoid perpetuating harmful beliefs. Plus, it’s just important to learn about different types of people- period!

What is the origin of Rastafarianism?

The origin of Rastafarianism was within underprivileged Afro-Jamaican people in Jamaica in the 1930s.

Rastafarianism was inspired by the Back-to-Africa movement and Ethiopianism, both endorsed by Black nationalism.

Part of the purpose of the movement was to fight the existing dominant British culture.

The birth of Rastafarianism can be traced back to when some Protestant clergymen began to proclaim that Haile Selassie- Emperor of Ethiopia- was the fulfillment of a prophecy in the Bible. This happened in the 1930s.

By the time it was the 1950s, Rastafarians were staunchly countercultural and found themselves at odds with Jamaican mainstream society. This sometimes even resulted in fights with police.

In the 60s and 70s, Jamaica started to accept Rastafarianism as it became more mainstream via reggae music- and perhaps most importantly, with Bob Marley.

Rastafarians and Weed

Cannabis is widely referred to as ganja by Rastafarians. Ganja is believed to be a gift from Jah in its healing, meditational, and spiritual aspects.

This belief can be traced back to a specific biblical interpretation, wherein tree leaves are seen to be healing.

Ganja is used during communal gatherings to encourage spiritual awakenings and group unity. These gatherings include praying, discussions, and music.

What is the connection between Reggae and Marijuana?

The connection between reggae and cannabis is strong enough to be well-known on a mainstream level.

Reggae music is from Jamaica, where cannabis is consumed commonly. In addition, raggae music was particularly popular within movements that also coincidentally happened to be cannabis-friendly.

Bob Marley is perhaps the most famous reggae musician in the world, and he was a Rastafarian. As discussed throughout the article, Rastafarians have a divine connection with cannabis.

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