“Dope” is a slang term for cannabis, although it carries connotations of other substances. While originally popularized to describe opium, it was also associated with the use of Schedule 1 substances in the 20th century, including cannabis.  

“My mom calls it ‘dope’ but I say ‘weed.’”

History of dope

“Dope” as a term for marijuana isn’t very flattering. It rose in popularity in the 19th century as a synonym for a “fool” and also for opium during the Opium Wars in China, due to the substance’s thick texture and sedative effects. As a result, opium addicts were referred to as “dope fiends” because they were thought to constantly be in a stupor.  

By the 20th century, the negative term was used to describe any smokable illicit substance and began to be associated with cannabis around the 1950s. Nowadays it carries a positive connotation, and it can be used beyond cannabis to convey something good, i.e., “That’s dope.”

However, it can still refer to other substances, including hard drugs such as heroin, so context is important.  

Is dope cannabis?

Yes, dope is a synonym for cannabis like “pot,” “weed,” or “ganja,” and does not refer specifically to a cultivar or effects. “Dope” can unfortunately carry negative connotations as it can also refer to hard drugs which bear no resemblance to cannabis.