mar·​i·​jua·​na | \ˌmer-ə-ˈwä-nə, ˌma-rə- also -ˈhwä-\
variants: or less commonly marihuana

Definition of marijuana 

1 : the psychoactive dried resinous flower buds and leaves of the female hemp or cannabis plant (Cannabis sativa or C. indica) that contain high levels of THC and are smoked, vaped, or ingested (as in baked goods) especially for their intoxicating effect : cannabis

Note: Several substances (as cannabidiol) lacking psychoactive properties are extracted from the flower buds of marijuana and are used medicinally.

— compare bhang, hashish — see also medical marijuana

Examples of marijuana in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Musk's $420 buyout price led some people to wonder if the number was a reference to marijuana. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Elon Musk says he is having the most “painful year of my career”," 17 Aug. 2018 The problem stems from legal challenges over the state’s licensing process for medical marijuana. Washington Post, "Conservative states balk at voter-approved medical marijuana," 13 July 2018 What’s happening right now with marijuana reminds me of tobacco at the end of World War II. Gary Robbins,, "Consumers are being flooded with dubious claims about the health benefits of marijuana," 9 July 2018 Where else is recreational marijuana legal in New England? Matthew Ormseth,, "What To Know About Recreational Marijuana Sales in Massachusetts," 5 July 2018 In a first, America’s Food and Drug Administration approved a medicine derived from marijuana. The Economist, "Business this week," 28 June 2018 Despite its reputation as a red state, Utah voters said yes to medical marijuana. Danielle Corcione, Teen Vogue, "Three States Approved Legal Marijuana During Midterm Elections," 7 Nov. 2018 Medical marijuana has been legal in Canada since 2001, but it’s only been about four years since the first cannabis companies began to list on Canadian exchanges. Recode Staff, Recode, "Recode Daily: Inside the race to hack-proof the Democratic Party," 18 Oct. 2018 But the company rescinded the job offer after the drug test came back positive for THC, the chemical in marijuana that gets people high. Dave Collins, The Seattle Times, "New rulings on medical marijuana use go against employers," 2 Oct. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'marijuana.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of marijuana

1874, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for marijuana

Mexican Spanish mariguana, marihuana

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about marijuana

Statistics for marijuana

Last Updated

30 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for marijuana

The first known use of marijuana was in 1874

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for marijuana



English Language Learners Definition of marijuana

: the dried leaves and flowers of the hemp plant that are smoked as a drug


mar·​i·​jua·​na | \ˌmer-ə-ˈwä-nə \

Kids Definition of marijuana

: dried leaves and flowers of the hemp plant smoked as a drug


variants: also marihuana \ˌmar-​ə-​ˈwän-​ə also -​ˈhwän-​ \

Medical Definition of marijuana 

2 : the dried leaves and flowering tops of the pistillate hemp plant that yield THC and are typically smoked for their intoxicating effect — compare bhang, cannabis, hashish

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on marijuana

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with marijuana

Spanish Central: Translation of marijuana

Nglish: Translation of marijuana for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of marijuana for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about marijuana

Comments on marijuana

What made you want to look up marijuana? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


the figure or shape of a crescent moon

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Late Autumn 2018 Words of the Day Quiz

  • frosted-autumn-leaves
  • Which is a synonym of yahoo?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!