Drug Slang and Street Terms for Illicit Drugs

Close-Up Of Weed In Mason Jar On Table
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There are numerous slang terms and street names for illicit drugs. This drug culture has developed with its own language in which ordinary sounding words can take on entirely different meanings.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has compiled a list of more than 2,300 terms that mean something different in the drug culture—street terms that refer to specific drug types or drug activity. Slang terms used for drugs can range from humorous to clever to serious warnings.

What Is Drug Slang?

Slang terms are derived from a wide variety of sources, including the physical appearance and type of drug, geographic location, the effect it has on users, and how it's packaged for sale. Some street names for drugs are simply designed to cover up the topic of conversation and throw eavesdroppers off track.

Someone riding the wave or on the nod is under the influence of drugs. To inject drugs with a syringe is to shoot, spike, boot, or slam the drug. Someone who is bipping is snorting drugs, while a tweaker is a person on a mission to find crack cocaine (but tweek is a methamphetamine-like substance). People who are chiefing, blasting, or participating in a clam bake are smoking marijuana.

While drug slang is always evolving, there are some commonly used terms associated with different types of drugs.


There are literally hundreds of slang terms or street names for marijuana or cannabis, the most abused drug in the United States. Many terms have been derived from the source of the drug, the effect marijuana has on users or the appearance of the processed plant. But some of the street names are used simply to hide the topic of the conversation.

Some of the slang terms for marijuana combine the geographic location with the appearance of the processed plant. Some of the following marijuana names have risen to the level of "brand names" for the illegal drug.

  • Acapulco Red
  • African, African Black, African Bush
  • Afghani Indica
  • Canadian Black
  • Chocolate Thai
  • Columbus Black
  • Colombian
  • Hawaiian Homegrown Hay
  • Hawaiian Black
  • Indian Hay
  • Indian Hemp
  • Jamaican Gold
  • Jamaican Red Hair
  • Kentucky Blue
  • Kona Gold
  • Manhattan Silver
  • Mexican Brown, Mexican Green, Mexican Locoweed, Mexican Red
  • Pakistani Black, Panama Gold, Panama Red
  • Tex-Mex
  • Texas Tea

Marijuana Terms Based on Appearance

Some of the terms used to describe marijuana are based on the appearance of the processed plant. Not all marijuana appears as a green leafy substance. Some of the slang terms are based on the appearance of the flowers of the plant. These terms include: Black Gunion, Black Bart, Blue Sage, Blonde, Golden, Greens, Green Goddess, Green Buds, Leaf, Queen Ann's Lace, and Red Bud.

Slang Based on the Effects of Marijuana

Other street terms used for marijuana originated from how the drug affects users. Different kinds of marijuana can affect users in different ways and these street names reflect those different responses. Some of the terms refer to the potency of the various types of marijuana.

These terms include: Assassin of Youth, Babysitter, Crying Weed, Crazy Weed, Dinkie Dow, Giggle Weed, Giggle Smoke, Dry High, Joy Smoke, Jolly Green, Killer Weed, Laughing Grass, Laughing Weed, Love Weed, Loco Weed, Magic Smoke, Righteous Bush, Sinsemilla, and Wacky Weed.

Terms Based on Marijuana Packaging

Still other names used to refer to marijuana are based on how the drug is packaged, either at the wholesale bulk level or at the street sales level. Some of these terms are related to how users prepare the drug before smoking it. Some are alternate names for marijuana cigarettes.

These terms include: Bale, Doobie, Doobee, Doob, Dube, Finger Lid, Grass Brownies, Loaf, and Number.

Terms Based on the Word "Marijuana"

There are many other street terms that are simply alterations of the word "marijuana" itself. And then there are slang terms for marijuana that are based on alternate descriptions of the cannabis plant. These are some of the most well-known names for marijuana.

These terms include: Aunt Mary, Jane, Juanita, M.J., Mary Jonas, Mary Jane, Mary Ann, Mary and Johnny, Mary, Meggie, Megg, Meg, Mary Weaver, Mary Warner, Pot, Reefer, Rope, Tea, and Weed.

Marijuana Names Used to Deceive

Finally, there are hundreds of street names for marijuana that seem to be based on no other reason except to cover up the topic of the conversation from possible eavesdroppers. Although some of these may be vaguely based on the appearance or effects of the drug, most seem to have no other purpose except to disguise the topic being discussed.

Deceptive marijuana terms include: Ashes, Astro Turf, Bash, Bar, Bammy, Bo-Bo, Bo, Broccoli, Colorado Cocktail, Flower Tops, Haircut, Herb, Mootie, Mutha, Muggles, Rainy Day Woman, Skunk, Sticky Icky, Sweet Lucy, and Yellow Submarine.


At the peak of its use in the 1970s and 1980s, cocaine began to influence many aspects of the American culture. Glamorized in songs, movies and throughout the disco music culture, cocaine became a very popular recreational drug. Some of the street names, slang terms, and nicknames were given to cocaine during the height of its popularity have become part of the American lexicon.

Terms Based on Appearance

Cocaine begins as green leaves of the coca plant, but by the time it reaches users, it is a flaky white powder (or hard, white rocks in the form of crack cocaine). The appearance of the drug has been the basis for many of its street names or nicknames.

These include: Bernie's Flakes, Big Bloke, Bernie's Gold Dust, Big Flake, Blanca, Crack, Flake, Gold Dust, Haven Dust, Have A Dust, Icing, Line, Pearl, Paradise White, Snow White, Snowcones, Sleigh Ride, White Powder, and White Mosquito.

Terms Based on Cocaine's Cultural Influences

As the drug began to gain popularity in the 1970s, it also began to influence many areas of society, particularly the entertainment industry. Many of the slang terms that evolved into the language were the result of cocaine's influence on American culture, as well as the culture's influence on the use of the drug.

Here are some examples: All-American Drug, California Cornflakes, Dream, Double Bubble, Florida Snow, Gift-Of-The-Sun, Foo-Foo Dust, Foo Foo, Girlfriend, Gin, Gift-Of-The-Sun-God, Hunter, King's Habit, King, Love Affair, Late Night, Movie Star Drug, Pimp, Scorpion, Schoolboy, Sevenup, Studio Fuel, Star-Spangled Powder, Stardust, and Society High.

Terms Based on Geographical Origin

Some names used for cocaine are based on the geographic origin of the drug, or at least the perceived geographic origin of the drug. These include: Burnese, Inca Message, Peruvian, Perico Cocaine, Percio, Percia, Peruvian Lady, and Peruvian Flake.

Terms Based on Effects of Cocaine

More names for cocaine were derived from how the drug affects its users. The potency or the pureness of the drug also prompted many of its colorful nicknames and street names.

These include: Big Rush, Bouncing Powder, Friskie Powder, Glad Stuff, Happy Trails, Happy Powder, Happy Dust, Love Affair, Marching Powder, Marching Dust, Crack, Nose Powder, Nose Candy, Paradise, and Nose Stuff.

Cocaine Terms Based People and Characters

For most illegal drugs, some of the street names used to refer to cocaine sound like names of people, at least in part to disguise the subject of the conversation. Some of these nicknames are based loosely on the word "cocaine" while others seem to have no logical connection at all.

These include: Aunt Nora, Angie, Bernie, Bernice, Billie Hoke, Cecil, Carrie Nation, Carrie, Choe, Chippy, Charlie, Corrinne, Corrine, Henry VIII, Her, Jejo, Lady Snow, Merck, Merk, Nieve, Mujer, Schmeck, Serpico 21, and Scottie.

Plays on the Word "Cocaine"

Some of cocaine's street names are simply derivatives of the word "cocaine" itself, or plays on the word "cocaine" or "coke." For example: C, Big C, C-Game, Coke, Coconut, Coca, Cola, Lady Caine, and Mama Coca.

Purely Deceptive Street Names

Finally, there are dozens of slang terms for cocaine that seem to be based on no other criteria except that they are deceptive. These names are used by cocaine users to cover up the topic of their conversations about the drug in case they are overheard by others.

These terms include: Base, Basa, Barbs, Bazulco, Beam, Boy, Burese, Carnie, Candy C, Came, C-Dust, Cholly, Combol, Duct, Esnortiar, El Perico, Jelly, Mosquitos, Monster, Teenager, Tardust, Yesco, Yesca, and Zambi.


Some of the slang terms for heroin are based on the drug's appearance after it is cut and packaged for sale on the street. Some terms are based on the color of the drug and others on its composition.

These include: Black Eagle, Black Tar, Black Pearl, Brown Crystal, Brown Tape, Brown Sugar, Brown Rhine, Dirt, Diesel, Golden Girl, Orange Line, Red Rock, Red Eagle, Red Chicken, Salt, Spider Blue, White Stuff, White Nurse, White Junk, White Stuff, White Nurse, and White Junk.

Place of Origin

A few of the slang terms for heroin are derived from the supposed origin of the drug: Chinese Red, Mexican Mud, and Mexican Horse.

Effects of Heroin

Many of the nicknames given to heroin over the years have to do with the effect it has on the user or the quality or pureness of the drug at the street level. These include: Brain Damage, Dead on Arrival, Hard Stuff, Hard Candy, Hairy, Hell Dust, Holy Terror, Joy Flakes, Nice and Easy, Rush Hour, and Sweet Dreams.

Names Based on People and Characters

Some of the most colorful street terms are the names of people or characters loosely associated with the drug or simply because their names start with the letter H. Sometimes, there seems to be no logic at all behind the nickname.

These terms include: Aunt Hazel, Al Capone, Batman, Bart Simpson, Big Harry, Charley, Dooley, Dr. Feelgood, George, Harry, Helen, Hazel, Henry, Hombre, Pluto, Rambo, Scott, The Witch, and The Beast.

Terms Based on Packaging

Some nicknames are based on how heroin is packaged by street level dealers, either by the packaging's appearance or cost: Big Bag, Blue Bag, Blue Star, Brick Gum, and Nickel Deck.

Names Based on the Word "Heroin"

Many slang terms are plays on the word "heroin" or are mispronunciations of the word. Others are used just because they begin with the letter H. These include: Big H, Capital H, Galloping Horse, H, Good Horse, Good H, H Caps, Hayron, Hera, Horse, and Hero.

Names Based on Deception

Like street terms for other illegal drugs, many of the slang terms for heroin are used to simply disguise the true topic of the conversation to others. These include: Aries, Antifreeze, Ballot, Big Doodig, Bozo, Bonita, Bombs Away, Bull Dog, Foil, Ferry Dust, Little Boy, Noise, Reindeer Dust, Scag, Skag, Smack, and Tootsie Roll.


When prescription drugs make their way to the street to be sold for misuse or nonmedical use, they often are given street names. This is the case for depressants—barbiturates and benzodiazepines—which are medications prescribed as sedatives or tranquilizers to treat anxiety and insomnia.

Names Based on Appearance

As with many drugs and medications, nicknames are often derived from the appearance of the drug. In the case of depressants, many street names refer to the color(s) of the pills or capsules.

These include: Blue Bullets, Blue Birds, Blue Angels, Blue Tips, Blue Heavens, Blue Dolls, Blue Devil, Green Frog, Green Dragons, Marshmallow Reds, Pink Ladies, Red Bullets, Red and Blue, Rainbows, Reds, and Strawberries.

The Effects of Depressants

Another common source for the street name of a drug is the effect that it has on the user. Because barbiturates and benzodiazepines act to depress the central nervous system, many slang names for depressants refer to slowing down: Block Busters, Busters, Downer, Double Trouble, Goofers, Drowsy High, Downie, Idiot Pills, Lay Back, Stumbler, and Stoppers.

Plays on the Real Names

For depressants, one of the most common sources for nicknames comes from the real names for the medications. Many depressants street names are shortened or alternative versions of their brand names or generic medication names. For example: Barbies, Barb, Bambs, Luds, Ludes, Nimbies, Nemmies, Nebbies, Quad, Phenos, Phennies, Quas, Softballs, Seggy, Seccy, Sopers, Tuie, Tranq, Tooties, and Tooles.

Cultural or Colloquial References

Some drug names come from how, when and where they are used. Cultural references and colloquial uses can become nicknames for sedatives and tranquilizers just as they can for illicit drugs. These include: Christmas Rolls, Chorals, Dolls, Disco Biscuits, Gangster Pills, and Gorilla Pills.

People and Fictional Characters

Almost all drugs of abuse have a group of nicknames that refer to people or fictional characters. Some of them are logical uses of the name, while others don't seem to make any sense at all. The same is true for some street names of depressants: Mickey Finn, King Kong Pills, Mother's Little Helper, Mighty Joe Young, and Mickey's.

Purely Deceptive Names

Like most drug slang terms, some nicknames for depressants have origins that do not seem to make any sense at all. The names are seemingly created for no other reason than to disguise the topic of conversation. These terms include: Backwards, Coral, Joy Juice, Jellies, and Peth.


Amphetamines have a long list of slang names based on the appearance of the pills, the effect the drug has, and of course, names for deceptive purposes only.

Slang or street terms for amphetamines include: Amp, Bennie, Benz, Black and White, Black Beauties, Black Birds, Black Bombers, Black Mollies, Blacks, Blue Boy, Brain Ticklers, Brownies, Bumblebees, Cartwheels, Chalk, Chicken Powder, Christina, Co-Pilot, Coasts to Coasts, Crisscross, Cross Tops, Crossroads, Dexies, Diet Pills, Dominoes, Double Cross, Fives, Footballs, Forwards, French Blue, Head Drugs, Hearts, Horse Heads, Jam Cecil, Jelly Baby, Jolly Bean, Jugs, Leapers, Lid Proppers, Lightning, Marathons, Minibennie, Nugget, Oranges, Peaches, Pep Pills, Pink Hearts, Pixies, Rhythm, Rippers, Road Dope, Rosa, Roses, Snap, Snow Pallets, Sparkle Plenty, Sparklers, Splash, Splivins, Thrusters, Truck Drivers, Turnabout, Uppers, Uppies, Wake Ups, White, Whites, and Zoomers.


Methamphetamine also has a variety of colorful street names based on similar traits.

These terms include: Beannies, Black Beauty, Blade, Bling Bling, Blue Devils, Blue Meth, Chicken Feed, Cinnamon, Clear, Cr, Crink, Cris, Cristina, Crossles, Crypto, Crystal Meth, Desocsins, Desogtion, Fast, Geep, Geeter, Getgo, Granulated Orange, Kaksonjae, L.A. Glass, L.A. Ice, Load Of Laundry, Meth, Methlies Quik, Motorcycle Crack, Nazimeth, Pink, Pink Elephants, Po Coke, Poor Man's Coke, Redneck Cocaine, Rock, Schmiz, Scootie, Sketch, Spackle, Speckled Birds, Spoosh, Tick Tick, Trash, Wash, Work, Working Man's Cocaine, Yaba, Yellow Bam, and Yellow Powder.

Ecstasy or MDMA

Some of the most colorful slang terms are used for Ecstasy or MDMA, based on the name of the drug, effects, and appearance.

These terms include: Adam, Baby Slits, Beans, Booty Juice, Candy, Chocolate Chips, Clarity, Dancing Shoes, Decadence, Disco Biscuits, Doctor, Doves, E-Bomb, E, Egg Rolls, Essence, Happy Pill, Hug Drug, Kleenex, Love Doctor, Love Drug, Love Potion No. 9, Love Trip, Malcolm, Malcolm X, Molly, Scooby Snacks, Skittles, Slits, Smartees, Speed for lovers, Sweets, Thizz, Vitamin E, Vitamin X, Vowels, and XTC.

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  1. U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. Drug slang code words. Updated May 2017.