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?

Drug slang is often defined as

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 from possible eavesdroppers.

Common Drug Slang

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.

Marijuana

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

Appearance-based terms:

  • Black Bart, Black Gunion
  • Blue Sage
  • Blonde
  • Golden
  • Greens, Green Goddess, Green Buds
  • Leaf
  • Queen Ann's Lace
  • Red Bud

Effects-based terms:

  • Assassin of Youth
  • Babysitter
  • Crying Weed
  • Crazy Weed
  • Dinkie Dow
  • Dry High
  • Giggle Weed
  • Giggle Smoke
  • Joy Smoke
  • Jolly Green
  • Killer Weed
  • Laughing Grass, Laughing Weed
  • Love Weed
  • Loco Weed
  • Magic Smoke
  • Righteous Bush
  • Sinsemilla
  • Wacky Weed

Packaging-based terms:

  • Bale
  • Doob, Doobie, Doobee, Dube
  • Finger Lid
  • Grass Brownies
  • Loaf
  • Number

Word-based terms:

  • Aunt Mary, Mary Ann, M.J., Mary Jane, Mary Jonas, Mary Ann, Mary and Johnny, Mary, Mary Warner, Weaver
  • Meggie, Megg, Med
  • Jane, Juanita
  • Pot
  • Reefer
  • Rope
  • Tea
  • Weed

Marijuana Names Used to Deceive

  • Ashes
  • Astro Turf
  • Bash
  • Bar
  • Bammy
  • Bo-Bo, Bo
  • Broccoli
  • Colorado Cocktail
  • Flower Tops
  • Haircut
  • Herb
  • Mootie
  • Muggles
  • Mutha
  • Muggles
  • Rainy Day Woman
  • Skunk
  • Sticky Icky
  • Sweet Lucy
  • Yellow Submarine

Cocaine

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.

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.

  • Blow
  • Coca
  • Coke
  • Crack
  • Big Flake, Flake
  • Peruvian, Peruvian Lady, Peruvian Flake
  • Snow, Snow White, Florida Snow
  • Soda Cut

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.

Some names used for cocaine are based on the geographic origin of the drug, or at least the perceived geographic origin of the drug.

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
  • Crack
  • Friskie Powder
  • Glad Stuff
  • Happy Trails, Happy Powder, Happy Dust
  • Love Affair
  • Marching Powder, Marching Dust
  • Nose Powder, Nose Candy, Nose Stuff
  • Paradise

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
  • Mujer
  • Nieve
  • Schmeck
  • Scottie
  • Serpico 21

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."

  • Big C, C-Game, C
  • Coke, Cola
  • Coconut, Coca, Mama Coca
  • Lady Caine

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
  • Zambi

Heroin

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:

  • Big H, Capital H
  • Black Eagle, Black Pearl, Black Tar
  • Chiva
  • Hell Dust
  • Horse, Galloping Horse, Good Horse, Mexican Horse
  • Negra
  • Smack
  • Thunder
  • White Stuff, White Nurse, White Junk

Depressants

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

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

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.