Sociology of potheads Essay
Potheads have been around for generations but they didn’t really become a big part of
society until the late 1960’s with the arrival of the hippies. It is still a part of society whether
people like it or not. These potheads share similar views and norms therefore can be seen as a
subculture in today’s society. From the way they dress, their lingo and the music they listen to
they all share similar ways of life and see things in the same light. People may not like what they
do but they don’t care, they just want to get high.
Marijuana use goes back almost to the beginning of human existence and has been found
in many different ancient cultures. It has been used for many different reasons such as medicinal
and religious purposes but has never really been used by a large number of people. That is until
the hippies hit the scene in the late 60’s. The hippies were the first real potheads as defined by
today’s standards. They smoke weed for the enjoyment of it and did not care for much else. They
felt free and happy. The hippies of the 60’s are gone but the potheads live on in our world today.
A pothead is a person that smokes marijuana for recreational purposes. They are seen as
slackers because of their careless attitudes towards society and it’s issues. Their main focus in life
seems to just get high and have a good time. They do many things that normal people do like
going to school and having a job but they also share different values that make them different
from others in society. They may not all have exactly the same ideas and beliefs but much of them
are similar but when it comes to issues that involve marijuana their views are almost always the
I followed some potheads around for a day to get an idea of how they lived their lives.
The slacker term used to describe potheads seems to fit pretty well because they slept most of the
day and didn’t really do much else, unless they had work or school and even then they only
seemed to go to school half of the time. They would just sit around the house and watch t.v. or
play video games. Finally one of them suggested smoking a “bowl”, which is a pipe used for
smoking weed out of. Their eyes seemed to widen with joy. They sat around taking turns until
each was pretty high. Then it was back to sitting on the couch or playing video games, except
then they seemed to be enjoying it a lot more then they had been before. They would laugh
uncontrollably sometimes and talk about the most random, stupid, pointless things. Much of the
talk also seemed to be about the weed and how they were gonna get high at a party later that
night. After some time they all appeared to get hungry and as I am told this is called “getting the
munchies”. They all went into the kitchen and just started eating everything they could get their
hands on. After the feeding frenzy it was back to doing nothing. They basically did nothing the
rest of the day except after their high started wearing off they smoked again. I basically thought I
was in the movie Half Baked, which is a comedy about a group of friends that are potheads and
an adventure they have.
Other then their obvious love for television and video games they do actually do some
constructive things. A lot are in to making necklaces out of hemp, which is a relative to the
marijuana plant. They make very elaborate necklaces using different kinds of beads or shells. This
has to be something only potheads do because I have never seen a person that makes these kinds
of necklaces that doesn’t smoke pot. The hemp necklace can be found on alomost all true
These potheads even seem to have their own lingo. Many of them talk like the
stereotypical “surfer dude”, “air head” guys seen in movies. They use words like “dude” or
“awesome”. I asked a group of potheads I knew, who want to stay anonymous, some different
sayings they and their friends use. When the weed is good it is called “cruche” (short for crucial),
“dank” or as one said “it’s totally fantastic, borderline spectacular.” To describe being high they
say things like, “We was blunted.”, or “I’m weeded like a champ.” Potheads also have different
names for kinds of marijuana, much like the Eskimos have many different names for the different
kinds of snow. Big balls of weed are called “nugs” because they look like nuggets of marijuana.
The way the potheads seem to dress is a mixture between hippie, skater, surfer and prep.
They usually use a combination of those different styles. They can be seen wearing Birkenstock
sandals, like the hippies; surfboarding shorts and either a shirt from Abercrombie & Fitch or
American Eagle. Tye Dye shirts are also popular among potheads, a throw back to the hippie days
as well. The clothing is tied in with a necklace made out of hemp and different beads, like the ones
they enjoy making. Whatever combination they may wear the clothing always tends to be baggy
and has a sloppy look to it.
The music they listen too can also vary, but that can vary in any culture as well. The big
preferences seem to be alternative music and rap music. Most if not all, at least the ones I know,
listen to The Dave Mathews Band and Bob Marley. They see these two groups as good to listen
to when they are high because they “mellow you out.”
Potheads do not view themselves as being bad or going against social norms that we have.
They just enjoy getting high and having a good time, they have a very carefree attitude towards
many things. Many also do believe that they are slackers but they don’t care, they enjoy being
slackers. It seems like they believe what they do is just normal and they see nothing wrong
with it. One said ” It’s not like we are going out and hurting other people, if we choose to ruin
our lungs then that should be our own business.”They think that the drug should be legalized
because it is no different then alcohol and they also believe that it would lower the crime rate in
America if it was sold commercially. They just want to be excepted by everyone else and not
looked at as criminals.
Society does not share the same feelings that the potheads do. Drugs and those who do
drugs are bad. It is taught to us throughout our lives, starting in school. They are seen as deviants,
going against societies norms and values. They are seen as lazy people who do nothing productive
in their lives. To many it is a growing problem with the youth of our country, people want the
drug use to be stopped. Marijuana is an illegal substance in the United States therefore potheads
are breaking the law every time they buy weed or get high. It is also believed by some that
smoking marijuana is a gateway to the use of stronger drugs like cocaine or heroin. Potheads
don’t agree with that, they say they just smoke weed and would never attempt to do any other
drugs like cocain. Society feels that if they can get rid of these slackers then our society would be
a better place to live in.
Potheads may be made up of people from many different ethnic or religious backgrounds.
They may come from different walks of life or economic backgrounds but they do share common
ideas and views. That is what brings them together as a subculture. They enjoy getting high
together and having a great time. Society doesn’t like them but they just don’t care, they are
happy being who they are and no one is going to stop that.