What do 420 and 710 mean in cannabis culture and where does the meaning originate?
Even if you’ve only dabbled in the weed community, you’re probably familiar with the phrase “420 friendly.” 420 is a famous cannabis culture slang term for marijuana consumption, referring to an afternoon smoke at 4:20pm as well as cannabis-oriented celebrations on April 20th; it has become a catch-all tag for anything involving weed consumption from looking for cannabis-friendly housing to identifying oneself as a smoker on dating apps. However, there is a newer term that’s entered the world of weed usage– 710. So, what is the difference between 420 and 710 and what do they even mean? Well, let’s break it down.
We’ve probably all heard this one before, but have we ever thought about what it really means to be 420 Friendly? Well before we discuss the dynamics of the lifestyle, let’s go over the origins of 420.
Most people have heard the story that the term 420 originated from a police code for marijuana possession or that it’s a reference to a Bob Dylan song, but in reality, it came from a group of teenagers. In the Fall of 1971, a group of five teenage Californians heard a rumor of an abandoned cannabis plant, so they would meet up after school at 4:20pm to search for it. They never did find the plant, but they did coin the term so they could discuss smoking weed without others catching on. How this went from one group of friends to a nationally recognized term was via the Grateful Dead. One of the boys had become friendly with a member of the band and had introduced the term to him.
Well, now that we’ve gone over the origins, let’s discuss what it means to be 420 Friendly. Generally it means whether someone is comfortable with smoking weed or being around others who are. It can apply to roommates and Airbnbs, meetups and events, and even dating profiles. It also is typically used as a larger term for weed use, but to others it can mean restricted to only flower products.
Unless you are an avid dab connoisseur, you probably have not heard this one. 710 Friendly specifically applies to concentrates—so dabs, vapes, distillates, live resin, and oils—and those who use them. The term’s origins are complicated and fairly unknown. The most common origin story is that it comes from old car oil caps, which had OIL spelled out, and if they were flipped upside down it read as 710. Others point to celebrity and entrepreneur Taskrok as being the originator, with industry experts saying they recall him making the first references to it in an Instagram post.
No matter where the term came from, it’s becoming more popular amongst the weed community as the products have become more common. Hash oil, the most common form of dabbing, was actually developed by the CIA back during World War II to use while interrogating war criminals. From there the market for dabs has expanded. In the 1990s there was an article published on how to extract butane hash oil, and around the same time, High Times launched the Cannabis Cup, which allowed people to show off the latest products on the cannabis market, including dabs, rigs, and much more. This increased the awareness and popularity of concentrates, which eventually brought it to its current status. Some of the most commonly found concentrates include the aforementioned dabs, oil, wax, shatter, and vape pens.
Overall, the term 710 has now started to be used as more of a blanket term for any cannabis use, rather than just flower as 420 can sometimes imply. It’s also typically a sign as to whether an event is intended more for casual users or the pros, especially since most people don’t start with concentrates.
But if most people don’t start with it, how did concentrates even become so popular as to warrant a code? Well, you can thank indoor smoking laws. These laws became a big part of the indoor dining and activity experience, which prevented people from smoking joints, pipes, and blunts. This is where concentrates come in. By figuring out that raw cannabis flower can be vaporized and stored in small, portable containers, it eliminated the issue of smoking on the go.
So with more people becoming familiar with cannabis and its culture, it makes sense that the verbiage would begin to make its way into everyday language. And as it expands, expect to start hearing more of this unique vocabulary.