The Devil’s Lettuce: A Look at Verbal Culture on Marijuana

Mary Jane, cannabis, reefer, pot, weed, grass, ganja, and green t-shirt are all slang terms for marijuana. The newest slang phrase for marijuana is the Devil’s Lettuce. The Devil’s Lettuce is used amongst the latest generation. The Devil’s Lettuce has created some humor to the drug culture, because the phrase itself does not seem to have any association with marijuana.

The informant that I chose had to be a dear, close friend of mine. The informant’s name is Charnise Mayes, and she is twenty-one years old. She currently attends Loyola Maramount University in Los Angeles, CA with a major in Fine Arts, and a minor in Psychology.

She is of French, Native American, Hawaiian, and African-American ethnicity. The interview took place in the park adjacent to Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, CA on January 21 2017.

According to Charnise, the context of the Devil’s Lettuce appears amongst teens to older adults, and also among the religious community of Christians and Catholics. The reason she states that it might be brought up in the religious community is because marijuana is a representation of evil and sin.

Heartbrak kid devils lettuce

The topic of the Devil’s Lettuce first appeared in the 2007 summer hit The Heartbreak Kid, starring Ben Stiller and Carlos Mencia. Stiller portrays a man named Eddie, a sporting goods owner, alone in the world after all the women he has dated are married. Eddie is afraid of commitment, and decides to overcome the fear. So as he walked down the street, he runs into a woman that would be his future wife, after only six months of dating.

For their honeymoon, the newlyweds decide to travel to Mexico, where the wife suffers from terrible sunburn from rubbing massage oil on her body instead of sun block. Eddie decides to go to the restaurant, and have dinner alone.

There, he runs into a love interest named Miranda, who is on vacation with her family. As Eddie and Miranda converse, the two travel to the beach and start to smoke marijuana. Martin, the cousin of Miranda, catches her and Eddie smoking and forces Miranda back to the hotel room. As they start to walk away Martin says, “[s]mells like ya’ll been hitting the Devil’s lettuce” (IMBD).

Since the debut of that film, I started calling marijuana the Devil’s Lettuce. Eventually, all my friends and family member started saying that. The last occasion the Devil’s Lettuce came up, Charnise and I were in her waiting at a red light. While we were on our way to another friend’s house, an adjacent car pulled up on the driver side with the windows down. Charnise and I looked at each other because we inhaled what we believed to be the Devil’s Lettuce.

Charnise’s interpretation of the Devil’s Lettuce is that to be marijuana. She also believes that the function of using phrase is being incognito to the mainstream society that cannot readily identify what it means.
She continues to say it could be a way to expand vocabulary, instead of using the same cliché slang terms. She begins to say that it could be a code for bypassing official authority, if they are present.

devils lettuce

But it would probably be used in a different context. She gives an example by saying, “we are having the Devil’s Lettuce for breakfast, brunch, lunch, linner, and dinner. And we cannot forget snack time” (Mayes).

My interpretation of the Devil’s Lettuce means to me is its intended meaning and/or definition. There is no other connotation that could be linked to that phrase. But the use of the phrase is all based on demographics.

The demographics of age, sex, and location are called into question. It is based on what you identify yourself with. David Crystal, author of The Cambridge Encyclopedia of Language, states that, “…language shows we ‘belong’ providing the most natural badge, or symbol of public and private identity”.

By having a sense of “belonging” we create our own personal identity, that is a shared and similar identity. The slang phrase the Devil’s Lettuce has “[t]here main features of context [that] are distinguished – the setting, the participants, and the type of activity in which they engage” (Crystal 17).

From a psychological aspect, language is a part of the left-side of the brain because “according” to most marijuana smokers; the Devil’s Lettuce makes them calm, laid back, and easy-going. If smoking marijuana makes people calm, that means when they are sober their life is hectic. So if their life is hectic prior to the Devil’s Lettuce, that means they area type-A personality. A type-A personality has traits of having a chronic sense of time urgency, they create more pressure, and they tend to have nervous twitches.

Whereas, a type-B personality has traits of being easy-going, laid back, and very calm. Type-A personalities are prone to heart attack, stroke, and hypertension.

Looking at language from a different perspective makes you wonder what other things are going on in your brain. The Devil’s Lettuce is a slang phrase that has been introduced to me through a movie, and now has become apart of my daily life.

It is embedded in my vocabulary. It is my phrase of choice when referencing marijuana. It is just an amazing phrase that gives a sense a humor to something that is so serious based upon society. This phrase used within a folk group which I identify myself with. The Devil’s Lettuce has become a part of my culture. It adds that extra dash of humor into my life, and everyone else’s life that hears it.

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