If you are a fan of Tolkien's works, you have probably noticed that the favorite pipe of the main hobbits has something to do with "weed." It does not matter whether you have read the books or just watched the movies, the long pipe our favorite hobbits and Gandalf are smoking could not escape your attention. However, is the pipe from the Middle-earth really meant for smoking the weed that we know?
The famous herb for smoking—pipe-weed—was called many names in the series—the names that were later used by many cannabis growers. Those names and the suspiciously cannabis-like portrayal of the herb's effects in the movies gave the ground for further fans' speculations. However unbelievable as it may sound, many Tolkien fans believe that the hobbits are fond of marijuana. Let us see what can serve as proof of this bold statement.
Though the author mentions inhaling “the smoke of the burning leaves of a herb, which they called pipe-weed or leaf," Tolkien further adds that the herb is "probably of Nicotiana variety," which means that it is tobacco, not cannabis. However, the fans were not impressed by that "probably" and decided to search the movies for the answers. And the movies seems to be hinting on the cannabinoid origin of the plant.
First of all, two of our favorite hobbits, Meriadoc and Peregrin (or Merry and Pippin as most of us know them), are smoking a pipe while clearly showing the signs of being under the influence of marijuana—they are munching food non-stop, laughing, and having clouded eyes. However, the clouded eyes may be the effect of what they are drinking in those huge jugs. Besides, the later extended edition of the movie shows them opening barrels with tobacco leaves.
Another stoner-ish hint is showed in the first installment of The Hobbit franchise by the strange wizard Radagast who becomes suspiciously active and cheerful after smoking the pipe.
One of the commonly used facts to prove the cannabis identity of pipe-weed is the phrase said by Saruman to Gandalf. In the first installment of The Lord of the Rings franchise, Saruman says that Gandalf's mind is slowed by that herb.
And what about those magical silhouettes of dragons and ships from the smoke? Were they just the products of Gandalf's magic?
All these facts are just hints from the movies and may represent the director's perspective.
To dig deeper into the books' meaning, we have to know what the author himself thought of cannabis.
The fact is that Tolkien lived during the times when the use of cannabis for medical and recreational purposes in England was not very popular. The author does not mention cannabis and seems to have nothing to do with it. Maybe, if Tolkien had lived in different times, he would have embraced the idea of cannabis consumption, but we can only guess.
On the other hand, the author often talked about how he himself was like the hobbits; he shared their love to smoking. Tobacco probably provided him the same relief and satisfaction as marijuana does today for thousands of people.
Both marijuana and tobacco leaves that the hobbits and Tolkien liked so much are meant to provide the same feeling of happiness. The pro-cannabis fans of Middle-earth may still be looking for the traces of pot in the series and believe that they are right. However, in a fictional land, even tobacco may influence you the same way cannabis does.