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Gandalf and his pipe-weed . is it actually weed?

The Lord of the Rings saga might be a big-budget film classic today, but it has always had stoner ties — even when it was only in print. The tough, hilarious, and kind Gandalf, a wizard of Middle Earth, is a character most notable to the weed community, owed to his liberal use of what author J.R.R. Tolkien called “pipe-weed.”

According to the Lord of the Rings Fandom Wiki, it’s a plant with “sweet-smelling flowers” that the Hobbits, like main characters Frodo and Bilbo Baggins, cultivated, smoked, and traded with neighbors. To some, it sounds like a tobacco product, while others point to its floral description, hinting that pipe-weed might be more like our own weed, but the true definition may have been muddied by the movies.

Like any good fiction writer, Tolkien could have simply been making up his own plant altogether. However, considering his heyday took place during the mid-century era, tobacco is the more likely subject.

Pipe-weed from Middle Earth to Hollywood

It’s really film director Peter Jackson’s doing that so many thought of the “Halfling’s Leaf” as a fantasy cannabis analog. He plugged a quip from head wizard Saruman to Gandalf, alluding to “cloudy judgment” post-pipe-weed consumption in the first film, The Fellowship of the Ring.

But it’s the prologue of The Fellowship book itself that seals the canon argument. Tolkien writes of his beloved Hobbits:

“They imbibed or inhaled, through pipes of clay or wood, the smoke of the burning leaves of a herb, which they called pipe-weed or leaf, a variety probably of Nicotiana. A great deal of mystery surrounds the origin of this particular custom or ‘art’ as the Hobbits preferred to call it.”

Canna-fans need not despair. Just because the books hint at tobacco and the movies hint at weed does not mean that countless cultivators didn’t come through with their own homages to Middle Earth and the Hobbits’ love of pipe-weed.

Gandalf’s pipe-weed in cannabis culture

There are now a dozen or more strains named after characters, fictional pipe-weed brands from the Shire like Old Toby and Longbottom Leaf, and of course, the wizard himself has Gandalf OG.

It doesn’t take a wizard to figure how mystical the Gandalf Glass Pipe is. 🧙‍♂️ pic.twitter.com/0vwAjQMJts

Additionally, smoking cannabis out of a “Gandalf pipe” is something of a stoner rite of passage or bucket list item to be crossed off. Numerous glass pipes are shaped similarly to the Gandalf’s pipe-weed piece and are pretty easy to find in most glass shops.

If you’re a lifelong fan or just coming around to these nine-plus hour epics, pipe-weed is as integral to Hobbit life as it is to ours. No matter what effects you imagine come from a big drag of Gandalf’s pipe, you can enjoy the story behind the smoke rings, because he is hands down the Lord of those rings.

Pipe-weed from Middle Earth to Hollywood.

Pipe-weed

Pipe-weed (also known as Halflings’ Leaf or simply Leaf) was a plant developed by the Hobbits of the Shire.

Contents

[edit] Properties

The Leaf was famous for its fragrant flowers. It preferred southern climates and it grew abundantly in Gondor. In northern regions, like Eriador, it was not as rich and large, and never found wild; it flourished only in warm sheltered places like the southern slopes of the Bree-hill, or Longbottom of the Shire. [1]

[edit] History

Apparently the plant grew in Númenor and was brought to Middle-earth by Númenóreans during the Second Age. In Gondor it grew as a wild herb, appreciated primarily for its fragrant blossoms and the Gondorians knew it as sweet galenas or more popularly as westmansweed, [2] a reference to its origin.

It was not until the Third Age when it reached Eriador, probably through the Greenway, and the Bree-hobbits were the first to put it in pipes and use it for smoking. As Bree was an ancient cross-road, the habit of smoking pipe-weed spread to other regions, as well as to other races, such as Men, Dwarves and Wizards. Meriadoc Brandybuck considered The Prancing Pony as the “home and centre” of the smoking art. [1]

But it was in the Shire where it was first domesticated, by Tobold Hornblower of Longbottom in Southfarthing around S.R. 1070. The cultivation and exportation of this herb became a key industry in the Shire, especially in the south. Popular varieties of pipe-weed included Longbottom Leaf, Old Toby, and Southern Star from the Shire. [1] Perhaps less popular was Southlinch from Bree. [3]

The Wizard Gandalf learned to smoke pipe-weed from the Hobbits and was often seen blowing smoke-rings. [1] Saruman initially derided him for this, but at some point he took up smoking himself, and even had commerce with the Shire: After the destruction of Isengard, pipe-weed was found among its stores, but the Hobbits Merry and Pippin failed to realize the sinister implications.

After the War of the Ring, Meriadoc Brandybuck authored Herblore of the Shire discussing the origins and history of the Hobbits’ ‘art’ of smoking Pipe-weed. [1]

[edit] Inspiration

In the prologue to The Lord of the Rings, Tolkien stated specifically that “it is a strain of the herb nicotiana“, [1] i.e. tobacco.

[edit] Etymology

The common Gondorian name of pipe-weed was Westmansweed. [4] The more noble name was galenas (a Númenórean Sindarin form of the proper Sindarin form galanes), with Quenya forms alanesse or alenesse derived from ala- “plant, grow” and nes- “sweet smelling”. [5]

[edit] Portrayal in adaptations

The smoke from Sweet Galenas takes the form of a sailing ship that floats out from the pipe.

The plant is used for healing Tallion, as well as other plants.

Pipe-weed Pipe-weed (also known as Halflings’ Leaf or simply Leaf) was a plant developed by the Hobbits of the Shire. Contents [edit] Properties The Leaf was famous for its fragrant ]]>