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.
- Talk (12)
Pipe-weed was a plant of Middle-earth, in particular grown and enjoyed much by the hobbits of the Shire, to whom it was first introduced by Tobold Hornblower.
- 1 History
- 2 See also
- 3 Translations
- 4 References
It was first grown in the Shire by Tobold Hornblower in Longbottom around SR 1070 (the year 2670 of the Third Age). Despite its foreign origins, the hobbits were the first to use it for smoking. Pipe-weed production became a major industry in the Shire, especially in the south. 
The same plant was known among the Dúnedain as sweet galenas for its fragrance. In Gondor, it was known as Westman’s-weed, and grew there as a wild plant, appreciated most for its sweet-scented flowers. The colloquial name was in reference to its origins: it was apparently brought to Middle-earth by Númenóreans in the Second Age. 
Popular hobbit varieties of pipe-weed soon included Longbottom Leaf, Old Toby (named after Tobold Hornblower and revered by Bilbo Baggins), Southern Star, and Southlinch, which was grown in Bree.
Merry (of Peter Jackson’s films) smoking his pipe-weed
The Wizard Gandalf learned to smoke pipe-weed from the Hobbits and was known to blow elaborate smoke-rings. Saruman initially criticized him for this, but eventually took up smoking himself. After the destruction of Isengard, pipe-weed was found among its stores, but the hobbits Merry and Pippin failed to realized until later the implications of the discovery of Saruman’s commerce with the Shire. 
A barrel of “Southfarthing Leaf” in The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
Pipe-weed was a plant of Middle-earth, in particular grown and enjoyed much by thehobbits of the Shire, to whom it was first introduced byTobold Hornblower. 1 History 2 See also 3 Translations 4 References It was first grown in the Shire by Tobold Hornblower in Longbottom around SR 1070 (the…