Terminology

Definitions

Bud:

The flower of the cannabis plant. Buds contains theresinous trichomes, which are translucent structures that make and contain cannabinoids (THC, CBD, and CBG). It is the bud of the plant that is most desired and provides the greatest value.

Cannabinoids:

The chemical compounds found in cannabis that are manufactured by the trichomes found mostly on the flower, of the plant. There are currently 111 known cannabinoids including THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol.

Cannabis:

There are actually three species of these flowering herbs. Cannabis sativa, cannabis indica, and cannabis ruderalis; sativa and indica are the most common. Because of its poor yield and low quantities of THC, ruderalis is less commonly grown and sought by patients or recreational consumers. Sativa varieties are known for their energizing, uplifting effect. Indica types are better for alleviating body pain and anxiety and are the most common type of cannabis on both the black market and in legal dispensaries.

CBD:

Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one of the 111 cannabinoids found in cannabis. After THC, CBD is the next most common cannabinoid in these plants. This cannabinoid is known to effectively treat inflammation, pain, and anxiety—but delivers no euphoric “high” like THC. A CBD based product is approved by the FDA for treating a type of childhood epilepsy. Strains high in CBD include Harlequin, Critical Mass, and Killawatt.

Dispensary:

A business or non-profit retail location where patients (and sometimes recreational users) can gain consultation from an expert (called a budtender), select, and purchase cannabis. Dispensaries provide something called “safe access,” helping patients and consumers avoid the black market. Many dispensaries cultivate most or all of the cannabis they sell, whereas others purchase their products.

Edibles:

Food that has been infused with cannabis to provide it with the desired efficacy. Although there are several different methods by which edibles can be produced, one of the most popular is the use of cannabis butter (cannabutter) or cannabis-infused oil. Edibles feature a significantly longer onset time than smoking or vaporizing (both of which take effect in only about 2.5 minutes), typically requiring 45 minutes to an hour to achieve onset. The medical efficacy and euphoria delivered by edibles lasts longer as well.

Extraction:

There are many ways to extract oil from the cannabis plant. Some methods are safer and more effective than others. Cannabis oil made with neurotoxic solvents like butane and hexane may leave unsafe residues. CO 2 extraction uses carbon dioxide under high pressure and extremely low temperatures to isolate, preserve, and maintain the purity of the medicinal oil. This process requires expensive equipment and significant learning curve. When done well the end product is safe, potent, and free of chlorophyll. High-grade grain alcohol can be used to create high-quality cannabis oil appropriate for vape pen cartridges and other products. But this extraction method destroys the plant waxes, which may have health benefits that are favored by some product-makers.

Feminized:

Cannabis seeds that have been selectively bred to produce only females. This is desirable because it is the mature female plants that produce the most desired trichomes, the source of all medical efficacy in cannabis. Male plants are identified at the beginning of the flower stage of cultivation and typically destroyed.

Flowering Time:

The period of time required for a cannabis plant to go from the end of the vegetative stage (the first stage of growth) to harvest. Sativa varieties typically require a few weeks more to mature than indica strains. Flowering time may be a consideration for growers.

Flowers:

The “bud” section of the cannabis plant that matures at the end of the “flower” stage of cultivation, when the number and size of resinous trichomes is greatest. Flowers are the reproductive organs of the female plant and contain nearly all of the trichomes in cannabis. It is typically the flowers that are used to create extracts and concentrates (although these can be derived from trim leaves). When fertilized by male plants, it is the flowers that produce seeds.

Hash:

Short for hashish, this is a form of cannabis concentrate that is significantly more potent than regular marijuana flowers and has been employed by humans for thousands of years. Hash production involves the separation of the resinous trichomes from the flowers of the plant, typically through a filtration process.

Heirloom:

A cannabis strain taken from its native land and bred and cultivated in another area of the world. Many heirloom varieties are also landrace strains, meaning they have not been crossbred.

Hemp:

The non-euphoric variety of cannabis that contains little or no THC. By legal definition in the United States and Canada, hemp may contain no more than 0.3 percent THC. Unlike cannabis, which is derived from the female plant, hemp is most often grown from male plants. This fibrous plant can be used in many ways including clothing, shelter, food, medicine, fuel, and plastics. In southern climates of the United States, up to three crops per year can be grown. Hemp cultivation was recently legalized in the United States.

Hydroponics:

A cultivation system commonly employed in cannabis gardens that involves the use of plant roots suspended in a liquid solution of water and nutrients. No soil is used in hydroponics. Advantages include greater control of nutrient volumes and make small adjustments. Hydroponic gardens typically yield about double the flower volume of dirt-grown cannabis, although some claim that organic cannabis grown in dirt—especially outdoors—is the highest quality.

Indica:

The common reference for cannabis indica , one of the three species of cannabis. Indica strains are the most commonly available on both the black market and in legal dispensaries. Indica plants originated in Asia and the Middle East. Afghan and Kush varieties are indicas. Indica plants are characterized by short, broad leaves and relatively large yields during harvest. This species delivers a relaxing body high and is effective in treating pain and providing relaxation and relief from stress or anxiety. Indica strains are often known for their sedative effects (“couchlock”), especially when a large quantity is consumed.

Kush:

Cannabis plants from the Hindu Kush mountains in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Kush varieties are indicas and most effective for fighting pain, appetite stimulation, and use as a sedative. Kush strains often feature an earthy or citrus aroma.

Marijuana:

The term given to cannabis in the early 20th century by prohibitionist forces within the United States government and big business that were intent on outlawing the plant. The term was derived from the Mexican “marihuana” (either accidentally or purposefully misspelled) and was used to deceive the public, which was already very familiar with the term “cannabis.” Cannabis was available in the form of a tincture and typically administered for everything from headaches to painful joints, menstruation and childbirth

Phenotype:

The physical characteristics of a particular strain of cannabis—such as height, leaf structure, and color—that quickly differentiate it from other strains. The phenotype of indica strains is short and fat, with thick leaves, whereas sativa strains are tall, skinny, and feature thin leaves.

Pot:

Slang for “marijuana” or “cannabis.” Possibly the most common reference for the recreational variety of the plant in the United States. In the U.K. and Europe, “cannabis” is the most common label.

Pre-roll:

A cannabis cigarette, or “joint,” that is sold by many dispensaries for patients and customers who do not know how or prefer not to roll joints.

Ruderalis:

The common reference for cannabis ruderalis, one of the three species of cannabis. It is characterized by low THC and poor yields. Ruderalis strains are increasing in popularity due to the need for low-THC, CBD-rich strains for conditions. Ruderalis is unique in that, during cultivation, it is an “autoflowering” species of cannabis that does not require a change in light cycles to enter the flowering stage. Ruderalis landrace strains originated in Russia and are very hardy and capable of surviving in harsh climates.

Sativa:

The common reference for cannabis sativa, one of the three species of cannabis. This variety originated in the equatorial regions of the world (the Middle East and Asia) and includes strains from Africa, Thailand, and South America. This variety is characterized by an energetic, euphoric “head high”. Sativa strains are well suited for helping patients deal with depression and fatigue and actually suppress appetite in contrast to “the munchies” often experienced by indica users). Sativa strains are more rare because they require longer to grow and have lower yields than indicas.

THC:

Tetrahydrocannabinol is the most common and cited cannabinoid available in marijuana. Also referred to as Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, this cannabinoid was first isolated in 1964 in Israel. THC is one of the only cannabinoids to provide euphoria, or a “high,” and thus strains high in this compound have been purposefully bred to produce more potency and deliver greater efficacy.

Tincture:

A liquid form of cannabis or CBD extract typically produced using alcohol or glycerol that is most commonly administered via use of an eyedropper under the tongue (sublingual). Because they are liquid, tinctures can be flavored or embellished with other herbs. Tinctures offer the benefit of rapid onset. While they can be mixed into drinks, this significantly increases onset time because the cannabinoids must be absorbed through the digestive tract.

Topical:

A cannabis or CBD extract involving the infusion of cannabinoids in a lotion or cream intended to be applied to the skin. Topical cannabis products may also be very helpful for skin conditions, such as eczema or psoriasis and treating localized pain.

Trichome:

The stalk-like resin glands found on cannabis flowers that produce and contain all cannabinoids and terpenes (the molecules that give cannabis its distinctive aroma). Nearly microscopic, these “silver hairs” give cannabis flowers and some fan leaves their sticky quality. THC, CBD, CBN, and every cannabinoid or terpene of medical value is produced in the trichomes. Plants featuring more trichomes (described as “sugary” or having many “crystals”) are more potent and deliver greater efficacy.

Weed:

Slang for “cannabis” or “marijuana.” Low-quality examples are labeled “dirtweed” or “brickweed.”