Interested in learning more about cannabis? Our glossary provides you with the ABCs of cannabis, including fun facts about the plant, consumption methods, and cultivation and extraction basics.
An access point is a location where cannabis can be purchased. It typically applies to legal, regulated shops and dispensaries.
Aroma is the smell of the cannabis plant. Every cannabis strain has its own distinct aroma, due to its unique terpenes (aromatic oils).
The mature, smokeable part of the cannabis flower that has gone through the cultivation, harvest, drying, and curing process. Buds are typically ground up with a grinder and smoked.
An employee who works at a dispensary. Responsibilites include educating consumers about various cannabis products and helping them identify the right product to fit their needs.
A class of chemical compounds that are naturally found both in cannabis plants and in the human body.
Endocannabinoids are the sub-category of cannabinoids that are produced by the human body. These molecules regulate the endocannabinoid system, a complex biological system that regulates various functions including pain, stress, appetite, energy metabolism, cardiovascular function, reward and motivation, reproduction, and sleep.
Exogenous cannabinoids or phytocannabinoids are the cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. The most well-known phytocannabinoids are THC and CBD. These compounds also interact with humans’ endocannabinoid system, and can impact sensations related to stress, appetite, pain or sleep.
A plant that is known for its psychoactive and therapeutic properties. It contains hundreds of active compounds, including cannabinoids and terpenes, which provide a range of therapeutic and recreational effects.
Short for “cannabis-infused butter,” one of the most common cannabis-infused ingredients used in cannabis edibles. Olive oil, coconut oil and other fatty oils can also be used as alternatives to butter.
The shorthand for cannabidiol, one of the most prevalent active cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. Unlike THC, CBD does not produce psychoactive effects, but is believed to offer some relief for various acute symptoms. CBD is also believed to support the treatment of certain childhood epilepsy syndromes. (However, additional research is needed to support these claims.)
A female cannabis plant clipping that can be planted and grown. A clone carries the same genetics as the “mother plant” it is clipped from. The purpose of making clones is to reproduce and preserve the genetics of a particular cannabis genotype.
Cannabis products that have been processed to remove many extraneous components, leaving only the most desirable and active of the cannabis plant’s compounds, primarily including cannabinoids and terpenes. Concentrates typically contain a greater proportion of active compounds compared to flowers. They can be consumed on their own, or used to increase the potency of cannabis flower-based products.
Compared to the plant form, concentrates yield more potent effects with a more rapid onset. Concentrates’ absorption into the body and ensuing effects happen almost immediately.
Concentrates come in a variety of textures and forms. The most common forms include shatter, budder, badder, crumble, sugar, sauce and crystalline.
The process of growing cannabis flowers, which can be conducted indoors or outdoors.
Indoor cultivation usually requires a warehouse setting, artificial lighting, air conditioning and dehumidification systems. The purpose of indoor cultivation is to create an environment that is conducive to the plant’s growth while maintaining full control over the environmental factors.
Outdoor cultivation enables the plant to get natural light and is typically lower-cost for growers. However, with outdoor cultivation, growers have less control over environmental crossover and any other elements that the plant may get exposed to. Outdoor cultivation typically requires a longer growth cycle.
A concentrated dose of cannabis produced by extracting cannabinoids from the plant with a solvent like butane, CO2 or ethanol. “Dab” has a consistency similar to a sticky oil. Dabs are typically consumed by heating on a hot surface, and then inhaled through a dab rig. Depending on their consistency, dabs can also be referred to as wax, shatter or budder.
A location that carries legal cannabis products available for purchase. Dispensaries can be medical or recreational (or both), depending on a given state’s laws. In states where recreational cannabis is legal, anyone above the age of 21 can purchase cannabis products legally.
A cannabis extract in which the final product has been systematically stripped of all materials and compounds except a specified cannabinoid. Distillates typically have the consistency of oil. They can be used by themselves to dab and vaporize, or mixed in with edibles, topicals or other products.
The process that activates the compounds found in the cannabis plant (like THC). The main catalysts for decarboxylation are heat, time or a combination of the two. Drying and curing cannabis over time will cause partial decarboxylation to occur more slowly; smoking and vaping, because of the extreme heat, cause decarboxylation to occur instantly.
Food items made with cannabis flower or concentrates. Edibles come in an almost limitless range of forms, but the most common include gummies, chocolates, baked goods, hard candies and cooking oils.
Because edibles are absorbed through the digestive tract, onset time is typically longer. An edible may take anywhere from 20 minutes to two hours to kick in, and effects can last anywhere from four to six hours.
A naturally occurring system in the human body, made up of endocannabinoids, receptors, and enzymes. The human body’s endocannabinoid system is capable of interacting with the exogenous cannabinoids or phytocannabinoids found in cannabis plants which causes a user to feel the psychoactive effects of cannabis.
The endocannabinoid system plays a role in regulating a variety of functions, including sleep, mood, memory, appetite, reproduction, and pain sensation.
The theory that various cannabis compounds, or the distinct blend of terpenes and cannabinoids in a given strain, work together to create a synergistic effect and support the effects of a particular strain..
EXIT BAG (EXIT PACKAGING)
The packaging that contains a customer’s cannabis products as they leave the dispensary. Exit bags or packages are tamper-evident and child resistant.
See also "bud"; the smokeable part of the cannabis plant that has gone through the process of cultivation, harvest, drying and curing. Flowers can be consumed in different ways, including by being rolled in joints or blunts or smoked through bongs or pipes. Flower continues to be among the most popular ways of consuming cannabis because of the rapid onset effects..
A tool used to break larger parts of the cannabis plant (typically the cannabis flower) into smaller, readily smokeable pieces. Grinders are often used by consumers at home shortly before cannabis use.
A cannabis concentrate that is derived from the plant’s trichomes (or resin glands). It is produced by removing the trichomes and repeatedly compressing them to form a hardened substance. Hashish is typically consumed by inhaling or smoking, either by itself or combined with cannabis flower.
Refers to a strain that hasn’t been mixed or crossbred with another strain, and maintains its original genetics.
A non-intoxicating variety of the cannabis plant that is primarily harvested for its fiber, seeds and CBD. The hemp plant does not carry sufficient THC to create an intoxicating effect but is rich in CBD. Hemp-derived CBD is becoming one of the most popular forms of therapeutic cannabinoid on the market today.
People have used hemp plants for a variety of purposes for thousands of years, including making items like paper, clothing, fabric and rope from its fibers, using its seeds for protein, and its leaves and flowers to make oils.
A cannabis plant that has been bred to inherit the most desired genetics and traits of different parent plants is called a hybrid plant. Hybrid plants can be a combination of different plant varieties (for example, sativa and indica). The effect of a particular hybrid strain depends on many factors, including the composition of cannabinoids and terpenes.
A chemical extraction method that uses hydrocarbons to create cannabis extracts. Hydrocarbon extracts come in many forms (for e.g. oil, shatter, wax, and hash) and may be used in a range of products including edibles, vape cartridges, capsules and topicals.
Cannabis plants that tend to grow shorter and broader compared to sativa plants. They also have shorter flowering cycles compared to sativa plants. While indica strains are sometimes associated with relaxing and sedating effects, these effects are not necessarily unique to indica plants. A myriad of factors determine the overall effect a cannabis strain may have on an individual, including its cannabinoid makeup and terpenes.
A collection of cannabis trichomes (the crystalline structures on cannabis flowers that contain the cannabinoids and terpenes) that accumulate into sticky, resin-like crystals on cannabis flowers. They often shake free from the cannabis flower when transported, causing kief residue to be found at the bottom of bags and packages containing cannabis flower. Kief is the most potent part of the cannabis plant because of the high concentration of THC, and is often used to produce hash.
Refers to breeds of cannabis plants derived from the Hindu Kush Mountains that stretch from Afghanistan through Pakistan to Tajikistan. Kush strains tend to be dense and aromatic, with relaxing effects.
Refers to a strain of cannabis that grows naturally in a given region and has adapted to that environment. Landrace strains are often named for their place of origin; for example, the “Kush” strain named after the Hindu Kush Mountains, or the “Acapulco Gold” derived from Mexico.
A slang term derived from the Spanish “marihuana,” which is used synonymously with cannabis.
Products composed of extracted cannabis molecules suspended in common edible oils. Cannabis oils vary in potency, and can be infused with either CBD or THC. Oil products are available as tinctures, capsules, vaporizers and dabs.
Refers to the sticky essential oil compound of cannabis trichomes, which contain cannabinoids and terpenes. Concentrates are typically more potent than cannabis flower, given the density of THC in resin.
The unique, identifying characteristics of cannabis plants that give them their distinct color, texture, structure and size.
Phenotypes are impacted by genetics, environment and growing conditions. Cannabis plants can be bred to produce specific traits.
The female reproductive organ of a cannabis plant that receives the pollen and produces seeds. The pistil is covered with small, hair-like strands called stigmas, which collect pollen from males. Cannabis strains are produced and bred through this process of pollination.
Female cannabis plants are also called “pistillates.”
A popular slang term referring to cannabis.
A cannabis cigarette or joint that has been pre-packed and rolled for consumption upon purchase, ready to be smoked without further preparation.
Cannabis plants that are known for their tall stature and slender leaves.
While sativa strains are sometimes associated with uplifting, stimulating and cerebral effects, these effects are not necessarily unique to sativa plants. (A myriad of factors determine the overall effect a cannabis strain may have on an individual, including its cannabinoid makeup and terpenes.)
A cannabis extract with a translucent, glasslike texture. Similar to wax and other concentrates, shatter has THC levels that range between 70%-90%.
Refers to the particular breed or variety of cannabis. Strains are also referred to as “cultivars” or “selections” and are defined based on genetic composition, chemical profile, and resulting effects, which are often described or alluded to in the stain’s name (e.g., “Sour Diesel”).
Aromatic oils that create the unique smell and flavors of cannabis plants. Terpenes are formed inside trichomes and influence the effects of cannabis by interacting with cannabinoids. (This interaction between terpenes and cannabinoids is known as the entourage effect.)
Tetrahydrocannabinol. THC is the most well-known cannabinoid of the cannabis plant, and is responsible for a range of psychological and physiological effects that together are commonly considered to be the cannabis “high.”
While cannabis products with higher THC percentages are presumed to be more potent, the effect of cannabis does not depend on the THC percentage alone but on the synergistic interaction between the various cannabinoids and terpenes in a given plant.
Alcohol- or glycerol-based liquid cannabis extracts, often dosed using a dropper. Tinctures can be flavored and are usually applied under the tongue for rapid absorption. They can also be mixed into drinks for a slower onset effect. Tinctures are good starting point for new cannabis users, as well as those looking to consume without smoke or vapor.
Cannabis-infused products applied to the skin, commonly as lotions, creams and balms. The therapeutic qualities of cannabis are typically used to treat muscle aches, soreness, tension, dry skin and other ailments.
Trichomes are the tiny, sticky resin glands that look like crystals covering cannabis flowers. Trichomes contain cannabinoids such as THC, CBD and terpenes.
A device used to consume cannabis flower or extracts through a heating process that does not involve combustion, producing vapor as opposed to smoke.
Vaporizers come in a variety of shapes and sizes.
Commonly known as a bong or bubbler; a tool for smoking cannabis that cools and filters smoke through water percolation during inhalation.
Typically, water pipes contain a chamber at the bottom of the device that is filled with water, which percolates through a stem as a user inhales smoke through a tube or mouthpiece.
Water pipes come in a variety of shapes, sizes, designs and materials, and offer a flavorful, less harsh, smoother alternative to smoking joints or bowls.
An extremely potent, thick, sticky cannabis extract, typically containing between 70% and 90% THC. Due to its high potency and quick-acting effects, wax is most commonly used by medical patients and recreational cannabis users with a high THC tolerance.
Typically extracted using ethanol or hydrocarbons, and consumed through a process called dabbing, though it can also be vaped; wax concentrates are sometimes referred to as dabs, butane hash oil (BHO) or ethanol hash oil (EHO).
A commonly used slang term to refer to cannabis.
The practice of cross-pollinating a new strain of cannabis with itself or its parent to strengthen its genetics. Cannabis breeders typically breed the plants to obtain new strains with specific characteristics, such as yields, aromas and potency. Backcrossing strengthens these desired new traits.
Refers to the practice of selecting cannabis strains for their desired characteristics, and then breeding them to create a new strain that combines these characteristics. Achieving the desired characteristics with crossbreeding can take many years
Refers to the process of separating the cannabinoids and terpenes from the plant material; can be conducted in a variety of ways.
Physical – or mechanical - extraction is conducted by physically agitating the plant to separate the trichomes. The most common physical extraction methods are sieving the ground plant by hand or in a mechanical tumbler to remove the trichomes, the ice-water method, where plants, water and ice are combined and shaken until the trichomes break off the plant, and the cold and warm press method, which use heat and pressure to separate the cannabinoids and the terpenes from the plant.
Chemical extraction involves using solvents such as butanes, CO2, ethanol or propane to extract the desired components.
Seeds that carry only female cannabis genetics. Compared to regular seeds, which have a 50% chance of producing male plants, feminized seeds produce only female plants. This distinction between male/female is important, as only female cannabis plants produce flowers that can be made into cannabis products.
The final growth stage of the cannabis plant prior to harvesting.