Cannabis Glossary of Terms

Your Noa family knows that understanding cannabis can be confusing. That’s why we’ve created our Cannabis Glossary to help you learn more about the plant and all of its possibilities. We aim to provide an easy-to-understand list of words and terms related to the cannabis industry so that you can feel confident about your health and wellness decisions. Dive in!

Cannabis Types & Characteristics

  • Aroma: Imagine stepping into a fragrant garden, taking a deep breath, and having your senses tickled by all those wonderful smells. That’s what an aroma is — the scent or smell that a substance gives off, like the sweet, spicy, or earthy scents that different strains of cannabis are known for.
  • Backcross (BX): Picture having a family recipe that you’re trying to recreate. You know one parent had it, but you need to breed it back into the family line to get that exact flavor. That’s what backcrossing is in plant breeding – it’s when you cross a hybrid with one of its parents (or an identical genotype) to get a plant with traits closer to that original parent.
  • Broad Spectrum: In cannabis terms, this refers to products that contain an array of cannabinoids, flavonoids, terpenes, and other compounds found in the plant but with THC specifically removed. It’s a way for people to get the ‘entourage effect’ of these compounds working together, minus the high.
  • CBD (Cannabidiol): CBD is like the calming, responsible friend in the group. It’s a major compound in cannabis, but unlike THC, it’s non-psychoactive, meaning it doesn’t get you high. However, it’s still known to have numerous potential therapeutic benefits, such as relieving pain and anxiety.
  • Cannabis: This is the umbrella term for the plant family that includes all the different strains and types, including hemp and marijuana.
  • Clone: In horticulture, a clone is a cutting from a plant that’s then grown into a new plant. It’s an exact genetic copy of the parent plant, meaning it’ll share all its traits.
  • Full Spectrum: This refers to cannabis products that contain all the natural compounds found in the plant, including THC, CBD, other cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids.
  • Hemp: This is a member of the cannabis family that’s been used for thousands of years for its strong fibers, used in everything from rope to clothing. Unlike marijuana, hemp contains very low levels of THC, so it’s not used to get high but is increasingly grown for CBD extraction.
  • Heirloom: Think of your great-grandma’s precious ring passed down through generations. In plant terms, an heirloom strain is a pure cannabis strain that has been kept unchanged and passed down through generations, preserving its unique characteristics.
  • Hybrid: A hybrid plant is the result of cross-breeding two different strains of cannabis (often an Indica and a Sativa) to combine their traits and create something new and unique.
  • Indica: Indica is a type of cannabis plant that’s known for its potentially sedative effects and is often recommended for nighttime use.
  • Marijuana: This is a term often used to refer to cannabis strains that are high in THC. It’s a common term for cannabis that is used recreationally or medicinally.
  • Ruderalis: Ruderalis is a small, hardy plant with low levels of THC, but it has a unique trait: an ‘autoflowering’ ability, which means it flowers based on age rather than light cycles. It’s rarely used on its own due to the low levels of THC, but it’s sometimes used in breeding projects in combination with other strains.
  • Sativa: Sativa is a type of cannabis plant that’s known for potentially stimulating and energizing effects and is often recommended for daytime use.
  • THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol): THC is like the life of the party in the cannabis world. It’s the primary psychoactive compound in cannabis that produces the ‘high’ sensation. It also has potential therapeutic effects, such as pain and nausea relief.

Cannabis Components & Effects

  • Cannabinoids: Cannabinoids are the chemical compounds in cannabis that relieve various symptoms, including pain, nausea, and inflammation.
  • Cannabigerol (CBG): CBG is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that serves as the ‘parent molecule’ from which other cannabinoids are synthesized, earning it the nickname ‘the mother of all cannabinoids.’
  • Cannabinol (CBN): CBN is the guy who shows up late to the party, as it’s created when THC is exposed to heat and oxygen over time. This cannabinoid is non-intoxicating and is known to have potential therapeutic properties such as promoting sleep.
  • Cannabinoid Profile: This is like a resume or bio for the plant, outlining what cannabinoids it contains and in what proportions. It’s a snapshot of the plant’s unique mixture of cannabinoids, which together determine how the plant will affect your body.
  • Cannabinoid Receptors: Think of these like locks on the cells in your body. The cannabinoids are keys that can ‘unlock’ these receptors and cause various physiological responses. The main ones are CB1 (found mainly in the brain) and CB2 (found throughout the body).
  • Cannaflavin: This is a lesser-known compound in the cannabis world. It’s not a cannabinoid but a flavonoid known for its potential anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Cultivar: This is another name for a plant variety deliberately selected for specific characteristics. ‘Blue Dream’ or ‘Sour Diesel’ are examples of cannabis cultivars.
  • Endocannabinoid System (ECS): The ECS plays a crucial role in regulating a wide range of functions, from mood to appetite to sleep, and cannabinoids from the cannabis plant interact with this system.
  • Flavonoids: Imagine a dash of color or a unique flavor added to a meal. Flavonoids are compounds that contribute to a plant’s color, taste, and smell. They’re found throughout the plant kingdom and are responsible for the vivid colors in fruits and vegetables – and in cannabis, they may contribute to the plant’s array of potential therapeutic effects.
  • Terpenes: These are the aromatic compounds that give cannabis strains their unique aromas, like berry, mint, citrus, or pine. They’re not just about smell, though — they can also affect the body on their own and in combination with cannabinoids.
  • Limonene: Imagine the smell of fresh lemons or oranges. That’s limonene for you! It’s a terpene known for its intense citrus aroma and potential mood-enhancing effects.
  • Myrcene: Myrcene is the laid-back, chill member of the terpene family. It’s known for its earthy scent and potentially relaxing effects.
  • Pinene: True to its name, the pinene terpene has a strong piney aroma. It’s believed to help with inflammation and respiratory issues.
  • Strain: A strain refers to a specific variety of the plant, bred to enhance certain characteristics and compounds. It’s the slang version of cultivar!
  • Trichomes: If you’ve ever noticed that cannabis flowers look like they’re dusted with sugar, you’re seeing trichomes! They’re tiny, clear hairs where cannabinoids and terpenes are produced.

Cannabis Products & Consumption Methods

  • BHO (Butane Hash Oil): This is a potent cannabis concentrate extracted using butane as a solvent. It has a high THC content and is often used for dabbing or in vape pens.
  • Blunt: This is a term for a rolled cannabis cigar. The cannabis is rolled in tobacco leaf paper, distinguishing it from a non-tobacco paper joint.
  • Bong: This is a type of water pipe used to smoke cannabis. The smoke passes through water to cool and filter it before inhalation.
  • Budder: This is a cannabis concentrate with a creamy texture, similar to butter, hence the name.
  • Bubble Hash: This is a type of cannabis concentrate, named for how it bubbles when exposed to heat. It’s made by agitating cannabis in ice-cold water and sieving it through fine mesh bags.
  • Bud: This is another term for the flower of the cannabis plant, which is harvested, dried, and used for smoking or making concentrates.
  • Cartridge: A pre-filled container of cannabis oil or concentrate designed to be used with a vape pen.
  • CBD Oil: Oil extracted from hemp or cannabis plants high in CBD.
  • Concentrates: These are highly potent forms of cannabis where cannabinoids and terpenes have been extracted from the plant matter.
  • CO2 Oil: This is cannabis oil extracted using carbon dioxide as the solvent. It’s often used in vape cartridges due to its purity and smooth flavor.
  • Dabs/Dabbing: Consuming small, concentrated amounts of cannabis (known as “dabs”) typically by vaporizing on a hot surface and inhaling the vapors.
  • Dab Rig: A specific smoking device for consuming cannabis concentrates (“dabs”). It consists of a water chamber and a “nail” or “banger” heated up to vaporize the concentrate.
  • Diamonds: This is a type of cannabis concentrate that has a crystalline structure, making them look like diamonds. They are extremely high in THC.
  • Distillate: This is a cannabis concentrate purified and refined through a distillation process to isolate the cannabinoids.
  • Edibles: These are foods or drinks infused with cannabis. They provide a different experience than smoking, often with a delayed onset and longer duration.
  • E-Rig: This type of dab rig uses electricity to heat the nail or banger, rather than a torch.
  • Flower: This refers to the smokable part of the cannabis plant after it has been harvested and dried.
  • Grinder: A device that breaks up cannabis buds into smaller pieces for easier use.
  • Hash/Hash Oil: Hash is a concentrated form of cannabis made by compressing the plant’s resin. Hash oil is a liquid form of hash often consumed through dabbing or vaporizing.
  • Honey Oil: This is another name for cannabis oil due to its golden, honey-like color. It’s typically consumed through a vape pen or dab rig.
  • Infused Pre-roll: A joint enhanced with cannabis concentrates for a more potent effect.
  • Joint: This is cannabis that has been ground up and rolled in a non-tobacco paper for smoking.
  • Kief: This is the term for the small, sticky crystals that cover the cannabis flower. It contains a high concentration of cannabinoids and terpenes.
  • Live Resin: This is a cannabis concentrate made from fresh cannabis plants that are flash-frozen immediately after harvest. It’s known for its strong aroma and flavor.
  • Nail: In the context of a dab rig, the nail is the part heated up to vaporize the cannabis concentrate.
  • Pre-roll: This is a pre-made joint, rolled and ready for consumption.
  • Rosin: This is a type of cannabis concentrate made without solvents. Instead, it’s made using heat and pressure.
  • RSO (Rick Simpson Oil): Named after its creator, RSO is a full-extract cannabis oil designed to be high in THC.
  • Shake: This term refers to the tiny bits of cannabis that accumulate at the bottom of a storage container. It’s often a mix of different strains.
  • Shatter/Ice: These are cannabis concentrates known for their translucent, glass-like appearance. They shatter like glass when broken, hence the name.
  • Solventless/Solvent-Free: These are cannabis extracts made without solvents. Examples include rosin and bubble hash.
  • Spliff: A roll-your-own cigarette that contains both tobacco and cannabis.
  • Tinctures: These are liquid cannabis extracts often consumed orally or sublingually. They are typically made with alcohol or oil as a solvent.
  • Topicals: These are cannabis products designed for external use, such as creams, balms, or lotions. They are used for localized relief of pain or inflammation.
  • Torch: A tool used to heat the nail or banger of a dab rig to the necessary temperature for vaporizing cannabis concentrates.
  • Vaping: This refers to inhaling vaporized cannabis or cannabis concentrates through a vaporizer or vape pen.
  • Vaporizer: This device is used to heat cannabis, or cannabis concentrates to a temperature that releases its active compounds in a vapor, which is then inhaled.
  • Wax: This is a type of cannabis concentrate with a texture similar to wax, hence the name.

Cannabis Cultivation & Education

  • Cannabis Cultivation: This is the process of growing cannabis. From choosing the right seeds and preparing the soil to watering, feeding, and dealing with pests – there’s an art and a science to it all.
  • Certificate of Analysis (COA): This is like a report card for a product. For cannabis products, a COA is provided by an accredited laboratory that tests the product for various things like potency, terpenes profile, and presence of any harmful substances. It’s a way to ensure that what you’re getting is safe, high-quality, and accurately labeled.
  • Cloning: In the world of plants, cloning is like taking a tiny piece of a plant and growing a whole new one from it. It’s a pretty cool process! In cannabis cultivation, growers often use cloning to reproduce high-performing plants with desirable traits, ensuring consistency in their crops.
  • CO2 Extraction: Picture this: You’re trying to get the best bits out of the cannabis plant, like the cannabinoids and terpenes. One way to do this is through CO2 extraction, which uses carbon dioxide under high pressure and low temperatures to isolate these valuable compounds. It’s favored for its purity and environmental friendliness.
  • Crossbreeding: Crossbreeding is like playing matchmaker between plants to create offspring that hopefully inherit the best traits from each parent. It’s a fundamental process for creating new strains of cannabis with unique profiles.
  • Curing: Curing is like the aging process for fine wine or cheese but for cannabis. After the plants are harvested and dried, they’re stored in a controlled environment to let the flavors and aromas develop and to reduce any harshness. It’s an essential step in ensuring the highest quality product.
  • Decarboxylation: In its raw state, cannabis doesn’t contain much THC or CBD. Instead, it has their acidic precursors, THCA and CBDA. Decarboxylation is applying heat to convert these into the active forms we’re familiar with.
  • Entourage Effect: The entourage effect is the idea that the compounds in cannabis – cannabinoids, terpenes, etc. – work together synergistically to enhance the overall impact rather than acting alone.
  • Feminized: In the cannabis world, female plants are the show’s stars because they produce buds rich in cannabinoids. So, feminized seeds are specially bred to produce only female plants. It’s a way to ensure growers get the most bang for their buck.
  • Flowering Time: This is the stage in the plant’s life cycle where it begins to produce buds. Depending on the strain and conditions, flowering time can last several weeks to a few months.
  • Indoor/Outdoor Grow: These terms simply refer to where the cannabis is grown. Indoor grow operations have the advantage of being able to control every aspect of the environment, from light to temperature. Outdoor grows can be more cost-effective and environmentally friendly, and some people say there’s nothing like the sun’s power to grow great cannabis.
  • Landrace Strains: These are like the great-great-grandparents of the cannabis world. They’re strains that have developed naturally over centuries in specific geographic locations, adapting to their local environments. They’re treasured for their unique characteristics and genetic diversity.
  • Phenotype: Like humans, plants can have different traits, even from the same family. In cannabis, a phenotype refers to the observable physical characteristics of a plant, like its height, color, shape, etc. Both genetics and the environment can influence these traits.
  • THC/CBD Content: The THC/CBD content is the ratio or percentage of these compounds in a particular product, and it can help guide you to the experience you’re looking for.
  • Trim/Trimming: After harvesting a cannabis plant, there’s still some work to do. Trimming removes the leaves around the bud to enhance its appearance, potency, and flavor.

Cannabis Measurements & Quality

  • Eighth: An “eighth” refers to an eighth of an ounce. In terms of grams, it equals about 3.5 grams.
  • Ounce: An ounce is a unit of mass equal to 28.35 grams, a commonly purchased quantity of cannabis.
  • Quarter: In the world of measurements, a “quarter” usually refers to a quarter of an ounce, roughly 7 grams. It’s twice as much as an eighth.
  • Top Shelf: This refers to products of the highest quality. These items are often stored on the top shelf (literally), as they’re considered premium or luxury.
  • Microdosing: Microdosing is taking tiny amounts of a substance to experience subtle but positive effects.
  • 420: This refers to the consumption of cannabis, especially at 4:20 PM or on April 20th (4/20 in US date notation). It’s a well-known holiday in the cannabis world.
  • 710: If you turn the number “710” upside down, it looks like the word “OIL,” right? Well, this term is used to represent oils associated with cannabis. It’s another holiday for cannabis enthusiasts, celebrated on July 10th (7/10).
  • Cottonmouth: Ever have a mouth so dry it feels like you’ve been chewing on cotton balls? That’s cottonmouth for you! It’s a common side effect of cannabis use, leading to dry mouth.
  • Dank: In the context of cannabis, “dank” is a compliment! It refers to cannabis that is particularly potent, often characterized by a strong smell.
  • Greening Out: Not always a fun experience; this term refers to feeling sick after consuming too much cannabis. It might involve symptoms like dizziness, nausea, or paranoia.
  • Hotboxing: This is the act of smoking cannabis in an enclosed space (like a car or small room) to maximize the effect of secondhand smoke.
  • Nug: This is a term for a small piece or chunk of cannabis.
  • OG: A term for “original gangster,” it’s often used to refer to classic strains or genetics. It can also be short for “Original Genetics.”
  • Onset Time: How long it takes to feel the effects after consuming cannabis. The onset time can vary depending on the method of consumption.
  • Pot: It’s just another name for cannabis. It’s one of the many, many slang terms for the plant.
  • Toke: A “toke” is a single inhalation of cannabis smoke or vapor. It’s like a sip for smokers.
  • Tolerance: If you’ve heard of building up a tolerance to something, it’s the same idea with cannabis. The more frequently you use it, the more your body becomes used to its effects, and the more you might need to consume to get the same effect.

Cannabis Business & Legal Terms

  • Adult Use: This term is a friendly way of saying that cannabis is legal for adults to use in a specific area, usually for recreational purposes. Generally, this means folks who are 21 years old or older.
  • Budtender: Budtenders are the people you’ll typically find behind the counter at a dispensary. They’ll guide you through the different cannabis products available, explain their effects, and recommend what might suit your needs or preferences best.
  • Cannabis Legalization: When discussing cannabis legalization, we’re referring to the process where a state, country, or jurisdiction makes it legal to produce, sell, and use cannabis. This usually involves establishing a regulatory framework to ensure that everything from growth, sale, and consumption is done safely and responsibly.
  • Cannabis Decriminalization: This term is a little different from legalization. Decriminalization means that if you’re caught with cannabis (usually in small, personal use amounts), you won’t be subject to criminal penalties like jail time. However, it doesn’t mean it’s legal to produce and sell cannabis. Often, decriminalization is a step on the path toward full legalization.
  • Dispensary: A dispensary is essentially a retail store for cannabis. They come in all shapes and sizes, some selling medical marijuana, others selling cannabis for adult use, and some doing both.
  • Medical Marijuana: This is cannabis used for medical purposes. A doctor often prescribes it to help manage or treat various conditions. Medical marijuana might contain different compounds or be in different forms compared to recreational cannabis, depending on its use.
  • Recreational Marijuana: This is cannabis used for personal enjoyment rather than medical reasons. In areas where adult use is legal, adults can buy and use recreational marijuana responsibly.
  • Seed-to-Sale: This term describes the complete lifecycle of a cannabis plant in the legal market, from when it’s first planted (as a seed) to when its end products are sold to customers. This process is often tracked for regulatory reasons, ensuring that all cannabis products are safe, high-quality, and not diverted to illegal markets.
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