Glossary for the Canna-Curious
Your official guide to decoding the language of cannabis.
An extraction process that involves using ethyl or isopropyl alcohol as a solvent to filter and strip away plant matter, oils and trichomes of cannabis, with hash remaining.
Known as the “bliss molecule,” anandamide is a neurotransmitter that is considered an endocannabinoid because it is produced in the brain and binds to cannabinoid receptors to promote homeostasis. It is named after “ananda,” the Sanskrit word for “joy, bliss, or happiness." Anandamide was the first cannabinoid receptor discovered in the human body and it unlocked the connection between cannabis and human health.
A term used to describe the smell or taste of a plant or flower.
Referring to a full-spectrum cannabis extract without any Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). It contains the synergistic benefits of full-spectrum extract with cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids and fatty acids, without any traces of THC.
An embryonic plant shoot, otherwise known as the flower of the mature cannabis plant. Buds are the fluffy flowers that are harvested and used, as they contain the highest concentration of active cannabinoids.
The name used to describe the attendant at a dispensary or cannabis store who works behind the counter and helps answer questions and make suggestions on products based on individual needs.
CB1 and CB2 Receptors
Receptors found in the human body that mediate the effects of cannabinoids.
An oil containing Cannabidiol (CBD), the non-intoxicating cannabinoid found in cannabis. Concentrated CBD oil is commonly used as the active ingredient in cannabis tinctures, vaporizers, topicals, capsules, edibles and other products.
The process of pressurizing liquid or gas CO2 to its “supercritical state” and passing it through cannabis to extract the active compounds from the plant. This is considered a preferred extraction method because it does not require synthetic solvents and maintains the integrity of the plant.
A minor cannabinoid with the same structure as Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
A minor phytocannabinoid with preliminary research showing its efficacy for acne treatment. A 2013 study by the Italian Institute of Biomolecular Chemistry suggests that Cannabichromene (CBC) may boost neurogenesis (the production of neurons in stem cells) by improving their function. In one animal study, rats who were treated with Cannabichromene (CBC performed better in stressful situations.
A minor phytocannabinoid with similar structure and effects to Cannabichromene (CBC).
A minor phytocannabinoid with limited clinical research available.
One of the most prevalent cannabinoids found in cannabis with enormous therapeutic potential. CBD is non-intoxicating, meaning it does not produce the “high” feeling associated with marijuana. Scientists refer to CBD as a “promiscuous” compound because it causes positive therapeutic impacts in many different ways while tapping into how we function physiologically and biologically.
Cannabidiol Acid (CBDA)
The acidic form of Cannabidiol (CBD), considered “inactive” until it heats to become Cannabidiol (CBD) through a process known as decarboxylation. When cannabis is heated, through smoking, cooking, or vaporization, decarboxylation occurs and the CBDA becomes Cannabidiol (CBD).
A minor phytocannabinoid classified as a byproduct of Cannabidiol (CBD) with limited clinical research available.
A minor phytocannabinoid that is being studied for its promising medical potential as an antibacterial agent, appetite stimulant and muscle spasm inhibitor.
The most studied group of naturally occurring chemical compounds in cannabis, mainly due to their wide range of therapeutic effects in mammals. The cannabis plant contains about 85 known cannabinoids with varying effects. When Endocannabinoid receptors in the body are stimulated by cannabinoids, they work to maintain homeostasis (AKA perfect balance). Only female cannabis plants contain cannabinoids.
A minor phytocannabinoid that researchers are studying for its anti-inflammatory and anti-insomnia properties.
A family of flowering plants that includes Cannabis ruderalis, Cannabis sativa, and Cannabis indica. Cannabis is one of the oldest sources of food, fiber, oil and medicine, containing rich phytochemicals including cannabinoids, terpenes and phenolic compounds.
The scientific name for marijuana, the psychoactive variety of the cannabis plant, with high levels of THC, responsible for producing a “high.” Compared to a sativa plant, Indica plants are smaller, broader and produce more bud. It is unclear whether Cannabis indica and Cannabis sativa are truly separate species, but their genetics, effects and functions are uniquely different.
A species in the Cannabis family that is rarely farmed due to its low THC content, small stature, and inability to survive harsh climates. Unlike Cannabis sativa and indica, which use light cycles to flower, the ruderalis plant flowers with age.
The scientific name for “hemp,” an annual herbaceous plant in the Cannabis genus originating from Central Asia that has been widely used as a medicine and industrial fiber. Cannabis sativa L. contains lower levels of THC compared to Cannabis indica, therefore it does not produce a psychoactive “high.”
A small ingestible container containing an herb or medicine that you swallow. Capsules are a common product in the medical, cannabis and supplement industries.
A cluster of buds that grow tightly together, with the main cola forming at the very top of the plant.
Any type of cannabis product that is refined from flowers into a more purified and potent form. Concentrates are available in a wide array of forms such as oils, wax and tinctures. They are highly potent and concentrated, containing high levels of cannabinoids and other compounds.
The process of breeding multiple cannabis plants to produce a new strain. In order to cross-breed, first the grower must grow a male plant to maturity so that it is ready to release pollen. The pollen is collected and sprinkled onto a female plant in the early stages of flowering, which causes the female to go into seedling mode to use its energy to form beans inside her buds. When the seeds swell and become visible, the female plant is harvested and dried, with seeds ready to be collected. After growing out as many seeds as possible and choosing the best females for future pollination, the process is repeated until you have a stable genetic line. After cross-breeding occurs, the new strain inherits traits from both parent plants, ranging from flavor profile, potency, appearance and more.
A heating process that converts the acidic form of the cannabinoid (CBDa) to the non-acidic form (CBD). Decarboxylation is essential in activating the cannabinoids and other compounds in the plant to produce the physiological benefits.
A minor phytocannabinoid similar to Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) but with less psychoactivity. Early research has shown that Delta(8)-THC may be an appetite stimulant.
A general term for a facility where medical cannabis patients or consumers can legally and safely access and purchase cannabis products.
Medicated edible goods that have been infused with cannabis extract of some kind. In the traditional cannabis industry, edibles are typically baked goods, such as cookies, brownies, and granola bars, as well as chocolate, gummies and mints. Dispensaries often sell cannabis infused butters and oils so people can make edibles at home. Consuming a edible means that active compounds are absorbed through the digestive system, so it often takes an hour or longer to feel the effects.
Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency Syndrome (CEDS) is an umbrella term for a group of illnesses, including fibromyalgia, migraine and irritable bowel syndrome. A growing number of respected scientists in the medical community think low levels of endocannabinoids are the root cause of these conditions.
The homeostatic regulatory system of the body. The Endocannabinoid System, or ECS, found in all mammals, affects every physiological process, including appetite, regulation of mood and perception of pain. It is considered one of the most important physiologic systems involved in establishing and maintaining human health, playing a key role in regulating pain, mood, memory, appetite, immune function, inflammation, blood pressure, bone growth, the protection of neural tissues and dozens of other physiological processes.
Cannabinoids that are naturally produced in the body. Endocannabinoids and their receptors are found throughout the body: in the brain, organs, connective tissues, glands, and immune cells, and they regulate a wide range of physiological processes, including stress and mood, digestion, appetite and metabolism, immunity, inflammatory response, bone health, skin health, respiratory health and sleep.
The process of breeding female plant seeds to create female plants. Only female cannabis plants produce buds and cannabinoids, responsible for the the physiological benefits of the plant.
Referring to cannabis plants grown from seeds that have been selectively bred to produce only female plants. Since only female plants produce cannabinoids, farmers work hard to ensure their plants are female. Feminized seeds make cultivation easier for farmers by removing male plants early to prevent fertilization.
A group of phytonutrients known for providing color pigmentation to plants. Over 6,000 varieties of flavonoids have been found in nature, some of which are responsible for protecting plants against the elements, such as harmful UV raps, pests, and diseases. Cannabis flavonoids, called “cannaflavins,” play an important role in odor and flavor differences between strains. Similar to terpenes, flavonoids help us perceive cannabis through our senses.
The reproductive organs of the female cannabis plant that produce seeds when fertilized by a male plant. Flowers are hairy, sticky, crystal-covered parts of the plant that are harvested and dried for use. When fertilized by male plants, flowers produce seeds— otherwise, they will continue to produce resin with active cannabinoids until they are harvested.
The period in which a plant produces flowers (bud). A plant enters the flowering time when its exposure to light hits 12 or fewer hours a day, in nature or in an artificial growing ecosystem. After plants have entered the flowering phase and are subjected to a schedule of 12 hours of darkness followed by 12 hours of light, they will begin to produce flowers at an increased rate.
Referring to a cannabis extract that contains the complete range of cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids and fatty acids found in the plant. Compared to other extracts, full-spectrum contains everything the plant contains. The extraction technique is designed so that no active compounds are lost during the process to maintain the integrity of the whole plant.
Referring to the genetic building blocks that the plant was created from, specifically which genes were isolated and combined to create the genetic makeup.
A generic term used in the classification of living organism. This term is arank below the family and above the species of the biological organism.
The start of the plant’s growth cycle, specifically referring to when the seed cracks and sprouts a seedling. This process is intentionally triggered to force cannabis seeds out of their dormant state and back into the normal growth life cycle.
Short for hashish, hash is concentrated cannabis produced by removing the plant’s trichomes through filtration. Once the powder is collected, it is pressed and ready for usage. Hash is more potent than cannabis flowers because everything but the active part of the plant has been removed.
A virgin breed of cannabis that has not been mixed or crossbred with another, thus maintaining its original genetics.
Otherwise known as Cannabis Sativa L., hemp is one of the earliest domesticated plants in the world. Hemp is a truly multipurpose plant, with strong fibers that have been used to make cloth, paper, food, fiber and medicine for thousands of years. Over 700 active compounds, including cannabinoids, terpenes and phenols, are produced within the hemp plant.
Hemp Seed Oil
An oil extracted by pressing the seeds of the hemp plant to extract an oil that is commonly used in skincare and food products. This oil is high in linoleic acid, alpha-linolenic acid and essential fatty acids (omega 6 and omega 3), which are beneficial to the skin and help support immunity. When cold pressed and unrefined, the oil is green in color and nutty in flavor. Hemp seed oil is different from hemp oil because it comes from the seeds and not the flowers. There are no significant levels of cannabinoids in hemp seed oil.
The body’s state of balance that enables cells and systems to live and function. When external forces like stress or environmental chemicals disturb homeostasis, our body is able to push back and regain balance and stability. Compounds such as cannabinoids perfectly bind to receptors in the human body to support homeostasis.
An inability to maintain homeostasis. Homeostasis imbalance occurs when cells in the body experience a deficiency, such as nutritional deficiencies resulting from an unhealthy diet or when cells are exposed to toxins. Stress also threatens homeostasis. Homeostatic imbalance (leading to cellular malfunction) is considered the underlying cause of most diseases.
A strain of cannabis that is a cross between two genetically different strains of cannabis, occurring randomly or intentionally. Hybrids are typically created by cross-breeding two or more preferred traits of a plant to make a more desired combination.
A popular way to grow cannabis that uses a soil-free system. This type of cultivation circulates water and nutrients to plant roots which enables more control over the growing process. The advantage to growing hydroponically is that you deliver nutrients directly to the plant’s roots so the plant can focus more of its energy on growing.
The scientific name for the Cannabis Indica species of cannabis. It is commonly used to describe a type of marijuana that produces more relaxing and sedative effects, compared to sativa strains.
A variety of the Cannabis sativa plant species that is grown specifically for the industrial uses of its derived products, including paper, textiles, biodegradable plastics, health food, fuel and medicine. Industrial hemp is defined as: Cannabis sativa with less than 0.3% THC.
Causing or capable of causing intoxication. Unlike Cannabidiol (CBD), Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) causes intoxicating effects.
The extraction of a compound such as CBD from the cannabis plant so the subsequent product is a concentrated amount of a single molecule, lacking other cannabinoids and terpenes.
A term commonly used to describe a marijuana cigarette, or pre-roll.
A concentrated amount of trichomes that have been separated from the marijuana flower, known to be extremely potent. Kief is the main ingredient in hashish.
Referring to cannabis plants that originate from the Hindu Kush mountains in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Kush strains are indica with an earthy and piney aroma.
The general term for female cannabis plants or their dried flower. Marijuana plants are female and produce flowers containing high levels of phytocannabinoids, with medical and psychoactive properties.
The use of cannabis to support medical conditions such as chronic pain, nausea, anxiety, depression, insomnia. Medical marijuana differs from recreational marijuana in intention of use but not necessarily cannabinoid profile, as there are accepted medical uses for all cannabinoids, including THC, the single psychoactive cannabinoid.
A female cannabis plant that is used for breeding and cloning. Growers choose their mothers based on strong genetics, overall plant health, and desired effects.
A messenger of neurologic formation from one cell to another.
Not intoxicating; incapable of causing intoxication. Unlike Tetrahydrocannabidol (THC), Cannabidiol (CBD) is non-intoxicating, as it does not cause intoxicating effects.
Relating to a living matter produced without the use of chemical pesticides, fertilizers or other artificial agents.
Active compounds produced by cannabis and other plants and microorganisms consisting of aromatic hydrocarbons, which contribute to the unique scent of every strain.
A term used to identify a plant’s inherit characteristics and physical traits, including scent, taste, appearance, impact and efficacy. Phenotypes are the expression of genetics in the physical growing environment. Plants with the same genetics can display different phenotypes if they are grown under different conditions.
Medically active compounds found in the hemp and marijuana plants that are similar in structure and function to endocannabinoids naturally produced by mammals. Phytocannabinoids interact with and support the ECS to “regulate regulation,” promoting homeostasis, or “balance.”
Part of the female cannabis plant’s anatomy, referring to all of the reproductive parts of the female plant, including an ovule and two stigmas. Pistils are small, hair-like features on the flower, ranging in color from white to red. When female plants are fertilized, the pistil is activated to collect the male pollen. When plants are unfertilized, the pistils change with time and indicate the ripeness of the plant.
A slang term for marijuana.
A term that commonly refers to a marijuana or CBD cigarette or joint.
A chemical group or molecule on or in our cells that has an affinity for a specific chemical group, molecule, or virus. In the Endocannabinoid System, receptors have an affinity for endocannabinoids.
The use of cannabis products to induce pleasure, euphoria, relaxation, and to enhance sociability. The dividing line between recreational and medical cannabis is largely due to social stigma and perception, which makes using cannabis for enjoyment a taboo topic. Even in the recreational market, cannabis products are used for a wide range of health benefits, blurring the line between recreational and medical use.
The scientific name for the Cannabis Sativa species of cannabis. It is commonly used to describe a type of marijuana that produces more stimulating and cerebral effects, compared to indica strains.
The flowering plant’s unit of reproduction, capable of developing into another plant. In order to reproduce, the flower of a female plant must be pollinated by a male plant so the female plant produces seeds. Once the seeds are mature, the female plant begins to die and seeds are either dropped to the ground to germinate or they are harvested for processing into hemp seed oil, food products, or the next generation of plants. Seeds carry genetic information from two parent plants that can be expressed in many different combinations. Typically cannabis producers will plant many seeds and choose the best plant for cloning and cultivation.
Seedless female plants that grow large cannabinoid-rich buds with no seeds.
The vibrant, hairlike strands of the pistil used to collect pollen from males. The stigmas of the pistil begin with a white coloration and progressively become yellow, orange, red, and brown throughout the plant’s maturation. They play a critical role in reproduction by providing a passageway for the genetic material to pass from a pollen grain that has landed on a stigma, to grow and fertilize the ovule, which contains the reproductive cells.
A specific variety of a plant species. Strains are usually named by their breeders, and they are developed to produce specific desired effects. Strains are distinguished by appearance, aroma, location of origin and cannabinoid and terpene content.
Compounds (hydrocarbon groups) in the cannabis plant that are instrumental to the physiological effects of the plant. Although over 200 terpenes have been discovered in the cannabis plant, only a small minority have been studied for their pharmacological effects. Terpenes activate the body’s Endocannabinoid receptors to promote homeostasis. Different combinations of terpenes and cannabinoids are what give strains distinct flavors, scents and medicinal properties.
The main phytocannabinoid in the marijuana plant responsible for the "high," the euphoric and psychoactive effects on the body. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the only known intoxicating phytocannabinoid that can alter behavior, consciousness, mood, appetite and perception. During THC intoxication, brain imaging studies have shown increased blood flow to the prefrontal cortex region of the brain, which is responsible for decision-making, attention, and other functions, like motor skills.
Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid (THCA)
The acidic form of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), considered “inactive” until it heats (through decarboxylation) to become Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
A psychoactive phytocannabinoid known as the “sibling” of THC that may be effective in suppressing appetite.
The Entourage Effect
The natural synergy of the cannabis plant’s complementary compounds. While we don’t yet fully understand exactly how the Entourage Effect works, we know that cannabinoids, terpenes and phenols activate each other and work best together.
The theory behind The Entourage Effect is that cannabinoids like CBD and THC interact synergistically to activate each other’s best qualities. Some believe that CBD enhances THC’s painkilling and anticancer properties, while lessening THC’s psychoactivity. CBD can also mitigate adverse effects caused by too much THC, such as anxiety and rapid heartbeat. When both compounds are present in sufficient amounts in the same cannabis strain or product, CBD may lower the psychoactivity of THC while prolonging its duration. They work like ying and yang to balance each other out and optimize benefits.
The Entourage Effect demonstrates the importance of broad or full-spectrum products to maintain the integrity of the plant and optimize the benefits of all of the active compounds of the plant.
A common cannabis product consisting of a liquid extract that is usually made with alcohol, glycerol or a carrier oil and ingested orally. Cannabis tinctures are dosed with a dropper that is typically placed under the tongue and when made with alcohol as the solvent, enables quick absorption. When a tincture is made with a carrier oil like hemp seed oil or MCT oil rather than alcohol or glycerol, it is absorbed by the digestive system and takes longer to feel the effects, resulting in less active compounds absorbed into the body.
A type of cannabis product where the active compounds in the flowers have been extracted and added to a product that is applied directly to the skin. As the body’s biggest organ, the skin allows for transdermal absorption of compounds like cannabinoids into the bloodstream. There is evidence to suggest that the skin has its own Endocannabinoid System, which is why topical cannabinoid products are effective for localized pain relief.
Crystal-like components of the cannabis plant that hold the most cannabinoid content.
A technological device used to consume cannabis that involves heating cannabis flowers or oils to a specific temperature, creating a cannabinoid vapor to inhale. Though fairly new technology, vaporizers are a very popular product type in the cannabis and CBD industries.
A slang term referring to marijuana, or Cannabis sativa.
Broad extracts containing a spectrum of cannabinoids and other components of cannabis, such as terpenes and phenols. Unlike isolated CBD or THC, whole-plant products maintain the integrity of the plant by featuring multiple compounds that work together to create The Entourage Effect. The main benefit to using whole plant products instead of isolated CBD is the synergistic effects between compounds that optimize overall impact.