The cannabis industry has a language all its own. With new terms popping up all the time, it can be hard to keep up. That’s why we’ve put together this cannabis vocabulary dictionary to help you make sense of it all. Keep reading to learn the key terms and lingo that are essential to know in the world of weed.
The Basics: Cannabis, Marijuana, and Hemp
Cannabis is a plant genus that includes three main species: Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis. Cannabis contains a variety of active compounds like THC and CBD.
Marijuana refers specifically to varieties of cannabis that contain substantial amounts of THC, the cannabinoid responsible for marijuana’s high feeling.
Hemp is a variety of Cannabis sativa that contains very low levels of THC (less than 0.3%) and is primarily grown for industrial purposes like textiles, biofuels, foods, and skin care.
So, while marijuana and hemp come from the same species of plant, they have very different chemical makeups and uses.
Strains: Sativas, Indicas, and Hybrids
There are thousands of different cannabis strains out there. Most fall into three broad categories:
- Sativas tend to provide more invigorating, uplifting effects that pair well with physical activity, social gatherings, and creative projects.
- Indicas typically offer more relaxing, calming effects that work well before bed or for quiet solo activities.
- Hybrid strains combine effects from both sativa and indica varieties. Effects can vary widely depending on the specific strain’s sativa-indica ratio.
Ingestion Methods Cannabis Vocabulary
There are lots of ways to consume marijuana, each with their own characteristics:
- Smoking involves inhaling burned cannabis smoke. Offers quick onset of effects.
- Vaping heats cannabis oil just below combustion. Still swift effects without smoke.
- Edibles are food products infused with cannabis. Effects take 1-3 hours to set in.
- Tinctures are cannabis extracts in an alcohol solution. Fast-acting when applied under the tongue.
- Topicals are infused lotions, oils, and balms absorbed through the skin. Provide localized relief without psychoactivity.
- Dabbing involves inhaling vaporized cannabis concentrates, like wax, shatter, or isolates. Very potent and fast-acting.
Key Chemical Compounds
There are over 500 compounds in the cannabis plant. Here are some key ones:
- THC stands for tetrahydrocannabinol. It’s the primary intoxicating compound that produces the “high” feeling.
- CBD or cannabidiol is non-intoxicating but offers relaxation, pain relief, and anti-inflammatory effects.
- CBG (cannabigerol) is a non-intoxicating compound with medicinal benefits under research.
- Terpenes are aromatic oils that influence the flavor and effects of different strains.
Lab Testing and Dosing
With cannabis products now lab-tested in legal markets, you can see exactly what compounds are present:
- THC percentage indicates potency—higher THC means more intense effects.
- CBD percentage communicates therapeutic value for medical use.
- Terpene profiles show the distinctive flavonoids in each strain.
Lab results empower consumers to find optimal strains and dosing. Start low and go slow until you find your sweet spot!
Sign Up and Stay Informed!
We hope this cannabis vocabulary guide has shed some light on key terms and concepts in the world of weed. Understanding the lingo is the first step to being an informed, empowered cannabis consumer.
The experts at Qredible are dedicated to leveraging technology, lab testing, and data to help people get the most from their cannabis experience. Sign up now to be the first to know when we launch Qredible for Consumers—a revolutionary new directory that will let you look up lab-tested products, understand their effects, and more. Take the guesswork out of cannabis.