What is My BudTender Saying?! Cannabis terminology explained.
When you’re new to cannabis consumption, there can be a lot of confusing jargon thrown around by dispensary agents. Terms like “terpenes” and “extractions” are thrown around. To cannabis enthusiasts and long-time medical marijuana patients, these terms are common place. However, as a new consumer going into a dispensary as though it’s a regular retail establishment and suddenly being in a conversation filed with foreign terms, it can feel like…”what in the world are you saying?!”
Hopefully the dispensary you visit has a new consumer guidebook available for you to catch you up on terms and consumption best practices, but if not, here are some simple common cannabis terms used in dispensaries. Study up on these terms and you should be able to feel a bit more empowered the next tie you go to a dispensary.
COMMON CANNABIS TERMS
Bud refers to the actual flower of the marijuana plant. These are the fluffy parts that are harvested and used for recreational or medicinal purposes as they contain the highest concentrations of active cannabinoids.
Cannabinoids are the chemical compounds unique to cannabis that act upon the human body’s cannabinoid receptors, producing various effects including pain relief and other medically beneficial uses. Marijuana’s most well-known cannabinoid is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) due to the fact that it is the most abundant, and also because it produces the psychoactive effects (or the “high”) that drives the plant’s recreational use. However, there are over 85 known cannabinoids all with varying effects, so THC isn’t the only one.
CBD is the abbreviation for cannabidiol, one of the at least 85 cannabinoids found in cannabis and the second only to THC when it comes to average volume. Recently, CBD has gained support for its use as a medical treatment as research has shown it effectively treats pain, inflammation, and anxiety without the psychoactive effects (the “high” or “stoned” feeling) associated with THC. High CBD strains, such as Harlequin, are being bred more actively and appearing more frequently on the market.
Concentrates are a potent consolidation of cannabinoids that are made by dissolving marijuana in its plant form into a solvent. The resulting product has very high THC levels (generally more than flowers or hashish), and can produce varying products that range from thick sticky oils (BHO) to moldable goo (budder/wax) to resinous bits (shatter). Referred to by a variety of slang terms, the classification of concentrates is often dependent on the manufacturing methodand the consistency of the final product.
A dab is a slang term used to refer to a dose of BHO received through butane combustion and inhalation. The act of “dabbing” refers to partaking in dabs.
Tip: If you are new to cannabis consumption, do NOT start with dabbing.
Heating cannabis to temperatures of 220 degrees or more turns non-psychoactive THCA into psychoactive THC.
Edibles and medibles are medicated edible goods that have been infused with cannabis extracts. They are commonly baked goods such as cookies and brownies, but options as varied as flavored coffee drinks, breads, and candies exist as well. Dispensaries also often sell marijuana-infused butters or oils for patients or consumers to make their own edibles. Consuming edibles means the active components from the extracts require longer to take effect as they need to be absorbed through the digestive system.
result of the terpenes and the cannabinoids (like THC and CBD) working together.
Hybrid refers to a plant that is genetically a cross between one or more separate strains of cannabis. Hybrids can happen unintentionally, but they are usually bred specifically to combine desired traits of the original plants. Most marijuana on the market today is some form of hybrid.
Indica is the less scientific name for the Cannabis indica species of cannabis. Generally these plants originated in the Middle East and Asia and include both of the famous kush and Afghan lineages. Compared to their sativa counterparts, the plants are shorter, bushier and have more compact flower structure. This species tends to produce more relaxing physical effects and can have a sedative quality.
Sativa is the less scientific name for the cannabis sativa species of cannabis plant. In general, these plants originated outside of the Middle East and Asia and include strains that are from areas such as South America, the Caribbean, Africa, and Thailand. These strains tend to grow taller as plants (usually over 5 feet), are lighter in color and take longer to flower. When consumed, sativas tend to produce more cerebral effects as opposed to physical and sedative ones.
A strain is a specific variety of a plant species. Strains are developed to produce distinct desired traits in the plant and are usually named by their breeders (or by creative consumers). Strain names often reflect the plant’s appearance, its promised buzz, or its place of origin. Although the medical marijuana industry strives for consistency, strains can easily be mistakenly or purposely misidentified.
Terpenes create the aroma of cannabis. Flower strains smell different because they contain different terpenes (referred to as a “terpene profile”).
THC is an abbreviation for tetrahydrocannabinol. It is the most well-known and most abundantly
available cannabinoid in marijuana plants. THC is also the component in marijuana that is responsible for the psychoactive effects, or the “high.” Also known as delta-9-tetracannabinol, it was first isolated in 1964 and is thought to serve as a natural defense for the plant against pests. Research has shown THC to be an effective medical treatment for a range of conditions. There is no lethal dose of the compound in its natural form.