Cannabis 101

Your Go-To Glossary for Anything Ganja

Danielle Poirier
Feb 6 · 14 min read

Welcome to Cannabis 101, where Verda shares the basics you need to know about everything related to the green we all know and love.

When it comes to the cannabis industry, there’s tons of terminology that not only gets confusing but is like another language. We want to clear the air and give you the answers about what’s what and go from the ground up.

The ultimate cannabis glossary for anything and everything ganja.
The ultimate cannabis glossary for anything and everything ganja.
Photo by Margo Amala on Unsplash

Bong

Typically made out of glass, this pipe circulates and cools smoke from marijuana so you’re able to inhale it.

Bowl

The funnel-shaped glass piece of the pipe apparatus of a bong where the flower is loaded into. A bowl can also be described as a unit of measure. I.e. the amount of ground flower that fills the piece is considered one ‘bowl’.

Blunt

The act of swapping the contents of a cigar with marijuana. Typically the cigarette casing would be emptied out and re-filled with cannabis. Blunts are popular because the wraps come in a variety of shapes, sizes, flavours, and can hold a lot of weed. One thing to keep in mind if you’re thinking of rolling a blunt is that the wrap usually contains nicotine, so if you don’t want to be consuming tobacco I’d steer clear.

Bud

This refers directly to the flower of the marijuana plant. The flower is the dominant component that gets harvested from a marijuana plant and contains the highest concentrations of active cannabinoids.

Budtender

Think of them as the barista for dispensaries; a budtender is the dispensary’s employees who assist customers with products that suit them for their specific needs. Budtenders are very knowledgable about the products and the industry and may have considerable experience handling and consuming cannabis as well.

Butane Hash Oil (BHO)

Also see glass, or shatter/ice; Known as BHO, butane hash oil is a process where marijuana flowers are blasted with butane to turn the cannabinoids into a solvent. The result is a butane/THC mixture, which is then processed to remove the butane, leaving a THC concentrate that appears like orange honey. The honey-coloured resin is known as ‘wax’, or ‘shatter’ and is extremely potent as only the active cannabinoids are remaining.

Cannabidiol (CBD)

Cannabidiol, which abbreviates to CBD, is one of 85 cannabinoids found in marijuana and the second most popular following THC when it comes to industry demand. CBD is renowned for its medical benefits, effectively treating things like chronic pain, inflammation, and anxiety without the psychoactive “high” effects that THC brings to the table.

Cannabidiphorol (CBDP)

Newly discovered, and similar in nature to CBD (see above definition), CBDP’s molecular structure is longer than that of CBD, however, researchers are still investigating what exactly this means for cannabinoid.

The binding ability of cannabinoids affects how potent the user’s high is. To start, CBD does not have a strong binding ability, making it difficult to connect to a human’s CB1 and CB2 receptors.

So with a longer molecular structure and a better binding ability than that of CBD, researchers are continually investigating what this could mean in terms of a potentially more potent or therapeutic experience for consumers.

Cannabinoids

The umbrella term used for the chemical compounds that are unique to cannabis. Each chemical compound produces different effects. When the compound reaches human body receptors, it producing various effects such as pain relief. The top two cannabinoids known in the market are THC and CBD, however, there are 85 chemical compounds found in marijuana, so there is plenty of exploration still coming to the market.

Cannabis

Native to Asia, cannabis grows almost anywhere and has been produced largely for hemp and to be used as a medicine. Cannabis is a plant genus that produces three species of flowering marijuana plants; Sativa, Indica, and ruderalis. Both Sativa and Indica are used for medical and recreational use, ruderalis is rarely used due to their lower THC content and miniature size. Ruderalis is unique due to its auto-flowering capabilities without relying on light to mature, so it’s often used for cross-breeding species.

Concentrates

A refined and more purified forms of cannabis. The process of dissolving the flower into solvent results in extremely high potency, generally more potent than a flower or hash by-product. Concentrates can be made into a variety of products such as sticky oils (BHO), moldable goo (budder/wax) or resin shards (shatter/glass). Often referred to by an array of slang, but the class of concentrate is dependent on the method of extraction from the plant and the consistency of the final product.

Clone

This refers to the clipping of a parent plant that can be replanted. A clone is a genetic duplicate of the parent plant. Many popular strains of marijuana are simply clones but passed along by the growers in the industry

Dab/Dabbing

The act of taking a concentrate and placing it on a hot surface where the concentrate turns to smoke to be inhaled. Dab is a slang term referring to the sublimation, and dabbing is the action.

Dank

Slang often used to describe very high-quality marijuana. It could have a very potent smell, have many crystals on the flower insinuating a high THC potency, or how sticky/fresh it is.

Dispensary (Legal)

A general term for a storefront where medicinal patients or recreational users can come to legitimately purchase and safely access marijuana. Legitimate dispensaries require licenses to sell marijuana and marijuana-associated products, and all products are subject to tests and regulations to ensure that they are clean and safe to consume.

Edible

Typically in the form of a baked good or a candy, edibles contain cannabinoid concentrates or extracts which offer the beneficial results from marijuana. Edibles are made to the consumer as opposed to the traditional smoking of the flower. Edibles are growing to include items such as cannabis-infused beverages and food dishes at restaurants.

Flowers

Not your typical flower, but the blooming part of a female marijuana plant. The flower on marijuana plants is actually the reproductive organs on the plant and contains the potent components that get harvested. The flower is typically sticky, hairy and crystal-covered.

Ganja

Slang for marijuana. Also referred to as weed, pot, cannabis, etc.

Germination

The beginning of every marijuana plant growth cycle. The cannabis seed is treated with moisture and will begin to sprout, where the cultivator would then typically plant the seed into the soil.

Glass

Another way to describe a pipe, bong, or bubbler. Glass comes in many different shapes, sizes, and levels of intricacy when it comes to the glass-blowing craft, ranging from a mere $5 upwards to thousands of dollars depending on the time it took to create and the quality of the piece. Some of the more expensive pieces are called, “heady glass” and are more like a piece of art than a smoking device.

Green Out

Stoner’s version of getting ‘too drunk’. Greening out is when someone consumes too high of a dose of THC and begins feeling ill. Ideally, you’d want to consume a dose and feel out whether you should have more or ride out the rest of your high instead of going too far too fast and greening out.

Grey Market

The largest example of a grey market is California’s cannabis market. ‘Grey’ refers to the combination of both ‘black’, otherwise called the illicit market, and the legal market, which is licensed and legally allowed to sell cannabis. Grey markets have both illicit and legal operations running in unison, and consumers purchasing from grey markets are often confused about whether they’re buying from a legal dispensary or an illicit operation due to the blurred lined between the two.

Grinder

A circular device, typically made of metal or steel, that grinds up marijuana flowers into a finer consistency. Grinders are useful because it means that you do not have to break apart your flower with your fingers, avoiding the stickiness and smell from getting on your hands.

Ground marijuana is used for rolling joints, and packing bowls or blunts easier. Grinders can come in many sizes and intricacies. The first level of a grinder is where you’d place the flower to get ground up. The next level is where the ground marijuana lands, and the third tier of the grinder is where the crystal gets caught after the grinding process.

Hash/Hash Oil

Short for hashish, hash is sourced from cannabis plants for consumption or medication. To get hash, you have to remove the plant’s trichomes through a sifting process to get a powder-like substance. Once the powder is pressed, it is then ready to be used.

Hash ranges in potency, however, it is typically stronger than the flower because the active chemical components should be all that is left from the extraction. Hash oil is created in a similar way, but chemically using a solvent to create the concentrate.

Hybrid

Described as the best of both worlds; a hybrid is genetically a cross between two or more different strains of marijuana. Many growers create hybrids to reap the effects of different strains of weed, combining them into one mix-pot plant. Most cannabis found today is some breed of hybrid, offering unique traits and effects for every flower.

Illicit Market

Also known as the ‘black market’, the illicit market contains unlicensed, illegal marijuana operations ranging from a single dealer to a fully unlicensed establishment selling cannabis and cannabis-related accessories. Confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the illicit market is at fault for the EVALI outbreak in 2019, killing over 60 and affecting over 2,700 across the U.S.

Buying from the illicit market is risky and dangerous because products can be sold without being quality tested or approved to ensure that they’re safe to consume. It’s always advised to buy from licensed dispensaries and not from the illicit market for your own safety.

Indica

Shortened from Cannabis Indica species, Indica is one of three classifications of cannabis with the other two being Sativa and ruderalis. Indica offers a very relaxing body high which aids those who suffer from chronic pain, anxiety, insomnia, and the list could go on.

Compared to Sativa, Indica plants tend to be smaller, wider, and with bountiful buds.

Joint

A joint is essentially a hand-rolled marijuana cigarette. Rolling joints is an art in itself, however, people enjoy that it can be done on-the-go, and it’s easy to discard once you’ve finished smoking it. You can roll a joint however you want and to whatever size you prefer; ‘pinners’ are thin joints, meanwhile ‘fatties’ or ‘doobies’ are much thicker. Many people also opt to roll spliffs (with tobacco) or with hash inside as well.

Kief

Kief is the contents collected from the separated trichomes of the marijuana plant. If you have a 3-tier grinder, kief is the contents of the very bottom section. Since trichomes are the potent sticky crystals from the flower which contain most of the plant’s cannabinoids means that it’s very potent and a fairly pure form of concentrate. One distinction between kief and other concentrates it’s not as pure as other forms of liquid exactions because it’s not refined with a liquid meaning it’s unable to fully detach all of the trichomes from the actual plant. However, kief is still the easiest way for the average cannabis user to get their hands on a powerful concentrate without spending more on extracted products.

Kush

Typically referring to an Indica strain of plant. A kush plant, usually smaller in size in comparison to Sativa plants, but offers a unique smell and relaxing effects for the consumer.

Medical

Medical, referencing medicinal marijuana, is a term used for cannabis specifically targeted for users who consume for medical purposes. Medical marijuana is known for its health benefits for treating symptoms like chronic pain, nausea, insomnia, anxiety, seizures, cancer, PTSD in veterans, and so much more. Medical marijuana can be consumed just as any cannabis products in forms such as smoking, vaporizing, using topicals, sprays, lotions, and eating extracts or edibles.

Many states have legalized marijuana for medicinal uses because it’s been proven to help with many ailments, both mentally and physically. Dispensaries that serve medical patients require a medical license to purchase.

Phenotype

A term dominantly used when growing cannabis, a phenotype is the plant’s distinctive traits. Just like how humans are created, the phenotype for cannabis is looking at the ancestry of the plant’s genetics. By looking at what genetics are likely to appear in the new plant that it would have inherited from the parent plant, growers know exactly what to expect in terms of the strain’s taste, effectiveness, look and more.

Pinner

Slang for a thin joint. Pinners usually don’t contain a lot of marijuana and are rolled thin enough to resemble a pin or a Q-Tip-like shape.

Pot

Informal; slang for marijuana. See cannabis, weed, pot or ganja for further definition.

Pre-Roll

Pre-rolls are joints that are rolled ahead of their intended smoke period. Pre-rolls are widely available at licensed dispensaries for those who seek convenience. Often for those who enjoy the convenience of having joints ready to be smoked without physically rolling them on their own.

Recreational

Referencing recreational adult-use of marijuana. Recreational means that the activity is performed for enjoyment outside of the workplace. Recreational, or adult-use of cannabis requires the user to be of-age (depending on the state/province, this age ranges between 18–21 years of age).

Roach

A term used to describe the end of a joint, where it’s left too small to smoke without fear of burning fingers. Many opt for a roach clip or forceps to smoke the last of a roach. Alternative ways to use leftover weed from roaches is to empty it and mix the contents into a new joint or bowl, or for making a ‘rainy day’ joint, filled with the remainder of a collection of roaches. Roach contents is typically a brown colour due to smoke fragments that settle onto the flower after each inhale.

Ruderalis

One of three core classifications of marijuana along with Sativa and Indica. Ruderalis is known for its high CBD and low THC content, its capability to grow without a dependency on light, and its ability to auto-flower with age.

Sativa

Shortened from Cannabis Sativa species, Sativa is one of three classifications of cannabis with the other two being Indica and ruderalis. Sativa offers a more energetic high, uplifting cerebral effects and is often sought after to treat depression and boost creativity and social skills. Compared to Indica, Sativa plants tend to mature at a slower pace, but grows much larger (often +5 feet) and tends to produce much more cannabis flowers as a result.

Shatter/Ice

Believed to be the purest and most potent form of concentrate, shatter, also called butane hash oil (BHO) is created through an extraction process which ousts fats and lipids from the product, leaving a very clean concentrate. Shatter is commonly clear and can easily be broken into pieces. Consumers can add pieces of shatter to a packed bowl, or it can be dabbed (melted and inhaled; see dab/dabbing).

Spliff

A spliff either referencing a really well-rolled joint, or it could be referring to a marijuana cigarette rolled with tobacco in it as well. The mixture of marijuana and tobacco offers a mixed high with the headrush of smoking a cigarette.

Strain

This refers to the plant species. The species are grown to certain phenotypes or desired traits. There are hundreds of strains and plenty more coming to surface thanks to the cross-breeding of plants, but the three main classifications of cannabis species identified are Indica, Sativa, and ruderalis, all offering different ‘high’ experiences.

Terpenes

Terpenes refer to the hydrocarbons found in the essential oils of a plant and are largely responsible for the flavour and smell of the flower. Secreted by cells in the glands of the trichomes or crystals on the flower, terpenes are mainly what causes differences between strains.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)

The epitome of fame in the marijuana world; THC is known for its psychoactive effects. THC is what is responsible for the classic ‘high’ where, unlike its counterpart CBD, brings a lighter and cleaner high that is known to increase creativity. THC is also known for its ability to spark a hunger in consumers, making it a perfect substance to treat issues such as lack of appetite.

Tetrahydrocannabiphorol (THCP)

Newly discovered and similar in nature to THC (see above definition), THCP is said to be stronger than THC. The molecular structure of THC has 5 side chains, whereas THCP has 7. Researchers studying the component found that THCP was 33 times more active than THC on a human’s CB1 receptor, and 5–10 times more active than THC on our CB2 receptor.

The binding ability of cannabinoids affects how potent the user’s high is, so the longer molecular chain creates a stronger bond with our CB1 and CB2 receptors, suggesting a stronger, more potent high for the end-user.

Tinctures

A liquid cannabis concentrate extraction typically created with alcohol or glycerol. Usually dosed with a dropper under the tongue, consumers can feel the effects within minutes as it’s absorbed quickly orally. You can also mix tinctures into drinks, however, the effects take longer to feel as the substance has to be absorbed through your digestive system.

Topicals

Classically known as a product, like a lotion or cream that is topically applied to the skin, however with cannabis extractions inside so it offers medical benefits. Topicals have active components of the flower blended into the mixture, making it a perfect complement for treatments of things like muscle pain, long-term soreness, and ailments such as dry skin.

Trichomes

Often mistaken for the crystal or the ‘hairs’ on cannabis flowers, trichomes are the specific part of the plant that holds the most amount of cannabinoids such as THC, CBD, etc on the flower. Up close, trichomes resemble tall mushroom shapes on the surface of the flower. The cannabinoids are often used to make concentrates such as kief or hash. Typically, the trichomes/crystal-y hairs you see on a marijuana flower, the higher the THC/CBD potency you’ll have.

Vape Pen

A vape pen, a.k.a. a vaporizer pen is a smaller and simplified version of a regular vaporizer. Vape pens are portable and usually come with pre-filled cartridges of cannabis concentrates meant to be inhaled. Vape pens are often set at certain temperatures for an easy experience when you pull from it, whereas regular vaporizers, you have control over the temperature. Some variations of vape pens also allow the user to fill the chamber themselves.

Vape pens and their sister product, e-cigarettes, have risen in popularity along with the marijuana market because it’s a subtle, discreet way of smoking which makes it more versatile to take you without having to worry about the smell.

When purchasing a vape pen, make sure to do so at a licensed dispensary to ensure that the product you’re buying is regulated and tested for safety measures before purchasing and using. Any products on the illicit market are not quality tested and have put hundreds of people in hospital to date. To learn more, read about the vaping crisis, and what you can do to vape safely.

Vaporizer

See vape pen; A vaporizer is an alternative way to smoke marijuana aside from a joint, pipe, bong, etc. Vaporizers allow you to heat either a flower or oil product to a temperature where it activates the cannabinoids and turns the products into a vapor which is then meant to be inhaled. E-cigarettes, vaporizers sister-product are raved about because they’re believed to be healthier than smoking because you’re not physically inhaling the smoke. While that is roughly true, vaporizers are just as potent as the flower or concentrate consumed in different ways, so keep that in mind when using a vape because it’s difficult to know just how much you’ve consumed in a sitting. Also, just like vape pens, vaporizers allow for a mobile and discreet way to have cannabis on-the-go.

When purchasing a vaporizer, make sure to do so at a licensed dispensary to ensure that the product you’re buying is regulated and tested for safety measures before purchasing and using. Any products on the illicit market are not quality tested and have put hundreds of people in hospital to date. To learn more, read about the vaping crisis, and what you can do to vape safely.

Weed

Slang for marijuana. Also see pot or cannabis. Typically used to describe the marijuana flower.


Miss our latest blog? Learn tips and tricks about getting started in the cannabis industry from first-round cannabis lottery winners in Ontario. Discover the hardships and lessons learned by some of the first legal cannabis pioneers in our province.

Verda.ca

Verda’s Blog

Danielle Poirier

Written by

Content Marketing Manager at Verda Innovations Inc. Sharing my knowledge and learnings within the cannabis space. Always looking for ways to grow!

Verda.ca

Verda.ca

Verda’s Blog

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