Medical Cannabis: A Glossary of Common Terms

We’ve all been there. You start talking to the budtender at your local dispensary and they begin using terminology that you aren’t too familiar with. After all, you only just started to explore the world of medical cannabis, you shouldn’t expect yourself to be an expert yet. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t make these encounters a little more smooth by familiarizing yourself with some of the following terms. 

Cannabichromene (CBC) One of the lesser-known cannabinoids, CBC doesn’t bond well with the normal CB1 receptors instead of binding to different receptors in the body. The binding can cause increased production of the body’s endocannabinoids.

Cannabidiol (CBD) A cannabinoid in cannabis, CBD doesn’t produce the high that people often associate with medical cannabis but instead has been found to manage symptoms of maladies such as seizures from epilepsy. 

Cannabinoids Are simply the compounds that makeup cannabis and bind with receptors in the body to produce physical and psychoactive effects. There are dozens of cannabinoids in any particular strain but the specific levels of each cannabinoid will determine the differences between strains. 

Cannabinoid 1 vs. Cannabinoid 2 receptors Both receptors are part of the endocannabinoid system (ECS). The receptors are what act with the cannabinoids to create the responses in the body that a person feels under the influence. The CB1 receptors interact with the cannabinoid tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) to give the user the physical effects most associated with cannabis. CB2 receptors can help regulate inflammation. 

Cure Curing cannabis means drying out the cannabis and allows for longer storage periods. 

Profile The profile is the makeup of the cannabinoids in a particular plant

Dabbing A dab is cannabis concentrate and can be vaporized for a more potent smoke. The process of vaporizing and inhaling the concentrate is called dabbing. 

Decarboxylation A heating process that is meant to activate compounds called cannabinoid acids which are cannabinoids that haven’t been activated yet. The Decarboxylation process helps to turn these compounds on and make the plant interact with the body differently. 

Dronabinol A synthetic form of THC that is often delivered in pill form to help with the nausea symptoms associated with chemotherapy. 

Edible An edible is a cannabis-infused food and can be quite potent. Edibles come in a variety of options from cookies to candy to liquids. 

Endocannabinoid system (ECS) This is an active component in everyone’s body and helps to produce endocannabinoids which are like cannabinoids but produced within your body. The receptors (CB1 and CB2) found within this system can be stimulated with the presence of cannabinoids producing a variety of effects on the body. 

Extraction A process that collects the most potent parts of the cannabis plant like THC and terpenes. 

Flower Also known as “bud,” the flower is the part of the plant that can be smoked after going through the curing process. It is one of the most common for its multiple methods of consumption.

Hemp The term hemp is used to describe cannabis that has equal to or less than 0.3 percent THC content. As a result of this lower THC content, hemp will not get the user high. 

Hybrid A hybrid is simply a cannabis plant that has been bred with another cannabis plant. The goal is to take the best of both plants to create a more desirable product with specific or stronger effects.

Indica Commonly used as a way to market particular strains of cannabis that are known to be like a sedative. The leaves can often have a broad look to them compared to their Sativa siblings. 

Mycotoxin A toxin that is produced by mold. The mycotoxin can be introduced to cannabis during processing. However, there are tests to determine if a plant has been affected during processing to prevent introducing these toxins to a marketplace. 

Sativa  – People often associate strains related to Sativa as producing more of a head high. Some report more focus as a result of consuming Sativa. The leaves are much more narrow compared to its Indica siblings. 

Strain Simply refers to the flower’s general makeup. What this means is it can refer to the general cannabinoid levels, terpenes, and effects. 

Terpene Compounds within cannabis and other plants that affect the aroma of the plant. Terpenes can work in tandem with cannabinoids to affect the user’s overall experience with medical cannabis. 

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) The most famous cannabinoid in cannabis, THC is a main active ingredient and is responsible for the head lifting feelings most people associate with the plant. 

Tincture A type of medication that is derived from using alcohol to dissolve cannabis. The mixture is taken orally and can be found in tiny bottles with droppers. 

Topical An ointment that can be applied directly to the afflicted area on the body. Often used with chronic pain management. 

Trichome A part of the cannabis plant, the trichome is responsible for housing the plant’s terpenes and cannabinoids. Only the glandular type of trichome produces cannabinoids.