As cannabis integrates itself into the fabric of legal social use, you’re bound to hear some unfamiliar terms and concepts; but we’ve got your back! Explore our extensive new glossary of key definitions to elevate your knowledge, leaving you more confident in your purchasing and consumption decisions.
This list is ever-evolving! We want to hear from you; scroll down to leave a comment with your own additions.
420: A common code used within cannabis communities referring to both the socially accepted hour of the day to consume (4:20pm), as well as the 20th of April (4/20), a global cannabis “holiday”. The term is said to have originated in the 1970’s at San Rafael High School in San Francisco, where a group of teenagers would gather around the campus statue at 4:20pm to light up.
710: Similar to 420, 710 is a celebration of concentrates and dabbing. The numbers spell “oil” backwards. It’s celebrated at 7:10 and on the 10th of July (7/10).
ACMPR: Known as Canada’s Access to Cannabis for Medical Purposes Regulations, this legislation came into effect in August 2016 to replace the former MMPR (Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations). The program carried over many aspects from MMPR, but also included a personal cultivation regime that bears resemblance to the even earlier MMAR (Marihuana Medical Access Regulations).
Aeroponics: An indoor method of growing cannabis, where the plants and their root structures are suspended in air, and regularly sprayed with a nutrient-filled water solution. No soil is involved.
Alcohol extraction: A process of extracting trichomes and terpenes using either ethanol or pure isopropyl alcohol as the solvent. After filtering the plant material, the alcohol is then reduced using low-pressure distillation to create a resin suitable for vaporizing/dabbing.
Auto-Flower: Also known as Ruderalis, these are female cannabis plants that automatically switch from the vegetative growth stage to flowering with age and size. Normally, this stage is activated based on a certain amount of light and darkness per day; approximately 12 hours of each. Many auto-flowering plants are ready to harvest in 10 weeks or less from seed. It’s important to note that auto-flowering is a genetic trait and not possible in all cannabis plants.
BHO: An acronym for Butane Hash Oil, the process by which harvested cannabis flowers are rinsed (or “blasted”) with butane in order to extract the terpenes and trichomes. This is the most common style of concentrate available on the unregulated market. The cannabis-filled butane is heated in a vacuum oven until it has reduced to a workable consistency. These varieties include: shatter, pull and snap, and wax/budder.
Bioavailability: The degree to which a drug or other substance becomes available to the target tissue after administration. When it comes to cannabis, bioavailability is a measure of potency; the more bioavailable a dose, the lower quantity you need to experience the effects. Above all, high bioavailability is what separates high-quality cannabis/hemp goods from low-quality products.
Blunt: Slang term for cannabis rolled in a tobacco leaf. Typically, blunts are made from hollowed out cigars or preserved leaves, some of which are flavoured.
Bong: The most common water pipe. Traditionally made of borosilicate glass, it consists of a main body, down stem and bowl. Water is added to the base of the bong’s body in order to cool the smoke before it enters the user’s lungs.
Borosilicate: A type of glass that can withstand high temperatures. It’s the preferred material for cannabis glassblowers, as it doesn’t expand as much as other glass, thus reducing the chance of cracking when flame is applied.
Bowl: The “dug out” of a pipe, bubbler or bong that holds your cannabis. On a pipe, this is located at the opposite end of the mouthpiece; on a bong, the bowl is a removable glass piece at the base.
Bubbler: Another type of glass water pipe. More portable than a bong due to its smaller size, a bubbler doesn’t have a removable bowl. Water is placed at the bottom to filter the smoke.
Budder: Also known as wax, budder is a cannabis concentrate usually made from BHO (Butane Hash Oil). Its name refers to its crumbly, waxy texture, which is achieved by incorporating air into the reduced BHO as it nears completion. It’s thought to have a more present terpene profile than other textures, like shatter.
Buds: Another term for flowers on the female cannabis plant.
Calyx: Refers to the green leaves around the growing cannabis flower, known as sepals. A calyx refers to the structure of the sepals, which act as a protective exterior. They’re the first to develop when a flower begins forming.
Cannabichromene (CBC): One of six “top” cannabinoids currently being researched for medical purposes. Much like CBD, it doesn’t bind to cannabinoids 1 and 2 (CB1 and CB2) receptors. It also doesn’t produce intoxicating effects.
Cannabidiol (CBD): The second most commonly used cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. Unlike THC, it’s not as psychoactive, but does have equally therapeutic abilities: anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, neuroprotection, anti-nausea, and anti-anxiety. When taken in conjunction with THC in the same dose, the two cannabinoids work synergistically and can act as an excellent pain reliever.
Cannabigerol (CBG): The first cannabinoid to be produced in cannabis, even before THC and CBD. It then converts into THCA and CBDA. As the plant matures, the less CBG is present. It’s said to have some medical properties, however research is ongoing.
Cannabinoid: A group of chemical compounds found in cannabis that interact with the body’s Endocannabinoid System (ECS), located in the central nervous system. Cannabinoids interact with these receptors and perform a range of functions, including modulating mood and relieving pain. There are over 100 currently known cannabinoids within the plant, the top two most common being THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol).
Cannabinoid 1 (CB1) and cannabinoid 2 (CB2) receptors: The two known cannabinoid receptors found in mammals, birds, fish, and reptiles. They each perform unique functions:
- CB1 receptors are found in the brain and reproductive systems. They register physical and psychoactive effects.
- CB2 receptors are found in the immune system, and regulate inflammation and immune response throughout the organs.
Cannabinol (CBN): A cannabinoid found in the breakdown of THC. This occurs either by age or by over-decarboxylating. Its psychoactive effects are lower than those of THC, and has effective sedative properties.
Cannabis: The term for a tall, upright genus of flowered plants indigenous to Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent. There are many varietals of cannabis, known as cultivars, which possess different levels of THC, CBD, and terpene configurations. Flowers from the female plant are typically dried after harvesting, and can be smoked, vaporized, or extracted into a concentrate, or infused into a fat for edibles. It also has many street names: weed, pot, bud, Mary Jane, ganja, and more.
Cannabis Act: Also known as Canada’s Bill C-45, this legislation replaced ACMPR on October 17th, 2018. It legalized possession (up to 30g) and regulated the sale of recreational cannabis use nationwide, as well as personal production of up to four plants (the latter does not apply to Manitoba and Québec).
Cannabis Oil: This term has two definitions in the Canadian market: one refers to cannabis concentrates consumed by dabbing or vaporizing; the other is an ingestible product made by Licensed Producers, available in both medical and recreational markets. It’s produced through a CO2 extraction process, which is then infused into carrier oils (MCT, sunflower, or grapeseed). These oils are processed by the liver, and work best when taken with food. Effects are typically felt after 60-90 minutes and usually last around 6-8 hours.
Capsules: Much like a Tylenol gel cap, this product is ingested orally like the cannabis oil mentioned above. This format is preferred by those who want discretion, or have difficulties ingesting oil.
Carrier Oil: An ingestible oil used by Licensed Producers to dilute cannabis into specific ratios and potencies. The three that are typically used are MCT, sunflower, and grapeseed.
Cartridge: A tube or pod that contains cannabis oil or other concentrates for vaping. The cartridge connects to a battery or “pen” to use.
Caryophyllene: A terpene (essential oil) in cannabis known for its spicy aromas commonly found in black pepper, cinnamon and hops. It’s anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-septic.
Clone: A cutting (or branch) from a female cannabis plant during its vegetative state. Some prefer beginning their crop from this stage rather than seed, as the success rate of growing to harvest is higher.
Closed-Loop Extraction: Used in BHO (Butane Hash Oil) production, this method safely recycles the hydrocarbon solvent in a closed system and ensures no gases are released into the atmosphere.
CO2 Extraction: Refers to using carbon dioxide supercritical fluid technology to extract cannabinoids, terpenes, and waxes out of the plant material. This is the extraction method used by Canada’s Licensed Producers; it requires passing cold CO2 liquified gas through frozen cannabis. The final product can be vaporized or infused.
Concentrate: Also known as an extract, this material is created by refining cannabis flowers, such as hash, dry sieve and hash oils. The name also refers to its potency; concentrates are very high in THC. Each method (although different), is prepared using a separation of trichomes and terpenes.
Cola: The top cluster of flowers on a cannabis plant. Also known as the apical bud.
Cultivar: Commonly referred to as a strain, the cultivar is a result of crossbreeding different plant genetics in order to emphasize certain cannabinoids and terpenes.
Cure/Curing: An important step in the harvesting stage, curing is necessary for the proper development of flavour and aroma. After proper hanging and careful trimming, place buds in a glass jar (plastic leeches terpenes). Humidifier packs like Boveda are suggested to maintain proper humidity and over-drying. Consider this the “ripening” stage of your cannabis.
Dab/Dabbing: A method where a “dab” (small amount) of cannabis concentrate is placed on a preheated surface, creating concentrated cannabis vapor to be inhaled. Also known as “fancy hot plates”. Check out our Dabbing 101 guide for an in-depth overview.
Dank: An expression used to describe cannabis’ potent aroma.
Decarboxylation: The process of exposing cannabis to heat, converting tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) to THC and cannabidiolic acid (CBDA) to CBD. Decarboxylation is essential when making edibles, oils, butters and other infusions, as it activates the properties of cannabis.
De-Wax: Also known as winterization, de-wax is used in the making of Butane Hash Oil. This process removes plant waxes and lipids from cannabis concentrates. The final result is a cleaner and more stable product.
Dispensary: A store that sells cannabis products. There are both regulated and unregulated shops in Canada, the latter of which doesn’t carry Health Canada approved cannabis.
Dosage/Dosing: The amount of cannabinoids necessary for your condition. There isn’t any standard dosing with cannabis; it’s highly recommended one tries a titration schedule, increasing in measured doses until the desired effect is achieved.
Dry Sieve Hash: A form of cannabis concentrate produced without solvents; the process consists of mechanically or manually extracting cannabis trichomes through a fine screen or sieve. The powdery crystals that remain can be smoked, vaporized (but not dabbed), and used in edibles and topicals.
Edibles: Orally consumed cannabis products containing THC, CBD or a combination of both. Edibles come in many forms, such as cookies, brownies, candies, gummies, chocolates, and beverages. Given that they’re processed through the gastrointestinal tract, it takes approximately 60-90 minutes before effects are felt, and usually last around 6-8 hours.
E-Nail: Also known as an electric nail, this desktop vaporization tool provides consistent temperature for dabbing. A coil fits either on the bottom of a quartz bucket, or on top of a titanium nail. The coil is attached to a cord which connects to the temperature control unit. E-nails are used in the place of torches.
Endocannabinoid system (ECS): A group of receptors that make up a very complex regulatory system throughout the human brain, body, central and peripheral nervous systems. ECS creates and maintains our body’s internal stability (homeostasis) by adjusting the flow of neurotransmitters and regulating bodily functions, including appetite, sleep, emotion, and movement.
Entourage Effect: Refers to the various benefits different ratios of cannabinoids and terpenes produce. For example, when THC is used in conjunction with CBD, they can produce greater relief than if either cannabinoid were used in isolation.
Fan Leaves: These are the large, primary leaves of the cannabis plant most commonly seen on paraphernalia. Although discarded in the final stages of flowering, their presence during the full growth cycle help to judge overall health of the plant. A vibrant green leaf is good, while wilting, yellowing or spotting are causes for concern.
Feminized (seeds): Cannabis seeds that have been bred to create only female/flowering plants. These seeds are especially useful for growers who don’t have access to clones, or do not wish to clone their own. This also expedites the growing process, as less time is wasted on eliminating male plants.
Flowering Stage: This is the part of the growth cycle where flowers, or buds, are produced. The stage is controlled with 12 hours of light, followed by 12 hours of dark.
Full-Melt: Also known as bubble hash, is a type of solventless cannabis concentrate. It’s made using either an ice water technique, or a dry sieve process. Only the pure trichome heads are collected, and can be dabbed, smoked, or vaporized.
Germination: The process of growing cannabis from a seed. Certain parametres must be met for successful germination, including proper amounts of water, oxygen, temperature, and light. When properly prepared, the seed will split open in 2 to 7 days to reveal a small root, followed by a plant shoot.
Glass: A term generally used to refer to smoking paraphernalia made from borosilicate glass, including pipes, bongs and bubblers.
Green Out: The state of cannabis overconsumption. While each person’s reaction differs, symptoms typically include nausea, anxiety and dizziness, followed by a deep sleep.
Grinder: A device that breaks down cannabis buds into a finer texture so that it can be burned evenly and provide better airflow in a joint, vaporizer, bong, or pipe. Grinders come in metal, plastic, and wood. They’re generally comprised of two pieces with sharp or serrated edges, and when pivoted/rotated, shred the product. They’re available in many sizes, and some even have an additional chamber that catches trichomes.
Hash: Also known as hashish, this is the term for kief that has been compacted into a taffy-like brick. It can be smoked or vaporized, but not dabbed (it’s not a full-melt product).
Hemp: While part of the cannabis family, it produces a very different product. Industrial hemp contains very little THC (generally around 0.3%), but has high amounts of hemp CBD, which has some beneficial properties (though not to be confused with cannabis-derived CBD). Hemp, unlike cannabis, is harvested for its leaves, stalks, fibres, and seeds to make fabrics, rope, paper, oils, flours, and more. Hemp is not typically ingested, as it doesn’t produce physically therapeutic effects due to low cannabinoid levels.
Humulene: A cannabis terpene that has hops, woodsy, and earthy aromas. Its therapeutic properties: anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial.
Hybrid: The intentional breeding of two genetically different cannabis cultivars in order to produce a desired terpene and/or cannabinoid profile.
Hydroponics: A soilless growing system. It involves growing the plants in a nutrient-rich solution instead of soil beds. This way, the plants are continuously exposed to nutrients, promoting increased growth and development.
Indica: One of three cultivar categorizations. An Indica strain is thought to have more sedative properties, helping symptoms such as chronic pain and insomnia, as well as appetite stimulation and anxiety relieving. This is due to the make-up of terpenes, with myrcene and linalool being the most commonly associated with Indica.
Irradiation: A sterilization process that uses gamma radiation to eradicate any microorganisms and potential contaminants.
Joint: A cannabis filled “cigarette” (no tobacco). Using hands or a rolling machine, cannabis is cylindrically rolled into a thin paper (rice and hemp are commonly used materials), finished with a filter or crutch made from thin cardboard or cigarette filters.
Kief: A solventless cannabis concentrate in which trichomes are separated from the flowers using either ice water or micron screens. The end result is high in THC, and can be smoked, vaporized, or decarboxylated for edibles.
Kush: Typically associated with Indica strains, Kush refers to a variety of cannabis originating in the Hindu Kush mountain along the Afghanistan/Pakistan border.
Landrace: Cannabis cultivars that have naturally developed in distinct areas. These include Afghanistan, Africa, India, Jamaica, Pakistan, Mexico, and Central America. Many of the cultivars we know today are crossbreeds of various landraces.
Limonene: A cannabis terpene that bears a citrus aroma. Among its therapeutic properties: anti-bacterial, anti-depressant, anti-oxidant, and anti-inflammatory. Additionally, limonene also acts as a protection mechanism, deterring insects and herbivores.
Linalool: A cannabis terpene with lavender, mint, bergamot, and woodsy aromas. It has sedative properties: pain relief, anti-inflammatory, depression alleviation, and insomnia relief.
Live Resin: A cannabis concentrate that uses fresh, frozen flowers in order to preserve the highest quality of terpenes. It utilizes a Butane Hash Oil extraction method.
Marijuana: Slang for cannabis. US Federal Bureau of Narcotics commissioner Harry Anslinger used the term while he led prohibition efforts, as a means to demonize people of colour; especially Mexicans.
MMAR: Short for the Marihuana Medical Access Regulations, this program was introduced in Canada in 2001. It allowed approved and licensed patients to produce, possess, and use cannabis to treat specific symptoms and conditions. There were two licenses in place: personal-use production and designated-person production.
MMPR: The Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations program replaced the MMAR in 2013. Licensed Producers were introduced and became the only sources permitted to produce products for medical patients.
Myrcene: A cannabis terpene with mango, hops, bay leaf, thyme, lemongrass, and basil aromas. Its properties include: anti-inflammatory, pain relief, anti-biotic, and sedative.
Nabilone: A pharmaceutically approved synthetic version of THC.
Node: Refers to the area of a plant where flowers, branches, and leaves meet at the main stem. Essentially, where everything starts to grow!
One-Hitter: Refers to a style of pipe that has a narrow enough bowl to hold enough cannabis for “one hit”. Also known as a chillum.
Pesticide: Chemical or organic substances used to protect against insects and/or fungus.
Phenotype: Denotes the observable characteristics (size, shape, smell, colour) of a plant based on its genetic makeup and environmental factors.
Pinene: A cannabis terpene with notes of pine/conifer, rosemary, orange, and basil. Benefits include: anti-inflammatory, expectorant, and energy/alertness.
Pistil: Refers to the small, hair-like strands on the female cannabis flower. It’s a reproductive component that captures the pollen released by male plants, fertilizing the ovum inside the calyx to form seeds. When isolated and unfertilized, sinsemilla (or flowering), occurs.
Powdery Mildew: A white, powdery fungus that forms on the surface of cannabis leaves. It first appears small and bumpy on the upper side of leaves. If left untreated, it can spread to the flowers, destroying the plant entirely. This is an issue for both indoor and outdoor grown cannabis.
Pre-Roll: Cannabis sold in a pre-formed joint. It’s convenient for those who cannot, or prefer not to roll themselves.
QP: Slang abbreviation for a quarter pound of cannabis.
Quartz Banger: Also known as a dab nail, this small round-shaped piece is attached to the joint of a dab rig. It can be heated at very high temperatures.
Recreational cannabis: The intentional psychoactive use of cannabis. In Canada, national legalization occurred on October 17, 2018; recreational products can be purchased by adults (each province differs, but 19 is the median age), either online or in person.
Rig: A style of water pipe meant for the consumption of cannabis concentrates. It consists of a chamber, downstem (comes in male and female), and either a titanium or quartz nail.
Rosin: A solventless cannabis concentrate. Resins are extracted using heat and pressure; flower, hash and kief can all be pressed into a full-melt hash oil.
Ruderalis: Like Indica and Sativa, Ruderalis is another species of cannabis. Its unique features include its ability to endure harsh climates, shorter growing season due to auto-flowering, and adaptability to environment.
Sativa: One of three cultivar categorizations. Sativas are thought to have more uplifting and energetic properties, due to the make-up of associated terpenes, like pinene and limonene.
Sensimilla: A female flower with no seeds due to no male pollen.
Shake: Not to be confused with trim, shake are small pieces of flowers and leaves that have broken off from handling. Many consumers prefer it when making edibles and topicals.
Shatter: A slang term that refers to a style of Butane Hash Oil. The concentrate has a glass-like appearance that “shatters” easily.
Solvent: A liquid, gas, or solid used to dissolve substances. In the context of cannabis, butane, CO2, propane, and ethanol are all solvents used to extract trichomes and terpenes from flowers.
Stash Jar: Any container with an air-tight seal used for keeping dried and cured cannabis flowers fresh, such as a mason jar or Miron UV glass jar.
Strain: Colloquialism for “cultivar”.
Terpenes: Essential oils secreted from the resin glands in the cannabis flower, delivering aromatic diversity. Terpenes are found in many plants, and bind to different receptors in the brain, modulating the user’s experience based on the terpene profile. While there are over 100, the most dominant terps currently researched are: myrcene, linalool, limonene, humulene, pinene, terpineol, and caryophyllene. The composition of terpenes aids in distinguishing between cultivars.
Terpineol: A cannabis terpene with a floral, citrus, lilac, wood, pine and clove aroma. Its benefits include: anti-oxidant, expectorant, and sedation.
Tetrahydrocannabinol/delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC): The most common cannabinoid found within the cannabis plant, specifically the resinous trichomes of the flower. THC attaches to the cannabinoid receptors found in the brain, performing psychoactive functions including euphoria and heightened sensory experiences. It’s also a powerful anti-inflammatory and pain reliever.
Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA): A cannabis compound found in raw/live plants. It’s the non-psychoactive stage of THC prior to heating/decarboxylation. Research on benefits is ongoing.
Tincture: An ingestible liquid cannabis extraction made from glycerin or alcohol. Tinctures are usually placed under the tongue to provide fast absorption into the body, leading to quicker effects than fat-based edibles.
Topical: Cannabis-infused products such as lotions, balms and oils used for inflammation/pain relief. Unlike ingesting or inhaling, topicals don’t reach the bloodstream, and thus, don’t produce psychoactive effects.
Trichome: The resin-producing glands on the cannabis plant. Crystallized in appearance, trichomes are the part of the flower that contains the most cannabinoids.
Trim: Not to be confused with shake, trim is the “unwanted” plant matter cut away from cannabis flowers before curing. Although lower in THC, trim still has value, and can be made into concentrates, edibles, or topicals.
Vaporizing/Vaping: A smokeless method of consumption. This consists of heating cannabis within certain temperature parameters rather than combusting, producing vapour instead of smoke.
Vaporizer: A device used to vape cannabis. Vaporizers come in both desktop and portable units; they heat oil and flower to a specific temperature/range to highlight certain terpene profiles. Vaporizers also lend to a healthier method of consumption, as there’s no combustion.
Vegetative Stage: The stage of growing following germination. Exposed to a 24-hour light cycle to maximize photosynthesis, this is when the plants develop size and foliage. This process takes about 4-6 weeks, depending on the cultivar.
Wax: Refers to a type of cannabis concentrate – see Budder.