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14 Cannabis Terms that You Need to Know About

The cannabis industry can be slightly overwhelming at times, with a huge variety of products on offer and multiple terms and phrases that may be unfamiliar. Here, we’ve picked 14 cannabis terms that we think everybody needs to know.

1. Hemp

Industrial hemp is completely different from marijuana. It does not contain enough THC to be even slightly intoxicating and is used instead for a range of applications – around 25,000, in fact. These include textiles, construction, health supplements, and food, among others. It can be grown easily and in abundance, and, as long as it contains less than 0.3% THC, it is legal in all the 50 states. [read more about hemp]

2. Marijuana

Unlike industrial hemp, marijuana is the type of cannabis that has psychoactive effects on the user due to its high levels of THC. It is grown in a carefully controlled environment for either medical or recreational use, although its cultivation and distribution or sale is tightly regulated.

3. Strain

This can be used to identify a certain variety of cannabis. Traditionally, the strain name reflected the geographical origin of the cannabis, then the parent strains, but in recent years, it often gives an insight into the color, taste, smell, or effects – for example, “Silver Haze”, “Pineapple Express”, and “Laughing Buddha”. Although there are thousands of different strains, they all fall into three categories: sativa, indica, and ruderalis (or a hybrid of these).

4. Sativa

This is one of the three species of cannabis. Sativa plants are tall and thin, and known for yielding flowers that produce an energizing, uplifting high.

5. Indica

This is the second of the three species of cannabis. The plants are usually short and bushy, and the flowers are known for producing a mellow, relaxing high and sedative effects.

6. Ruderalis

This is the third species of cannabis; however, it is not usually grown for industrial, medical, or recreational purposes as it contains very low levels of THC. It’s often cross-bred with sativa or indica cannabis plants due to the fact that it’s auto-flowering.

7. Auto-flowering

A female cannabis plant that automatically flowers with age, as opposed to according to light, is auto-flowering. Understandably, these strains are popular with breeders, as many will be ready to harvest in less than 10 weeks.

8. Cola

This is what the “bud site” is referred to as – that is, where the female flowers form. The main cola always forms at the top of the plant, but can also consist of multiple small buds.

9. Cannabinoid

This is a chemical compound that is naturally found in cannabis plants – there are more than 100 cannabinoids that have been identified. Each has different effects on the human body when consumed, as well as different potential health benefits – although clinical research is currently fairly limited. However, what we do know is that cannabinoids interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which is responsible for maintaining homeostasis (balance) in the body.

10. Endocannabinoid System (ECS)

The ECS is primarily responsible for maintaining homeostasis in the body – it does this by regulating various cognitive functions, such as sleep, memory, mood, appetite, and pain sensitivity, among others. As such, it has been termed as “the bridge between the body and the mind”. Our body naturally produces endocannabinoids, which are essentially chemical messengers used in the function of the ECS, but the cannabinoids found in cannabis also interact with the ECS, which is where the potential health benefits of cannabis come into play. [read more]

11. Cannabidiol (CBD)

This is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid that has gained worldwide attention in recent years due to its potential health benefits and subsequent medical applications. Although more research is needed in this area, studies suggest it may be beneficial in the treatment of various ailments, such as chronic pain, depression and anxiety, and inflammatory, neurological, and skin conditions. [more about CBD]

12. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)

This is the main psychoactive cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant, and is responsible for the “high” associated with cannabis use. It is also potentially useful in treating a range of conditions, including glaucoma, anorexia, insomnia, and muscle spasticity – although more research is required in these areas. [read more about THC]

13. Terpenes

These are a diverse group of organic compounds and are found in most vegetation. They often have strong odors that are responsible for the smell of plants and flowers, as well as playing a part in their natural defenses by deterring herbivores. Many also possess antifungal properties, which help to fight disease. Research suggests they may have potential health benefits when consumed, although these differ according to the terpene. [read more about terpenes]

14. Terpenoids

These are naturally occurring organic compounds found in the cannabis plant. When consumed, it is thought that they have multiple potential health benefits, including antifungal, antiviral, antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antihyperglycemic, and antiparasitic properties, among others. They are slightly different from terpenes, although the two are often confused (terpenoids are denatured by oxidation; i.e., when the flowers are dried or cured).