Cannabis Lingo

Cannabis Lingo

Ever walk into a dispensary and feel like the budtender helping you is speaking a different language? Cannabis talk is a whole new world and can often feel intimidating if you are not familiar with the slang and scientific terms that are thrown around inside of a recreational or medical shop.
Here is a guide with some of the “need-to-know” terms that you may come across. These terms will help you better understand cannabis and hopefully help you “talk the talk” the next time you go into your favorite dispensary.


Cannabinoid1 – a term used to describe the chemical compounds secreted by cannabis flowers. These compounds provide relief to various symptoms like, pain, anxiety, stress, nausea, and inflammation. When cannabis is consumes, cannabinoids bind to receptors throughout our brain and body. There are two main cannabinoids, THC and CBD, however there are many more that we will break down for you later.


CBD – Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the main cannabinoids produced from cannabis plants. When consumed, CBD has many benefits like reducing pain, anxiety, insomnia, and much more. CBD is non-intoxicating and does not give you that “stoned” feeling that you get from smoking THC.


Dab/Dabbing – dabbing is one of the many ways to consume cannabis. Dabs are highly concentrated doses of cannabis extract that are made using solvents like butane. These concentrates come in all forms of consistency like wax, shatter, budder, diamonds, crumble, sauce, and more. Dabs are taken by heating up a nail to high temperatures and then as the nail is cooling down, you drop the dab in and inhale.


Dub/Eighth/Quarter/Half/Zip – these terms are like weed measurements for quantities and weights. These measurements are typically based on 1 Ounce which is WA state’s legal limit on how much one can purchase and have on hand at a time.

  • Dime Bag = 1 gram of weed
  • Eighth = 3.5 grams of weed
  • Quarter = 7 grams of weed
  • Half = 14 grams of weed
  • Zip = 1 ounce or 28 grams of weed


Distillate – pure distillate is virtually flavorless and is popularly used as a base ingredient for other cannabis products like edibles and topicals. Most commonly, distillate is used in vape cartridges and sometimes has terpenes added to enhance the flavor and effects. Good, clean distillate usually tests up to 90% or higher.


Edibles – marijuana edibles are foods and beverages that contain marijuana and its active compounds. When consumed responsibly they are very effective. They are potent and body-focused, which mean they are perfect for people who suffer from pain, nausea, or lack of appetite. Edibles are made by infusing hashish, cannabis distillate, or pure cannabinoid crystals into the edible or by using infused butter or oil.


Hashish – otherwise known as “hash”, comes from the trichomes that produce on the surface of cannabis plants. This sticky resin is separated or extracted from the plant, and using heat and pressure they are hard-pressed into bricks. There are many other extraction methods, some involving water or dry ice, that have been experimented with and are used to produce hash.


Hemp vs. Marijuana – “Hemp” is a term used to classify varieties of Cannabis that contain 0.3% or less of THC, typically associated with the ‘Male’ pollen producing plant. “Marijuana” is a term used to classify Cannabis that contains more than 0.3% of THC and can induce psychotropic or euphoric effects. Typically associated with the ‘Female” flower producing plant.


Live Resin – this is one of the latest methods of cannabis concentrate extraction. What happens is they freeze freshly harvested buds and then extract the resin from the flowers. The flash-freezing process helps preserve the most desirable compounds and retain the full flavor of the original cannabis plant.


Milligrams – another weed measurements used for dosage. Tinctures, edibles, chews, infused drinks, capsules, and topicals are typically all measured in milligrams (mg) and have different ratios of CBD, THC, and other cannabinoids in them. In WA state, a single serving for edibles, drinks, and tinctures is a standard 10mg.


Phenotype – the phenotype refers to the physical expression of a particular cannabis strain. This includes everything from the smell of the bud, the color, the flavor profile, to the effects of the strain that you experience from smoking it. These traits vary with different growing conditions and are directly impacted by the environment in which the plant is growing.


Psychoactive vs. Non-Psychoactive – If you ever hear a budtender refer to a product as psychoactive, they mean that it affects the way your mind and your nervous system work. In other words, you are going to get high, or stoned or baked, or whatever you prefer to call it. You will typically hear the term psychoactive refers to products with high THC low CBD and the term non-psychoactive will typically be associated with products that are high in CBD and low in THC.


RSO (Rick Simpson Oil) – RSO is a full extract cannabis oil. This cannabis concentrate can be applied as a topical or ingested and is used for various medical benefits and even helps to relieve cancer symptoms. RSO contains high levels of THC and is commonly used to help relieve severe pain, along with other medical conditions.


Sativa/Indica/Hybrid – These terms are how budtenders categorize different strains of weed based on the general affects you will experience. When stepping up to the counter at the dispensary, most budtenders first question typically is, “Are you looking for more of an Indica, Sativa, or Hybrid?” For those of you who do not know the difference, here is a quick explanation. Sativa strains are going to be high energy strains used for creativity, focusing, and to obtain that happy, euphoric, and sometimes giggly high. You are going to feel more of a head high when smoking Sativa strains. Indica, “In Da Couch”, as we like to say. These are the strains that give you a more sleepy and sedative experience. Indica strains are going to give you more of a body high and work really well to help ease pain and anxiety, and even super heavy indica strains will give you that couch-lock effect. Hybrid strains are a combination of Sativa and Indica effects. Some strains can be more Sativa-Dominant or Indica-Dominant based on the genetics of the strain and the phenotype.


Sublingual – this term, when talking about cannabis, refers to administering a cannabis tincture, spray, strip, or tablet under one’s tongue. This is the most effective way to administer these types of cannabis products. Sublingual products are absorbed through the mucosal membranes under the tongue, on the inside of the cheek, and on the gums, which is then delivered directly to the bloodstream.


Terpenes2– terpenes are the aromatic compounds found in plants. These compounds create the scent and flavor of the plant. There are more than 100 different terpenes found in just one cannabis plant. The terpene profile of each plant is different, and each terpene has a different smell, tasted, and benefit associated with it. There is an abundance of terpenes that we will dive into at a later time in our blog series. For now, here are some of the most common terpenes you will see –

  • Limonene: one of the easier terpenes to identify, giving off strong citrus scents of orange and lemon. Great for relieving stress and elevating moods.
  • Myrcene: earthy and musky, known for sedative effects and used as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.
  • Pinene (Alpha & Beta): tastes like it sounds – like you have stumbled into a forest of pine trees, useful for pain, anxiety, and much more.
  • Linalool: typically, a strong floral scent with hints of citrus in some cases. Serves to promote relaxation and works to help reduce anxiety, depression, insomnia, and more.
  • Caryophyllene: spicy, peppery scent with woody undertones. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits along with reducing anxiety and depression.


THC – Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the other main cannabinoid produced by cannabis plants. THC, when consumed, binds to cannabinoid receptors in your brain and central nervous system and gives you that high or stoned feeling that everyone talks about. The list of benefits from THC goes on and on. Here are just a few of them. THC may help in cases of PTSD, Insomnia, Nausea, ADHD, Anxiety, Inflammation, Appetite loss, and much more.


Tincture – cannabis tinctures are alcohol-based cannabis extracts. Tinctures contain different ratios of THC, CBD, CBG, CBN, etc. and can be used to help with sleep, appetite, stress, anxiety, pain, and more. Tinctures are typically consumed orally instead of being inhaled like when smoking flower or vaping. Tinctures a great entry point for both recreational and medical consumers looking to ease into smokeless consumption methods.


Topical – cannabis topicals are infused lotions, balms, and oils that are absorbed through your skin. These products aim to relieve pain, soreness, and inflammation. Since these products are non-intoxicating, many consumers choose topicals in order to experience the therapeutic benefits of cannabis, without the psychoactive effects.


Trichome – are the tiny little crystals that you see covering the leaves and buds of your favorite strains. Trichomes are shiny, typically very sticky, and pack a pungent punch with the most amazing scents. Trichomes in cannabis actually work to protect the plant from various insects, animals, harmful UV rays, and even damaging winds.





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