Like fine wine, cannabis can elicit a variety of scents for each individual user. Aroma describes the general smell and/or taste of a certain plant or flower. While some individuals definition of aromas can vary by taste (such as “earthy,” skunky,” or “citrus”). These descriptions are meant as a basic guideline, not exactly inked as fact in any cannabis textbook (that we know of).
Glossary of terms
Glossary of cannabis terms is adapted from our friends at Leafly and our own experience.
BHO stands for butane hash oil and is a potent concentrate of cannabinoids made by dissolving marijuana in its plant form in a solvent (usually butane). The resulting product has very high THC levels (generally more than flowers or hashish) and is a thick, sticky oil. BHO is also referred to as honey oil, “dabs” or “dabbing,” wax, or shatter, depending on the manufacturing method.
A blunt is a hollowed out cigar that’s filled with cannabis. Blunt “wraps” come in a wide variety of sizes and flavors, and we recommend completely removing tobacco from a proper cigar and refilling it with ground up bud. Cigar wraps burn for a long time, sometimes a half an hour or more; so blunts are great for a party or to pass around with the gang. Keep in mind that blunt wraps and cigar papers contain tobacco, so if you’re especially sensitive to nicotine, you may want to stick with a joint.
Bud refers to the actual flower of the cannabis plant. These are the fluffy parts that are harvested and used for recreational or medicinal purposes as they contain the highest concentrations of active cannabinoids.
Cannabinoids are the chemical compounds that are active in cannabis. There are at least 85 different known cannabinoids isolated from cannabis, all exhibiting varied effects. The two most popular cannabinoids are THC and CBD.
Cannabis is a plant genus that produces three species of flowering plants: Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis. Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica are used to produce recreational and medical marijuana. Cannabis ruderalis is rarely farmed due to its natural lower THC content and small stature, but there is some cross-breeding thanks to ruderalis’s unique ability to auto-flower rather than mature based on light. Cannabis is native to Asia, but grows almost anywhere and has long been cultivated for the production of hemp as well as various other uses.
Cannabidiol-an abundant cannabinoid of marijuana, CBD has wider scope of potential medical applications over THC. CBD is effective in treating neuropathic pain caused by MS, Diabetes, Lupus, cancer and other injuries. It is also used to combat anxiety, seizures, sleeplessness, and nausea. This is a great option for those who are looking to take advantage of the medical actually counteracts THC’s psychedelic effect, so if you’re looking for a more mellow experience we recommend talking to your budtender about finding your ideal THC to CBD ratio.
A cross (referring to crossbreeding) is the result when two different plant strains being bred together. For example, Blue Dream is a cross between Blueberry and Haze strains.
The term concentrate refers to any wax, shatter, or oil that you vaporize or smoke or any tincture applied sublingually under the tongue. Concentrates are a potent consolidation of cannabinoids that are made by dissolving marijuana in its plant form into a solvent. The resulting product has very high THC levels (generally more than flowers or hashish) and can produce various products, most typically oils and waxes.
CO2 extraction is a type of supercritical fluid extraction used to maximize the cannabinoids and terpenes of the marijuana plant while still maintaining their delicate structure. A supercritical fluid behaves both like a gas and like a liquid-diffusing through solids like a gas but dissolving compounds like a liquid. The supercritical CO2 goes through a series of extraction vessels at specific pressures and temperatures, flooding the ground plant material and extracting those clean cannabinoid profiles. It is then separated and filtered from the plant material and, after the extraction is complete, a drop in pressure allows the excess CO2 to evaporate, leaving the cannabis oil behind. The benefit of CO2 extraction is that it is naturally occurring and leaves behind no residues. Other examples of CO2 extractions in the food industry include the extraction of flavor oils from hops in the brewing industry and extraction of caffeine from coffee beans. Fun Fact: Most concentrates are made using shake, trim and undesirable buds that aren’t fit to smoke.
A dab is a slang term used to refer to a dose of BHO received through butane combustion and inhalation. The act of “dabbing” refers to partaking in dabs.
Edibles are cannabis-infused foods, beverages or tinctures containing up to 10mg of THC per serving. Some edibles contain multiple servings & direct you to consume only a portion. They can take up to 2 hours to “kick in” and tend to deliver a longer lasting high than smoking or vaping cannabis. Start slowly with 5mg to see how it affects you. Read more on our blog, Incredible Cannabis Edibles.
Flowering time refers to the time it takes for a plant to produce mature flowers. Cannabis flowering times are affected by the length of daily exposure the plant receives to sun (with the exception of the Cannabis ruderalis species, which flower automatically). When flowering times are reported for a strain, they are general estimates based on how the plants do on average in optimal conditions. Actual flowering times will vary, and it is up to the grower to decide when to harvest for maximum benefit.
Flowers are often the “pretty” part of a plant, and the same is true for cannabis. While cannabis flowers don’t have traditional petals, they are still the reproductive organ of the female plants. Cannabis flowers are the hairy, sticky, crystal-covered bits that are harvested and dried to be used as medication. When male plants fertilize them, these flowers will produce cannabis seeds. If not, they will continue to produce the resin that contains their active cannabinoids until they are harvested or begin to die.
Hash is probably the oldest marijuana concentrate around and is made from the collected and compressed resin, or kief, from the leaves and flowers. More potent than smoking bud, hash offers an elevated experience for any and all smokers.
An heirloom refers to a cannabis strain that was taken from its native homeland and propagated in another geographical location.
Hemp is a fibrous product that can be produced from the male cannabis plant and can be used in the manufacture of rope, paper, beauty products, and a vast array of other products. Hemp plants have no value as a drug since they are males and don’t produce the same level of cannabinoids as the female cannabis plants. Hemp is still Federally illegal to grow in the United States, though some states have approved laws for commercial production. Read more on our blog, Are Hemp and Marijuana the Same Thing?
Hybrid refers to a plant that is a genetic cross between one or more separate strains of cannabis. Hybrids can happen unintentionally, but they are usually bred specifically to combine desired traits of the original plants. Most marijuana on the market today is some form of hybrid.
Hydroponics refers to a system of gardening that does not use soil. Plants are grown in water and receive their nutrients from the addition of solutions rather than soil. For growers, hydroponic advantages include more control over nutrient intake and stability. In terms of marijuana production, plants grown hydroponically are sometimes said to have cleaner, more distinct flavors
Indica is the less scientific name for the Cannabis Indica species of cannabis. Generally, these plants originated in the Middle East and Asia and include both of the famous kush and Afghan lineages. Compared to their sativa counterparts, the plants are shorter, bushier and have more compact flower growth. This species tends to provide a nice body high that facilitates relaxation, or the “couch lock” effect.
A joint is a cannabis cigarette rolled using non-tobacco papers. If you’re new to cannabis, try a pre-roll first.
Kief is a collected amount of trichomes that have been separated from the rest of the marijuana flower. Since trichomes are the sticky crystals that contain the vast majority of the plant’s cannabinoids, kief is known to be extremely potent. Kief is sometimes mistakenly referred to as pollen and is the primary ingredient in hashish production.
Kush refers to a line of cannabis plants that hail from the Hindu Kush mountains in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Kush strains are Indicas and have a unique aroma that has garnered a large fan base. Specific breeds and plants are unique, but their aroma is generally described as “earthy” and often piney combined with floral or sweet tones.
A landrace refers to a local variety of cannabis that has adapted to the environment of its geographic location. This accounts for genetic variation between landrace strains, which have been crossbred to produce the cannabis variety we see today. Landrace strains are oftentimes named after their native region, like Afghani, Thai, and Hawaiian, and traces of landraces are sometimes detectable in the names of their crossbred descendants.
Another prevalent terpene found not only in cannabis but in the peels of citrus fruits and cardamom, limonene, (named for its lemon scent and taste), is anti-fungal and anti-bacterial. Limonene is also recommended as a mood elevator and anxiety reducer. Strains that typically have high limonene levels include Super Lemon Haze, Jack Herer, and Berry White. Read more about terpenes on our blog, What Are Terpenes?
Live resin uses fresh, frozen cannabis flowers cut from the grow before they’ve been dried or cured, and then processed within hours of harvest resulting in elevated terpene levels. Terpenes give each individual strain its specific flavor and aroma profile. You prefer skunky, piney, citrus, earthy or floral smelling buds? You can thank terpenes for giving you the variety of choices. More and more we are finding that not only does each terpene have it’s own flavor and aroma profile, we’re finding that they also have different effects within the body. That being said,live resin manages to maintain a really beautiful terpene profile because it’s capturing the terpenes of a live plant as opposed to that of the dried and cured flowers used in most BHO concentrates. Terpenes are incredibly temperamental, especially the lighter, aromatic ones. They can disintegrate in the drying and curing process. Live resin is a wonderful and tasty way to capture the layered flavors of the cannabis flower without losing much in the process.
Marijuana is the general term for female cannabis plants or their dried flowers. Females are distinct from male plants in that they are the ones that produce flowers that contain a high percentage of cannabinoids that hold psychoactive properties.
Thought to be one of the most abundant terpenes in cannabis, myrcene is found not only in cannabis but in other plants like wild thyme, sweet basil, mango, and hops. It is known to be anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory, it lessens the effects of diabetes, induces sleep and reduces anxiety. Fun Fact: eating a fresh mango 45 minutes before smoking will increase the effects of the cannabis. Eat up, fruit lovers! Read more about terpenes on our blog, What Are Terpenes?
OG is a term that’s now used to describe many strains, though the term originated to describe Southern California’s Ocean Grown Kush, which was quickly shortened to OG Kush. OG Kush grew quickly in fame and reputation. Most OGs are different variations of the original OG Kush genetics or are also ocean grown on the West Coast.
Phenotype is a term that is heard most often in growing. It refers to the general physical characteristics of the plant such as height, color, branching, leaf configuration down to cell structure–any markers that can be used to identify and judge the healthiness of a plant.
Another terpene found in marijuana as well as in orange peels, pine needles, rosemary, dill, and parsley. Pinene derives its name from its woodsy, piney aroma. Pinene is memory enhancing, promotes alertness, is anti-inflammatory, and used for people suffering from respiratory ailments like asthma or bronchitis. Strains with typically high levels of pinene include Dutch Treat, Romulan and Blue Dream. Fun Fact: pinene is the most common terpene in the plant world. Read more about terpenes on our blog, What Are Terpenes?
Pistils are part of a female plant’s anatomy. On cannabis, it’s identified as the little hair-like extensions on the flowers that range in color from white to red to darker orange-brown. When plants are going to be fertilized, the pistil acts to collect the male pollen. When plants are left unfertilized, as in the case of marijuana, the pistils change and can be indicators of plant ripeness.
Pot is a slang term for marijuana
Pre-roll is a commonly used term that refers to a pre-rolled marijuana cigarette, commonly known as a joint.
Ruderalis is a low-THC cannabis variety that is primarily selected by breeders for its CBD-rich genetics. Unlike Cannabis sativa and indica, which use light cycles to flower, ruderalis is an “autoflowering” variety, meaning it flowers with age. Originating in Russia, ruderalis is a hardy plant that can survive harsh climates
Rosin is a solventless concentrate that’s made by heating and compressing the flowers, kief or hash from the cannabis plant. Relatively simple to make at home, requiring only some parchment paper and a hair straightener, this high potency concentrate is becoming popular because of the distinct lack of additives like butane or alcohol.
Sativa is the less scientific name for the cannabis sativa species of cannabis plant. In general, these plants originated outside of the Middle East and Asia and include strains that are from areas such as South America, the Caribbean, Africa, and Thailand. These strains tend to grow taller as plants (usually over 5 feet), are lighter in color and take longer to flower. When consumed, sativas tend to produce more cerebral effects as opposed to physical and sedative ones
The process of sequestering female cannabis plants from male plants to induce overproduction of cannabinoids.
Shatter and ice are terms used to refer to BHO.
Commonly misused to refer to a joint, a spliff is actually a mix of both tobacco and bud rolled in smoking paper. In Europe, it’s the opposite, a spliff there is a marijuana cigarette while a joint is the combo of tobacco and ganja. However, everyone agrees on one thing: a spliff and a joint are not the same thing.
A strain is a specific variety of a plant species. Strains are developed to produce distinct desired traits in the plant and are usually named by their breeders (or by creative consumers). Strain names often reflect the plant’s appearance, its promised buzz, or its place of origin. They can also be named for their aroma or flavor. Although the medical marijuana industry strives for consistency, strains can easily be mistaken or purposely misidentified.
THC is an abbreviation of tetrahydrocannabidinol and is one of most abundant cannabinoids in marijuana. THC is responsible for weed’s psychoactive, “high” effects. Fun Fact: higher percentages of THC in bud, (24%-30%), make for a quicker onset, “higher” high. Lower percentages, (13%-23%) might take longer to take effect but will eventually get you there and often last a little longer.
A tincture is a liquid concentrate, typically procured through alcohol extraction, which strips the plant of its beneficial cannabinoids. Usually carried in a coconut oil or glycerin, tinctures are available in a variety of flavors and dosages and are a great alternative for those not interested in smoking
Topicals are non-psychoactive balms, salves, and oils that users apply directly to the body instead of consuming. They can act as a muscle relaxant and as an antiseptic ointment.
Terpenes are the pungent, oily compounds found in the marijuana plant. Secreted from the plant’s trichomes, terpenes give cannabis varieties their distinctive flavors and aromas like citrus, berry, skunk or pine. Evolved at first as an adaption to repel predators and lure pollinators, we are finding that each individual terpene has different effects within the body. Read more about terpenes on our blog, What Are Terpenes?
Trichomes are the small and sometimes nearly microscopic resinous glands, stalks and hairs that cover the flowers and leaves of the cannabis plant. Believed to have evolved as a way to protect the plant from insects and animals, trichomes are now also thought to inhibit the growth of some fungi as well as protect from high winds and low humidity. Trichomes are where terpenes and cannabinoids (THC and CBD), are created and secreted. Fun Fact: the next time you’re dusting your bowl with a little kief, keep in mind that you’re really toking on the decapitated heads of trichomes.