If you’re new to cannabis, walking into a dispensary for the first time can be a little intimidating. There’s an array of products available and a whole new language to go with it.
Here we break down the most common terms from A to Z to help you communicate like a pro.
Equipment, products, devices, or materials of any kind that are intended or designed for use in planting, propagating, cultivating, growing, harvesting, manufacturing, compounding, converting, producing, processing, preparing, testing, analyzing, packaging, repackaging, storing, containing, ingesting, inhaling, or otherwise introducing cannabis into the human body (Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 2018)
A method of growing cannabis in which roots are suspended in the air inside of a chamber and sprayed with water. It is a common method used to start seedlings or cannabis clones in order to give them a healthy root system before being potted into another growing medium.
Process by which the cannabis plant is stripped of essential oils and trichomes using ethyl or isopropyl alcohol. Once the extra plant material is filtered out and the remaining alcohol is evaporated, sticky hash oil remains.
Ash Catchers are a bong accessory that sits between the bowl and the downstem and is used to keep ash from entering the main chamber of the bong, keeping it cleaner. They also add a chamber for additional smoke filtration. They can come in a variety of designs, some of which include their own percolators.
A banger is a dish used to vaporize cannabis concentrates. They can vary in design but are generally circular and made of either glass, quartz, ceramic, or titanium. The various materials retain heat differently and require different cleaning techniques. A banger is attached to a bong or dab rig, similar to the way a bowl is attached to a bong. The key difference between a banger and bowl is that a banger is heated first, and then the cannabis concentrate is added.
BHO (Butane Hash Oil) is any cannabis concentrate that was produced through an extraction process using butane as the primary solvent. Butane Hash Oil, also known as Butane Honey Oil, is the method used to create popular cannabis concentrates such as: shatter, wax, resin, crumble, etc. These concentrates contain extremely high quantities of THC.
Blunts are cigars that have had the tobacco removed and replaced with cannabis. Blunt wraps can also be used. Both cigar papers and blunt wraps contain nicotine which can add a buzz or energy to the effects of cannabis.
A bong, also called a water-pipe, is used to filter smoke before inhalation. Though bongs can come in a variety of designs and styles, all of them will be somewhat vertical and include a bowl, a water chamber, and a mouthpiece. Cannabis is put into the bowl and when lit, the smoke then travels through the downstem and into the water. The smoke then emerges from the water through bubbles before it is inhaled.
Bowls or pull-outs are cup shaped pieces with a hole in the center that attach to bongs and water-pipes. Usually made of glass, but can also be made of ceramic or titanium, bowls come in a variety of shapes and colours. Used with bongs, and typically removable, it is the piece where cannabis is packed and then lit. The term “pack a bowl” means to get a bong ready for consumption.
Bubblers are very similar to bongs, so much so that sometimes the word bubbler and bong are used interchangeably. The main difference is the size, bubblers are much smaller and usually portable. Like a bong, it has a water chamber to filter and purify smoke, but it does not have a removable bowl or downstem.
CBC is the second most prevalent cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. As it does not bind to cannabinoid 1 and 2 (CB1 and CB2) receptors, CBC is not psychoactive. CBC has shown to have anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.
The second most commonly used cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. CBD is an antagonist to THC and is nonpsychoactive as it blocks the formation of 11-OH-THC and mitigates the psychoactive effects of THC. CBD has become popular for its therapeutic effects in autism, epilepsy, and nerve problems.
Cannabinoids are naturally occurring compounds found in the Cannabis sativa plant. Of over 480 different compounds present in the plant, only around 66 are termed cannabinoids. The most well known among these compounds is the delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (Δ9-THC), which is the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis. Cannabidiol (CBD) is another important component, which makes up about 40% of the plant resin extract.
A method of chemical extraction that reuses the solvent rather than dispersing it into the air. This method is considered safer than“open-blasting” and is currently required for all legal concentrate production in Colorado.
Refers to any material created by refining cannabis flowers, such as hash, dry sieve, and hash oils. Sometimes referred to as cannabis extracts. Concentrates or extracts have much higher potency. Some popular cannabis concentrates include: shatter, wax, crumble, resin, rosin, live resin, live rosin, hash, diamonds, and oils.
Plant strain that results from the process of crossbreeding and genetic stabilization to express desired traits. Some examples of popular cultivars (strains) are Granddaddy Purple, Pink Kush, and Ice Cream Cake. The term cultivar and strain can be used interchangeably.
The process of slowly drying flowers from the plant. Allows for a more gradual process to maximize flavor and smoke quality.
A method where a “dab” (small amount) of cannabis concentrate is placed on a preheated surface, creating concentrated cannabis vapor to be inhale. Think of dabbing as a modern version of “hot knives”.
The process by which, when exposed to heat, tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) is converted to THC and cannabichromenic acid (CBCA) is converted to CBC. When making home-made edibles, it’s very important to decarboxylate (bake) the cannabis before mixing with butter or oil. The heat activates the THC in the cannabis making the edibles more potent.
A group of receptors that make up a very complex regulatory system throughout the human brain, body, and 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.
The different processes by which cannabinoids within the plant can be extracted for use. These processes include alcohol extraction, butane hash oil extraction, etc.
Flower refers to dried cannabis. Technically speaking, flower is the hairy or sticky parts of the cannabis plant that are harvested for consumption in various products. When the cannabis plant matures, it ‘flowers’, and this is the part of the plant that people consume via smoking or vaping.
Hemp is another name for cannabis. While science does not differentiate between hemp and cannabis, the law does. Legally, cannabis plants can only be called hemp if the THC content is below a certain percentage.
Most cannabis cultivars are hybrids, as they’ve been genetically altered or bred to create specific effects. When speaking at a dispensary, hybrid in the in-between sativa and indica strains.
Joints are no doubt the most common way to consume cannabis. They consist of cannabis rolled up inside a thin rolling paper, resembling a cigarette but without the nicotine.
The paper can be made of hemp, rice, flax, or wood pulp. Some papers are also infused with flavours such as grape, cherry, etc. Some people may insert a crutch, or filter into their joints, which helps keep the cannabis inside the joint and not in your mouth. They also allow the joint to burn all the way to the end without burning fingers and lips.
A spliff is very similar to a joint, both use rolling papers and can use filters, but the main difference is the use of tobacco. Spliffs contain a mix of tobacco and cannabis, though the ratio depends on personal preference.
Tobacco is used for a few reasons. Some people enjoy the energetic buzz effects of tobacco along with their cannabis, while others will use it to help the cannabis burn more evenly if the flower still contains too much moisture.
Variety of cannabis plants that have a particular characteristic(s) that might be used to express a specific desired effect. For example: Cannabis sativa is high in THC and is reported to enhance creativity, be a stimulant, and fight depression, headaches, and nausea. Cannabis indica is a mix of THC/CBD and is reported to be relaxing and pain reducing. Cannabis ruderalis is high in CBD and often referred to as hemp.
Fragrant oils secreted from the resin glands of flowers that provide aromatic diversity. They are not just found in the cannabis plant, but other plants as well. Terpenes bind to different receptors in the brain to give different effects.
A liquid form of cannabis that is made from glycerin or alcohol. Tinctures are usually distributed in an eyedropper under the tongue to provide fast absorption to the body, leading to quicker effects than edibles and inhalation
Cannabis products such as lotions, balms, and oils that are used for pain relief.
Crystalized glands on the cannabis plant that produce resin. They are the parts of the plant that contain most cannabinoids.
Water-pipes are bongs, and was the word used to describe bongs before legalization. Many companies would not allow the sale of tobacco products, so cannabis shops would title bongs as water-pipes in order to work around those restraints.