Marijuana Terms & Dispensary Terminology

If you and your buds are ever sitting around, enjoying a toke in true That 70’s Show fashion, and someone mentions the words “indica” or “sativa,” and you find yourself scratching your head and giggling, “What is this gibberish?” Well, you’re not alone! The cannabis dictionary is massive and can be a bit confusing for anyone new to the scene. 

Luckily, we’re here with a guide to help boost your cannabis industry knowledge. Browse our glossary to discover a variety of marijuana terms and definitions and other relevant dispensary terminology. By the time you’re finished, you’ll know your indicas from your sativas and all the different cannabis terms in between.

Accessories: Items like grinders, jars or pipes used to administer, process, or store cannabis products.

Access Point: An authorized physical location, such as a retail shop or clinic, where patients can purchase marijuana. Also known as a “dispensary.” 

Aroma: A general term used to describe the scent and/or taste of a particular plant. Often, each consumer’s individual description of an aroma will differ (i.e., “skunky,” “earthy,” “citrus”).

Backcross: Backcrossing is when a hybrid plant (one composed of both indica and sativa) is bred with one of its parents to create offspring closer to the original parent. For example, a grower might breed a plant with its mother plant to ensure it grows to her same height. This is typically conducted with the goal of preserving rare strains or enhancing the effects of recessive genes. 

Bud: Cannabis flowers of the marijuana plant. Because these contain the highest concentrations of THC and other cannabinoids, they are harvested and used for medicinal or recreational purposes. This is what cannabis consumers are typically most interested in - the holy grail of cannabis.

Cannabinoids: There are at least 113 different cannabinoids within the cannabis plant. These are the chemical compounds that activate the receptors in the brain to produce the medicinal effects of pain relief and other medical benefits. The most well-known and abundant are: 1) tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which produces psychoactive effects, 2) tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCa), an inactive compound found within the trichomes of living cannabis plants that serves as the precursor to THC’s psychoactive effects, and 3) Cannabidiol (CBD), the non-psychoactive chemical compound that accounts for 40% of the plants extract, derived directly from the hemp plant. 

CBD: One of the 113+ cannabinoids found within the cannabis plant and the second most prominent cannabinoid that we are aware of to date. It is non-psychoactive and also provides a number of medical benefits, easing symptoms of common issues, including depression, anxiety, muscle inflammation, acne, and heart disease, and for those with cancer, it has been known to provide a natural alternative for symptom and pain relief. 

Clone: A clipping from a cannabis plant that can be rooted and grown through a cloning process of the parent plant from which the clipping was cut. 

Concentrates: A cannabis term used to describe a concentrated form of cannabis that’s been extracted from the plant, made by dissolving marijuana in plant form into a solvent. The resulting product contains high levels of THC and can produce a range of products.

Crossbreeding: When two or more different strains of cannabis are combined to create a new, unique strain. For example, Concord Cream is a cross between Grape Bubba and Cookies and Cream, or Green Ribbon which crosses Green Crack, Trainwreck, Afghanica, and White Rhino.

Curing: A slow and controlled drying process developed to maximize the quality of cannabis flowers.

Dabbing: Slang marijuana term that refers to a dose of cannabis concentrate that is “dabbed” onto a hot surface and inhaled. Dabbing is the action of partaking in “dabs.” (Not to be confused with the popular dance move.) 

Dank: Used to describe sticky, high-quality marijuana with a potent aroma. 

Edible: Any food or drink that has been infused with cannabis. Although consumed orally, tinctures are also considered edibles. Edibles can be highly potent and typically take 45 minutes to one hour to kick in so it’s recommended not to consume too much too quickly. Edibles that have been crafted for medicinal use can be called “medibles.” 

Feminized: Plants that come from feminized seeds have been specifically bred to produce only female cannabis plants. Female cannabis plants are the ones that produce flowers that are used to make many marijuana products.

Flowering Time: Refers to the time that it takes for a plant to produce mature flowers. This time is impacted by the length of daily sun exposure. 

Flowers: The sticky, fuzzy, crystal-covered bits that makeup what most believe to be the prettiest part of the plant. Also referred to as the bud, flowers are the part of the cannabis plant that we consume. They are harvested and dried for medication use and can be smoked, compressed, inhaled/vaped, or turned into concentrates. 

Grinder: Nifty tool used for grinding cannabis in preparation for consumption without causing damage to the resin glands. 

Hash: The shortened version of the cannabis term hashish. A potent form of cannabis concentrate that is created by extracting and filtering resin glands from the leaves of a harvested marijuana plant. 

Hemp: The non-euphoric variety of cannabis containing very little to no THC. By law, hemp may only contain 0.3% THC or less. Help is incredibly versatile and aside from smoking, it can be used for shelters, food, medicine, fuel and can even make plastics.

Hybrid: A cannabis strain with a mix of both indica and sativa. Typically, hybrids are deliberately bred to combine the best traits of two or more strains. 

Indica: One of the three main categories of cannabis strains. You may hear “in-da-couch” as a play on its name as indica offers a more relaxed high and can be used as a sleep-aid. 

Kief: A loose powder form of cannabis. If you gently rub cannabis flowers between your fingers, you can collect the resinous trichomes as they fall - this is kief.

Kush: This refers to a line of marijuana plants that stem from the Hindu Kush mountains in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Kush strains are typically indicas and give off a unique aroma that is popular among consumers. Many describe it as “piney” or “earthy” mixed with “sweet” or “citrus” notes.

OG: A family of cannabis strains with names beginning with OG, meaning “ocean grown.” This is because the origins of the strain can be traced back to Southern California. OG Kush was responsible for putting the West Coast on the recreational and medical marijuana map. 

Phenotype: The cannabis term used to describe the physical characteristics of a particular strain, including height, color and leaf structure (i.e., indicas tend to be shorter and fatter than sativas).

Pot: Weed, bud, cannabis, marijuana. A relaxed and commonly used slang term for cannabis.

Pre-roll: Pre-rolled cigarette-like cones, typically sold in single tubes or packs of 8-10, invented for the marijuana newbie or lazy consumer. 

Sativa: Another of the three main categories of cannabis strains. Sativa generally offers a more cerebral experience, producing an energetic high.

Shake: Small pieces of plant material that separates from the cannabis plant during processing, containing a high cannabinoid content but often sold at a discounted rate.

Shatter: This cannabis concentrate is a specialized form of concentrate and typically gets its name by its appearance - a sheet of wax that ‘shatters’ under pressure. 

Skunk: A strain of cannabis named for its potent aroma, varieties of which can often be found on dispensary menus. 

Strain: There are a variety of strains in the world that can be roughly categorized as indicas, sativas, or hybrids. However, there are tons of different sativas, tons of different hybrids and tons of different indicas to choose from – which is really half the fun!

Tincture:  Cannabis drops that are extracted using glycerol or alcohol and mixed with various oils. Using the dropper provided, the oil is dropped underneath the tongue or mixed into a drink. Tinctures are popular among CBD consumers and come available in a range of flavors, aromas and strengths. 

Topical: Cannabis-infused products that are applied to the skin such as creams, balms, gels, salves, lotions, and more, which contain cannabinoids and terpenes. 

Trichomes: Sparkly resin glands that appear on cannabis flowers, sometimes called crystals. 

Wax: Another concentrate that is similar to shatter but gives both recreational consumers and medical patients a mode of consuming cannabis at extremely potent levels. 

Zip:  Slang dispensary terminology meaning an ounce of marijuana.

Becoming educated on the vast vocabulary of cannabis will only benefit you in the long run. Learning dispensary terminology will likely aid in a smooth purchasing process and understanding the various marijuana terms will help you engage in cannabis conversation during your next smoke sesh. So read up, roll up and enjoy!