Photo of hemp seeds, hemp oil and a hemp leaf on a wooden table, for E1011 Lab's Hemp Glossary for cannabis, CBD, THC, cannabinoids, hemp and other terms.

Hemp/Cannabis Terms 101: The Complete Glossary

e1011 Labs Cannabis Speak

The list of cannabis-related terms is seemingly endless. You have “access point”, “Sativa”, “Indica”, “hash”, “weed”, “cannabinoids” — where do you even begin?

You begin right here with this comprehensive guide to the most important cannabis terms. Let’s dig in, shall we?

Glossary of Terms:

420

420 is a cannabis slang term for the celebratory consumption and recreational use of cannabis and its affiliated products on the 4th of April each year (typically at 4:20 pm).

710

710 is a slang term for smoking hash oil. If you flip the number upside down, it resembles the word “oil” .

Access Point

Access points (otherwise known as dispensaries or cannabis dispensaries) are locations where medical marijuana patients and users can purchase a variety of cannabis products, particularly ones with high levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). All access points are regulated heavily by state law. Patients/users must register and provide state-certified certificates/cards before purchasing any cannabis products from access points.

Balm

Balms are a type of cannabis/CBD topical applied directly to the skin. Salves and balms are terms that tend to be used interchangeably — however, there is a slight difference between the two. Balms generally have a thicker consistency and require more effort when massaging into the skin — perfect for sore muscles and joints.

Blunt

Blunts are made by emptying out the tobacco from a cigar and replacing it with hemp or marijuana ready to be smoked. Blunts are particularly popular with users who enjoy the unique taste and aroma of tobacco leaves combined with the flavors and scents of cannabis. They’re also much stronger than regular joints, typically holding six or seven times more cannabis. A single blunt can burn for up to 30 minutes depending on the size and density.

Bong

A bong is very similar to a hookah pipe in terms of its functionality. Typically made of ceramic, glass, or plastic, bongs are used to smoke and inhale cannabis extract by filtering it through water.

Broad-Spectrum (Extract Type)

Broad-spectrum extracts contain a whole range of cannabinoids, terpenes, and other plant compounds without any THC content.

Cannabidiol (CBD)

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of 113 known cannabinoids found in varieties of cannabis. It’s also the second-most abundant cannabinoid behind tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). However, unlike THC, CBD does not get you high, nor is it remotely intoxicating — it provides a more “relaxing” and “balancing” experience.

Cannabinol (CBN)

Cannabinol (CBN) is one of 113 cannabinoids found in varieties of cannabis and one of the first cannabinoids to be isolated in its purest form way back in 1896. Researchers believed CBN was the primary reason for cannabis/marijuana intoxication up until THC was discovered. You’ll commonly find CBN in larger amounts as varieties of cannabis start to age. In fact, as THC begins to oxidize through the aging process, it’ll begin to convert into CBN.

Cannabinoids

Cannabinoids are naturally-occurring chemical compounds found in varieties of cannabis. These cannabinoids are also known as phytocannabinoids — “phyto” meaning they belong to the plant. The most common “major” phytocannabinoids in varieties of cannabis include:

When consumed, these phytocannabinoids interact with what’s known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This interaction is said to help the body regulate core functions and maintain a sense of balance and completeness. Continue further to find out more about the endocannabinoid system, how it works, what it does, and how this interaction affects the human body on a physiological level.

Cannabinoid Receptors

Cannabinoid receptors are vital components of the endocannabinoid system. They’re found all throughout the brain, central nervous system (CNS), immune cells, and peripheral organs. There are two different cannabinoid receptors: cannabinoid 1 (CB1) and cannabinoid 2 (CB2). CB1 receptors are commonly found in the brain and spinal cord, while CB2 receptors are found in the gastrointestinal and immune system, as well as peripheral organs. When you consume cannabis and cannabis-related products, the cannabinoids contained in them interact with these receptors. THC, for example, attaches or binds itself to your CB1 receptor in the brain, which causes that ever so famous high. CBD, on the other hand, doesn’t attach itself to either receptor — instead, it affects them indirectly via other receptors sites (e.g. serotonin and vanilloid receptors).

Cannabis

There’s a lot of confusion surrounding the definition and use of the term cannabis. Many use cannabis to refer to marijuana or hemp. This is somewhat inaccurate. Cannabis is actually the genus of plants in the Cannabaceae family. There are three recognized species in this family: Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis. Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica are two of the most commonly used for recreational and medicinal purposes — cannabis ruderalis is rare.

Edibles

Edibles are an umbrella term for a number of cannabis-related products and types. These products/types include:

  • Cannabis/CBD gummies
  • Cannabis/CBD chocolate
  • Cannabis/CBD tea
  • Cannabis/CBD coffee
  • Cannabis/CBD beverages (water, soda, etc)
  • CBD/cannabis candy
  • CBD/cannabis brownies

Endocannabinoid System (ECS)

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a biological system found in all mammals composed of cannabinoid receptors, endocannabinoids, and enzymes. They all work together to help maintain and regulate core physiological functions such as sleep, mood, stress, appetite, body temperature, pain sensitivity, muscle tone/movement, and inflammation (amongst others). This constant regulation and maintenance results in what’s known as homeostasis — or, rather, physiological equilibrium and balance.

Entourage Effect

The entourage effect is the theory that cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and other plant compounds work in synergy within your body to provide a wider, more effective range of benefits and effects.

Full-Spectrum (Extract Type)

Full-spectrum extracts contain a large range of cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and other plant compounds. Unlike broad-spectrum extracts, THC is also included here.

Hash

Hash (otherwise known as hashish) a cannabis concentrate created from dried cannabis resin that’s been separated from the plant. This is very different from weed/marijuana, which is created from the plant itself. Hash is often seen as the stronger of the two.

Hemp

Hemp (also known as industrial hemp) is a very strong and fibrous member of the cannabis family. It generally contains high levels of CBD and very little THC (<0.3% if it’s grown and cultivated properly), which is why it’s so popular amongst casual cannabis users. There’s no “high” associated with consuming hemp or hemp-derived products. It’s also legal in many countries due to its low THC content.

Though its rise to fame is directly correlated with the mainstream success of CBD, it has actually been used for thousands of years to make clothes, rope, paper, shoes, insulation, and biofuel.

High

Whenever anyone says they’re “high”, it generally means the marijuana (or, rather, THC) has entered your body (specifically binding to cannabinoid receptor 1) and you’ve hit peak intoxication. Side-effects are known to include increased heart rate, memory loss, reduced inhibitions, and impaired thinking. This is very different from being stoned, which induces a dopey and/or sleepy experience — almost as if the mind and body are low on energy.

Indica

Indica cannabis strains are native to countries such as India, Pakistan, Turkey, and Afghanistan — in other words, they’ve grown in (and adapted to) harsher climates than you’d find in, say, Italy, Canada, or the United States. Indica strains are usually more sedating than Sativa strains.

Isolate (Extract Type)

Isolate extract types have no other plant compounds aside from CBD. You won’t find any additional cannabinoids, terpenes, etc, here. These extracts are generally flavorless and odorless. The lack of THC in isolate extracts makes them favorable for users who dislike the idea of consuming an intoxicating compound (irrespective of how little there actually is).

Live Resin

Live resin is a type of cannabis/CBD concentrate making serious waves in the industry. Unlike other concentrates (wax, shatter, etc), live resin is created using a flash-freeze method designed to preserve a higher number of valuable cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and other essential plant compounds. The end result is a potent and highly effective product.

Marijuana

Marijuana is a term that refers to the dried leaves, stems, flowers, and seeds of cannabis plants containing a high percentage of THC (anywhere up to 35% THC). Consuming marijuana and marijuana-derived products will cause a high or “otherworldly” feeling — it’s very intoxicating.

Oil

Cannabis/CBD oils are often confused with cannabis/CBD tinctures — they’re similar but not exactly the same. CBD oils are liquid hemp extracts diluted in a carrier oil (MCT, hemp seed oil, sunflower oil, avocado oil). Most users apply oils sublingually (under the tongue) for better absorption into the bloodstream.

Salve

Salves are a type of cannabis/CBD topical applied directly to the skin. Unlike lotions and creams that use water and moisturizing bases in the formula, salves use waxes (beeswax, etc) and oils (almond oil, olive oil) — this gives the product a thick, oily, and sometimes sticky texture.

Sativa

Sativa is a shortened, perhaps less formal name for cannabis Sativa, which is a species of cannabis known for its “mind high” effects — it’s also known to carry some pretty awesome anti-anxiety qualities too. Most Sativa plants grow outside of Middle Eastern and Asian countries and generally tend to be found in Africa, Thailand, and South America.

Shatter

Cannabis/CBD shatter is a type of concentrate. Its name comes from its brittle, fragile, and almost glass-like appearance and texture. Like all concentrates, it’s extremely versatile. You can consume it orally, inhale it (otherwise known as dabbing or vaporizing), or you can cook with it. The choices are damn-near limitless. When shatter is heated, it turns into a goo-like liquid substance.

Sublingual

In cannabis terms, sublingual is an application method where users place a cannabis/CBD oil, tincture, or concentrate directly under the tongue and hold it there for a short period of time (usually 30-60 seconds). The purpose of this is to allow the cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids to sink below the thin tissue directly into the bloodstream. This, in turn, bypasses the digestive system (including the liver).

Terpenes

Terpenes are aromatic compounds (hydrocarbons) that give varieties of cannabis their famous smells and aromas. As it stands, there are over 150 separate cannabis terpenes, which include:

  • Limonene (citrusy, sweet aroma)
  • Beta-Caryophyllene (spicy and sweet aroma)
  • Linalool (floral and spicy aroma)
  • Pinene (woody, oaky aroma)
  • Myrcene (earthy, citrusy aroma)

Terpenes are thought to have their own unique benefits as well. Limonene, for example, is a powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, as well as an effective stress reliever. Myrcene, on the other hand, is quite a potent antibiotic and antimutagenic — it’s also a light sedative as well.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is one of 113 cannabinoids found in varieties of cannabis. It’s also the most abundant cannabinoid found in marijuana (it’s less abundant in hemp — typically <0.3%). It’s also the only intoxicating cannabinoid responsible for producing a high or “otherworldly” feeling. Products containing the highest level of THC include cannabis oil (THC oil, marijuana oil), cannabis concentrates (THC concentrates, marijuana concentrates), and dried cannabis flowers (strains such as GSC, Kosher Kush, and Ghost Train Haze, as examples).

Tincture

Cannabis/CBD tinctures are often confused for cannabis/CBD oil — they’re similar but certainly not the same. Tinctures are made from liquid hemp extracts suspended in distilled alcohol (50 - 70% ethyl alcohol or isopropyl alcohol), which gives them a longer shelf life. Most users apply tinctures sublingually (under the tongue) for better absorption into the bloodstream.

Topical

Topicals are marijuana/hemp-derived products designed to be used on the skin (balms, salves, lotions, etc). Many topical products have additional ingredients such as menthol/peppermint (for skin cooling) or witch hazel (for skin inflammation). Topical products don’t generally penetrate far enough through the skin to enter into the bloodstream unless it’s a specially made transdermal topical. They’re also not fit for oral consumption.

Trichome

Cannabis plants have tiny white “outgrowths” located on the stalks, stems, buds, and leaves. These outgrowths are called trichomes (resin glands) containing valuable cannabinoids (CBD, THC, CBN, etc), terpenes, flavonoids, and other essential compounds. They’re sticky, shiny, and highly aromatic.

There are three different types of trichomes:

  • Bulbus
  • Capitate sessile
  • Capitate-stalked

Wax

Cannabis/CBD wax is a type of concentrate. It’s very different to shatter but somewhat similar to live resin in terms of color, texture, and consistency.

Weed

Weed is another slang term for marijuana — it’s generally not used as a slang word for hemp or hemp-derived products.