Marijuana Terms: A Cannabis Glossary

Dark Marijuana Leaves
Photo by: Yarygin/Shutterstock

It’s actually kind of funny. I remember being in 6th or 7th grade, perusing the posters at Spencer’s gifts, when I came across a poster listing in a variety of different typeface and character fonts the names of marijuana recognized by law enforcement. I remember thinking “That’s someone’s job?” before moving on to the lava lamps. Well over a decade has passed, and here I am doing just that: making a cannabis-centric glossary for you marijuana lovers out there.

The Format

I wanted to organize this in the best way I know how. While some marijuana terms are used interchangeably, it occurs to me that the best format to present a marijuana terms glossary would be in sections: plant components, smoking, eating, and growing. And while each section is by no means totally comprehensive, I do hope that it provides some clarity in a time of rapid changes in legalization support.

Plant Components


Cannabinoid: A specific chemical grouping that identifies the effects of cannabis on the mind and body.

Cannabichromene (CBC): Another compound; Non-psychoactive

Cannabidiol (CBD): Any list of marijuana terms would be remiss if it failed to mention CBD. Not only is this cannabinoid the second most common, but it’s also non-psychoactive.

Cannabigerol (CBG): Another interesting non-psychoactive cannabinoid, CBG is under investigation for potential benefits.

Cannabinol (CBN): A mildly psychoactive byproduct when marijuana is exposed to heat, light, or both.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC): Certainly the most well-known of the cannabinoid entourage, THC is the primary psychoactive chemical found within marijuana.

Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV): Where marijuana has long been linked to the “munchies”, THCV acts contradictory to this.

Terpenes and Terpenoids

Beta-caryophyyene: Produces spicy or peppery aroma and is known to be effective in treating ulcers, symptoms of Crohn’s disease, effects of autoimmune issues, and arthritis.

Borneol: With hints of menthol, this terpene makes it onto the marijuana terms list by possibly offering a calming effect.

Humulene: The hoppy, floral aroma that spices you beers is produced by this terpene. While humulene’s effects on humans aren’t anything special, it is certainly a pervasive flavor to our recreational indulgences.

Limonene: As the name suggests, limonene produces notes of citrus like lemon, orange, and lime.

Linalool: Fun to say, reportedly relaxing in effect. Linalool is a flowery aroma.

Myrcene: An earthy, diesel-y musk is produced by this terpene.

Pinene: When your marijuana buds smell of pine, it is likely the result of pinene. This flavorful terpene produces effects that can help breathing by assisting the break-up of mucus in the throat and lungs.

Terpene: Aromatic molecules consisting of hydrogen and carbon that produce synergistic effects with cannabinoids.

Terpenoid: The terpenes once they have been cured, or exposed to drying/ heat change on a molecular level. This allows them greater access to the blood stream.


Blunt: Blunt is one of the most common marijuana terms out there, describing marijuana that has been rolled in cigar papers.

Bong: A common water pipe; wherein the smoke passes through a liquid filtration chamber before being inhaled.

Bubble Hash: The product of sifting buds, flowers, and trim though “bubble bags” submerged in ice water. A solvent-less form of hash.

Budder: A method for refining butane concentrate extractions that causes the end product to be crumbly with a color like earwax.

Butane Hash Oil (BHO): A method of stripping cannabinoids from plant matter, forming a concentrate, using butane as a solvent. BHO fits on any list of marijuana terms, as it is used commonly.

Concentrate: The product of extraction of cannabinoids from the plant material.

Dabbing: Riding sidecar to the rise of concentrates, dabbing implies using specialized equipment to dab concentrates onto a heated surface, vaporizing the concentrate for inhalation.

Flower: The cannabinoid packed resinous reproductive organs of the cannabis plant.

Hash: A result of extracting and compressing marijuana’s resins and trichromes.

Hybrid: A term used to define a marijuana plant that has varied genetics, as in a mix of sativa and indica.

Indica: Growing short and bushy, indica plants are known for their sedative and cerebral effects.

Joint: The result when you roll marijuana into cigarette rolling papers.

Kief: The main ingredient to hashish, kief is a term to describe the trichromes and resins once it has been separated from the flower.

Rosin: Rosin is a sap-like hash extraction produced by heat and pressure. . . like with a hair straightener.

Sativa: Growing much taller than indica plants, sativa’s are generally more energetic, creative, and euphoric.

Shatter: A form of hash extraction that is free of plant matter, producing a translucent honey colored concentrate that is extremely potent.

Vaporizer: A device that uses heat to free the cannabinoids from the plant matter without burning or otherwise combusting it.

Wax: A less refined, but still highly potent form of hash. Comes in a variety of textures and can be made using a variety of solvents.

Edibles and Topicals

Cannabutter: A preparation of activated cannabinoids in a fat-rich butter. Indeed, cannabutter is one of the more well-known marijuana terms out there.

Canna-oil: Much like cannabutter, canna-oil is the result of extracting cannabinoids into a fat-rich substance, this time oil. You may use coconut oil, olive oil, canola oil, vegetable oil, and so on.

Dose: The recommended quantity to achieve certain effects, measured in milligrams of active cannabinoids.

Edible: Any product that contains cannabinoids and is administered via your mouth.

Lotion: A medicated lotion

Medicated: A marketing term for products containing cannabis.

Tincture: A preparation of cannabis oil within alcohol or glycerol, complete with a measured dropper. Tinctures are administered orally, under the tongue or can be added to food.

Topical: If you aren’t smoking, vaporizing, or eating it, topical probably covers it. Included in this category of marijuana terms are: lotions, ointments, salves, and sprays. Being applied to skin allows for quick absorption into the blood stream, but with significantly less pronounced psychoactive effect.


Aeroponics: A soil-free method of growing marijuana plants wherein the root system is sprayed with nutrients in an oxy rich reservoir.

Bud: Among the most common marijuana terms, bud describes the flowering part of the plant that is consumed due to the high cannabinoid concentration.

Clone: A genetic identical of a plant, usually cut from the stem of the parent plant so it can produce its own root system.

Cross-breed: A term describing mixing the genetics of two or more strains.

Feminized: Given that the highest concentrations of cannabinoids are found in the unfertilized female gendered plants, feminized is a way of saying the seeds are bred to be female.

Hydroponics: A variety of soil-less growing methods, including aeroponics, deep water culture, ebb and flow, and bubbleponics to name a few. Basically, you give the root system access to the nutrients and oxygen it needs to survive so the roots don’t need to be in soil.

Phenotype: The defining characteristics of a plant, allowing for growers to anticipate plant needs and provide a frame of reference if the plant’s growth seems less than ideal.

Trichrome: When your buds are good and frosty, trichomes are to thank. Trichromes are glands filled with cannabinoid and terpene rich resins. They act to protect the leaves, stems, and other parts of plant anatomy from the elements.

By Joey Wells