Cannabis terminology: all the common terms
Unless you read cannabis articles regularly, or visit dispensaries daily, we're sure there are some weed terms that confuse you. Someone might go on about their dab nail and the terp balls inside it, and they might as well speak Klingon.
No, the terms aren't especially complicated, but with so many out there, it's hard not to get things mixed up. Being in the cannabis industry, we understand that better than most, and we want to help provide clarity in turn. So, in alphabetical order, we'll be walking you through all the modern cannabis terminology you can expect to encounter today.
Places that are approved to distribute medical marijuana to people with a prescription. In regions where recreational marijuana is legal as well, these are usually just called medical dispensaries.
A process used to physically separate trichomes from cannabis flower. This is typically done to make concentrates.
The separation of trichomes from cannabis flowers via isopropyl or ethyl alcohol. The result is a potent concentrate.
This refers to how a certain type of cannabis smells. Occasionally, people will also use this word to refer to a strain's flavour. A strain's aroma is determined by the specific balance of terpenes in the buds.
This is when a wax/shatter concentrate starts to melt and lose its form due to high heat or other storage factors.
The result of a hybrid strain being bred with its parent (or a genetically similar plant). The goal is for the resulting plant to be more similar to the parent than the original hybrid.
This involves rolling your weed on the backside of the rolling paper, then tearing off the excess paper. You'll see this almost exclusively in Europe.
Short for butane hash oil, this refers to a concentrate made via butane extraction. Essentially, the marijuana is dissolved in the butane, which separates the trichomes from the plant matter.
This is an emptied-out cigarillo (usually bought from a convenience store) that's re-rolled with marijuana inside. You can also use pieces of natural tobacco leaves.
A large, upright-standing water pipe used for smoking marijuana, tobacco, and sometimes both. The water sits at the bottom, the mouthpiece at the top, and the bowl and downstem stick out of the base.
The water inside the bong. This term is often used once the water has become dirty as a result of continued smoking.
The part of a given pipe/bong/bowl/ where weed is loaded. It usually looks like a small cone, or cup-like, with a small hole (or a few) in the bottom to facilitate smoking.
A type of CBD concentrate, in oil form, that includes almost every cannabinoid and terpene found in a cannabis plant (besides THC).
A hybrid of a pipe and bong. It'll have the shape of a bong, use water to facilitate smoking, and sometimes stand upright. The bowl isn't detachable, though, and a bubbler will be considerably smaller than a full-size bong.
This is just another way to refer to cannabis flower. Specifically, though, it refers to the flower as it appears once harvested from a mature plant.
A soft, pliable concentrate with a form reminiscent of caramel. A wax or shatter concentrate will look like this after prolonged heat exposure and improper storage.
A dispensary staff member who's responsible for giving customers their weed and telling them about the products.
The main group of compounds responsible for cannabis’ effects. The ones you're most familiar with are THC and CBD, but there are over 100 more that can be found in weed plants.
A genus of plants that includes Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis. This term is also used to describe all varieties of raw and prepared forms of the plant.
The phenomenon of a joint or blunt burning more on one side than the other. The name comes from the fact that the end result looks like a canoe.
A hole on the side of a bubbler or pipe meant to facilitate smoking. As you light the bowl and inhale, you put your thumb over the carb to build up the hit. Then, when you want to inhale, you remove your thumb from the hole and suck in.
A glass apparatus used to cover the open top of a heated dab nail, concentrating the heat and allowing the dab to melt completely.
One of the major cannabinoids found in cannabis plants. Unlike THC, it doesn't get you high, but it's been observed to exert a variety of beneficial effects.
The part of a joint or blunt that's burning. You can tell where it is because it'll be bright red.
A one-hitter with a pipe-like appearance and end-to-end design. Unlike a regular pipe, there's no carb, so you just light and inhale.
The part of a mature female weed plant where buds are concentrated together.
A weed plant that starts out as a cutting taken from a mature "mother plant". In turn, the resulting plant is genetically identical to the plant the cutting came from.
Another word for a butane, propane, or CO₂-based extraction in which no gas is released into the air during the process. This sets it apart from "open blasting", which is far more hazardous and less common.
A trichome-extraction process that involves the use of CO₂ in a supercritical state. In this state, the CO₂ behaves like both a gas and a liquid, allowing it to safely extract a high concentration of beneficial cannabinoids and terpenes.
This refers to the end result of cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids being separated from cannabis plant matter, then formed into a singular substance.
This refers to any cannabis hybrid; ie. a strain derived from two other strains.
A small piece of cardboard-like material, folded and rolled up to act as a filter for a joint. It serves mainly to prevent you from sucking up small pieces of weed.
DAB / DABBING
The term dab refers to waxy cannabis concentrate that is placed onto a heated nail and inhaled in the form of vapor. In turn, dabbing is the act of partaking in dabs.
The specific type of water pipe used to take dabs. A bit of water sits at the base, and a titanium, glass, or quartz “nail" sticks out of the side. See further down this list for a full explanation of the nail.
DABBER / DAB TOOL
This refers to a metal scalpel-esque apparatus used to scoop little bits of dabs.
Another word for high-quality weed, usually in reference to a pungent aroma.
The process of heating up cannabis to convert cannabinoids from their acidic to non-acidic forms. In the process, THCA and CBDA become THC and CBD respectively.
Dispensaries are stores authorised to sell recreational and/or medical marijuana.
Food and drink infused with cannabis butter, oil, or tincture. Edibles can take over an hour to kick in, with the effects lasting for at least twice as long as smoked cannabis. Edibles are often perceived as more potent than other forms of weed.
Shorthand for an eighth of an ounce (3.5 grams) of marijuana.
A person who is trained and certified to make cannabis concentrates for consumers.
This refers to a joint or blunt that's loaded with a lot of weed.
These are weed plants bred to be exclusively female (99%). There is a very small chance feminized seeds will turn out male, but it's highly unlikely.
In the context of weed, filter is just another word for “crutch".
This refers to how long a growing cannabis plant spends in the flowering stage. At the end of said stage, the plant is ready to harvest.
Another word for weed in bud form.
A type of CBD oil that includes a comprehensive selection of cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids, including small amounts of THC.
Another way to refer to weed in general. The term is more popular amongst old-fashioned stoners, though.
One more nickname for weed.
The phenomenon of smoking so much that you don't remember what happened while you were high. It's meant to be a reference to how people "black out" when they drink lots of alcohol.
A device used to break down weed nugs into a finer state. This is done so it can be loaded into a bowl/joint/blunt.
Shorthand for half an ounce (14 grams) of marijuana.
HASH / HASH OIL
At its core, hash is just a mass of compressed trichomes (or kief). You can usually find kief on the bottom layer of a high-quality grinder, which you can then press into hash.
This term isn't common, but it's used to describe higher-quality glass.
Heirlooms are weed strains that haven't been bred with any other. They're also sometimes referred to as "virgin strains".
Hemp is a variant of Cannabis sativa that produces small amounts of THC, and is used primarily for industrial applications.
This can either refer to the result of breeding two strains, or a strain that has both indica and sativa genetics.
A cultivation system where plants are grown in water instead of soil.
ICE WAX / ICE WATER HASH
This wax is extracted from cannabis flowers via ice water and agitation. The agitated cannabis and water is filtered through a series of bags, leading to the finished product.
Cannabis indica plants produce the sort of weed known for making one feel relaxed or "couch-locked". Not too many plants are pure indicas, so you'll usually find indica-dominant hybrids with some sativa genetics.
Isolates are what they sound like; a certain component of cannabis, and nothing but. CBD users who want to avoid THC completely, for example, will use CBD isolates. These are in contrast to full or broad-spectrum and full-spectrum formulas, which contain other cannabinoids and terpenes.
Making a "joint" involves rolling ground marijuana up in cigarette or hemp paper, and using a crutch instead of a conventional filter.
This is the brown powder that collects in the bottom layer of nicer grinders. If you can screw off the bottom layer of your grinder (not the one containing the ground-up weed), you can collect kief! This powder, being a collection of trichomes, is also a basic form of hash!
Usually heard amongst older stoners, this is a way you can refer to higher-quality weed.
Yet one more way to refer to weed. Technically, however, it's meant to reference indica strains with roots in the Hindu Kush mountains.
Any strain of wild cannabis native to a certain area of the world. Today, most strains can count a landrace amongst their ancestors.
Live resin is made when the extraction process is performed with flash-frozen cannabis (rather than cured buds). The resulting product contains notably higher amounts of certain cannabinoids and terpenes than concentrates made with cured flower.
When you wait for the nail to cool a bit before taking your dab. It's still hot, of course, but not as hot as it is with standard dabs (which require a red-hot nail).
A general term referring to all female flower-producing cannabis plants.
A filter at the bottom of what's known as a "bubble bag". Sets of 3–5 bubble bags, each with incrementally finer filters, are used to make ice wax/bubble hash.
Shorthand for "marijuana infused product". Basically, any product containing components of marijuana (edibles, oils, etc.).
It looks similar to a bowl, but instead of using a lighter to heat the cannabis on top, you use a torch to heat up the nail itself. Once it's red-hot, you can go ahead and take your dab.
A descriptor for resin made exclusively with nugs. This is in contrast to those that implement stems and plant trimmings in the process.
A way to refer to either OG Kush or any strain with OG Kush roots. It also refers to any strain grown with the help of the Pacific Ocean (OG is short for “ocean grown”).
This typically refers to cannabis concentrate in oil form (CBD oil is the most popular example).
A metal pipe, usually made to look like a cigarette. You can load a small amount of weed into the front, then light and inhale like it's a cigarette.
28 grams of cannabis.
The observable traits of a cannabis plant. The term encapsulates growing characteristics, effectiveness, taste, and a variety of other quality markers.
An old-fashioned way to refer to weed.
A rolled-up joint you can purchase at a dispensary and smoke right away.
The term for a nail made of quartz. Dab smokers usually go for these due to their high heat tolerance.
Residual wax that builds up in your dab rig as you continue to use it without cleaning. It can be smoked, but is significantly less potent than the original wax.
If a country or US state is "recreational", that means they allow cannabis to be sold and used for recreational purposes. This is in contrast to "medicinal" countries/states, which only allow it to be prescribed as a medicine.
On one hand, it can be used to refer to the sticky trichomes on cannabis buds. On the other, it refers to the sticky black residue found inside an uncleaned bowl. Both can be smoked, but you'll have a much better time with the former than the latter.
A joint or blunt that's been nearly completely smoked. People will either throw them away or empty them into a bowl to be smoked.
Cannabis ruderalis isn't often enjoyed in its pure form, as the buds aren't potent or plentiful. Their autoflowering characteristic, however, makes them desirable for growers looking to cross conventional photoperiod strains with speedy autos.
Cannabis sativa plants produce the sort of weed that makes people feel upbeat, focused, and euphoric. As with indica plants, however, pure sativas are rare, and you'll more often find sativa-dominant plants.
This is how people refer to low-quality, dried-out weed.
A potent cannabis concentrate characterised by its tendency to shatter with force.
A specific group of strains descended from Skunk #1. As the name implies, they're characterised by a pungent earthy aroma.
A joint that contains a blend of cannabis and tobacco.
A certain type of cannabis with a particular set of genetics and traits.
Aromatic compounds found in abundance in cannabis plants. They're responsible for giving cannabis the iconic scents we know it for.
The main cannabinoid in most cannabis strains. It's responsible for the high one feels from smoking weed.
A liquid cannabis concentrate made with alcohol or glycerine.
In the weed world, this refers to a lotion, ointment, skin cream, or other cosmetic made with cannabis.
Trichomes are the many, many external resin glands found on cannabis buds. They contain most of the cannabinoids, terpenes, and other compounds we like to get out of weed.
The excess plant matter left over after cannabis buds are trimmed post-harvest.
A simple, portable vaporizer. A heating element warms up the concentrate in the pen, and you inhale via a mouthpiece.
A device that allows you to inhale the vapor from cannabis concentrate or flower. It can either be handheld or stationary, depending on the make and model.
Another way to refer to concentrate in a solid, wax-like state (hence the name).
One of the many ways to refer to cannabis.
Whole plant formulas harness a full spectrum of cannabis phytochemicals, rather than just individual cannabinoids.