DEFINED: Common Cannabis Terms

Within the cannabis movement, many cannabis-specific terminology has emerged. The terms are a great thing when you're trying to describe exactly what you want at a dispensary, but can be concerning if you aren't sure what they mean! Don't worry -- we have you covered. Below are some of the most common cannabis terms defined that you will come across when visiting a dispensary.

But before we dive into the terms, lets cover cannabis quantities. Although your dispensary agent can explain this to you in person, it is beneficial to have a concise visual on what each quantity looks like beforehand:

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Gram = 1.0 gram

Eighth (of an ounce) = 3.5 grams

Quarter (of an ounce) = 7 grams

Half (of an ounce) = 14 grams

Ounce = 28 grams



The above terms all refer to the non-cannabis items/products that are used for the consumption of cannabis. These include rolling papers, vaporizers, grinders, hand pipes, containers, etc.


Usually made of glass, bubblers are handheld pipes that have a water reservoir at the bottom to diffuse and cool the smoke before it is inhaled. This device is just one of the many consumption methods available with cannabis.

Butane Hash Oil (BHO)

BHO is made by dissolving cannabis often in a butane solvent. This creates a potent concentrate that has high levels of THC (generally more than flower) and is a thick, sticky oil.


When someone says 'bud,' this actually refers to the flower of the cannabis plant. They are the parts that are harvested and used for medicinal purpose because this is where the highest concentration of active cannabinoids are located. The term bud and flower are used interchangeably.


The chemical compounds that act upon the endocannabinoid system in our bodies by influencing cannabinoid receptors, which produces various therapeutic effects, like pain relief. THC is the most well-known cannabinoid, with CBD gaining a great presence. However, there are over 85 known cannabinoids with varying effects.


The plant name Cannabis is from Greek κάνναβις (kánnabis), via Latin cannabis, originally a Scythian or Thracian word, also loaned into Persian as kanab. Cannabis is a plant genus that produces three species of flowering plants: Cannabis Sativa, Cannabis Indica, and Cannabis Ruderalis. Sativa and Indica are commonly found in dispensaries, where ruderalis generally is not. Although, ruderalis is commonly used for cross-breeding.


Cannabidiol, short for CBD, is a cannabinoid that occurs naturally in cannabis. CBD has recently gained a lot of support for its medicinal uses and research that exclaims its effectiveness in relieving pain, inflammation, and anxiety without the psychoactive ("high") effects associated with THC.

CO2 Extraction

This extraction method uses supercritical CO2 as a solvent to extract cannabinoids and terpenes from the plant to create CO2 oil.


Concentrates are created by using a solvent to dissolve the cannabinoids out of the cannabis plant into a potent consolidated form. The final product has high levels of cannabinoids and can produce varying products from thick and sticky oils to moldable sap (budder/wax) to resinous bits (shatter). Concentrate classification is generally dependent on the method it was manufactured and the overall consistency of the final product.

Dab or "Dabbing"

This slang term refers to a dose of cannabis concentrates. The concentrate is 'dabbed' onto a hot surface to be inhaled. 'Dabbing' refers to the act of inhaling 'dabs.'


An establishment where a patient/caregiver can legitimately and safely access medical cannabis. A patient is provided a recommendation from their medical provider to purchase cannabis. Dispensary agents are present to help recommend cannabis products that best suit the patient's individual needs and answer any questions the patient may have. Not sure where to start? Check out our Patient/Caregiver Info page.


Edibles refer to foods that have been infused with cannabis extracts. When consuming edibles, the cannabinoids take longer to have an effect because they go through the digestive system. Edibles are not currently approved for sale by Maryland dispensaries, but you can still make your own! Learn more about consumption methods and edibles here.


Cannabis flowers are the resin and crystal (trichome) covered reproductive organ of the female plant. The flower is harvested and dried to be used as medication. The term bud and flower are used interchangeably.

Genetic Crossing (a 'cross')

When two different cannabis plant strains are bred together, its referred to as 'a cross' or 'crossbreeding.' This is done in order to combine the best traits or characteristics of two separate plants into one plant.


One of the oldest concentrates known, hash (or 'hashish') is made by manually removing the plants cannabinoid-containing trichomes. This solvent less extraction creates an end product that is often compressed for ease of storage.


This fibrous product is used in the manufacturing of rope, paper, beauty products, and much more. CBD from the male hemp plant has created a demand for CBD hemp oil, which is made from high-CBD, low-THC hemp. Unlike medical cannabis products, CBD-hemp has only small trace amounts (0.3%) of THC. This product is legal in all 50 states. Where CBD-hemp has provided relief for many, CBD isn’t necessary “powerful” all by itself. Cannabinoids, like CBD, work best when there are other cannabinoids present (like THC, CBG, etc) to create The Entourage Effect.


This term refers to the genetic cross between one or more cannabis strains. Depending if a strain has more characteristics of cannabis sativa or indica, it is referred to as 'sativa-dominant' or 'indica dominant.'


Originating in the Middle East & Asia, these plants are shorter and have a more compact flower structure than sativa plants. The primary effects are on the body. Indicas tend to produce sedated feelings, and many prefer it for nighttime use.


Kief, AKA dry sift or 'crystals,' is composed of the unpressed glands scraped from dried mature flowers and leaves using a screen. The greener the kief, more plant material it contains. You can easily collect your own kief from your grinder if it has a screen that leads to another chamber. Pressing kief creates hash.

Marijuana (Marihuana)

The term, originally spelled variously as "marihuana", "mariguana", etc., originated in Mexican Spanish and is the general term for female cannabis plants or their dried flowers (buds).


A common used term referring to a pre-rolled cannabis cigarette, also known as a 'joint'. Dispensaries often have pre-rolls for purchase. (**no tobacco is in a pre-roll)


Sativa plants originated outside the Middle East and Asia and include strains that are from parts of South America, the Caribbean, Africa, and Thailand. Sativa buds tend to grow larger than indica, but generally have a less striking odor (when growing & dry). The primary effects are on thoughts and feelings. Sativas tend to produces stimulating feelings, and many prefer it for daytime use.


Developed to product specific desired traits in a plant, strains are distinct varieties of a species of cannabis that are often named by their breeders. The names will generally reflect its origin, appearance, or effects. Strains differ from grower to grower because plants are heavily influenced by the climate in which they are cultivated, regardless if they share the same strain name. It is important to understand cannabinoids and terpenes when choosing a medicinal product.


Terpenes are the aromatic constituents of all essential plant oils and are found in all spices, fruits, and vegetables. They are the most common plant chemicals in nature, and Cannabis produces over 200 terpenes. Terpenes are pharmacologically active and work together with cannabinoids to provide a greater therapeutic effect.


The resin producing glands of the cannabis plant, trichomes look like little stalks or hairs protruding from the plant. All cannabinoids are produced in these glands.


Vaporizes are cannabis consumption devices that come in a variety of sizes from desktop to hand held sized. Vaporizers heats flowers or concentrates to a temperature the produces a vapor to be inhaled. This method is healthier than smoking because no combustion occurs, which means no smoke is inhaled, yet this method produces effects just as fast as smoking. Learn more about vaporizing and other consumption methods here.

There are many more cannabis-derived words, but the list above is a great start into understanding the basics. As always, you can depend upon our dispensary agents to explain anything in further depth that you're still uncertain about!

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