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Cannabis Jargon: Cannabis Terms You Should Know

The legal cannabis industry is rapidly expanding right before our very eyes. But classic cannabis jargon, on the other hand, hasn’t really changed much over the years, sans the addition of a few more scientific cannabis terms.

Nonetheless, learning the language of cannabis is as important as ever, especially if you want to experience the nuances of an industry that is, by and large, still growing faster than an indoor marijuana plant.

You can easily learn a few common cannabis terms that will get you through a trip to the dispensary.

So without further ado, let’s go through some of the most common cannabis jargon out there today, so that you too can become a cannabis connoisseur.


The scientific term for a group of closely related compounds that act on the cannabinoid receptors in the brain. The two most prominent examples of cannabinoids are THC and CBD.

CBD stands for Cannabidiol, the non-psychoactive component of cannabis. Basically, it gives you many of the desirable effects of the cannabis plant without getting you “high.”

THC is the other main component of cannabis. In layman’s terms, it’s the psychoactive part of cannabis that gets you high. Both CBD and THC are activated via a process called “decarboxylation”, which simply means heating up your bud or concentrate.


One of the more nuanced cannabis terms, terpenes are, in short, aromatic oils that help shape the different strains through distinctive scents and flavors (citrus, pine, mint, etc). They are secreted in the same glands that produce THC and CBD.

The “Sativa v. Indica” Argument

Although there are differences between sativa and indica dominant plants, these days, they mostly have to do with the appearance of a strain. After so many years of crossbreeding and optimization, trying to gauge the effects of a strain just by its type is not going to get you far. There are many factors that determine the effects a strain will have on you, so make sure to read up all available reviews before you attempt to buy or grow your own plant!

Indica – One of the two major strain types. An indica or indica-dominant strain typically gives the user a relaxing, body high that is sometimes referred to as a “couch-lock” high…for obvious reasons. Cannabis indica specimens were first collected in the 18th century in -you guessed it- India by Jean-Baptiste Lamarck. Indica plants are shorter, stockier and more resistant than sativas.

Sativa – The other major strain type. Sativa strains tend to give the user a more euphoric, energetic, and cerebral head high. Landrace Sativa strains are typically tall and lanky in appearance and are indigenous to eastern Asia.

Consuming Cannabis

Flower – This is just another name for actual cannabis buds, not oils or concentrates. Basically, it’s a dispensary term for cannabis.

Blunt – A blunt is a cigar that is hollowed out and re-rolled with cannabis. It’s probably one example of cannabis jargon that nearly everyone has heard at least once.

Spliff – A spliff is a marijuana cigarette. This differs from a joint because it’s a combination of both tobacco and weed. Typically, there’s a higher ratio of weed to tobacco than vice versa. If you need a healthier alternative, try using a vaporizer like the DaVinci MIQRO or the Firefly 2.

Edibles – An edible is basically any type of food, baked good, candy, or beverage that contains extracted THC. The effects of edibles can be vastly different — and more powerful — than smoking cannabis flower. Decarbing—short for decarboxylation— is the first step to making edibles. It refers to the process of heating up cannabis in order to extract the desired component (THC or CBD).

Extracts – An extract is a cannabis concentrate that is formed with the use of a solvent. Some commonly used solvents include ethanol, propane, and butane.

BHO – BHO is short for butane hash oil. It’s a strong form of cannabis concentrates that can usually be found in the form of wax or regular hash oil.

Tincture – A tincture is a concentrated liquid herbal extract. Cannabis tinctures are typically medication that is made by dissolving cannabis in alcohol.

The Leftovers

Kief – Kief sometimes referred to as cannabis crystals, is the resin that is formed on the leaves and buds of cannabis and contains the cannabinoids and terpenes that make each strain so unique. It typically accumulates naturally in containers or it can be sifted through a mesh screen or sieve.

ABV – ABV is an acronym for cannabis that’s “already been vaped.” While the THC has been mostly extracted, you can still make a number of things with ABV that will still get you high, including cannabis oil and edibles.

Cherry – Cherry means that the embers of your cannabis bowl or joint remain lit and can, in turn, light another piece with a simple drag.

Roach – A roach is basically a rolled up piece of cardboard that is used as a makeshift mouthpiece for the joint. It is sold separately or it can be easily constructed with any piece of cardboard. A joint that has reached the roach can still be smoked, but it’s just a bit harder to hold. If it’s too small, you can use a roach clip to hold it if you really want salvage what is left of the joint. Or, you know… Roll a new one!


420 is a cannabis meaning that stems from the date, April 20th — the unofficial “stoner holiday.” You can use the term interchangeably when referring to all-things cannabis (i.e. 420-friendly).

Quality of Cannabis

Schwag is basically your father’s — or grandfather’s, in some cases — weed. It’s low-end, homegrown, and typically contains seeds and/or stems.

Mids – The name gives this one away. Basically, it’s just mid-grade cannabis. It typically contains no seeds, but definitely not nearly as potent as piff.

Piff is slang for great cannabis. Potent strains like Blue Dream, OG Kush, and Godfather OG all definitely qualify as piff.

Cannabis Side Effects

Cotton mouth is one of the more popular cannabis terms amongst casual smokers. It simply refers to the dryness of the mouth that occurs after smoking marijuana.

Greening out is cannabis jargon typically used to describe when a person consumes too much cannabis and begins to feel sick, nauseous, and sometimes anxious. It’s kind of like overdosing on weed, except it’s not fatal.


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