Essential Marijuana Terms


To more fully understand marijuana, you have to know the language of marijuana.  Marijuana has its own language.  That’s due in part to the complexity of marijuana as a plant, and its chemical makeup.  But even more so because the use of marijuana since the 20th century has been part of a broader cultural expression and even lifestyle (i.e., stoner life).     

Today the language of marijuana has expanded even further with the development and adaptation of methods of using or ingesting marijuana, as well as the creation of new and refined means for producing marijuana concentrates driven by legislation legalizing marijuana for medical and recreational uses.   

Below are essential terms everyone needs to know to understand marijuana, in relations to the plant, its chemical makeup, how it is used, new concentrated extracts, and slang or cultural concepts.  Care was taken to both describe and illustrate these terms without providing specific details or marketing language that could provide “how-to” directions or promote the use of marijuana which has significant potential for harm and abuse for individuals, families and communities.    

The Plant

Marijuana: Dried components or extracts from the female Cannabis plant that contains the flowers.  Known by numerous slang names, including ganja, weed, pot, dope, herb, Mary Jane, MJ, hemp and reefer, to name just a few.


Trichomes: Crystalline structures that coat parts of the cannabis plant that hold the majority of the cannabinoid content. 


Cannabis: A flowering plant that produces three species, including cannabis sativa, cannabis indica, and cannabis ruderalis.  The first two species are produced for recreational and medical purposes, while the later species is rarely used because of its lower cannabinoid content. 

big cannabis marijuana plant detail

Buds/Flowers: Dried flowers of the cannabis plant which contain the majority of the trichomes.


Hemp: A fibrous material produced from the male cannabis plant grown for its commercial uses in making paper, rope, textiles, plastic, paint and other products.  Also slang for marijuana.

Hybrids: A genetic cross-strain usually between the common cannabis sativa and cannabis indica strains.


Chemical Components

THC: Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the primary cannabinoid in the cannabis plant that is responsible for most of the psychoactive effects, or the “high” and has some therapeutic potential. 

Cannabinoids: The chemical compounds, of which there are approximately 100, found in the cannabis plant that upon entering the blood stream by ingestion or inhalation act upon the cannabinoid receptors found in the skin and nervous system.

Cannabidiol (CBD): Usually the second most common cannabinoid found in cannabis, that doesn’t have the psychoactive (i.e., mind-altering) effects of THC.  CBD is being studied for its potential therapeutic effects, and it acts as an antagonist lessening the psychoactive effects of THC.      

Terpenes: Compounds in cannabis and other plants that are responsible their aroma and flavor.

Cannabinoid Receptors: A class of cell membrane receptors under the G protein-coupled receptor superfamily found throughout the body.  They are part of the Endocannabinoid system involved in various physiological processes, including appetite, memory, mood and pain sensation.  There are currently two know subtypes of cannabinoid receptors, termed CB1 and CB2.  Plant and synthetic cannabinoids can bind to and mediate receptor actions.


Methods of Ingestion/Use

Joint: Dried marijuana rolled in a non-tobacco paper and smoked like a cigarette.


Bong/Water Pipe: A pipe that uses water to filter burned marijuana for smoking.  


Pipe: A typically metal or glass pipe for smoking burned marijuana.


Blunt: A hollowed out cigar that is rerolled with marijuana.  Likely named after the Phillies Blunt brand of cigars. 


Edibles: Any marijuana product consumed orally, including foods, candies, beverages and capsules.  Because it takes longer to experience the effects compared with smoking marijuana, it can lead to accidental overdosing. 


Cannabutter: Cannabis-infused cooking/baking butter for making marijuana edibles.

Cannaoil: Cannabis-infused cooking/baking oil for making marijuana edibles.

Topicals: Cannabis in the form designed to be placed externally on the body, including creams, lotions and balms.  They are meant for skin or body conditions and do not result in a “high.”


Vaporizing/Vaping: Heating cannabis concentrate producing a vapor that is inhaled.  Vaping does not have the smoke and smell that results from combusting (burning) cannabis products.  Small pen vaporizers (e-vapes) are currently popular.


Dabbing: Dropping marijuana concentrate on a hot surface and inhaling the resulting vapor.  This is usually done using a glass “rig” that filters the vapor through water.




Concentrate: Any marijuana product resulting from refining the cannabis flowers into a more potent form, including hash, dry sieve/kief, and hash oil products (i.e., oil, budder, wax, shatter).    

Hash/Hashish: Any collection of extracted trichomes of the cannabis plant that are pressed or purified using a solvent. 


Dry Sieve/Kief: Also called “dry sift” hash because the extraction process involves using screens and agitation to separate the trichomes from the plant.  It results in a concentrated product that is the primary ingredient in making hash/hashish.

Tincture: A liquid cannabis extract made with alcohol or glycerol which is typically taken with a dropper sublingually (under the tongue) that results in quick absorption.


Wax/Ear Wax: Opaque, crumbly variety of hash oil.


Shatter/Ice: Transparent hash oil that is hard and breaks into pieces. 


Dab: A small amount of concentrated marijuana.

Butane Hash Oil (BHO): The use of butane, a colorless and flammable gas such as butane lighter fluid, to extract the cannabinoids, terpenes and other oils from the cannabis plant into a thick, sticky oil.  This process results in concentrated extracts with THC levels typically over 60% and as high as 90% or more like budder, shatter, wax and hash oil.  Carbon dioxide under extreme pressure, as well as either ethyl or isopropyl alcohol, can also be used to produce cannabis extracts.

Budder: An opaque form of hash oil.  Soft at room temperature like butter.

Oil/Hash Oil: Any type of liquid cannabis concentrate made with a solvent.  Sometimes referred to as “honey oil.”





Dispensary: Source for the sale of medical and/or recreational marijuana products and related paraphernalia.   


Green Out: Resulting from an overdose of marijuana, similar to an alcohol blackout, which can include paranoia, falling asleep, losing a sense of time and place, and fear sometimes leading to emergency medical visits.

Spliff: Marijuana and tobacco rolled together and smoked in a joint or cone.

Cone: A European-style joint the shape of a cone.


Dank: Strong smelling and high quality marijuana, or anything good.

Kush: A certain popular strain of cannabis that has a unique aroma.

420: Can refer to April 20th, an unofficial marijuana holiday, as well as marijuana-friendly people and places.

710: Read upside down, it is spells “oil” and refers to dabbing cannabis. 

Rig/Oil Rig: Glass pipes used for smoking marijuana concentrates.


Stoner: Someone who loves getting high any time of day or night.  They can be part of a subculture that identifies with smoking marijuana, and may be forgetful or slow.

Budtender: A person who serves cannabis at a marijuana dispensary.  The term comes from the alcohol-related word “bartender.”

Sensimilla: An old term referring to top grade cannabis which has no seeds.  The opposite is schwag which is poor quality marijuana with lots of seeds and stems.

Skunk: Either a pungent smelling cannabis, or a specific common strain.

Pre-Roll: A pre-rolled marijuana cigarette or joint typically sold at dispensaries.

Marijuana joints are readied for sale in a medical marijuana center rolls in Denver April 2, 2012. With Colorado voters set in November to decide whether to defy the federal government and legalize marijuana for recreational use under state law, the enforcement division could play a key role in bringing a black market pot trade out of the shadows. REUTERS/Rick Wilking (UNITED STATES)


Get a reproducible version of this document with permission to copy it for distribution in your organization and locality with the purchase of the Marijuana Awareness Media Campaign.  

 ©All Rights Reserved, 2017, Prevention Plus Wellness, LLC

View an updated and expanded online Marijuana Awareness Training Workshop of this critical information and receive a certificate of course completion today!