Whether you have been around for years or are only just dipping your toe into the wonderful world of cannabis, it is impossible to ignore the fact that weed is being more openly discussed across the U.S. lately.
With states altering their laws on a regular basis to allow more freedom for those using cannabis both medicinally and even recreationally in some states, more people than ever are learning about our favorite flower.
It is no doubt exciting to see this growth in popularity and positive exposure, but with it has come more people than ever being lost and confused by difficult marijuana terms that are unfamiliar. So, to clear things up and help you on your way we have put together a list of the top five cannabis terms we feel everyone needs to know!
Go on any cannabis website, and you will be hard-pressed to read any page without stumbling across the terms indica or sativa; but what do they mean?
If you are on the hunt for cannabis for the first time, you may not be aware that knowing the difference between your indica and sativa strains will directly impact the experience you have with your cannabis, so let us help you out!
Indica and sativa are both different types of species of the marijuana plant, and within these two types of species are many strains, which we will come to later on!)
Indica and sativa species grow differently, present differently and most importantly will affect you differently, so whether you want to grow your own or you are shopping for the right bud for you – it is vital to know the differences.
- Indica plants are typically short dark and stout, growing outwards into bushy plants.
- Indica strains tend to be night time strains, offering a sedative impact that is often relaxing and great for a good night sleep.
- Sativa plants grow lean and tall and can be easily distinguished from an indica plant.
- Sativa strains are often considered to be daytime strains, great for socializing and often providing a cerebral high.
It is also possible to get hybrid strains of cannabis, which refer to plants that cross between different strains and have a good mix of both indica and sativa lineage.
Knowing one from the other will be imperative if you are on the market for cannabis to suit a particular need. You wouldn’t buy a sativa promising energy and focus if your issues are surrounding insomnia, just like you wouldn’t opt for a sleepy indica strain for a social party!
If you are relatively new to the industry, you may assume that cannabis, marijuana, and hemp are all the same. This is a common mistake people make, but it is one that can lead to illegal cannabis use depending on laws your state, so it certainly pays to know the difference!
Cannabis sativa L is the official name for the cannabis plant, but it is also referred to widely as marijuana – and in fact, there is no proven difference to distinguish the two names.
However, hemp and cannabis differ a great deal, and it is this one you have to make yourself familiar with! Hemp does come from the cannabis plant, but it possesses many different effects and also has many different uses, some of which can be seen below:
- Hemp has been used for hundreds of thousands of years for materials, food, and fuel.
- Grows tall, slim and can flourish comfortably in cramped conditions.
- Cannabis refers to the psychoactive properties of the Cannabis sativa L plant.
- Can be used recreationally or medicinally according to state laws.
- Also referred to as just cannabis.
- Needs a lot of space to grow, and doesn’t grow tall like hemp.
Probably the most commonly seen cannabis terminology is CBD and THC. Both these terms refer to two of the most well-known cannabinoids within the cannabis plant, but both differ significantly so again it is vital to know the difference if you are considering making cannabis a part of your life.
Known as cannabinoids (the definition of which we will get to shortly), CBD and THC refer to compounds within the marijuana plant that can alter in percentage depending on the strain, and can affect the user significantly; but what are they?
- Let’s start with THC – the psychoactive compound in cannabis responsible for the high that has made the plant both controversial and famous for years.
- THC stands for tetrahydrocannabinol.
- In a plant, you can usually spot the THC in the form of small trichomes that appear like tiny crystals.
- THC has medicinal benefits, but it is often most associated with an altered state of consciousness.
- CBD is more formally referred to as cannabidiol and is one of the non-psychoactive compound found within cannabis.
- CBD has recently become one of the most talked about compounds, even beating THC for the top spot due to its strong medicinal potential.
- CBD is often used for medicinal purposes and general healthy living, as it can be used at any time of the day due to a lack of high.
- Both children and the elderly can benefit from CBD
Products that are high in CBD and low in THC are often the most popular for individuals who have no interest in getting high but merely want to benefit from the relaxing and medicinal benefits of CBD.
Alternatively, if you are after a hard and fast buzz, then high-THC products should be the ones you opt for, but beware that too much THC could have some unpleasant side effects!
Briefly mentioned before, cannabinoids are compounds found throughout the cannabis plant. There are over 100 known cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, all of which can have different effects upon consumption, and thus there is still a long way to go regarding research.
Without a doubt, CBD and THC are the two most well known and well researched cannabinoids in the plant, but the network of cannabinoids in cannabis are all vital to driving the individual’s experience. Consider it this way; we know that THC will get you high and that CBD can soften the effects of THC and offers a range of medicinal benefits, so imagine with the other 98 cannabinoids can do for you!
We know that a number of the cannabinoids found within the marijuana plant offer anti-spasmodic, anti-inflammatory, and even pain-relieving properties, and thus they are the whole backbone to the success of the cannabis plant.
Last but not least are strains! We read about different strains across almost any cannabis website, but with crazy names like Agent Orange, Alaskan Thunder Fuck and Girl Scout Cookie, it can be pretty confusing and overwhelming to know where to even begin!
All strains derive from either indica, sativa or hybrid species, which we touched upon in number 1, but how do you know what you are getting when you choose a strain?
Essentially, a strain in this sense refers to a genetic subtype or variant of the cannabis plant. Knowing the strain will help you distinguish one particular type of cannabis from the next, as the term encompasses both its lineage as well as its properties, effects, and characteristics.
We recommend that when shopping for a cannabis strain for you, you do all the research you can into that particular strain to avoid any unexpected results!
Know Your Terms
Exploring the world of cannabis is both exciting and intimidating; there are hundreds of strains out there, dozens of terms, and plenty of misinformed resources that can lead those not in the know astray!
However, doing a bit of research from reputable sources will see you on the right path to exploring the industry for yourself, and will hopefully help you to avoid those common beginner errors we have all made!