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A Guide to Common Medical Marijuana Terms

April 16, 2020 • • General

If you’re new to medical marijuana, you may encounter some unfamiliar terms and phrases. Here are a few of the most common ones you should know.

  Entering the world of medical marijuana treatment can be intimidating for new patients. More states are legalizing medical and recreational marijuana use, but each state has its own set of requirements, processes, and restrictions, which can be confusing if you don’t know where to start. 

Medical marijuana also comes with its own set of terminology that new patients may not be familiar with. So, to help you prepare for your first visit to a dispensary — or simply begin your research into the benefits of cannabis — here’s a guide to some of the most common medical marijuana terms.

THC? CBD? What’s the Difference?

Two terms that you’re guaranteed to encounter are THC and CBD. These are both cannabinoids — naturally occurring chemical compounds in marijuana that interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system — but each creates a very different physiological effect.

THC, short for tetrahydrocannabinol, is the most common and well-known cannabinoid and is responsible for the psychoactive high that’s associated with marijuana use. Studies on THC have shown that it can provide benefits like pain and anxiety relief, can stimulate appetite, and can even be used to treat

CBD, on the other hand, is short for cannabidiol, which creates more of a relaxing effect without the psychoactive elements of THC. CBD has been shown to be effective in the treatment of pain,
seizures, inflammation, irritable bowel syndrome, and other conditions.

Much like how different types of tomato plants produce different kinds of fruit, there are also different varieties of marijuana, each of which will have different ratios of THC and CBD. It would be impossible to name them all here, but there are two major categories of marijuana that would be helpful to know: sativa and indica.

Sativa marijuana plants are known for producing a stimulating cerebral effect that gives patients a boost to their focus and creativity, while also increasing serotonin levels. These effects make sativa plants a good choice for day-time use. Indica plants produce more of a deeply relaxing physical effect that increases dopamine levels, which makes them better suited for evening or night-time use.

Terms You Might Hear at a Dispensary

While knowing the difference between THC, CBD, sativa, and indica is a good start, you’ll probably hear a variety of other terms and phrases in a dispensary. We’ll touch on some of the more common terminology, but people who work in dispensaries — sometimes called “budtenders” — are there to help, so when in doubt, don’t be afraid to ask!

Flower: the hairy or sticky parts of the marijuana plant that are harvested for human use.

    Strain: a specific variety of marijuana plant, such as Sour Diesel or Blue Dream.

    Hybrid: a variety of plant that — either naturally or intentionally — is a genetic cross of different plant strains. Most marijuana products are some form of hybrid.

    food items like cookies, brownies, gummy candies, or flavored drinks that have been infused with marijuana extracts. Because they need to be digested, edibles take longer for the marijuana to enter your system, but they allow for greater control over dosage size.

    potent consolidations of cannabinoids that are created by dissolving marijuana plants into a solvent, creating a sticky oil, wax, or resin that’s extremely high in THC.

  • Tinctures: cannabis in liquid form, usually made with alcohol or glycerin. Using an eyedropper, patients can place the tincture under their tongue for rapid absorption into the body. This also allows for greater control over dosage size. 
  • Topicals:
    cannabis-infused products that can be applied to the skin — such as lotions or oils — for pain relief.

    If you’re ready to start the process of purchasing medical marijuana for the
    first time — or if you have additional questions — contact us today. Our approachable team of specialists and trained experts makes it easy to find the right medical marijuana treatment for you and your lifestyle.