Blunt, Kief, Shatter, Kush.... If you're new to the cannabis culture, or returning after being gone for years, it's easy to get mixed up in all these ever-evolving terms. So let's do a quick rundown on what all these names mean, and what are more commonly used (including some medical terminology)
This will give you a basic run down on commonly used names and medical terminology, along with the terms used for consumption, growing,
The Many Names of Cannabis
There's certainly a lot more names, but this just gives you a taste of the long list of names cannabis has obtained over the years...
Why is there so many different names?
Find all these names a little confusing? Well, that's exactly what it was supposed to do. This stems from years of prohibition where you had to be careful with who to trust. Constantly changing lingo added a protective layer against undercover cops (or "narcs"), or even investigating parents. Any obvious misuse of the proper terms would raise some red flags, or que a change in lingo.
What Do We Call Cannabis Now?
Legalization is upon us, as of writing this 29 states have approved medical marijuana use, some of which allow recreational use. Meanwhile, other neighboring countries (like Canada) have fully embraced use for all it's citizens. As governments and people have learned to accept cannabis we have begun to standardize it's terminology. At this moment in time the most widely accepted term is simply: Cannabis. Followed closely by Medical Marijuana, Flower, and Weed.
Why The Word 'Marijuana' Has a Bad Reputation
The term "marihuana" was originally a Mexican slang term coined in the early 1900's, and was meant to emphasize the exotic nature of the plant. Later evolving into "marijuana", the term became strongly associated with Mexicans and the growing wave of racism towards immigrants after the Great Depression.
The influx of immigrants and the rise of suggestive jazz music was blamed on cannabis use and those who consumed it.
This lead to outrageous stories of "marihuana" leading to murder and mayhem (propelled by propaganda such as the infamous "Reefer Madness"). The term became deeply rooted in racism and ultimately lead to cannabis and hemp prohibition in 1937.
The Different Types of Cannabis
We can further break down the term Cannabis into distinct categories: Indica, Sativa, and Hybrid. Most regular consumers use these as sign posts to determine the expected high.
Cannabis Indica strains are said to be more relaxed, calming, pain relieving, and sometimes lead to "couch lock" and "munchies". These symptoms are commonly associated with your typical weed high, and often pair best with watching tv, playing video games, or used as sleep aid.
Cannabis Sativa strains are more exhilarating and uplifting, and said to have more effect on the mind than the body as it triggers creative thinking and focus. Sativa consumers often pair this with social gatherings, writing music, or going on a hike.
As you might expect, this combines traits from both Indica and Sativa, creating the best of both worlds. Hybrids can be further broken down into Indica-Dominant, Sativa Dominant, and Balanced (50/50) hybrids. Think of it as a scale, and and the effects can lean in one direction or the other (or balance), helping consumers pick their favorable traits.
We haven't talked about this one yet, but hemp is part of the cannabis family as well. More specifically, hemp - or industrial hemp - is a sativa variety with no psychoactive properties (marginal levels of THC %). And while they share similar physical attributes (to the point where political leaders and law enforcement are easily confused), that's where the similarities end. Hemp is a renewable resource, harvested for it's fiber to produce fabrics, ropes, and paper products.
We've covered Cannabis, and how it can be further classified into it's 3 categories, now we go even deeper into specific varieties called Strains. If you're unfamiliar, these strain names can range from strange (Alaskan Thunderfuck), to intimidating (Durban Poison, AK-47), to outright ridiculous (God's Green Crack). Thankfully the names don't always indicate the effects. But where did these names come from and how are they relevant?
Strain names are chosen by their growers, and are sometimes chosen due to the physical attributes of the plant (color, smell, taste), effects, location of the grow, or after historical figures. Other times the name is made up purely for marketing.
When strains are crossbred the name may be (but not always) a mash-up of the original two parent strains. For example Blue Widow is the result of a cross between Blueberry and White Widow.
There is no rules when it comes to naming, so it's best to judge strains based on their effects.
Each strain has unique characteristics giving consumers a massive variety to experiment with. Exploring strains based on your needs is part of the fun.
Cannabinoids are the chemicals secreted by cannabis flowers that (when consumed) give the plant it's psychoactive and recreational effects. Most famously are the cannabinoids THC and CBD.
The main psychoactive (and highly sought after) ingredient in Cannabis is THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol). This is the "high" effect that you feel when consuming, creating symptoms of euphoria and relaxation.
CBD - or Cannabidiol - is a medicinal ingredient with no psychoactive properties. While it doesn't have a high or stoned feeling - it's often relieving of pain, anxiety, depression, and some psychological disorders.
CBN, CBC, CBG, 2-AG, and More!
There are plenty more cannabinoids, all with unique characteristics that produce different effects. Should you know all these? Well, this guide is a general overview of everyday cannabis terms, but if you want to go deeper then LeafScience has you covered.
Imagine walking into a dispensary, you recognize all the dry herb in their nice glass containers, but what's all this other stuff? Shatter, Budder, Oil, Hash? There is an entirely new world of products that you didn't even know existed.
Concentrates are just that: Super concentrated cannabis to make the product extra potent. While your typical dry herb will have THC levels of up to 30% (which is quite high), a concentrated extract can have THC levels upwards of 80%! It can go without saying; concentrates are not for beginners. However, it can provide fast relief and be more cost efficient.
The different names of concentrates stem from their extraction process. The end product can be oil, wax, powder, powder pressed into a solid shape, honeycomb shape, or shards (called Shatter).
There is an entire world waiting for you with concentrates, we we could write an entire book on the topic, if you're ready to take the dive we recommend this guide.
The tried and true method of smoking cannabis, this is the classic form of consumption most people are familiar with. It's simply a rolled cigarette (using rolling papers) that contains cannabis, often with a handmade filter on the smoking end.
Similar to joints, but with one key difference. Rolling papers are replaced with cigar paper produced from tobacco. This can add a more stimulating effect, as it contains nicotine, however it does include medical risks.
Bong / Water Pipe
Another classic consumption method, the bong is a glass or plastic pipe with a water filtration device used for smoking cannabis. Water within the device is used to cool smoke as it passes through, making the inhale less harsh on your lungs. Bongs come in a massive variety, sometimes appearing like complex contraptions, but the process is usually pretty straight forward.
Pipes are small and convenient, and come in a assortment of artistic variety. They're a very popular method of consumption due to their simplicity: simply load the open end (the bowl) with dry cannabis, burn the one end
This is where modern technology begins to show its presence. Vaping is a smokeless form of inhalation, and arguably one of the healthiest forms of consumption. A chamber filled with dry herb is heated to the desired temperature (without combustion), and vapor is inhaled from a mouthpiece.
Cannabis in edible form, coming in just about any variety you could imagine. Most popular are edible baked or sugary treats such as cookies or brownies. You can also find them in mints, juices, sodas, margaritas, condiments, granola bars, ice cream, pancakes, pizza, and cakes (just to name a few).
Cannabis consumed in oil forms, using an eye dropper to apply directly under the tongue. The result is faster absorption into the blood stream providing fast relief.
Cannabis infused balms, salves, or lotions are applied directly to the skin and absorbed, however there are no psychoactive effects. Instead. the applied area will feel relief from pain, inflammation, arthritis, or skin conditions.
Remember those concentrates we were talking about earlier? This is the primary way of consumption (and is relatively new to the market). A steel surface called the "nail" is heated with a torch, a small amount of concentrate is "dabbed" onto the nail and inhaled through a mouthpiece. This setup is usually called a Dab Rig, and has a couple of unique tools.