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Cannabis Terms and Definitions

Marijuana. Cannabis. Kush. Dank.

There are a plethora of ways to refer to the famed plant and the aspects surrounding its existence and usage, as well as slang terms that beginners may often be confused by.

Dictionaries are a handy, accessible way to learn new terms and definitions, so we’ve assembled a mini-cannabis one to simplify the complex world of marijuana.

The Plant and Its Basic Forms

Cannabis- A plant belonging to the Cannabaceae family. Contains psychoactive properties when ingested, smoked, or vaporised. Illegal in many parts of the world but increasingly gaining legal and societal acceptance.

Capsules- Contain cannabis oil. THC pills produce a high feeling, whereas CBD pills do not; both offer the medical benefits of the cannabis plant.

Edibles- Cannabis-infused foods. Often high in THC or CBD. Cannabis butter or oil is used as a base ingredient for many edibles, turning a wide array of foods from standard to cannabis-infused. Brownies and gummy candies are popular options, but edibles can extend to meats and even drinks. Absorption through the liver during digestion crosses the blood-brain barrier more easily, thus making edibles quite potent.

Extracts- Also called concentrates or dabs. Formed by heating oil cannabis extracts with the specific purpose of inhaling high concentrations of particular molecules. More potent than the raw plant material.

Flower- The dry leaf buddings of the cannabis plant, typically broken down and smoked.

Hashish- Cannabis resin, usually pressed into a solid, cake-like form water-purified into a paste-like substance. Often smoked with whole cannabis, tobacco, or another herb.

Kief- Cannabis resin that accumulates in containers (like a grinder) or is sifted from dry cannabis via a mesh screen. Often smoked, vaporised, or made into hashish.

Marijuana- An alternative name for the cannabis plant, often used interchangeably with the plant as a whole, but sometimes used to refer to the parts of the plant high in THC.

Patches- Cannabis patches are applied to a veinous area of the body, allowing cannabinoids to enter the bloodstream for an effective and long-lasting method of consumption. Patches isolate different cannabinoids for the specific effects inherent in each, including CBD, THC, CBN, and THCA.

Topicals- Applied to an area of the skin. Focus on localized pain relief/reduction and anti-inflammation. Come in creams, gels, and ointments.

Tinctures- Also called liquid extracts. Created by soaking a substance in alcohol, thus releasing its active ingredient. For cannabis, THC is often the dominant ingredient in a tincture. Can be sprayed under the tongue, on food, or vaporised.

Strains and Compounds

Cannabinoids- Any of the chemical compounds that are the active constituents of the cannabis plant. CBD and THC are the most notable. Act on cannabinoid receptors in the brain and alter the release of neurotransmitters, thus creating mind-altering or body-sensation effects. At least 113 have been isolated from the cannabis plant.

CBD- Short for cannabidiol, a naturally occurring cannabinoid inherent in the cannabis plant. May offer relief from inflammation, pain, seizures, anxiety, and other disorders. Does not contain psychoactive properties.

Chronic- A hybrid strain of Indica and Sativa known for its potency.

Indica- One of the two major types of the cannabis plant. The Indica strain is known for its body-high effects, typically providing the user’s body with a sense of relaxation. Higher in CBD, lower in THC (less psychoactive)

Kush- A strain of Indica. High in CBD and provides muscle relaxation.

Sativa- One of the two major types of the cannabis plant. The Sativa strain is known for its head-high effects, typically producing higher levels of energy and creativity. Higher in THC, lower in CBD (more psychoactive)

Strain- Name for the different varieties of the cannabis plant, either hybrid or pure. Different strains bred to draw out and highlight certain aspects of the plant’s psychoactive properties, appearance, taste, smell, etc.

THC- Short for tetrahydrocannabinol, the main psychoactive cannabinoid inherent in the cannabis plant (produces the “high”). May bring about a sense of euphoria, stimulate appetite, and provide relief from pain, nausea, vomiting, and a variety of disorders.

Smoking Methods

Blunt- A cannabis cigarette rolled using tobacco paper. Usually does not contain a filter.

Bong- A device used to smoke cannabis, tobacco, or other herbs. Contains a bowl and stem apparatus (also called a slide) that guides air downward to the bottom of the device once the user inhales through the mouthpiece. The bottom of the device is filled with water, which filters out heavier particles and makes the smoke easier to inhale once the cannabis is lit. The bowl is removed from the bong during inhalation, once the bong has filled with smoke.

Bowl- The large opening at the end of a pipe where the cannabis is placed.

Bubbler- Similar to a bong, but smaller and without a removable bowl. A hole in the side (called a shottie) is covered while the bubbler fills with smoke, then released during inhalation.

Dab Rig- A type of water pipe used to smoke extracts. Rigs come with a nail which is heated using a torch. The extract is then placed pressed with the heated nail and inhaled through the rig’s mouthpiece.

Gravity Bong- A homemade bong that utilizes a plastic bottle, foil, water, and a bucket. Uses the force of gravity to draw smoke into the chamber, hence the name.  

Joint- A cannabis cigarette rolled using light, translucent paper. Typically contains a paper filter (called a crutch) which prevents the fingertips from getting burned.

Spliff- Rolled tobacco and cannabis hybrid. Typically rolled with joint paper and a crutch.

Vaporiser- A battery-powered device used to heat dried cannabis, cannabis wax, or cannabis oil to a temperature slightly below that of combustion. This produces a vapor, rather than smoke, that is easier to inhale and, according to a variety of modern studies, healthier than smoking cannabis.


Blunt Ride- Smoking a blunt by one’s self or with others while driving. Illegal and not advised, but still a term worth knowing.

Contact High- The misconception that inhaling the smoke from a cannabis smoker will get the bystander high. Most studies have concluded that to feel the contact high at all, a large amount of smoke would need to be blown directly into someone’s face.

Cotton Mouth- The experience of having a dry mouth after smoking cannabis, derived from the blocking of messages to the salivary glands when THC binds to receptors.

Dank- Used to praise high-quality cannabis, often in reference to its smell and potency.

Endo- Slang for indoor, in reference to cannabis grown indoors. In common usage, it has broadened out to mean cannabis more generally.

Fatty- A blunt or joint filled with a large amount of cannabis, giving it a fat appearance.

Gas- Slang for high-grade cannabis, typically with a strong odor and potency.

MOMs- Mail-order marijuana dispensaries, common in Canada, and if you’re using Terra, extremely convenient.

Munchies- Slang term used to describe a stimulated appetite after consuming cannabis.

Pack a Bowl- To fill a pipe with cannabis that is broken into small bits to properly fit in the bowl.

Puff, Puff, Pass- References smoking with two or more people, meaning each individual takes two hits of the cannabis and then passes to the next person.

Reggie- Short for regular, meaning regular cannabis. Used to refer to cannabis seen as low in quality.

Rolling pearls- To roll a blunt very well and tightly, with all of the cannabis evenly spread for a compact, uniform blunt.

Wake and Bake- Smoking cannabis immediately after waking up, most often in the morning. Because of fasting during sleep from the night before, the user will typically feel a stronger high. Since less sugar is being metabolized to fat during this time and less THC is dissolved in the fat, a higher concentration of THC may accumulate in the bloodstream.

Related Items

Blunt wraps- Flavored tobacco rolling papers that typically come sealed in packs of two.

Grinder- A cylindrical device with a top half and bottom half, each containing sharp pegs used to grind up dried cannabis when inserted inside. Grinders are used to break cannabis into smaller pieces, most often for the purposes of using in a joint or blunt.

Rolling papers- Translucent, thin papers used to roll cannabis into a cigarette form (joint).

As you can see, there are a lot of terms in the cannabis lexicon. The length of a complete list would likely rival a real dictionary, so we’ll stop here. But with these terms under your belt, you should be able to hold your own in a cannabis-discussion under clouds of smoke.

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