New to Medical Marijuana? Here Are The Terms You Need To Know

New to Medical Marijuana? Here Are The Terms You Need To Know

Navigating the world of medical (and recreational) marijuana can be a daunting task for someone who is new to this world. As states are quickly beginning to legalize marijuana, it can be hard to keep up with what you need to know and you don’t want to walk into a dispensary without a bit of knowledge beforehand. We’ve compiled a list of the more frequently used terms to get you started.



When looking for a specific type of marijuana, it’s important to know what strains will work for you. Dispensary workers will be more than happy to help guide you in the right direction, but knowing the difference in your cannabinoids before you go will help. For instance, what is a cannabinoid?:

Cannabinoids – The chemical compounds found in marijuana that act upon the body’s cannabinoid receptors. There are over 85 known cannabinoids that all create their own effects including, pain relief, anxiety relief, and relaxation.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – It is the most well-known and most abundantly available cannabinoid in marijuana plants. THC is responsible for the “high” effect of marijuana. It has been shown that THC can be an effective medical treatment for a variety of conditions, and there is no lethal dose of the compound in its natural form.

Cannabidiol (CBD) – The second-most predominate cannabinoid, CBD is used to effectively treat pain, inflammation, and anxiety without the psychoactive effects that are generally found in THC. CBD continues to gain support from the medical community, and CBD-strong strains are appearing more frequently in dispensaries.


Types Of Marijuana

It would be impossible to list all the available varieties, but some of the more popular strains are:

Kush – One of the more popular lines of marijuana, Kush is generally described as having aromas of earthy, piney, citrus, and sweet. Kush hails from the Hindu Kush mountains in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Indica – This species coming from the Middle East and Asia include both kush and Afghan lineages. Indica produces a more relaxing effect and can have a sedative quality.

Ruderalis – A low-THC marijuana variety and is primarily grown for its CBD-rich genetics. This variety originates from Russia and can survive very harsh climates.

Sativa – The Cannabis Sativa species originated in the Middle East and Asia. When consumed, it produces a more cerebral effect instead of physical and sedative effects.

Hash/Hashish/Hash Oil – The powder that is removed from the plant’s trichomes – the resin production glands of the cannabis plant. Once it is removed, it is then pressed and ready to be used. It is similar to a concentrate and is used in a variety of items, including hash oil, or “honey oil.”


Terms You Might Hear In a Dispensary

When talking about different varieties of marijuana, your Budtender (dispensary worker) may start throwing out a lot of terms that you’re not sure about. First, always ask if you don’t understand. Budtenders are happy to help. Second, here are some of terms you might hear so you’re a little more comfortable for your first interaction:

Co-op – A community of patients or consumers who come together to share and receive marijuana. There are usually membership requirements. In some states In some states, co-ops exist alongside or in lieu of dispensaries.

Strain – A specific variety of a plant species.

Heirloom – A strain that has been propagated from its native area to another geographical location.

Cross – When two different plants are bred together to acquire the desired result.

Backcross (BX) – A hybrid plant that has been bred with one of its parent plants in order to create a crop that is closer to the original parent. This is often done to maintain rare strains, or strengthen strains with desired recessive genes.

Hydroponics – A system of gardening using only water and lighting. Hydroponic gardeners say they have more control over the stability and nutrition of the plants, and some say hydroponic plants have more distinct flavors.

Hybrid – A plant that has been genetically crossed between one or more separate strains of marijuana. Hybrids can happen naturally but are often bred to allow for a combination of desired results. Most marijuana is some form of a hybrid.

Pre-roll – A commonly used term that refers to marijuana before it has been rolled into a cigarette (bud, joint, etc.). Most dispensaries will have pre-rolls available.

Concentrates – As the name sounds, it is a consolidation of cannabinoids. They are made by dissolving marijuana plant into a solvent, which results in very high THC levels. Often referred to by many terms, often dependent on the manufacturing method and the consistency of the final product, you can find concentrates in the form of sticky oils (BHO), moldable putty (budder, or wax) or resinous bits (shatter).

Edibles – Edible items that have been infused with marijuana extracts. They can be found most commonly in cookies and brownies, but can also be found in flavored drinks, and candies. Some dispensaries many sell marijuana-infused butter or oil so consumers can make their own. Since edibles are absorbed through the digestive system, the active components require a longer time to take effect.


Like we’ve said, if you are unsure about what to ask for, or if you hear a term you’re not sure about, just ask! When we are educated about how medical marijuana works, we move closer to full legalization.


What are some of the terms you hear the most when you go to your local dispensary? Let us know!


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