Welcome to our weed glossary and dictionary of terms and phrases commonly used on this website or associated with the world of cannabis and marijuana though if truth be told Cannabis is our favourite term for weed.
Over the past few years since massive changes in US legalization of pot there has been a massive evolution going on both in the science of the drug and also the production and as a result, the cannabis enthusiasts vocabulary has expanded. We will try and help anyone looking to get up to speed with their bud lingo and welcome contributions from our readers.
4:20 / Four-Twenty – a code phrase which refers to consuming cannabis, most notably at 4:20pm and now a term used widely and a counterculture national holiday on the 20th of April each year for stoners mostly in the US but increasingly in other countries too. Learn more about 4:20 culture & History.
Aeroponics – A cultivation process involving suspending the roots in air instead of soil or a medium. Nutrients are then sprayed into the root area as a fine mist.
Aromas – Used to describe the smells, tastes, and flavors of the different plants and their fruit. These aromas are created by terpenes in the plant many of which are shared with a variety of other common plants and fruits. Citrus smells are terpenes found in hybrid strains of cannabis and the same chemicals are also found in citrus fruit peels. Other aromas can be described as earthy, old school and so on.
Auto-Flowering / Auto-Flower – Refers to certain strains of Cannabis plants and seeds which contain some Ruderalis and as a result, these plants will auto flower after a certain length of vegetation time rather than when the photoperiod switches.
Axil – Part of the Cannabis Anatomy the axil is the joint between the leaf stalk and the stem it is growing out from.
Backcross / BX – A backcross is a hybrid Cannabis plant that has been purposely bred with one of its parents or a very similar plant genetically in the aim of creating new offspring (seeds) that more closely resemble the characteristics of the original parent.
BHO / Butane Hash Oil – BHO is a type of oil extracted using butane and is a very potent concentrate. The final product contains extremely high levels of THC and is thick and sticky with a glossy appearance often described as honey, honey oil or sap. This oil is commonly used as “dabs” / for the process of “dabbing”. Shatter can also be produced this way after being filtered and then dried out on greaseproof paper until solid and hard like boiled candy. “licks lips”.
Blunt – Refers to either a hollowed cigar which is then filled with Cannabis or a joint rolled using a blunt wrap which is cigar leaves often dipped in a variety of flavours.
Bong – Shameful inclusion, if you use this to describe Cannabis you are either old or not cool or heaven forbid both!
Bubble Hash – A specific type of hash created by filtering the plant matter through several bags with different size micron filters at the bottom. The bags are filtered in icey freezing cold water inside a bucket and the bags are shaken. The water agitates the THC on the cannabis leaves and buds pulling them away from the plant allowing the to then collect in the varying sized filters and different grades of hash are achieved depending on the size of the filters being used in the process.
Bud – Bud is another term of Cannabis or weed for many people but the bud or buds refers to the Cannabis flowers because their cotton bud shaped almost bulbous in design. These contain the magic, the THC/CBD in its highest concentration.
Cannabinoids – Cannabinoids are chemical compounds in the Cannabis plant that react with the human’s cannabinoid receptors, this can assist with pain relief and a long list of other medical ailments including cancer and more. THC is a type of cannabinoid and in total over 80 cannabinoids are known but more may be yet to be discovered.
Cannabis – Let’s get this clear, Cannabis is the scientific name for the plant genus responsible for all of this. Cannabis has three subspecies of flowering plants i) Cannabis Sativa, ii) Cannabis Indica and iii) Cannabis Ruderalis. Sativa and Indica which most people are familiar with produce recreational and medicinal marijuana. Ruderalis, however, is seldom farmed as it has a much lower THC content and small size. Some breeders are crossing with Ruderalis and finding it’s unique ability to auto flower rather than rely on a photoperiod like most Cannabis does give it a use in producing auto-flowering strains and hybrids with mixed effects and characteristics. While the plant is originally native to Asia it grows globally and has been used for practical textiles and as a drug for thousands of years at least.
CBD / Cannabidiol – CHD is another one of the 80+ cannabinoids found in the Cannabis plant and is second most concentrated in the plant after THC our psychoactive friend. CBD has been a massive breakthrough in helping Cannabis legalization and is the compound with the most medicinal properties capable of treating a variety of ailments from inflammation to pain, anxiety, nausea and even working to fight certain cancers. Certain strains are being bred and grown these days which are much higher in CBD content specifically for the medical market and for helping young people who may be adverse to the psychoactive side effects of many strains.
See our guide on the Best CBD Oil UK.
Concentrates – A concentrated form of cannabis involving the consolidation of cannabinoids removing any plant matter by dissolving the plant in a solvent such as butane. The end product is extremely high in THC far higher than the buds or even strong hash and can be formed into thick oils or wax type resins and even the more solid shatter depending on the after-process, type of solvent and purity.
Cross – typically refers to a hybrid strain, crossing is the process of cross-pollination different strains to hopefully end up with the dominant positive characteristics of each Cannabis plant.
Curing – An essential step of cultivation curing involves drying out the cropped buds gradually after harvest and the initial drying period. This can be done in glass or even special large plastic jars in commercial sized grows to burp out the moisture but not too fast that the bud doesn’t get a chance to properly develop its sweet flavors and aromas. The slower the cure the sweeter the buds!
Dabs / Dabbing – A modern evolution in the world of Cannabis consumption is dabbing whereby you take the clear dabs materials such as oils, waxes or shatter and heat it on a hot plate or use a burner and then inhale it through a glass bong for example. This form of consumption is high intake and fast, for more experienced users with bodies accustomed to a large amount of THC.
Dispensary – In the USA the general term to refer to a location where Medical Marijuana users can legally purchase their pot. These are Medical Dispensaries. Hence the name, this name isn’t used in many other places where the Cannabis laws are not born from a move toward accepting medical marijuana.
Edibles – Edibles is a term generally used to describe products for edible consumption that contain THC. These products are infused with cannabis extracts and have created a whole new industry in the USA. Examples of products available containing extracts vary from cookies and brownies which we are familiar with already to more unique products such as coffees, fruit drinks, bread, candies and much more. You can often even buy the butter and then use it to cook into any meals you wish to. As Cannabis laws are relaxed in more states and hopefully more countries expect these to be a massive new money-making business.
Eighth – Short for an 8th of an ounce in Cannabis vernacular. Also called an 8 ball or a Henry after “Henry the Eighth”. An eighth is 3.5 grams.
Extracts – Cannabis extracts are exactly that a product that is created by extracting all of the THC/CBD from the plant matter of the Cannabis flowers/buds. This can be extracted in a variety of ways producing different extract products each with their own qualities and characteristics such as shatter, wax and oils.
Feminized (US English) Feminised (English) – Refers to seeds or plants that came from seeds which have been bred selectively to only produce females. This is done because the female Cannabis plant produces the flowers and so contains the most THC meaning only the female plants are harvested and used for THC containing products and Marijuana. Males are only good for crossing / breeding.
Flowering / Flowering Time – Also referred to as the flowering stage this is the stage where the plant goes into flowering and the time that it takes. Flowering time is affected by the length of daily light the plant gets unless of course it is an auto-flower strain (ruderalis). Flowering times are usually just estimated based on the plant’s performance in ideal conditions the actual time may vary and can take some time to learn. All strains are different and all setups and locations are different so to match what is often recommended may take some time. Typically this is 8-9 weeks.
Flowers – The flowers on Cannabis are the hairy and sticky, crystal covered buds that we see harvested and used for smoking. Unlike most plants the reproductive organs of the female Cannabis plant lack the traditional or commonly expected petals and pollen but instead have their own uniquely evolved flower/fruit. When fertilized by a male plant or artificially the buds produce seeds within little sacks or if left as females they produce the resins that are highly concentrated with cannabinoids.
Ganja – A word often associated as a slang term used for Cannabis by Carribeans or Rastafarians it is actual Sanskrit the original Indic (Indian) language to describe the plant it was introduced to Jamaica by Indian laborers.
Hashish / Hash – Hashish is another product taken from the Cannabis plant and is used both recreationally and as medication. Hashish has been popular for a very long time especially as it lasts longer and is more concentrated than plant matter. The process of retrieving hash involves removing the Cannabis plants trichomes by sieving or filtering. Once the cannabinoid powder/dust has been all gathered up it is then pressed into blocks. There are many types of hash which vary in appearance, consistency, taste, smell and psychoactive effects depending on the process and strains used.
Hash Oil / Honey Oil – Refers to the runnier form of the hash-like product created using butane (BHO) or other solvents to produce a runny syrup-like product. High in THC, however, has to be produced ethically and professionally to ensure all of the solvent used in the process has evaporated.
Hemp – The fibrous byproduct of the male cannabis plant which can be used in the manufacturing of thousands of different products from different papers, string/rope, beauty/skincare products and many more. While Hemp is one of the most renewable ways to produce many products it has always had a bad reputation and legal status due to the female plant’s ability to produce a psychoactive compound. Only recently is it making a revival after years of wrongful persecution and lobbying from the timber and paper companies to keep hemp down.
Homegrown – Refers to cannabis that has been homegrown! Can be used in different contexts, sometimes literally as in, “This is my homegrown” but also to describe the type of Cannabis “This tastes like homegrown” or looks like homegrown if the Cannabis doesn’t look professionally grown, dried and or cured by someone with experience and good strains.
Hybrid – See (Cross) this refers to a plant which is a cross between more than one strain and may be intentional or accidental. People often use the term hybrid to explain the balance between Sativa and Indica in a particular strain of Cannabis. Whether people want to admit it or not the majority of Cannabis today is hybrid. It is a long time since the original strains have been popularly grown in their simplest forms before experimentation began to create the ultimate smoke.
Hydroponics / Hydro – A horticultural technique involving no soil as the medium for the plant. Plants are grown in water instead and while may have a membrane or some medium initially they then sit with their roots submerged in water and their food is delivered via nutrients added to the system and air bubbling up from an air stone. This process gives the grower more control over nutrient absorption and can allow for a cleaner less earthy flavor.
Indica – Cannabis Indica as it is scientifically known is one of the three main branches of Cannabis. Originating from Asia and the Middle East the plants produce a different effect to their Sativa siblings. The plants produce a more relaxed high and grow shorter yet bushier and have more concentrated buds.
Joint – Joints refer to hand-rolled Cannabis cigarettes. There are however regional variations on this. In some places, a joint contains only cannabis, in other places a mixture of cannabis and tobacco. In some places a joint is larger and more cone shaped than its sibling the spliff. However, in other places, a spiff means tobacco is mixed in and a joint means it is pure weed. It is not common in European countries for joints to be smoked with pure Cannabis though. Joints also often contain a roach usually a made from rolled up card. Often abbreviated to Jay or even just J. Example: “Fancy a J?”>
Kief – A collection of trichomes from cannabis that accumulates in containers or is collected in the bottom collector tray of a high-quality grinder. These crystals are small and concentrated in THC / Cannabinoids. This can be pressed into hash or sprinkled into a joint. Or even roll your buds in it to make those crazy dusty space balls you see on the gram. Kief can also be collected en-masse during the harvesting/cropping process to collect large amounts for hash production.
Kush – A Cannabis lineage that began in the Hindu Kush Mountains along the Afghanistan and Pakistans border. Originally mostly if to completely indica strain though many varieties and crosses have been made since which of course contain varying Sativa qualities. Kush is known for having a unique aroma and remains highly popular among ‘canna’sseurs and cultivators.
Landrace – Refers to local varieties of cannabis that have adapted to their own unique ecosystems and conditions around the world. This creates a genetic difference between the strains that may have evolved over thousands of years something you simply cannot achieve in a few years in an artificial farm. These are highly saught after and have been popularized by the Strain Hunters episodes where they travel the world looking to collect these unique species to take back for use in cross-pollination / crossing to produce new strains of Cannabis for the market. Usually, these strains when discovered are named according to region and one of their unique characteristics if there is one. Names are also often preserved in some way after being crossed into new strains as a form of respect to the parent strain.
Marijuana – The term Marijuana or “Marihuana” is one of several names for the Cannabis plant and often the drug that is harvested. Some have specified the term to the female plant specifically as a result and others refer to it as only the THC containing portion of the plant (the flowers/buds) The term gained popularity in the English language due to campaigns against the plant in the 1930s by Harry J Anslinger and has very debatable etymology varying from Spanish to Chinese translations.
Micro Grow – A small grow of 1-3 plants grown in a very small space or a small grow tent or cabinet. Auto-flowering plants are often used for micro grows as these take up little space due to only growing to small sizes and having a shorter growth and flower cycle period.
Nutes / Nutrients – Refers to the organic or chemical/artificial nutrients used in the horticulture and cultivation of Cannabis plants and grows of all sizes.
Phenotype – Used to describe the physical characteristics of the plant during cultivation, aspects such as height, colour, leaf distribution and shape can make up the phenotype and help judge the overall plant health.
Photoperiod – Refers to the period of time each day a plant requires light. The length of the daytime for the plant. Can also be used to describe Regular Seeds which flower based on the photoperiod as opposed to auto-flowering.
Pistil – The small hair like sprouts on the flowers of the female plant. These hair-like features vary in color and shade from white, red and darker oranges and browns. The pistil collects the male pollen during fertilization and however when left which is most cases as fertilization would produce seeds the hairs can be used as way of telling if the plant is ripe enough for harvest.
Pot – Another slang term used to describe Cannabis. The term’s etymology is quite interesting. The phrase came into use in the USA in the 1930’s and is the shortening of the Spanish word “potiguaya” or “potaguaya” that derived from “poacion de guaya” which was a wine or brandy where cannabis buds have been steeped and translates literally to “The drink of Grief”.
Reefer – Reefer is a term often used to refer to a cigarette containing cannabis, a spliff or joint. The term Reefer was reportedly used in the Chicago Defender in the 1930s and then again of course in the propaganda piece “Reefer Madness” though is a term that is often used by those out of touch akin to other phrased your parents used like “The Wacky-Backy” etc.
Roach – Mostly used in the United Kingdom, this refers to the cardboard mouthpiece in the end of a joint or spliff. Often made from rolled up card from the smoking papers pack or specially designed roach tips. These days you can also buy wooden, bamboo, plastic or metal mouthpieces instead of a cardboard roach. A common complaint of using poorly wripped card from the packet as a roach is a symptom known as “Roach lip” where the jagged hairy edges of the card collect tar during smoking and transport it onto your lip, this then tastes foul when the smoker inevitably licks their lips.
Ruderalis – Also known as Auto-Flowering this variety of the Cannabis Genus is selected by breeders for its rich GBC genetic value and due to its ability to autoflower. This variety originated from Russia and as with anything that originates from that part of the world it can resist and withstand extremely harsh climates and conditions. Remember there is a reason why we call it weed!
Sativa – Cannabis Sativa is a special of the Cannabis plant. This variety of strains originated outside of Asia and the Middle East for the most part so counter to it’s Indica Sibling. Varieties trace their roots back to a variety of places such as Africa, South America and the Caribbean and may date back to ancient times where the lands were connected. Sativa plants tend to grow taller and have a lighter green appearance, they also take longer to complete their flowering period. Sativa effects are described as more cerebral and mind altering / opening than the physical and pain killing / sedative effects of Indica varieties.
Shatter – Also referred to as “Ice” Shatter commonly refers to a specific type of Cannabis concentrate. It has a glossy honey like appearance with transparancy and when warm has a honey like viscosity and when cooled goes hard like handy, hence the phrase “shatter”. Usuall,y it is dried and cooled on grease proof paper and wrapped to be sold in dispensaries.
Spliff – Spliff is a West Indian word of Jamaican English original that has spread to several western countries. The term is most popularly used in the United Kingdom.
Stoned / Stoner – Stoned is used to describe the effect of Cannabis after consumption. A Stoner is often used to describe someone who enjoys getting stoned, it has been often used derogatorily and so efforts in the community are often being made to rebuttal these “stoner stereotypes”.
Strain – A strain refers to a specific variety of any plant species of course on this website it refers more specifically to strains of the Cannabis genus and one of the three main varieties Indica, Sativa & Ruderalis though more commonly the former two due to popularity. Strains are both “hunted” or discovered in the wild naturally evolving in remote regions of the planet (since most in plain sight are already discovere) or devered by cross-breeding different strains to hopefully get a mix which takes the strongest genes from each ditching the weaker ones. This evolution can be done much faster with human intervention and technology / genetics. Strain names often refer to their lineage/region and also their appearance / flavour or aroma (terpenes).
Terpenes – Terpenes refer to a large and diverse class of organic compounds found in the essential oils of plants especially conifers and citrus trees. They are based on a cyclic molecule and have the formula C10h16. These same terpenes are also responsible for the smells and aromas in Cannabis plants and their buds and the wide variety of scents. This has opened a new door to the science of cross pollination with Cannabis plants to achieve differing flavours. Next time you taste some Cannabis and think wow that is really lemony remember that is because you are smelling the same chemical compound found in various citrus plants. Terpenes are aromatic hydrocarbons and as a resul,t may have protective functions. Want to find out more? Check The Terpene Wheel.
THC / Tetrahydrocannabinol – THC is the psycho-active cannabinoid that is available in adbuncane in the female Cannabis plant. Aslo known as delta-9-tetracannabinol it was first discovered in 1964 and is thought to potentially be a drug like defense against pests or prey but there are other possibilities including to help the plant pollinate by enticing insects back. THC also has many medicinal properties and has been known to help relieve pain, help people suffering with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), nausea, helping with appetite, glaucoma and as a sleep aid. THC is also the reason people smoke weed for recreational use and pleasure.
Tincture – A liquid cannabis extract usually made in combination with alcohol or glycerol and comes with a dropper for small controlled doses and administration of the formula. These liquids can be flavoured and a drop placed in the mouth beneath the tongue or mixed into a drink after dropping a drop or two in and stirring. The effects of tinctures are described as fast acting as the drug is quickly absorbed. Taking it neat of course means a much faster effect than diluting into a drink. Tinctures were very common in the past for medical use and while they had all but vanished are now making a big of a come back and growing in popularity again due to the new Weed age taking place in North America.
Trichomes – The hairs that contain the resin producing glands of the female Cannabis plant. The etymology of the word means “Growth of Hair” in Greek and the trichomes are not in fact hairs but gland producers and the oily balls of cannabinoids are not crystals either these curly hairs are responsible for producing all of the goodness. Trichomes with resin glands begin their life clear then turn a milky colouration and eventually to an amber / light brown and monitoring them is one of the best ways to judge the best time to harvest.
Vaporizer (US English) Vapouriser (English) – An device used to consume cannabis. Some vapes can vapourise plant matter / dry materials and others specifically work with oils/extracts/waxes by heating to the desired temperature but not hot enough to combust and produce the harmful toxic carbons and byproducts of combustion. When the plant matter or extracts reach the right temperature all of the essential oils and THC turn to vapour and can be inhaled through a mouth piece on small mobile devices or the top of a glass bong on more advanced dabbing bongs with hot plates. Volcano Vaporizers are also a popular choice but not something you can take out and about to use every day.
Wacky Backy – Shameful inclusion, if you use this to describe Cannabis you are either old or not cool or heaven forbid both!
Waterfall – A gravity bong with a drainage plug at the bottom of the container to allow the water to drain and fill the cavity with smoke or vapour!
Wax – Cannabis Wax is another form of concentrate however refers more specifically to the softer opaque oil like extracts with a low transparency due to factors effecting the irregular molecular densities. Depending on heat, moisture and the oils used to begin with can effect the consistency of the wax. The gooeir varieties being referred to as “budder” and the firmer varieties such as “crumble” and “honeycomb”.
Weed – Weed is a slang term commonly used to refer to Cannabis. It is used because Cannabis is essentially a weed and has the same characteristics as most garden weeds, it is hardy and grows fast in a variety of conditions of course that doesn’t mean it will bare good fruit unless conditions are at least satisfactory.