Shop online, pick up in store or curbside

The Beginner’s Guide to Cannabis Terminology

January 21, 2024

Bud, Terpenes, pre-rolls, and dabs—what does it all mean?!

If cannabis terminology has you feeling lost, this beginner’s guide will clear the smoke.

We’ve listed the most common cannabis terms and their meanings in this brief guide.

Bookmark this list to refer to the next time you hear a term you’re not familiar with.

Keep in mind this is NOT an exhaustive list of all the possible cannabis terms. This brief guide is a beginner’s starting point in cannabis education.

Cannabis Terminology 101—Build Your Cannabis Vocabulary

Aspects of the Cannabis Plant 


Cannabinoids make up the chemical compounds in cannabis, such as CBD and THC.


THC, AKA delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, is the chemical compound in cannabis responsible for the psychoactive effect users experience.


CBD is a non-psychoactive compound that offers a variety of therapeutic effects.


CBD is the shorthand of Cannabinol. It is yet another cannabinoid in cannabis that could potentially serve as a sleep aid.


Terpenes are aromatic compounds in cannabis that give the plant particular tastes and smells.


Trichomes are tiny, crystal-looking structures found on cannabis flowers.


Flower is the standard form of cannabis. Dried flowers contain the highest concentrations of THC in the cannabis plant.

Cannabis Types


Cannabis farmers breed various cannabis strains together to create new strains. The genetic variants of the plant create these strains.


Cultivar is another name for a cannabis strain. It represents selective breeding and is done to develop specific characteristics of a cannabis strain such as its flavor, smell, or overall chemical profile.


Cannabis varieties of Sativa originate in warmer equatorial regions. They also typically have a longer flowering cycle than Indica.


Varieties of Indica cannabis come from mountainous regions, have thick leaves, and are shorter plants. Their flowering cycle is much more concise than Sativa’s. Indica cannabis is well-loved for its intensely relaxing effects.


Hybrid cannabis contains genetics from both Indica and Sativa plants. They provide a balance between uplifting and relaxing effects.


Hemp is essentially cannabis without THC. The law classifies hemp as cannabis with less than 0.3% THC. It is also high in CBD.

Consumption Methods


Edible cannabis is any food or beverage that contains a high concentration of cannabis extract.


Joints contain cannabis rolled in a paper for smoking.


Blunts contain cannabis rolled in a cigar wrap.


A bong is a water pipe leveraged for smoking cannabis flower.  


A pipe is a handheld smoking device used for cannabis flower.


A vaporizer is a device that heats cannabis without combustion.


Dabbing is used to inhale vaporized cannabis concentrates.


Concentrates are highly potent cannabis extracts.


Shatter is a specific type of cannabis concentrate.


Shorthand for hashish, hash is the concentrated, sticky resin glands of cannabis that have been collected and separated by hand via screens.


Kief is a grouping of the cannabis plant’s resin glands, aka trichomes. Kief falls off the plant when handled and ground, which is why grinders feature a kief screen.


Tinctures are liquid cannabis that may be consumed orally or mixed into drinks and food.


A cannabis topical is a cream or lotion infused with cannabis that can be applied directly to your skin.

Cannabis Oil

Cannabis oils are concentrated liquid cannabis extract. There are two primary cannabinoids in cannabis oil: THC and CBD.

Terminology for Smoking Cannabis


Joints are rolled cannabis in a smoking paper.


Blunts are cannabis rolled into a cigar wrap.


Bongs are a water vaporizer used to inhale cannabis smoke.


Another term for ‘joint’. Pre-rolls are cannabis cigarettes.


Also known as a one-hitter pipe, one-hitters are a smaller, more discreet smoking device for cannabis. They typically look like cigarette-sized containers.


A pinner is another term used in cannabis culture that refers to a small cannabis joint. It is so small it resembles a pin. It contains a lower amount of cannabis than other smoking devices.


Cannabis vapes are devices used for inhalation of cannabis vapor. In contrast with other smoking methods, vapes heat cannabis to a temperature where cannabinoids and terpenes may evaporate into vapor without combusting.


A cannabis pipe is a traditional device used for smoking cannabis. It is a simple method for inhaling cannabis smoke.

Cannabis Effects—Terminology 


Cottonmouth is a term used by cannabis users to describe the common side effect of cannabis called dry mouth. Users describe it as a dry, sticky sensation in your mouth that reduces saliva production.

Couch Lock

Couch lock is a term used to describe an intense physical sensation of relaxation, similar to being locked into a couch, unable to move quickly. Many people experience couch lock when they consume Indica-dominant strains.


A term used to describe an increased desire for food after consuming cannabis. Strains high in THC typically create a higher desire for munchies.

Types of Highs—Head High, Body High

Body High

A body high is typically a physical or sedative high that creates relaxing bodily sensations. An experience of relaxation, relief from physical tension, and a feeling of tranquility are the expected effects of a body high. Indica-dominant strains often cause body highs because of a higher level of cannabinoids like CBD.

Head High

A head high is also referred to as a cerebral high. This high primarily affects your mental and cognitive state. Sensations such as increased creativity, altered perception, and heightened sensory awareness all fall under a head high. Sativa-dominant strains are typically responsible for the head high many people experience.

Entourage Effect

The entourage effect encompasses the synergistic interaction of various compounds found in the cannabis plant. This effect primarily involves the cannabinoids and terpenes. This phenomenon suggests that the combined effect of these compounds is greater than the sum of their individual effects. The idea is that the entourage effect provides a more compelling experience than isolated compounds alone.  

Cannabis Dosing 

Dosage schedule

The cannabis dosage schedule varies widely, and it is typically based on individual tolerance, the method of consumption, the strain, and the desired effects. Keep in mind cannabis affects each person differently, so finding the proper dosage schedule for you requires some experimentation.


Microdosing is the practice of consuming small, sub-therapeutic doses of any substance, including cannabis. The goal is to achieve therapeutic effects while minimizing the intensity of side effects. Starting low and going slow is the best way to isolate the appropriate dosage.

Edible Dosage

An edible dosage refers to the amount of cannabis, notably THC and CBD. Edibles are food items or beverages that contain cannabis extracts. They are critical for achieving the desired effects while reducing the likelihood of adverse reactions.

Grams (g)

Cannabis grams are a unit of measurement that is used to quantify the weight or quantity of cannabis, with a single gram consisting of approximately one-thirtieth of an ounce.


Cannabis potency is measured by the concentration of cannabinoids, like THC, inside a cannabis product.

Effective Dosage

Effective dosage in cannabis is the amount required to achieve the desired therapeutic or psychoactive effects while reducing the likelihood of adverse reactions.

Threshold Dose

The threshold dose for cannabis is the minimum amount of cannabis required to produce a subtle psychological or physiological effect, which is typically the starting point for users to gauge their tolerance and desired experience.

Low Dose

A low dose of cannabis typically induces mild relaxation and subtle euphoria, providing a gentle starting point.

Standard Dose

A standard dose of cannabis varies among users, but it is typically a moderate dose that produces the desired effects without overwhelming psychoactive experiences.

High Dose

A high dose of cannabis entails consuming an amount that eventually leads to intense and potentially overwhelming psychoactive effects.

Peak Effect

Peak effect refers to the point of maximum intensity during the cannabis experience, denoted by the highest concentration of psychoactive effects.

Legal Status 


Recreational cannabis is the nonmedical and leisure use of cannabis products, such as for relaxation, enjoyment, and socializing, where it is legal.


Decriminalization refers to the reduction or removal of criminal penalties for the possession, use, or small-scale cultivation of cannabis, often shifting towards civil fines or other non-criminal sanctions.


Cannabis legalization is the process by which governments formally permit and regulate the cultivation, distribution, and sale of cannabis.


Cannabis scheduling refers to the classification of cannabis under a regulatory system that categorizes drugs based on their perceived risks and medical benefits.

Regulatory Terminology


Cannabis licensing requires the issuance of permits or approvals by regulatory authorities, allowing businesses and individuals to legally process, cultivate, distribute, or sell cannabis products within legal jurisdictions.


State-approved cannabis refers to products that have received official authorization from a state regulatory body, ensuring compliance with legal and quality standards for cultivation, distribution, and processing.

Testing Standards

Testing standards involve specific criteria and procedures that cannabis products must undergo to assess their safety, potency, and quality, ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements.

Safety Protocols

Cannabis safety protocols encompass rigorous measures and guidelines implemented throughout the cultivation, processing, and distribution phases to ensure the production of safe and uncontaminated cannabis products.


Short for Certificate Of Analysis, this document provides detailed information about the composition and safety of a cannabis product, including cannabinoid and terpene profiles and the absence of contaminants such as pesticides and heavy metals.

Stay Tuned to Improve Your Cannabis Education

This is just the start of the possible terms surrounding the cannabis industry.

The more familiar you become with the cannabis industry, the more these terms will become second nature to you.

Stay tuned to the Blue Oak blog to improve your cannabis education!

Shop online, pick up in store or curbside

Shop Now
Address Map
Address Map