In an effort to educate our users about the variety of terms heard within the cannabis industry we've created a glossary organized by category with potential accompanying articles by Leafly, or other cannabis industry resources.
Growing & Plant Morphology
Agitation - The process used to harvest trichomes from cannabis flowers by breaking them off through physical contact. (See also trichomes)
Aroma - Term generally used to describe the smell and/or taste of a certain cannabis plant. (See also terpenes)
Autoflowering - Cannabis varieties that automatically switch from a vegetative state to the flowering stage with age as opposed to amount of light exposure that is required for other varieties. Result of selectively breeding genetics from Cannabis ruderalis into a strain. (See also Cannabis ruderalis)
Backcross (BX) - A type of breeding that involves using one of the original parents for the strain which allows for transfer of desired parent traits to the offspring. Often done to preserve rare genetics or to strengthen desired recessive traits.
Plant & Soil Sciences eLibraryPRO: Summary - The Backcross Breeding Process
Bract - The green tear-shaped “leaves”, often heavily covered in resin glands that encapsulate the female reproductive parts otherwise known as calyx.
Bud - The harvested portion of the female cannabis plant that contains the highest concentrations of active cannabinoids commonly used for both medical and recreational purposes.
Calyx - A translucent layer over the ovule at the flower’s base that is enclosed by bracts and non-visible to the naked eye.
Cannabidiol (CBD) - A non-intoxicating component potentially beneficial to a variety of conditions including anxiety, pain, and inflammation. Famously known for treating rare forms of childhood epilepsy.
Cannabinoids - The chemical compounds unique to cannabis that offer a variety of benefits.
Leafly FAQ: What are cannabinoids?
Cannabis - The plant genus that produces three species of flowering plants: Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis.
Clone - A clipping from a cannabis plant that can then be rooted and grown, effectively creating a genetic copy of the mother. Popular within the US where seeds are difficult to acquire.
Leafly: How to Clone Cannabis Plants
Cola - A botanical term used to describe a cluster of cannabis buds that grow tightly together in various sizes.
Cross - The result of crossbreeding, which occurs when two different cannabis plant strains are bred together. The new crossbreed has potential to have traits from either or both parent strains.
Curing - An integral process during harvest of a plant that improves the longevity, taste and potency of cannabis, poorly cured cannabis may result in unpleasant smells and/or a harsher taste than properly cured cannabis.
Eighth - The typical term used to describe a measurement of 3.5 grams of cannabis flower.
Feminized - Seeds specifically bred to be female in order to avoid the need to check the sex of a plant and prevent unwanted fertilization.
Flowering Time - Refers to the time it takes for a plant to produce flowers. Flowering times vary for each strain and grower but can be manipulated within artificial growth ecosystems to ensure flowering at a specific time.
Germination - The first stage of life for all cannabis plant which is the result of a seed being forced out of its dormant state into a normal life cycle and triggering a seed to crack and produce a seedling.
Leafly: How to Germinate Cannabis Seeds
Half - The typical term used to describe a measurement of 14 grams of cannabis flower.
Haze - An extremely popular sativa strain from the 60’s with various tropical genetics that is known to be the parent of innumerable strains like Ghost Train Haze, Purple Haze and Super Lemon Haze. The strain is typically characterized by its energizing and stimulating effects as well as it’s citrus aroma. Among some of the tallest plants in terms of growth they can take longer to harvest than other varieties.
Heirloom - A cannabis strain that has been taken from its native homeland that retains its original genetics because it has not been crossbred with any other. (See also landrace)
Hemp - A fibrous product produced by the male Cannabis sativa plant that can be used to manufacture beauty products, construction materials and a vast array of other products.
Hybrid - One of the three classifications of cannabis that refers to a genetic cross between one or more separate strains of cannabis. Can occur spontaneously but more often they are specifically bred to combine desired traits from the parents.
Hydroponics - A system of growing that does not use soil and instead relies on water and nutrients. Popular method due to the added advantages of control of grow process typically resulting in a higher quality final product.
Leafly: What Is Hydroponics?
Indica - One of the three classifications of cannabis that has shifted from its original botanical definition to describe stout, broad-leaf plants commonly associated with sedative effects.
Kush - An extremely popular landrace variety of cannabis that originates from the Hindu Kush mountains where it grows wild. Hundreds of strains can claim ancestry but some of the most well known are OG Kush, Bubba Kush and Master Kush. The strain is typically characterized by its relaxing and sedating effects as well as its earthy aroma. In terms of cultivation these varieties are known to to be hearty in nature and produce ample yields.
Leafly: What Is ‘Kush’ Cannabis?
Landrace - A landrace strain is a strain of cannabis that has been cultivated within its natural environment and that has never been crossbred with any other strain. They typically take their names from the regions that they grow in.
Lipids - A class of small hydrophobic molecules including lipids and fats that occur naturally in the cannabis plant.
Ounce - The typical term used to describe a measurement of 28 grams (technically 28.35 grams) of cannabis flower.
Parts-per-million (PPM) - See Science & Technology
Phenotype - A term in growing that is used to identify a plant’s general physical characteristics such as color, height, and branch configuration as well as the strain effectiveness and taste.
Phytocannabinoid - The naturally occurring cannabinoids within the cannabis plant
Pistil - Part of a female plant anatomy. For cannabis specifically it’s identified as the tiny hair-like extensions found on flower which range from white to dark orange-brown in color. When left unfertilized these will change and be indicative of ripeness.
Ruderalis - A low-THC genus of cannabis that is primarily used for it’s CBD rich genetics. Known for its hardy nature and ability to survive harsh climates this “autoflowering” variety originates from Russia. (See also autoflowering)
Leafly: What Is Cannabis Ruderalis?
Sativa - One of the three classifications of cannabis that has shifted from its original botanical definition to describe stout, broad-leaf plants commonly associated with sedative effects.
Sensimilla - Refers to a female cannabis plant that contains no seeds as a result of only being allowed to produce flowers and then being left unfertilized. Highly desired for their higher THC content, but rare because cannabis is unable to reproduce without fertilization.
Stigma - The vibrant hairlike strands found on the pistil of a female plant. Start off white in color and the progressively darken over the plant life cycle to show plant’s maturity and peak harvest time.
Strain - A way to classify a specific variety of plant genetics. Often developed to produce desired traits from one or both parent strains and typically named by the grower/breeder to reflect the plant’s appearance, promised effects or place of origin.. However, strain naming doesn’t have an exact science within the cannabis industry which can result in mistakes and purposefully misidentified strains. (See also phenotype)
Terpene - The chemical compounds found within cannabis that produce a distinct aroma and taste. Each individual compound has unique effects associated with them which opens up new scientific and medical terrain for cannabis research.
Leafly FAQ: What are terpenes?
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) - The most well known and abundant intoxicating compound within cannabis that interacts with receptors in the brain and body to create various effects. Research has shown this compound to be particularly useful for treating lack of appetite and nausea issues caused by common cancer treatment.
Topping - A technique used by growers to promote more lateral growth and produce an better overall yield.
Trichomes/Resin Glands - The resin production glands of the cannabis plant specifically used to make concentrates like kief or hash. THC, CBD and other cannabinoids are produced in these glands.
Trim - The process of snipping away excess leaves from cannabis buds throughout its life cycle which can then be used in a variety of products to make hash, tinctures, edibles and more.
Vegetative State - The primary phase of life for cannabis when the plant is growing vs producing flower/bud. Duration of this stage is affected by light cycles so for indoor grows this can be forced to the next cycle (flowering) at will.
Whole Plant - Used to describe product that utilizes the full spectrum of compounds found within cannabis. Generally extracted from fresh frozen to retain all the terpenes and cannabinoids. (See also Science & Technology: Entourage Effect)
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