top of page

Cannabis Terminology

Educating yourself on the medicines you are consuming is a crucial factor to perfecting your treatment plan. Medical Marijuana is no exception. However, sometimes the terms can get a bit confusing. That's why Missouri Marijuana Card has put together a page to include a detailed list of terms to lay down the groundwork for your research. 


Cannabis Plant Terms



Bud - a term for the flower of the mature marijuana plant. They are the actual nuggets that you grind up and use. Buds are the part of the cannabis plant that contains cannabinoids.

Cannabinoids - the chemical compounds found in cannabis that produce various effects ranging from pain relief to appetite stimulant and much more. The most well-known cannabinoid is Tetrahydrocannabinol (aka THC), which is famous for its psychoactive effects. Currently, there are over 100 known cannabinoids, all provide an eclectic mix of medical benefits.

CBD (Cannabidiol) -  is the cannabinoid responsible for most of the medical benefits that come from the marijuana plant. In recent years, CBD has become very popular for its plethora of medical benefits. Unlike THC, CBD has no psychoactive properties. Cannabidiol can be extracted from the marijuana plant and can be processed into a variety of different medications including topicals, oils, and tinctures providing an overwhelming amount of relief to medical patients. There is also a variety of high CBD marijuana strains that contain small levels of THC, which will greatly reduce the psychoactive effects when consumed.

Cola - the topmost flower bud on a cannabis plant. This term is mostly used in reference to the plant during its cultivation. This is the plant’s “bud site” where female flowers form. The main cola blooms at the top of the plant and can be made up of multiple, smaller buds. Smaller colas will form along the budding sites below. The cola has also been referred to as the “terminal bud." Developing multiple colas on your plants will help you maximize your yield.

Endocannabinoids - are neurotransmitters that are created within the body and bind to cannabinoid receptors and help with homeostasis.

Hemp - a fibrous material that can be produced from the male cannabis plant and can be used to manufacture rope, paper, building materials such as concrete, beauty products, and a vast array of other products. Hemp plants have no value as a drug since they are males. Hemp plants contain trace amounts of THC and cannot get you high.

Hybrid - refers to a plant that is a cross between one or more separate strains of cannabis. Hybrids can happen unintentionally, but they are usually bred specifically to combine desired traits of the original plants. More than 80% of the strains on the market today are some form of a hybrid.

Indica - a species of cannabis originating in the middle east and Asia, including the well-known genetics of kush and the afghan lineages. They are shorter, wider plants with a dense flower composition. Indica specifically refers to the plant's genome. It has little indication of the high you will receive from a particular strain. Cannabinoid and Terpene profiles are what will give you more insight into the high your will receive. 

Ruderalis - a low-THC cannabis variety that is primarily chosen by breeders for its CBD-rich genetics. Unlike sativa and indica, which use light cycles to flower, ruderalis is an autoflowering plant, meaning it flowers with age. Originating in Russia, ruderalis is a hardy plant that can survive most harsh climates.

Sativa - (short for Cannabis Sativa) strains grow fairly tall plants that are lighter in color and take longer to flower. The leaves are longer and skinnier than Indica plants. They tend to grow more vertically than indica or ruderalis strains.


Phenotype - when it comes to cannabis cultivation, a plant’s phenotype is very important because it determines a strain’s taste, appearance, and effectiveness. The phenotype is a term used to successfully identify a plant’s inherent traits. Every strain has two parent plants, including a male and female. Like in most breeding of organisms, when a male plant fertilizes a female plant, the seeds that are produced will include genetic phenotypes from both plants. Because people like varying traits from different strains, growers can make a specific strain based on those preferred characteristics.

Pistils - Pistils are part of the female plant’s anatomy. In regards to cannabis, it’s identified as the little hair-like extensions on the flowers that range in color from orange to white, and many more. When plants are going to be fertilized, the pistil acts to collect the male pollen. When cannabis plants are left unfertilized, the pistils change and can be good indicators of plant ripeness.

Sensimilla - For those who don’t cultivate their own medical cannabis, sensimilla may sound like a marijuana strain when in actuality, it’s a female plant that has been prevented from being fertilized and therefore grows without seeds. Most people want to grow sensimilla plants because it produces flower with a higher THC content, rather than putting all of its energy into producing seeds. Having said this, sensimilla plants are rare because they’re unable to reproduce until it’s fertilized. 

Strain - A cannabis strain is a particular kind of plant species, either in a hybrid or pure variety. Each strain is grown to increase certain traits of the plant. There are over a thousand strains available, with more being produced every day thanks to crossbreeding. It’s important to note that the medical marijuana industry is trying to maintain some type of consistency between each strain, but unfortunately, many of them are misclassified or marketed improperly causing confusion throughout the industry. 

THC - stands for Tetrahydrocannabinol (scientific name delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), the most well-known and abundant cannabinoid found in cannabis strains. Responsible for the psychoactive effects, or 'high' your receive from most cannabis plants, it was first isolated in 1964 and was thought to be a natural deterrent to protect the plant against pests. Effective for treating a wide range of medical conditions.

THCa - In fresh cannabis – cannabinoids are initially produced as acidic cannabinoids – this means that there is a carboxylic acid functional group on the molecule’s backbone. When heat is applied to an acidic cannabinoid – this carboxylic acid group is driven off – and the molecule converts to its ‘neutral’ counterpart in a process known as decarboxylation. In the case of THCA-a (aka THC-acid) –heat converts THC-a to delta-9 THC when the plant undergoes decarboxylation. Also, note that acidic cannabinoids are not physiologically active in the same way their neutral counterparts are. In other words, THC is psychotropic and will get you 'high' whereas THC-a, while full of benefits, is not considered psychotropic, and thus, does not get you 'high.'

Trichomes - are the resin production glands of the cannabis plant. These glands produce THC, CBD, and all other cannabinoids. If you use a handheld microscope you can see these trichomes on the plant. When the trichomes are clear, it's a good indicator that they need more time. If the trichomes are cloudy, they are potent and ready to be consumed!

Terpenes - are any group of hydrocarbons found in the essential oils of a plant. Terpenes are chemical compounds found in marijuana that produce a distinct flavor and smell of the flower. In marijuana plants, terpenes are produced by secretory cells found within the trichomes. These specific compounds are accountable for the thousands of variances between strains including flavor, smell, and taste. Because terpenes are so sensitive to low temperatures, it’s imperative to understand how to store your cannabis.



Marijuana Consumption Terms

Ashcatcher - helps to prevent ash and tar from getting on the interior of your waterpipe, which in turn helps make cleaning it even easier. Some ash catchers are built into a piece, but most ash catchers are separate accessories attached to the male or female joint of a piece. This makes it easier to clean when your piece gets dirty.

Banger - Bangers are glass buckets connected to a small arm with either a male or female joint that attach to an oil rig. They're meant for vaporizing concentrates; after a banger is heated with a butane torch, the concentrate is applied to the bucket where it then vaporizes. Bangers are almost always crafted with quartz, which has a very high melting point and can get red hot.

Beaker Base - A classic style bong, the joints on a beaker-style piece is set at a 45° angle. They also hold a good amount of water and are very sturdy, making them a simple, yet reliable design for new and veteran smokers alike.

Blunt - The term was coined originally from the brand Phillies Blunt Cigars and they are made by splitting a cigarillo and emptying its contents and then rerolling it with marijuana. Blunts burn longer than joints but are much harsher to inhale and contain more harmful chemicals than any other consumption method.


Bong - usually a glass, ceramic, plastic, or silicone apparatus that is used to smoke cannabis flowers, herbal extracts, or even tobacco. A bong filters smoke through water so that it may be cooled before it is inhaled. Bongs consist of a bowl, a stem, and often times percolators and ice catchers. These additional “contraptions” are intended to further purify, cleanse, or filter the smoke. The bong is a staple in any stoner’s glass collection and is typically considered one of the safest ways to combust cannabis.

Bowl - holds plant matter that you smoke. Smoke is made by combusting a bowl's contents with a flame. Typically bowls are made from glass, wood, metal, ceramic, silicone, and even rock!

Borosilicate Glass - The preferred type of glass for creating dab rigs and water pipes. Made with many silica components, borosilicate glass is resistant to thermal shock and can be heated to higher temps. A much more durable piece of glass. 

Bubbler - A bubbler pipe is smaller than a bong and uses water to filter smoke and vapor. Bubblers are essentially combining the look of a bowl with the functionality of a bong. Most bubblers have no removable components, though some may have detachable bowls. Consider this a bowl that filters the smoke through the water like a bong.

Budder - A marijuana concentrate that is similar to wax but softer and more pliable. Budder is a type of concentrate that can contain 70%+ THC and must be dabbed using an oil rig. It literally looks like butter. Sometimes the color can vary, sometimes it looks like butter, and other times it looks like peanut butter.

CO2 Oil - C02 is a supercritical fluid which means that it transforms into a liquid when pressurized. It is a naturally occurring chemical  that leaves no residues. This makes for high quality concentrates.

Carb -  a hole in a hand pipe or bubbler that regulates airflow inside the pipe. You keep the carb covered when igniting your plant material and you uncover it as you inhale, pulling fresh air in and clearing the chamber.

Cashed - when a bowl is cashed, that means its finished. All that's left are the ashes.

Cherried - When the bowl stays lit from one person to the next. Saying "it's cherried" lets your fellow smoker know that it's lit and he won't be needing his lighter.

Circ Perc - A series of rings that are slotted. This perc allows smoke to be diffused between the spaces in the rings in a circular pattern.

Concentrates - are precisely what they sound like: concentrated cannabis. Using either a solvent or solvent-less extraction method, the resulting product is a potent, concentration of the resin glands found on marijuana flowers. The concentrate ranges in a variety of consistencies from baring a close resemblance to glass, butter, and sticky oils.

Dab/Dabbing - A slang term that refers to a method of consuming marijuana concentrates in which the individual heats either a quartz or titanium nail or banger and inhales the vapor created from applying the concentrate to the heated nail.

Dabber - A tool used for handling concentrates. Usually metal, glass or quartz. This tool is what is used to directly apply the concentrate to the nail.

Dab Mat - A rubber or silicone mat that is placed under a dab rig to help protect the rig and your table. It protects the rig by reducing the risk of it tipping over, and it reduces the risk of getting oil all over your furniture. A concentrate enthusiast's must-have. 

Decarboxylate - the process of heating marijuana at a low temperature to transform the inactive acid cannabinoids like THCA and CBDA into active THC and CBD. Most people decarboxylate their cannabis to get higher potency in products that are consumed orally, like edibles and tinctures. If you consume (juice) your cannabis before you decarboxylate it, you will enjoy the medical benefits of THCA.

Diffusion - Diffusion, in reference to bongs, is when smoke or vapor is spread throughout the water. This helps to remove solid deposits such as ash, cinders, tar, and other plant compounds. What remains is both cooler and easier to inhale.

Disc Perc - A thin, flat layer of glass that separates the body of the bong and the several holes that are arranged within it. Smoke is diffused evenly or only in the direction that the pipe is tilted.

Dome - A  key part of an oil rig used to smoke marijuana concentrates. Usually made out of glass, a dome fits neatly over the nail to trap the vapor that is created when a piece of concentrate is touched to the heated nail.

Domeless Nail - A tool that combines a usual dome and nail setup all into one piece, allowing patients to consume marijuana concentrates more efficiently. Domeless nails are typically made of glass with a hole in the middle for the smoke to pass through.

Dome Perc - these percolators have an enclosure with holes where the dome meets the bottom of the perc. These percs work best with a raised water level because it causes diffusion as the smoke passes through the dome and is separated when exiting the holes on the edges.

Downstem - the tube that carries smoke from the bowl of a bong or bubbler into the water. Some downstems are fixed inside the pipe to prevent damage while others are made with standardized joints and can be removed for cleaning and smoother inhalations. Most downstems feature some slit or perc at the end to give a little bit of diffusion to the piece.

Dugout - Two-chambered wooden boxes that are extremely convenient for smoking while out and about. They have a chamber for ground-up herb and a separate chamber for a small one-hitter. It works by removing the one-hitter from its chamber and pushing it down into the other chamber to pack it with your medicine.

Edible - a term for any food product that has been infused with activated cannabis.

Eighth - A measurement of marijuana. 3.5 grams of dried herb. An eighth of an ounce.

Grinder - a piece of equipment that breaks down large pieces of plant material into tiny smokeable and rollable pieces. Grinding the plant matter makes it easier to load into a bowl, allows the material to burn much more efficiently, and creates much better airflow. Grinders can have up to four chambers. The grinding teeth lock together, and the top piece is twisted to crush the plant matter into a size small enough for them to fall through holes into the next chamber where it can then be loaded into a bowl or vaporizer, rolled into a joint, etc. If there is a third chamber, the bottom of the storage chamber would have a mesh screen which helps to collect kief. Grinders are a very important piece of equipment to have, especially when you're using a vaporizer.

Half - A measurement of marijuana.14 grams of dried herbs. A half-ounce.

Hammerhead Perc - Much like inline percs, this perc splits into two at the end and pushes water to the sides of the water pipe. All percs provide diffusion, just in different ways.

Hash - a crude concentration of cannabis gland heads, created from filtering dried cannabis flowers with a fine screen. Similar to cannabis products but will contain more plant matter than a solvent-based extract and its more likely to be hard and solid, similar to a rock.

Heady Glass - defined as the highest quality handcrafted glass-blown pieces on the market, with high levels of complexity, these beautiful pieces sell at very high prices and often look like pieces of art.

Honeycomb Disc Perc - Similar to a disc perc but with a large number of small holes that resembles something like a honeycomb. The more holes, the better the diffusion, but drag can increase some.

Ice Catcher - a glass structure blown into the mouthpiece that allows for it to be filled with ice. This helps to cool down hits so that they are extremely smooth.

Inline Perc - The perc leads into the bottom of the piece and lies horizontally. The slits or holes in the glass perc are usually faced in a direction that is ideal for optimal diffusion.

Joint - The most popular way to consume cannabis. A joint is ground-up marijuana that is held together with a rolling paper. They can be also be rolled up with a paper filter at the end to keep you from inhaling small pieces of bud.

Kief - the loose collection of cannabis glad heads (trichomes) that have been separated from the cannabis flowers and are usually sifted or sieved using a mesh screen. This looks like soft beige dust in the bottom chamber of your grinder and is extremely potent. It can be used in addition to dry herb when rolling a joint. You can even sprinkle it on top of a bowl for a more psychoactive experience.

Live Resin - A type of concentrate that is processed using fresh frozen plants that are harvested hours prior to being extracted. Since you are using a live plant, you retain the intense terpene profile of the plant as opposed to dried flowers. This gives the product a much more intense smell and taste.

Nail - A nail or spike is a piece of quartz that’s essential to a dab rig used to smoke concentrates. It’s typically made of glass, quartz or titanium and is heated to a specific temperature and then touched with a piece of concentrate via a dabber, that is then vaporized. The resulting vapor is inhaled and results in an intense high for the user.

OG - OG originally stood for 'Ocean Grown" kush grown in Southern California in the early days, which was then eventually shortened to OG Kush. It grew quickly in fame and reputation for its unique characteristics and intoxicating effects.

Ounce - A measurement of marijuana. 28 grams of dried cannabis flowers.

Perc - an abbreviation for percolator. A perc uses the water of your piece to filter out tars and other plant compounds found in smoke via combustion.

Pre-Roll - A pre-roll is a joint or cannabis blunt that was prepared prior to its intended time of consumption. You can purchase pre-rolls at a dispensary, which proves to be helpful if you don’t know how to roll a joint yourself.

QP - A measurement of marijuana. Also known as a quarter pound. This is 4 ounces of dried flower or 112 grams.

Rig - A rig is a unique pipe with a nail or banger, used to consume cannabis concentrates like wax. Dabbing involves heating the nail on the rig to a specific temperature with a handheld torch, which then evaporates the dab of concentrate when placed on the heated device. This form of consumption is different from smoking a bowl or pipe with dry herb flower and produces a more pure inhalation.

Roach -  the end of a joint and is often too small to be smoked for fear of burning one's fingers. As a result, a roach is usually smoked with a roach clip or saved with other roaches to be used in another joint or added to a bowl. A roach is typically brown in color because of its high resin consistency.

Reclaim - Residual concentrate that is collected within a dab rig. Reclaimed concentrates are less potent than actual concentrates.

Scientific Glass - This style of glass is usually clear and has a more scientific design. Scientific Glass is popular because it's usually made from high-quality glass and provides a good amount of diffusion before it hits your lungs.

Shatter - refers to a certain type of concentrate, shatter being a brittle, glass-like consistency.

Showerhead Perc - A classic perc, this is a vertical tube that has vertical slits along the bottom for diffusion. You can pick up one of these at almost any headshop.

Spliff -  a joint rolled with tobacco and marijuana. If you're not into smoking tobacco, spliffs are not for you.

Solvent-Free - A term used to describe a hydrocarbon extraction style that has been fully cleansed of all residual solvent. Solvent-free has 0 ppm residual solvent but was still originally a solvent-based extraction.

Stereo Percolator- The same as a matrix percolator but one chamber sits on top of the other separated by chambers. It resembles the look of a stereo.

Tincture - A liquid marijuana extract made with a high proof alcohol or glycerol that is dosed with a dropper. Typically placed under the tongue where it is absorbed into the bloodstream rather quickly. It is very useful for medicinal purposes as the effects can be noticed within minutes.

Topical - A cannabis product that has extracted the necessary cannabinoids into a lotion or balm, and can be safely applied to the skin. Great for treating muscle aches, soreness, dry skin, and some skin conditions.

Tree Perc - This popular percolator can have anywhere from 4 to 64 separate "branches". The more branches a tree perc has, the more diffusion will be created. Branches often are open-ended or have slits on the side to create even more percolation. The more you divide your hit with into smaller bubbles that are moving, the more you filter and cool your hit.

Vaporization - The process of heating dried herbs just below their combustion temperature. A decidedly healthier alternative to smoking hands down. Vaporization is the safest way to consume cannabis and it helps keep the chemical compounds that enter your lungs from combustion at bay. 

Water Pipe - A pipe with a chamber large enough to be filled with water. Also referred to as a bong. Typically, a slitted downstem is submerged under the water for improved percolation and filtration, which helps to diffuse the smoke.

Wax - a certain type of concentrate that is a gooey, and oily substance.


Cultivation Terms

AutoflowerA female cannabis plant that automatically switches from the vegetative growth stage to the flowering stage by age alone, as opposed to the ratio of light to dark hours required with short-day strains. Many autoflowers will be ready to harvest in less than 10 weeks from seed. Autoflowers are a great way to start your journey into growing your own cannabis.

Backcross - a type of breeding that allows the transfer of a desired characteristic from the parent to the offspring. Unlike traditional forms of breeding, backcrossing breeds a cannabis plant with one of its parents. This process creates a hybrid plant that is genetically similar to the parent. By backcrossing, breeders can strengthen certain genes in a plant and ensure the survival of rare strains.


Clone - A starter cannabis plant, cut from the mother plant and will have similar yields and tastes for what is considered to be the standard for the genetics of that particular strain.

Cure - a very important process during the growth of a marijuana plant, which allows for a much higher quality product in the end. When you move your plant from the drying process to curing at the right time, you will have more control over the moisture level of the bud, allowing for the grower to greatly increase its flavor, potency, and other desired traits. If not cured properly, you will experience a harsher inhale or even bad-smelling bud.

Cutting - The beginning of a clone. A branch is cut from a mother plant and rooted (put into a growing medium) to become its own plant. Once the branch is rooted, it is called a clone.

FanLeaf - Also known as a waterleaf. This is the big and beautiful leaf that you see used as a logo for marijuana across the globe. It absorbs sunlight and stores water for the plant. It contains little to no THC and is discarded during the harvest.


Feminized -  A seed that has been bred to be a female plant. Females produce the buds and males pollinate them with seeds. Removing the males from your garden will produce sensimilla. Not removing the males from your garden will populate your entire garden with seeds. 


Flowering Time -  this term references the period of time in which a plant produces bud, typically after the vegetative stage when it’s been actively growing. A cannabis plant enters the flowering time when its exposure to light hits 12 or fewer hours per day. Growers have the ability to manipulate an artificial growing ecosystem to ensure that their cannabis plants flower at a specific time. After plants have entered the flowering phase and are subjected to a schedule of 12 hours of darkness followed by 12 hours of light, they will begin to produce buds at an increased rate.

Fresh Frozen - Plant matter that has been cryogenically frozen immediately after harvest. This preserves the terpenes and the characteristics of the living plant.

Germination - The start of any marijuana plant growth cycle is called germination, specifically referring to the period of time when a seed cracks and sprouts a seedling. This process is intentionally triggered to force the seeds out of their dormant state and into the normal growth life cycle. Germination rates average around 80%, which means that eight out of ten seeds typically successfully germinate in most attempts.

Heirloom - a virgin breed of cannabis that hasn’t been mixed or crossbred with another, therefore maintaining its original genetics. It’s typically native to a part of the world and can be 50-100 years old. Heirloom strains are very rare.

Hydroponics - a very popular way to grow marijuana that utilizes a soilless system. Typically, this type of gardening circulates water and nutrients to plants roots which allows one to have more control over the growing process which often results in a better end product.


Node - The area on a plant where the leaves and branches intersect and connect to the main stem or cola. 

Seeds - The start of all cannabis plants, cannabis seeds are usually produced in a 50/50 mix of male to female from a pollinated female plant. However, you can buy all feminized seeds to keep males from accidentally pollinating all of your female plants. A female plant won’t produce seeds if it's not pollinated by a male plant. Seedless buds are more desirable as they grow larger with higher cannabinoid and terpene profiles. 

Stems and Stalks - The long, thin branches of the plant. They support the flowers, hold all the nutrients, and transport the water through the plant. Containing little to no THC, they are discarded during the harvest. Long fibers found in the inner bark of the stalk, is called hemp and can be repurposed in many different ways.

SugarLeaf - This small leaf grows within the buds and gets coated with trichomes. It should be snipped from the bud when harvesting, otherwise, it will make the flavor of the bud much harsher than usual. Sugar leaves can be used to make butter, edibles, or concentrates.

Taproot - The taproot is the main root which emerges from a germinated seed. Plants grown from cuttings don’t have a traditional tap root, yet they can still produce large plants which are genetically identical to the mother plant.

Trim - After marijuana plants have matured, they’re harvested within a certain time frame to keep the buds fresh. Throughout the growth cycle and during this specific time period, a grower will trim the plant of its leaves, focusing mostly on gathering the remaining buds. Trim is defined as the excess snipping of leaves from the buds of marijuana plants. Note that the leftover product can still be used to make extractions, tinctures, hash, and edibles.

Vegetative Stage - the primary phase of the plant’s growth cycle when it’s actually growing bud versus yielding bud. In nature, plants receive over 12 hours of sunlight in the summer and will remain in a vegetative state, growing that bud. As the seasons change, there is less light, so the plant will begin to mature and flower. If one is growing indoors, there's more control over the light cycles, therefore the plant can move from the vegetative to the flowering stage whenever the cultivator wants.

How to Grow Medical Marijuana in Missouri

bottom of page