Talking Cannabis: THE Glossary
Cannabis is an interesting and fascinating world that straddles the fields of botany, science and biology. What follows is a foray into the language surrounding a plant that is only just beginning to reveal its secrets and subtleties.
The categories of cannabis and their different characteristics are becoming increasingly well known among informed consumers. Among them, the most common are indica, sativa and hybrid. Be careful not to confuse categories with varieties!
Cannabis varieties are the different variations of each of the categories. In other words, it is the lineage of a plant from which it derives its characteristic traits. In the jargon of the trade, we also refer to phenotype or genetics. Mandarin Cookies, Purple Haze, Kush, Delahaze are all examples of cannabis varieties.
Indica plants are recognizable by their small size and the shape of their leaves, which are wider than those of sativa strains. Its flower is also more dense and compact. The effects of cannabis from an indica strain are known to be generally soothing and relaxing.
The plant in the sativa category is slender and taller than that of the indica strain. The same applies to its leaves and flowers: they are long and narrow. And what is the effect of this category of cannabis? It is often described as being invigorating, energizing and stimulating for the body and the mind.
On the other hand, plants considered to be hybrids exhibit traits from each of the two categories. The hybrid species, born from the crossing of two strains, can have a dominance (indica or sativa) depending on their genetic profile.
Contrary to what their name suggests, surprisingly, cannabinoids are not just a product of cannabis. These compounds that activate the receptors of the endocannabinoid system in humans can be produced by the body, plants, and even animals. Two cannabinoids are naturally found in higher concentrations in the cannabis plant: THC and CBD. They are responsible for the physiological effects that result from its consumption.
THC (or tetrahydrocannabinol)
Tetrahydrocannabinol, otherwise known as THC, is the most well-known cannabinoid. It is credited with the euphoric effects sought by cannabis users. The perception of psychotropic and physical effects usually stems from the intensity of the THC content of a product.
CBD (or cannabidiol)
CBD, or cannabidiol, is said to reduce certain less pleasant effects of THC, such as anxiety. Cannabidiol is non-psychoactive, but it is known to have medicinal properties.
Terpenes give the product all of its character! Naturally produced by the plant, terpenes provide flavour and aroma. The terpene profile of a cannabis flower is complex and there are now over a hundred different terpenes. Terpinolene, limonene, ocimene, linalool, caryophyllene, myrcene: there’s a whole universe to discover!
Essential component of the cannabis plant, trichomes are concentrated not only in cannabinoid compounds – CBD, THC and others – but also in the famous terpenes. These small crystals are present on the entire surface of the plant, but more particularly on the cannabis flower.