Knowing the terms: Basic cannabis vocabulary to get you ready for legalization

Aug 7 2018, 4:25 pm

October 17 is approaching: Are you ready? That’s the day the Cannabis Act comes into force, making recreational-use cannabis legal across Canada.

If you’re curious about cannabis, you still have time to read up on the plant, how it can be consumed, and what experiences to expect.

To help you on your way, award-winning retail brand Tokyo Smoke has developed an educational platform and series of events; they also offer a selection of slick pot products at their six stores (five in Toronto and one in Calgary).

Part of the cannabis education led by the brand involves defining common terms used in the cannabis industry. You can’t be expected to remember all of the keywords, so starting with the basics and leading into the more technical lingo, here’s some essential cannabis 101 vocab to get you started.

Cannabinoid

Cannabis contains chemical compounds that have been reported to provide pain relief, change in mood, increase in appetite, and so on. These compounds are called cannabinoids and they mimic the endocannabinoids that our bodies naturally produce.

THC

What is THC? It’s an abbreviation for delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, the main psychotropic compound in cannabis. THC is responsible for the psychological and physiological effects on your body when you consume cannabis.

CBD

This is a non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis that won’t get you high like THC. It allows users to experience the therapeutic benefits of cannabis without the buzz because it doesn’t directly interact with the two cannabinoid receptors that are influenced by THC.

Indica

Strains that make users feel extremely relaxed are commonly categorized as indica. Users reported feeling calm, sleepy, and serene as indica strains evoke a “body high” more so than a cerebral high.

Sativa

Sativa is one of three types of cannabis plant species and this one is known for its cerebral high. This type of cannabis can stimulate brain activity resulting in a “head high” and is often used to help fight fatigue, reduce nausea, and improve concentration.

Hybrid

These kinds of cannabis strains are reported to give users a mix of cerebral effects and a body high. Hybrid strains are made using a combination of indicia and sativa genetics. OG kush, white widow, and cheese, are just some of the hybrid strains.

Terpenes

Each strain of cannabis has a distinctive scent, from zesty citrus to floral, woodsy, to berry. The range of fragrance in cannabis is due to compounds called — you guessed it — terpenes. These essential oils are known to help shape your experience with cannabis, perhaps even making your mouth water.

Concentrates

This term refers to any cannabis that has undergone various extraction methods to produce forms that are much more potent. Put simply, concentrates are an alternative to dried flower in the form of tinctures, shatter, or wax, and they have a high concentration of the cannabinoid.

Decarboxylation

Every time you put a flame or heat to cannabis, it undergoes the process of decarboxylation. In scientific terms, it’s a chemical reaction that removes a carboxyl group, releases carbon dioxide, and turns inactive compounds into active cannabinoids.

Kief

Those tiny, sticky crystals that cover the cannabis flower contain terpenes and cannabinoids, and they’re known as kief, pollen, or dry sift. You’ll notice them when you grind cannabis up in a chambered grinder and there’s a fine layer of residue that looks like dust. You can tell the quality of the kief from its colour.


Toyko Smoke stores currently offer craft coffee and accessories, as well as lifestyle goods and housewares. Come legalization, they will be opening dispensing retail stores acorss BC, Alberta, and Manitoba.

For more information, visit Tokyo Smoke and check out the brand on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

Grow with us on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter for all your cannabis-related content.

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