The ABCs of CBD and THC

A Medical Marijuana Glossary

The world of medicinal marijuana is filled with technical terms and biological definitions that can be confusing to new patients. What’s a trichome? Does a dab mean what you think it means? Let’s go through some of the more common terms and their clinical definitions.


The flower of the cannabis plant, and the epicenter of cannabinoids, which provide the medicinal power of the plant.


One of hundreds of chemical compounds found within the cannabis plant that interact with the endocannabinoid system in the human body to provide different therapeutic effects.


A common term for three species of flowering herbs: cannabis satvia, cannabis indica and cannabis ruderalis. Cannabis has been widely used as a medical remedy for centuries.


One of the two most common cannabinoids, known to soothe and treat inflammation, pain, anxiety and epilepsy without the “high” associated with its counterpart, THC.


Receptors within the human body that allow cannabinoids to influence biological functions. The CB1 receptor is predominantly found in the brain and central nervous system and interacts with THC, while the CB2 receptor is primarily found in the immune system and interacts with CBD.


Dabs are a concentrated dose of cannabis that are extracted through solvents like ethanol, butane or CO2. The resulting sticky substance is then heated on a hot surface and then inhaled through special pipes, vaporizers and other devices. Dabs are typically fast-acting and potent with high levels of THC.


A physical location where people can purchase medical marijuana. These facilities offer safe access to cannabis and must be compliant with state laws.


Cannabis oil pills or food that has been infused with cannabis oil for consumption, such as baked goods, candy or butter.


Molecular compounds in the human body that act as “keys” to unlock receptors in the endocannabinoid system.

Endocannabinoid System

A network inside the human body that regulates biological functions such as pain, memory, food and appetite.


A form of concentrated cannabis, typically smoked, that offers more potent effects than the plant alone.


A variety of cannabis that contains little or no THC, often used for food, medicine, fuel, plastics and other applications.


One of three species of cannabis, known for its soothing properties and effectiveness in treating pain and reducing stress.


A common term for cannabis, derived from the Mexican word for the plant, “marihuana,” and originating during the Prohibition period.


One of three species of cannabis, characterized by recessive auto-flowering trait, low levels of THC and high levels of CBD.


One of three species of cannabis, known for producing psychotropic effects through its high levels of THC.


The chemical compound associated with the signature aroma of the cannabis plant, originating from secretory cells in cannabis trichomes.


One of the two most common cannabinoids, known to interact with neurotransmitters to produce the psychotropic “highs” associated with marijuana.


The hair-like resin glands found on cannabis flowers that produce and contain high levels of cannabinoids and terpenes that give cannabis its therapeutic power.

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