The Dragonfly Glossary
Hover over the word to read the definition.*
Cannabis comes in three species of flowering plants: Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis. Sativa and Indica are used to produce both recreational and medical cannabis. Cannabis ruderalis is rarely farmed due to its natural lower THC content and small stature, but there is some cross-breeding thanks to ruderalis‘s unique ability to auto-flower rather than mature based on light, so there is potential for this variety to grow in popularity. Cannabis is native to Asia, but grows almost anywhere and has long been cultivated both for the production of hemp and to be used as a drug.
Edibles are medicated edible goods that have been infused with cannabis extracts. They are commonly baked goods such as cookies and brownies, but options as varied as flavored coffee drinks, breads, and candies exist as well. Dispensaries also often sell cannabis-infused butters or oils for patients or consumers to make their own edibles. Consuming edibles means the active components from the extracts require longer to take effect as they need to be absorbed through the digestive system.
CBD is the abbreviation for cannabidiol, one of the at least 85 cannabinoids found in cannabis and the second only to THC when it comes to average volume. Recently, CBD has gained support for its use as a medical treatment as research has shown it effectively treats pain, inflammation, and anxiety without the psychoactive effects (the “high” or “stoned” feeling) associated with THC. High CBD strains, such as Harlequin, are being bred more actively and appearing more frequently on the market.
ECS is a biological system composed of endocannabinoids, which are endogenous lipid-based retrograde neurotransmitters that bind to cannabinoid receptors, and receptor proteins that are expressed throughout the vertebrate central and peripheral nervous system. The endocannabinoid system may be involved in regulating physiological and cognitive processes, including fertility, pregnancy, pre- and postnatal development, various activity of immune system, appetite, pain-sensation, mood, and memory, and in mediating the pharmacological effects of cannabis.
Concentrates are a potent consolidation of cannabinoids that are made by dissolving cannabis in its plant form into a solvent. The resulting product has very high THC levels (generally more than flowers or hashish), and can produce varying products that range from thick sticky oils (BHO) to moldable goo (budder/wax) to resinous bits (shatter). Referred to by a variety of slang terms, the classification of concentrates is often dependent on the manufacturing method and the consistency of the final product.
The entourage effect is a proposed mechanism by which cannabis compounds other than tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) act synergistically with it to modulate the overall psychoactive effects of the plant. Cannabidiol (CBD) is under preliminary research for its potential to modify the effects of THC, possibly mitigating some of the negative, psychosis-like effects of THC. There are numerous terpenes present in the cannabis plant and variation between strains. Some of the different terpenes have known pharmacological effects and have been studied
Full spectrum means that an oil or product contains all the cannabinoids (e.g. THC, CBD CBG, CBN, CBC, CBDV, etc.) that are naturally occurring in the cannabis plant. Quality full spectrum CBD products are typically high in CBD, with only trace amounts of minor cannabinoids, and very low in THC (less than 0.3%).
Hybrid refers to a plant that is genetically 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. Most cannabis on the market today is some form of hybrid.
Flowers; they’re often the “pretty” part of a plant, and the same is true for cannabis. While cannabis flowers don’t have traditional petals or look like daisies, they are still the reproductive organ of the female plants. Cannabis flowers are the hairy, sticky, crystal-covered bits that are harvested and dried to be used as medication. When they are allowed to be fertilized by male plants, these flowers will produce cannabis seeds. If not, they will continue to produce the resin that contains their active cannabinoids until they are harvested or begin to die.
Hydroponics refers to a system of gardening that does not use soil. Plants are grown in water and receive their nutrients from the addition of solutions rather than soil. For growers, hydroponic advantages include more control over nutrient intake and stability. In terms of cannabis production, plants grown hydroponically are sometimes said to have cleaner, more distinct flavors.
Hemp is a fibrous product that can be produced from the male cannabis plant and can be used in the manufacture of rope, paper, beauty products, and a vast array of other products. Hemp plants have no value as a drug since they are males. However, they are still considered illegal in the United States.
Indica is the less scientific name for the Cannabis indica species of cannabis. Generally these plants originated in the Middle East and Asia and include both of the famous kush and Afghan lineages. Compared to their sativa counterparts, the plants are shorter, bushier and have more compact flower structure. This species tends to produce more relaxing physical effects and can have a sedative quality.
Landrace refers to a local variety of cannabis that has adapted to the environment of its geographic location. This accounts for genetic variation between landrace strains, which have been crossbred to produce the cannabis variety we see today. Landrace strains are oftentimes named after their native region, like Afghani, Thai, and Hawaiian, and traces of landraces are sometimes detectable in the names of their crossbred descendants.
Sativa is the less scientific name for the cannabis sativa species of cannabis plant. In general, these plants originated outside of the Middle East and Asia and include strains that are from areas such as South America, the Caribbean, Africa, and Thailand. These strains tend to grow taller as plants (usually over 5 feet), are lighter in color and take longer to flower. When consumed, sativas tend to produce more cerebral effects as opposed to physical and sedative ones.
Phenotype is a term that is heard most often in growing. It refers to the general physical characteristics of the plant such as height, color, branching, leaf configuration down to cell structure—any markers that can be used to identify and judge the healthiness of a plant.
A strain is a specific variety of a plant species. Strains are developed to produce distinct desired traits in the plant and are usually named by their breeders (or by creative consumers). Strain names often reflect the plant’s appearance, its promised buzz, or its place of origin. Although the medical cannabis industry strives for consistency, strains can easily be mistakenly or purposely misidentified.
Pistils are part of a female plant’s anatomy. On cannabis, it’s identified as the little hair-like extensions on the flowers that range in color from white to red to darker orange-brown. When plants are going to be fertilized, the pistil acts to collect the male pollen. When plants are left unfertilized, as in the case of cannabis, the pistils change and can be indicators of plant ripeness.
Terpenes are organic compounds that provide aroma and flavor in cannabis and a variety of other organisms, including plants. Terpenes are responsible for the aroma and flavors of cannabis, and influence its effects by interacting with cannabinoids. Terpenes are formed inside cannabis trichomes, and their relative presence is directly affected by both the spectrum and intensity of light exposure.
THC is an abbreviation for tetrahydrocannabinol. It is the most well-known and most abundantly available cannabinoid in cannabis plants. THC is also the component in cannabis that is responsible for the psychoactive effects, or the “high.” Also known as delta-9-tetracannabinol, it was first isolated in 1964 and is thought to serve as a natural defense for the plant against pests. Research has shown THC to be an effective medical treatment for a range of conditions. There is no lethal dose of the compound in its natural form.
Trichomes are the resin production glands of the cannabis plant. In Greek the word means “growth of hair,” and while these sticky little protrusions can make plants appear a little hairy, they are not hairs, nor are they “crystals,” which is how they are often described. The production of THC, CBD, and other medicinal cannabinoids are created within the head of the trichome. However, the trichome is also able to perform an array of functions that help to ensure a plant is able to make it to full maturity.
A tincture is a liquid cannabis extract usually made with alcohol or glycerol that is often dosed with a dropper. Tinctures can be flavored and are usually placed under the tongue, where they are absorbed quickly. Effects can be felt within minutes. Tinctures can also be mixed into a drink, but in these cases effects will take longer because the tinctures will be absorbed by the digestive system.
The post-harvest process of removing extraneous plant matter from the cannabis flower. Trimming may also be referred to as manicuring. Trim weed refers to cannabis which has had its leaves removed. Proper trimming techniques are associated with a higher quality and a more aesthetically pleasing final product.
A topical is a type of cannabis product where the active properties of the flowers have been extracted and added to a product such as a lotion or a cream that’s applied to the skin. The medicinal properties are absorbed through the skin and can be used to treat muscle aches, long term soreness, or ailments like dry skin.
A vaporizer is a device used to consume cannabis. It heats either flowers or cannabis-infused oils to a temperature that produces a cannabinoid-laced vapor to inhale. Vaporizing is healthier than smoking since there is no smoke to ingest, but this method still produces near instant effects. With new, more compact models on the market, vaporizing is growing in popularity.
*Definitions are taken from Leafly . com and other similar sources.