A to THC: The Cannabis Dictionary

Part 1: Flower 

The cannabis dictionary is incredibly vast, and in dispensaries you’ll hear a range of street to scientific to excessively descriptive terminology used. It can feel like everyone is fluent in this language that you don’t understand, both for the customer and for budtenders. It’s important for budtenders to know both technical and colloquial terminology because a lot of customers won’t know every term, but all of them deserve to not feel judged for that. If you’re new to cannabis and want to learn some things, welcome! The first edition of this series will cover terms used to refer to flower, its quantity, and quality.


It all starts with a seed, so we’re going to run through some very basic growing terms you may hear in conversation:


Clone: a cutting taken off a cannabis plant that will grow into another full plant, 

some dispensaries sell them in states where it’s legal to grow your own.

Cultivar: short for cultivated variety, essentially the same functional use as ‘strain’.

Cure: a very important part of the cultivation process when the cannabis is stored after harvest and drying. A good cure improves smell and taste, a bad cure often makes the flower smell like hay.

Hydroponics: a method of growing cannabis that suspends the roots in water and a solution of mineral salts and micronutrients that feeds the plants. Hydro can be used to refer to hydroponic grown flower, often viewed as better quality.

Larf: small or immature buds on the plant, generally towards the bottom that didn’t get enough light.

OD: stands for outdoor, meaning outdoor grown flower- there’s a negative stigma surrounding it but when done right it’s equal in quality to indoor but significantly more environmentally friendly.

Trichomes: resinous glands on buds that contain all the good stuff- THCa, terpenes etc..When someone describes a bud

as frosty, they’re referring to a thick layer of trichomes that resemble frost. General rule of thumb- the more trichomes = better effects.


Now moving on to common flower terminology:

Cannabinoids: compounds in cannabis that interact with our endocannabinoid system, i.e. how smoking cannabis will have an effect, but smoking oregano wouldn’t. More detailed description on cannabinoids here.

Understanding the Cannabis Plant Part 2: Indica vs. Sativa - National Holistic Healing Center




Indica/Sativa/Hybrid: a way of classifying cannabis plants that has become outdated but still widely believed. Indica is thought to be more relaxing, Sativa more energizing and hybrid in the middle. These classifications mainly reflect the way the plants grow more than they do effect: indica plants are generally shorter and bushier and sativa plants are generally taller and skinnier.


Kush: Sometimes used as another name for cannabis in general but technically refers to landrace strains grown in the Hindu Kush Mountain range in Central Asia, that became parents of popular cultivars like Bubba Kush and OG Kush. Sometimes referred to as just Kush, OG Kush and its variants are popular cultivars that were originally grown in California from seeds obtained at a Grateful Dead Concert.

Landrace: most modern-day strains descend from these original cannabis plants that are native to a specific region and have unique growing adaptations for their environment. As mentioned above, indica plants are often shorter and bushier, this is because most indica landraces were grown in climates with harsher winters and evolved to stay closer to the ground.

Popcorn/Smalls: bags of small buds generally sold for a lower price, not inherently worse quality than regular sized buds but the range of what is marketed as popcorn buds is wide.

Reefer/Grass: some of the original slang terms for cannabis

Salad: When you mix several different strains in a bowl, joint, etc. some people swear it feels more potent than one on its own, most likely due to the entourage effect.

Shake: small pieces of flower that were once part of a bud but fell off when handling/trimming, often used for pre-rolls, cooking, or sold at a discount.

Spliff: a joint with ground tobacco mixed in with the ground flower.

Terpenes: group of thousands of compounds found in plants responsible for aroma and flavor. In cannabis, every strain and even every batch, has a unique terpene profile that in combination with the cannabinoids like THCa, are responsible for effect. More information on terpenes can be found here.

Trim: the sugar leaves, kief, and bits of trimmed off bud that accumulates during the trimming process, often saved for making edibles, distillate, or sold at a super low price.


Next let’s talk about quantity:

Flower is generally sold in 1g, 3.5g (eighth), 7g (quarter), 14g (half), 28g (ounce) quantities.

Eighth: most common amount that cannabis is sold, may also be called: slice, KD (Kevin Durant wore the number 35 for a while)

QP/ Quap: Quarter Pound usually of flower or shake.

Zip: an ounce of weed (28g)


Lastly, we’ll go over quality: 


Bag Appeal: oddly enough, has nothing to do with the physical bag. Bag appeal is used to describe the visual and aromatic appeal of flower, good bag appeal for most people includes dense bud structure with a good amount of trichome coverage, carefully trimmed without large, visible stems, and an aroma that is immediately noticebale when opening the bag, whether its fruity, skunky, earthy, etc. Is personal choice. Bad bag appeal is usually small, dry, poorly trimmed buds with little trichome coverage and barely any smell

Chronic/Fire: general term for really good, potent flower.

Dank/Loud: can be used to describe high-quality flower or referring to the pungent aroma itself. ‘Whatever you’re rolling danks, I could smell it outside’ ‘I want an eighth of loud, whatcha got good?’

Exotic/zaza: exotic, high-potency flower, and by exotic most people just mean Cali. Though everything sold in a dispensary is grown in that state, customers refer to product as zaza all the time, it’s not worth correcting, they essentially just want something good.

Nose: a flower’s scent

Top shelf: like its use in bars- supposed to be top of the line quality at dispensary but comes with a price tag.

Not so good:

Mid: lower quality cannabis, not the absolute worst but would probably get a D+

Pinner: an embarrassingly skinny joint- usually said if brought to a group setting

Reggie/Brick weed/ Dirt weed/Ditch weed/ Boof: low quality cannabis

Schwag: low quality cannabis that’s usually a mix of buds, stems, seeds, and leaves