So, you’ve finally decided to take a joyride into the wonderful world of cannabis. Welcome! We’re happy to have a new passenger! 

Naturally, any time you enter a new scene, it can be intimidating, but fortunately, cannabis culture is warm, friendly, inviting, and always excited for new people! Of course, it never hurts to gain a little insight into the subject you’re approaching before you begin, and knowing how to talk the talk will give you a huge advantage as someone who is “canna-curious” (new to the practice or a light user who is interested in learning more).

If you want to gain a better understanding of the words used to describe products, you’re in luck! We’ve prepared a simple, easy, introductory terminology guide for new cannabis consumers.


A strain refers to the type of plant from which the product is made. Each strain is unique, with different effects depending on the composition of terpenes and cannabinoids. Categories are as follows:

  • Sativa is a type of cannabis that is commonly considered to be energizing, though it’s the plant’s genetic makeup that truly dictates how a product will make you feel.
  • Indica commonly refers to products that will cause relaxation and sleepiness, but like sativa, this is actually determined by the plant’s chemical composition.
  • Hybrid is a term that describes most plants in today’s market. Some hybrids may lean more indica, some more sativa, while others will have an even amount of both. 


Cannabis contains compounds known as cannabinoids, which interact with the endogenous cannabinoid system in your body to influence how you feel after consuming products. These are a few examples:

  • Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is one of two of the most common types of cannabinoids and is known to typically produce uplifting, energizing effects.
  • Cannabidiol (CBD) is the other most common cannabinoid, and it is generally seen to have a calming and soothing effect.
  • Cannabinol (CBN), which is what becomes of THC after a plant has been aged for a long enough period, is generally considered good for sleep and for easing pain symptoms.
  • Cannabigerol (CBG) can be found in the early stages of a plant’s growth and might have therapeutic properties that could help with conditions like glaucoma, bladder disorders, and psoriasis. It may even be helpful in treating cancer patients, though more research is needed to confirm the extent of CBG’s healing potential.
  • Cannabichromene (CBC) is a minor cannabinoid, but scientists believe it could help reduce inflammation.  


Responsible for the scent and flavor of a plant, terpenes are not exclusive to cannabis, however, there is growing scientific evidence to suggest they work with cannabinoids to help determine how a product will make you feel. A few of the more common terpenes found in cannabis include:

  • Myrcene, which is known for that classic cannabis musk, is believed to increase calming and relaxing effects.
  • Linalool, which has a sweeter, more floral scent, is often found in strains that lower stress and lift your mood.
  • Pinene, which, like its name suggests, is present in pine trees as well, may help with pain and inflammation. 
  • Limonene, which, like oranges and other related fruits, has a citrusy smell, and is considered a possible energy and mood booster.  

Endogenous Cannabinoid System 

The endogenous cannabinoid system, or endocannabinoid system (ECS), is a network found within the bodies of mammals (including humans) that helps guide many processes like sleep cycle, pain, memory, mood, and more. The ECS includes:

  • Endocannabinoids, which are essentially the cannabinoids your body naturally produces.
  • Endocannabinoid receptors, which are the recipients of endocannabinoids. The two work together to influence certain effects.
  • Enzymes, which will dissolve an endocannabinoid after it’s no longer needed.  

Now that you understand some of the basic terms, you can have a more informed shopping experience. And remember, if you ever have questions or need recommendations, dispensary employees are always more than happy to assist!


Keywords: cannabis culture, canna-curious, terminology guide, new cannabis users, strains, cannabinoids, terpenes, endogenous cannabinoid system, sativa, indica, hybrid, endocannabinoid system

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