Higher learning

A glossary of medical-cannabis terms for the uninitiated SN&R reader

Bet you never saw this book at the college bookstore.

Bet you never saw this book at the college bookstore.

photo illustration by william leung

Nary a workday goes by where I don’t have to explain to a co-worker the meaning of an oftentimes pedestrian, sometimes bizarre term pertaining to marijuana. Even the title of this new feature, “The 420,” elicited a few blank stares from SN&R staff (for the record, “420”—pronounced “four twenty”—is a reference to the smoking hour, 4:20 p.m.; a date of importance to the cannabis community each year, April 20; and a common expression to identify marijuana use). Anyway, I realize a lot of readers out there learned to say “kush” before “mama,” but for most the phrase “You spilled the shiva crystals on the carpet!?” doesn’t boil blood. And so, a beginner’s lexicon of medical-cannabis terms for the uninitiated SN&R reader:

215: Refers to Proposition 215, the 1996 ballot measure that gave patients the right to use medical cannabis in California. “215” is also used as an adjective, such as “That dispensary is 215-friendly,” or is sympathetic to the medical-marijuana movement.

Budtender: An employee at a medical-cannabis club who advises customers about offerings. Similar to a coffeehouse barista, but instead for marijuana.

CBD: Cannabidiol, an active ingredient in cannabis. High levels of CBD, for instance, will make the cannabis more relaxing. Lower levels can produce a powerful mental rush, or “head high.”

CBN: Cannabinol, another main ingredient in cannabis. CBN is not a great thing—it causes “bad trips”—and results from aged cannabis that is not stored in a cool, airtight and dark environments.

Clone: A cutting from a marijuana plant. Patients purchase clones at dispensaries for home cultivation.

Concentrates: Purer forms of medical cannabis, such as hash or crystals with high THC content.

Emerald Triangle: Refers to Mendocino, Humboldt and Trinity counties, which are the three biggest marijuana-production regions in California.

Gram: Medical cannabis is weighted and distributed in grams. An eighth is typically 3.5 grams; an ounce 28 grams.

Hybrid: Medical cannabis that is a mix of sativa and indica strains.

Indica: One of two marijuana species, known for its pleasant, relaxing body-buzz high and pain-relief qualities.

Kief: Crystal-like resin, called trichomes, that can be collected from loose cannabis buds.

THC: Tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive substance in cannabis that causes the “high.”

Sativa: The other of two marijuana species, known for its mood-enhancing and cerebral-high qualities.

Scrip: Slang for medical-marijuana prescription, which a patient receives from a licensed California physician and is valid for one year.

Strain: A specific type of cannabis plant, such as sativa and indica, or variants such as “sour diesel” or “kush.”