Cannabis — The scientific and historical name for the tall, bushy, fast-growing, cane-like weed used as a drug by humans for thousands of years. The female unfertilized flower buds of cannabis are the most potent.
Cannabinoids — The active ingredients in marijuana, like THC and CBD; there are about 60 cannabinoids.
Card — Slang for a doctor’s recommendation to use cannabis.
CBD — Cannabidiol — the second most common active ingredient in cannabis. Does not cause euphoria. A powerful anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic and antianxiety drug.
CBN — Cannabinol. A degraded version of THC. Causes sedation.
Dispensary — A shop where patients purchase medical marijuana.
Edibles — Food and drink infused with the active ingredients in cannabis.
Endocannabinoid system — A primary electrochemical signaling system in the nerves of all complex life. Discovered in 1989. Regulates sleep, appetite, mood, reproduction and other functions.
Euphoria — Medical term for feeling “high.” Feelings of joy, happiness, amusement or contentment.
Extract — A processed, pure form of cannabis. Can appear as a resin or oil or powder.
Flower — Shopping term for dried, cured cannabis flower buds.
Marijuana — Mexican slang for cannabis popularized in the 19th century; adopted as a legal term for cannabis in the United States by 1937.
Proposition 215 — The Compassionate Use Act of 1996, which created medical defenses against prosecution for pot patients in California.
Proposition 64 — The Adult Use of Marijuana Act of 2016, which legalized pot over the counter for adults 21 and older in California.
Psychoactive — Something that effects psychological function — like causing euphoria or sedation.
Terpenes — The smell and flavor molecules in cannabis, which are also therapeutically active.
THC — Tetrahydrocannabinol — the main active ingredient in marijuana. Isolated in 1967. It causes euphoria. Most research on the medical efficacy of marijuana for pain, nausea and spasms comes from studies of THC.
THC-A — The natural acid form of THC. Lacks psychoactivity, but has some of the therapeutic properties of THC.
Tincture — A liquid extract of cannabis designed for use in the mouth.
Titrate — The act of controlling the dose of a medicine.
Topical — A cannabis-infused preparation used on the skin.
Vaporizer — An electrical device that gently heats cannabis to release its active ingredients without burning the plant.
Vape pen — A portable, battery-powered handheld vaporizer often used with cannabis extracts.