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A reminder that this article from our magazine Visions was published more than 1 year ago. It is here for reference only. Some information in it may no longer be current. It also represents the point of the view of the author only. See the author box at the bottom of the article for more about the contributor.

Cannabis Glossary

Reprinted from "Cannabis" issue of Visions Journal, 2009, 5 (4), p. 6

Additives: Substances added to marijuana, usually to enhance the experience. Additives like herbs or tobacco may simply change the taste or aroma of the marijuana. Drugs like cocaine, salvia or PCP may be added to produce a different high. When other drugs are added to marijuana, it is also called laced marijuana.

Bong:  A smoking device similar to a hookah.  Smoke is drawn through water to cool and filter it. Also known as a water pipe. Inhaling smoke from a bong may be referred to as taking a bong rip or a haul.

Cannabinoid: A group of chemical compounds found in marijuana. It generally includes substances related to tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and substances that bind to cannabinoid receptors.

Cannabis derivative: Extracts from the Cannabis sativa plant, usually in the form of an oil. Tinctures, which use alcohol to extract substances from plants, are also common. Derivatives can be natural or synthetic (man-made).

Cannabis forms: In general, five forms of cannabis are consumed: the flowers of the female plant, hashish (a resin created by heating and pressing glandular trichomes from the plant), kief (glandular trichomes from the cannabis plant), hash oil (an essential oil extracted using a solvent) and resin (a tar-like byproduct of heating the cannabis plant).

Cannabis sativa: The scientific name for the marijuana plant. The genus is Cannabis and the species is C. sativa.

Hookah:  A water pipe commonly used to smoke tobacco or herbal blends. Plant material may be heated directly or indirectly, and the smoke is drawn through water to cool and humidify it. Hookahs are also known as Shishas.

Joint: Popular slang for a marijuana cigarette.

Marihuana: An alternate spelling of “marijuana,” most common in the early 1900s. “Marihuana” appears in Canada’s Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. As a result, Health Canada uses “marihuana” in legal documents related to the Act, such as Marihuana Medical Access Regulations.

Marihuana Medical Access Regulations (MMAR): Canadian government regulations that allow approved and licensed patients to possess and use marijuana to treat specific medical illnesses or conditions. To read the Marihuana Medical Access Regulations online, visit:

Marihuana Medical Access Division (MMAD): a division of Health Canada that administers the Marihuana Medical Access Regulations.

Medicinal marijuana (or medical cannabis): Marijuana that is used to treat medical conditions or to lessen the symptoms of medical conditions.

Pipe: A smoking device. Material is placed in a bowl and lit. Smoke is then drawn through a stem and mouthpiece. A pipe used to smoke marijuana is often called a bowl.

Strains: Breeds of Cannabis that have been manipulated (such as through selective breeding) or cloned to enhance certain properties or to increase market value.

Vaporizer: A device to heat plant material until the active ingredients are released as vapour.

These definitions are adapted from trustworthy sources. We hope they will help readers to better understand some of the special terms used in this issue. They are purposely brief and in plain language. As such, these definitions may not include all nuances or variations of a term, and alternate or expanded definitions may be used by some organizations. These have been developed by editorial staff and may not be definitions in use by members of the BC Partners or its funder.


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