Important Terms to Help You Understand Medical Cannabis


With the proliferation of medical cannabis has come a whole new language for people previously unfamiliar with the cannabis plant and its potential medical use. Some of the terms are pretty easy to figure out. Others remain elusive if one doesn’t take the time to look them up. Then there are those terms that do not seem to make any sense. Either way, not knowing the language makes it tough to understand the finer details of medical cannabis.

The goal of this post is to increase your understanding by defining some important terms. The more you know the language, the easier you will find it to understand podcasts, blog posts, and news articles related to the medical cannabis space.

1. Cannabis

Cannabis is a flowering plant in the Cannabaceae family. People often assume that all cannabis is marijuana, but that is not the case. Cannabis is a genus with multiple species underneath it. Those species include both marijuana and industrial hemp.

2. Cannabis Sativa, Cannabis Indica

Both cannabis sativa and cannabis indica are cultivars of the cannabis plant. Think of cultivars as variations. The two variations present different combinations of cannabinoids and terpenes. Some are higher in THC while others have more CBD.

3. Cannabidiol (CBD)

CBD is a chemical compound found in cannabis plants. It is known as a cannabinoid due to its ability to activate cannabinoid receptors in the brain. CBD does not induce euphoric feelings.

4. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)

THC is another cannabinoid found in cannabis plants. It is the cannabinoid that induces the marijuana high.

5. Medical Cannabis

Medical cannabis is a group of products derived from THC or CBD from which medical benefits can be derived. These are products that are recommended to treat certain medical conditions. They include cannabis flower, vaping liquids, edibles, oils, and tinctures.

In order to be a legal CBD product under the law, a cannabis product cannot contain more than 0.3% THC by volume. Likewise, industrial hemp plants cultivated for the purposes of extracting CBD must limit their THC content to 0.3%.

6. Medical Cannabis Pharmacy

A medical cannabis pharmacy is a retail operation legally allowed to dispense medical cannabis products to patients. Deseret Wellness, in Park City, Utah, is a good example. They can only sell their products to patients with valid medical cannabis cards. They are not allowed to sell for recreational purposes.

7. Medical Cannabis Card

A medical cannabis card is a state-issued card that gives the patient the legal right to possess and use medical cannabis. In most states, cards can only be obtained with a doctor’s recommendation. Note that a medical cannabis card is not the same thing as a letter of recommendation.

8. Cannabis Processor

A cannabis processor is a business entity that turns cannabis plant material into usable retail products. Processors separate marijuana flower from the rest of the plant and package it for sale. They also take plant material and process it to extract CBD, THC, and other cannabinoids and terpenes. What they extract becomes the active ingredients in medical cannabis products.

9. Cannabis Tester

A cannabis tester is a business entity that runs lab tests on both plant material and finished products. Tests are run to maintain regulatory compliance and guarantee product purity.

The terms listed in this post barely scratch the surface. To be sure, the medical cannabis space has a language all its own. If you are new to medical cannabis, it may take some time to learn to speak the language. But be patient. The more you learn, the more fluent you will become.

Leave A Reply