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Crash Course in Cannabis Lingo

Whether you are a newbie to the cannabis sector or a seasoned user, there is always something new to learn. Today we are digging deeper into understanding all the lingo that surrounds Cannabis and its products.

Species: There are two main species in the Cannabis family. Cannabis sativa or C. sativa is known for its skinny light green leaves and tall slim plants. Cannabis indica or C. indica is known for its broad dark green leaves and short bushy plants. Self-deceleration forums online suggest that C. sativa is more stimulating and energy boosting while C. indica is thought to have more calming and relaxing effects. However, neither of these claims have been supported with clinical research. There are also many strains and varieties that are hybrids, which means a combination of sativa and indica species. These are becoming more popular with the increase of hybrid breeding. This allows more options for unique cannabinoid and terpene profiles which can lead to new perceived therapeutic effects and experiences.

Cannabinoids: this refers to a class of compounds that are uniquely found in Cannabis and act on Cannabinoid Receptors (found throughout the body). This is where THC and CBD fall under, however there exist more than a hundred others. They are found in the trichomes, which are the flowering parts of the plant. The concentrations and compounds present vary depending on the strain.

Chemotypes: or chemovar is a simple classification system for cannabis strains based solely on cannabinoid content.

Chemotype I: Mostly THC, generally used for recreational purposes.

Chemotype II: More CBD than THC or balanced, generally used for medicinal

purposes and therapeutic effects. Chemotype III: Mostly CBD, generally used for medicinal purposes and therapeutic


Note: these chemotypes do not consider terpene profiles or any other factor that may change the overall characteristics of the cannabis product.

Terpenes: contrary to cannabinoids, exist in many other plants as well, such as hops (yes, the stuff in beer). They are a class of compounds primarily responsible for the way plants smell. Some common terpenes are Limonene (citrus), Myrcene (herbal), Pinene (pine), Caryophyllene (peppery) and Terpinolene (fruity). They also have the potential to act on different receptors in the body for possible therapeutic effects (this is still being studied).

Written by Tori Scherle

MSc Biology Candidate specializing in Cannabis and Natural Health product interactions with the body.

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