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A Glossary of Common Marijuana Terms: Do You Know the Meaning of…?

July 31, 2015  |  Falmouth Enterprise

Dr. Michael Bihari

Marijuana continues to be a controversial topic. As more states make weed legal for medical or recreational use, the perception that pot is safe grows, especially among youth. In surveys conducted in Falmouth High School, students were asked about their perception of risk of using marijuana. In 2009, 62% of students (grades 9 through 12) said it is risky to use pot. In 2013, that number dropped to 48%, a significant change.

With legalization comes a whole new marijuana vocabulary. See how many of these terms you know:

420: A term used to denote periods during which marijuana use is promoted by the “cannabis community” - it usually refers to the date, the 20th of April or a time, 04:20 PM or AM; marijuana “happy hour.”

Addiction: A complex and often chronic brain disorder involving compulsive drug seeking and use, despite serious health and social consequences. Drug addiction disrupts circuits in the brain that are responsible for reward, motivation, learning, judgment and memory. About 1 in 6 people who start using marijuana as a teen become addicted.

BHO: Butane Hash Oil (BHO) is an extremely potent concentrate of cannabinoids created by dissolving marijuana in butane (lighter fluid). Also known as wax, honey oil, earwax or shatter depending on the manufacturing method. BHO’s potency is as high as 90%. It is called dabbing when you smoke BHO.

Blazed: One of the many words used for being high on marijuana.

Blunts: A cigar that has been hollowed out and filled with marijuana. Blunts are popular because they are inconspicuous and can hold more marijuana than joints. The cigar rap also gives smokers the ability to have different flavored cannabis like grape, watermelon or peach.

Bongs: Also known as a water pipe; is a cannabis smoking apparatus that filters the smoke through water before reaching the lungs.

Brain Effects of Marijuana: Pot alters short-term memory and judgment, and can impair coordination and balance. Long-term may decrease IQ.

Bubbler: A handheld pipe (normally made of blown glass) that has a water reservoir at the bottom that helps to cool the smoke; smaller and more portable than a bong.

Bud: The fresh or dried flowers of the female marijuana plant; the part of the cannabis plant you smoke or ingest.

Buzz: A mild marijuana high.

Cannabinoid: The chemical compounds found in the marijuana plant (both psychoactive and non-psychoactive) that act on the human body’s built-in cannabinoid receptors. 

Cannabinoid Receptor: The receptor in the brain that recognizes THC and other active ingredients in marijuana.

Capsules: Marijuana pills, known as “cannabis caps” or weed pills are made by filling medication capsules with marijuana oil, wax or another extract.

Cannabis: The botanical name for the plant we know by so many other slang and colloquial terms: Hemp, Pot, Marijuana, Ganja, Weed.

Cotton Mouth: An extremely dry mouth from smoking or orally consuming marijuana.

Dab: A small amount of a marijuana concentrate.

Dabbing: The inhalation of a concentrated and highly potent form of THC, the psycho-active product in the marijuana plant. Involves using a dabber tool to gather some hash oil (BHO) and place it on the heated surface of a smoking device, commonly called a rig. Dabbing is similar to vaping.

Dispensary:  In Massachusetts, the licensed vendor and access point to purchase marijuana for medical use. 

Edibles: Any marijuana product that is can be consumed orally. For recreational use, most often baked into cookies or brownies.

Ganga: Another widely-used name for cannabis. The term ganja is often attributed to Rastafarian culture, but it is in fact the Hindi word for hemp, introduced to Jamaica by Indian indentured servants. 

Gravity Bong: A device using water and gravity to force the marijuana smoke into the lungs, often homemade using plastic bottles.

High: The mental change that occurs from smoking or ingesting marijuana, usually accompanied by an altered awareness of time.

Hippocampus: An area of the brain crucial for learning and memory; one region of the brain that contains a lot of THC (cannabinoid) receptors. When THC attaches to receptors in the hippocampus, it interferes with memory.

Hookah: A water pipe with four long stems to accommodate four smokers at once, originates back to the Middle East. 

Joints: A common name for homemade or purchased marijuana cigarettes; also known as cones, spliffs and doobies. Joints come in all shapes and sizes, from pinners (small) to fatties (large).

Marijuana: The smokable or edible leaves and buds of the female cannabis plant, the main psychoactive ingredient is THC.

Marijuana Concentrates (Dabs): A highly potent THC substance that is similar in appearance to either honey or butter and is used in a dabbing device. Various forms of these concentrates include:

  • hash oil or honey oil—a gooey liquid
  • wax or budder—a soft solid with a texture like lip balm
  • shatter—a hard, amber-colored solid

Mary Jane: A common street name for marijuana. The term and fictional lady character of ‘Mary Jane’ is a play on the sound of the pronunciation of “marijuana.”  When pot was more taboo, using the term ‘Mary Jane’ was an undercover way of referring to the plant. 

Paranoia: A strong tendency to feel that you cannot trust other people or that other people have a bad opinion of you; a common mental effect with marijuana use.

Pipe: A tubular implement used for smoking marijuana; often made of colorful glass.

Pot: A common slang term for marijuana.

Pot Brownies: Brownies laced with marijuana or THC; made famous in the 1960s by Alice B. Toklas in her infamous cookbook.

Pothead: A person who smokes marijuana all the time. Usually used in a derogatory manner to describe a heavy user of marijuana. 

Psychoactive Drug: A drug that changes the way the brain works.

Recreational Drug: Refers to a drug used for personal use rather than as a medication.

Reefer: An old term for marijuana used in the 1930s, 40s and 50s. The slang term was popularized through the movie Reefer Madness, an infamous propaganda piece that attempted to demonize the cannabis plant and its users

Rig: The term for the glass pipes used for smoking concentrates (dabbing), also called “oil rig.”

Stoned: Slang term used to describe someone who’s high from marijuana.

Stoner: Slang for somebody who smokes marijuana often.

THC: Abbreviation for tetrahydrocannabinol, a psychoactive component of marijuana. THC is responsible for the majority of the plant’s psychoactive properties

Tinctures: Liquids extracted from the cannabis plant using alcohol; used by placing drops under the tongue for fast absorption. 

Toke: To inhale marijuana smoke.

Vape Pen: A small, portable vaporizer that uses either pre-filled concentrate cartridges or has a chamber for the user to load their own marijuana concentrates or flower. Vape pens are increasingly popular for their discreet, compact design and absence of a traditional “weed” smell when exhaling. 

Vaporization (Vaping): Vaping is using devices that vaporize the active ingredients in marijuana. An alternative to smoking and burning marijuana, a vaporizer activates the ingredients in the plant with enough heat for the user to inhale. 

Water Pipe: A device used for smoking marijuana that filters the smoke through water before it is inhaled. Types of water pipes include bongs, bubblers, and hookahs.

Weed: A common slang term for marijuana. 

As more medical marijuana dispensaries open around the state and the debate heats up about recreational marijuana legalization, many of these words will become part of our vocabulary.

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