The canna-basics for beginners

Published Nov 21, 2022 02:00 p.m. ET
iStock / Matthew Brodeur

This is the perfect guide for everyone from beginners to seasoned users who have been out of the loop for a while. Whether you’re looking to get clarity about something you’ve heard, or you just want to be able to contribute and listen to conversations that have to do with weed without getting confused, this is an excellent place to start. Here, you’ll find all of the most popular cannabis terms and their meaning.


Blunts are a fancy kind of cannabis roll, generally wrapped in a tobacco leaf of emptied cigar casing for a boost in effects and flavour.


Bongs are devices that may consist of several different types of material including metal, glass, plastic, silicone or wood, and they often have a chamber that is filled with water to filter out and cool down the smoke.


The term bowls can be used in a couple of different ways. Generally, people use it in reference to the bowl on a pipe or bong, a small piece that is filled with cannabis. However, some might ask “Do you want to smoke some bowls?” in which case they’re asking if you want to get high.


There are more than 100 different cannabinoids and microcannabinoids that are produced by cannabis plants, but we tend to only focus on the most active ones, like THC, the euphoric cannabinoid, or CBD which is the one that doesn’t induce psychoactive effects. These compounds deliver varying effects that significantly impact how a product might make you feel.


Cannabis concentrates come in all different colours textures and combinations, but they all have one thing in common and it is that they are made by extracting certain components of the plant materials. All of the unnecessary waste is removed in this process which is why it is often far more potent than flower. Concentrates can be eaten, smoked, drank, or applied topically for relief, depending on the type.


A dab is any kind of smokable cannabis concentrate that can be used in a dab rig.

Dab rig

A dab rig is similar to a bong. Only instead of a traditional glass bowl, the device is equipped with an accessory that can be heated to just the right temperature to vaporize cannabis concentrate on contact.

Dab tool

A dab tool is usually made out of metal, and it will be long, with a flared or curved tip, which is perfect for scraping and scooping up cannabis concentrate (aka dabs).

Entourage effect

The entourage effect is something that happens when all of the cannabis compounds work in synergy to produce an amplified or enhanced range of sensations. To achieve this state, many consumers will combine several different strains of cannabis with a heavy focus on a substantial THC and CBD content.


Flower is cannabis, the green stuff that you smoke, and it’s what naturally contains the highest concentration of all of the wonderful elements consumers seek.


A grinder will make fast work of busting up flower so that it burns or rolls with ease. They come in manual and electric versions, with the former utilizing teeth and the latter working more like a good quality coffee bean grinder.



Grind is what some consumers call cannabis flower after it’s been run through a grinder.


Technically, pretty much all cannabis strains on the market today are hybridized in some way but the term is generally used when strains with both Sativa and Indica genetics are combined.


Indica is one type of cannabis plant that is often believed to provide more intense and sedating effects, though this isn’t always true.


A joint is a simple cannabis roll that makes the flower easy to smoke. They are wrapped in thin paper and sometimes equipped with a filter, much like you’d expect with a cigarette.


Pistils are the yellow, orange, red, or brown hairs that form on the outside of flower (aka buds).


Sativa is one type of cannabis plant, and it is generally associated with milder, uplifting effects when compared to Indica, even though that’s not always the case.


Shake is a word that’s used to describe the bits and pieces that fall off of flower and gather in the bottom of your storage container, but some also use it in reference to some dried cannabis leaf.


Terpenes are natural compounds that are produced by cannabis and they are primarily responsible for the smell and taste of a strain. They also heavily impact the effects that consumers experience, and some even have proven medicinal benefits.


Trichomes are the powerhouses of the cannabis plant, containing the most potent concentration of compounds.

Vape pen

A vape pen is a portable tool that makes it easy to vaporize cannabis products, which allows consumers to inhale them without the added risk of combustion.


Vaporizers can be portable, but they are often tabletop devices that require electricity to function, as they heat up various cannabis products just enough to vaporize the cannabinoids and terpenes without burning empty plant materials.

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