Table 1

Cannabis terminology*

CannabisAll plant materials, components, and derivative products of the cannabis plant, including flowers, leaves, seeds, stalks, and other materials and cannabis resins, extractions, and other derivative products.
Cannabis is listed in Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act in the USA.
Marijuana, marihuanaHistorical slang with Mexican roots adopted in the 1930s during the American prohibition efforts. Marijuana continues to be used interchangeably with cannabis in reference to plant strains containing high THC. Given the racial stigma, the word marijuana is becoming less used in favor of cannabis.
HempDescribes a collection of cannabis cultivars with specific properties, namely high production of fiber and seeds with minimal production of THC.
Cultivars (varieties, strains)Distinct cultivars of the cannabis plant having unique genetic signature and expressing distinct chemical composition. Colloquially referred to as strains.
Cannabis extractsHighly concentrated preparations of cannabis which are produced via a variety of manufacturing techniques.
TerpenesAromatic compounds that exist in unique profiles in different strains and may provide some therapeutic benefits.
Cannabinoid-based medicinesA general term used to describe therapeutic cannabis or cannabinoid-based products in which cannabinoids are the primary active pharmaceutical ingredient. This term is applied regardless of origin as plant-derived or synthetic cannabinoids.
Pharmaceutical or prescription cannabinoidsCannabinoid-based treatments that have been approved as medical treatments for specific indications. Examples include nabilone (Cesamet), dronabinol (Marinol), cannabidiol (CBD; epidiolex), and nabiximols (1:1 preparation of THC:CBD, eg, Sativex, not available in the USA).
Medical cannabisCannabis-based treatments that are not approved medical treatments but have been legalized and regulated for patient access. Medical cannabis is differentiated from non-medical cannabis by a unique access program and a required medical authorization.
Recreational cannabis useNon-medical use for pleasure or leisure
Recent cannabis useUse within the past 30 days
Heavy cannabis useDaily or near-daily use
EndocannabinoidsEndogenous cannabinoids produced by the body and active at cannabinoid receptors. The most well-known endocannabinoids are anandamide and 2-arachidonolyglycerol
PhytocannabinoidsCannabinoids that are produced by the cannabis plant, primarily in the female flower. More than 100 unique cannabinoids have been identified. Common phytocannabinoids include Δ9-THC, CBD, cannabinol, and cannabigerol.
∆9-THCTHC is the primary cannabinoid in almost all varietals of cannabis. THC is the primary psychoactive agent and contributes the most therapeutic effects as well as adverse effects and intoxication of cannabis.
CBDCBD is usually the other well-characterized cannabinoid found in cannabis. It has potential analgesic, anti-epileptic, anxiolytic, and anti-inflammatory properties, which inspired the selective breeding of cannabis strains with high concentrations of CBD and minimal THC concentration.
  • *Information extracted from references 307 308.

  • CBD, cannabidiol; ∆9-THC, ∆9-tetrahydrocannabinol.