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Zera Hemp Labs 101: Glossary of Terms

by Zera Hemp Labs / June 2, 2021

Since the 2018 Farm Bill, the distribution of hemp has become federally legal. Hemp’s dominant compound cannabidiol (CBD) continuously trends within the market, and as the years go by, the influence of hemp and CBD increases along with the need for information.

However, there is more to this industry beyond hemp and CBD. There is much to learn about the structures, compounds, and complexities of the plant. We believe these resources are helpful for people interested in expanding their knowledge and awareness of the hemp industry.

Here is our comprehensive glossary of common concepts and terms that one may encounter when learning about the cannabis plant:

 

Glossary of Terms

 

A

2-AG

2-AG is the most prevalent endocannabinoid in the body. Also known as 2-Arachidonoylglycerol, this endocannabinoid is a part of a group of molecules that play an essential role in several bodily processes like immunity and inflammation.

2-AG is known to regulate appetite, immune system function, and pain management by interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system receptors.

 

Activated

An ingredient or product is activated once it has undergone heating, also referred to as decarboxylation. This procedure transforms the component from its natural form to its activated state and becomes more beneficial for the user.

 

Aeroponics 

Aeroponics is a cultivation technique where plants are grown in an environment that is dependent on air instead of soil. In this process, seeds are planted in foam then placed into tiny pots that hold the stem. The plants are nurtured with light and a mist enriched with nutrients.

 

Agricultural hemp

Agricultural hemp is a variety that contains less than 0.3% of THC concentration per dry weight of the plant. 

 

Alcohol extraction 

Alcohol extraction is done to extract cannabinoids from cannabis plants. The cannabis is first soaked in alcohol, such as ethanol, to remove the plant material. The alcohol is removed through evaporation.

 

Anandamide

Anandamide is a major endocannabinoid naturally found in the body. Like 2-AG, anandamide is a part of the body’s endocannabinoid system, altering functions like memory, cognition, mood, learning, and various motor functions. THC produces psychoactive effects and alters these functions in the body by how it mimics the way anandamide interacts with the endocannabinoid system.

 

Aroma

Aroma pertains to the variety of scents for each strain. Some examples of strain aromas are citrusy, musky, or earthy. 



B

Bioavailability

Bioavailability refers to the rate at which the body’s system absorbs a drug. It is an important measurement tool as it determines the proper dosage for non-intravenously administered drugs. 

 

Broad-spectrum

Broad-spectrum products fall between full-spectrum and isolate products. Broad-spectrum products offer some benefits of the entourage effect (the combined therapeutic effect of cannabinoids and terpenes) because they contain both terpenes and cannabinoids, except for THC.

For people who cannot have or do not want traces of THC in their system, broad-spectrum products are a more suitable choice than isolates. However, they are not as effective as full-spectrum products.

 

Bud

A bud is an embryonic plant shoot, also known as the flower of a mature cannabis plant. The buds are harvested as they contain the highest concentration of active cannabinoids.



C

Cannabichromene (CBC)

Cannabichromene is one of the 120 cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. CBC is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid, meaning it does not evoke a high sensation.

 

Cannabidiol (CBD) 

Cannabidiol is one of the most prevalent cannabinoids in cannabis. Cannabidiol (CBD) is renownedly known to treat and relieve a vast array of medical complications. Research also suggests that it is helpful for the treatment of anxiety, inflammation, and pain.

 

Cannabidiol extract (CBD extract)

Farmers extract CBD from the plant, which ensures the absence of any THC. Void of any psychoactivity, CBD extract is derived from the hemp plant and can be used for various health and wellbeing purposes.

CBD extract comes in oil form and can range from full-spectrum (all cannabinoids and terpenes), broad-spectrum (all terpenes and cannabinoids except THC), and isolate (pure CBD).

 

Cannabidiol isolate (CBD isolate)

CBD isolate is a powder that is created from a single CBD molecule. In its powder form, the isolate takes on a crystal-like consistency. The process also removes other cannabinoids, terpenoids, and plant materials to create a compound that is an active ingredient in various CBD products.

 

Cannabidiol oil (CBD oil)

CBD oil is made from extracting CBD from the hemp plant, then diluting it with a carrier oil like hemp seed oil or coconut oil. CBD oil is commonly used as an ingredient in cannabis tinctures, vaporizers, topicals, capsules, edibles, and other products.

 

Cannabinoid 

Any of the several naturally occurring chemical constituents of cannabis or hemp, including some that possess intoxicating properties, such as THC, THCV, and CBN.

 

Cannabinoid 1 (CB1) receptor 

CB1 receptors help regulate biological function. CB1 receptors are found in several regions of the brain and spinal cord. These receptors regulate the effects of cannabinoids on these body organs.

 

Cannabinoid 2 (CB2) receptor 

CB2 receptors are present in the white blood cells and the immune system. CB2 receptors regulate the effect of cannabinoids on these cells and body organs.

 

Cannabinoid profile 

A cannabinoid profile is shown on a Certificate of Analysis (COA), depicting the concentration of active cannabinoids in a product or sample.

 

Cannabinol 

Cannabinol is a crystalline, mildly intoxicating cannabinoid found in small quantities in the cannabis plant. Cannabinol is a product of THC, meaning it has a strong sedating effect.

 

Cannabis 

Cannabis refers to the three varieties of plants: Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis. Cannabis contains more than 120 cannabinoids, which are the chemical components found in the plant.

 

Cannabis indica 

Also known as marijuana. Cannabis indica is a strain of cannabis known for its higher concentrations of THC. The strain is most known for its sedative properties. Because it contains high concentrations of THC, it is famous as a recreational and psychoactive strain.

 

Cannabis sativa

Also known as hemp. This herbaceous plant has been harvested throughout human history. It is farmed for marijuana and hemp. Additionally, hemp seed oil and hemp fiber are derived and gathered from different parts of this plant.

 

Capsule

Capsules are one of the delivery methods for CBD oils and extracts, known for their convenience in being easy to consume. 

 

CBDA

CBDA is the raw and acidic form of CBD. This acidic form is in its natural state and has not been altered in any manner.

 

Certificate of Analysis (COA)

A COA is a document from an accredited laboratory certifying the number of cannabinoids in a sample or product. The report exists to benefit the consumer as much as the producer. It guarantees quality assurance for both parties.

Having a valid COA helps to avoid mislabeled, low-quality, or fake products. A reputable company and laboratory will always provide one.

 

CO2 extraction

The carbon dioxide extraction process utilizes changes in pressure and temperature to create changes in carbon dioxide, drawing out the plant’s components. The result is a clean and safe oil with a long shelf life.

 

Concentrates (or extracts) 

Cannabis concentrates are significantly more potent than standard cannabis buds or flowers. They are processed to maintain only the most therapeutic compounds while removing excess plant material. Concentrates are usually developed for medical applications.

 

Cross-breeding

Cross-breeding is the process of breeding various cannabis plants to produce a new strain. After cross-breeding, the new strain adopts traits from both parent plants, ranging from potency, flavor profile, appearance, and more.

 

Cultivator 

A cultivator is an individual who grows cannabis plants (hemp or marijuana), usually with a focus on soil quality and plant health.

 

Curing 

A process that preserves the cannabis plant and retains its terpenes and therapeutic properties. Curing entails removing moisture from the flowers under controlled environmental conditions.



D

Dabs 

Dabs are concentrated doses of cannabis formulated by extracting CBD or THC using a solvent like butane; the result is reminiscent of wax. CBD dabbing is known for its immediate therapeutic effects.

 

Delivery method

Delivery methods pertain to how a drug enters the body to produce the desired therapeutic effects. The delivery method of a drug affects how quickly it starts to work. Some delivery methods include ingestible capsules, gummies, and tinctures, as well as topical lotions, salves, and lip balms.

 

Delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol

Known the most for its abbreviation of THC, this is a primary cannabinoid found in cannabis. THC is responsible for psychoactive effects. It affects endocannabinoid receptors in the brain and spinal cord. Some do not prefer the high feeling or other side effects of the compound and prefer hemp-based products which contain less than 0.3% of THC.

 

Dispensary 

Dispensaries are designed to give people a safe and secure location to gather information and purchase cannabis products. Laws regarding access vary by state.

 

Dosing 

Dosing is the quantity of medicine that is prescribed for an application. Dosing depends on therapeutic goals, as well as how it is ingested and applied.



E

Edibles

Edibles are food that contains some form of hemp or medical cannabis. Edibles come in many forms: candy, coffee, baked goods, martinis, butter, and cooking oil.

 

Endocannabinoid enhancer 

An endocannabinoid enhancer is a drug that enhances the activity of the endocannabinoid system.

 

Endocannabinoid receptors 

Endocannabinoid receptors are found throughout the body and interact with the compounds in cannabis. There are two types of endocannabinoid receptors: CB1 receptors and CB2 receptors.

 

Endocannabinoid system

Also known as the ECS, the primary function of this mammalian system is to maintain bodily homeostasis or keep the body balanced even when the environment changes.

Scientists believe that cannabis is effective because phytocannabinoids mimic endocannabinoids. Endocannabinoid receptors are found throughout the body, and the system plays a role in many of the body’s processes, including appetite, sleep, stress, pain, memory, and immune function.

 

Entourage effect

The entourage effect is all about teamwork. It results from the many components in the cannabis plant interacting together with the human body to produce a more substantial effect than any single component on its own.

Full-spectrum CBD products incorporate CBD with other naturally occurring terpenes and cannabinoids to be more effective than their isolate states.

 

Ethanol extraction

Ethanol extraction is the method of using high-grade alcohol to gently pull the active compounds from the plant, resulting in pure hemp oil. Oils extracted using this method are further extracted with chromatography to remove the remaining traces of ethanol.

 

Extraction

Extraction is the process of attaining CBD oil from hemp. There are various methods of extracting CBD from cannabis plants, including CO2 and cold ethanol extraction.



F

Farm Bill

The Farm Bill made CBD products legal to purchase and distribute in all 50 states. Under the Farm Bill, industrial hemp is federally legal as long as it contains less than .3 % THC. 

 

FDA

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is a government agency regulating cannabis and cannabis-derived products since the 2018 Farm Bill. The FDA has approved the CBD product Epidiolex as a treatment for epilepsy.

The agency's relationship with the cannabis industry is constantly evolving. Look out for updates to stay informed.

 

Feminization

Feminization is the process of breeding female plant seeds to produce more female plants. Only female cannabis plants produce cannabinoids, which are responsible for the physiological benefits of the plant.

 

Flower 

Flower is the smokable portion of the female cannabis plant.

 

Full-spectrum

Full-spectrum CBD is full of terpenes, cannabinoids, flavonoids, and fatty acids found in hemp, all of which are believed to have therapeutic value. Full-spectrum CBD can give you every potential therapeutic benefit the plant has to offer.



G

Genotype

Genotype refers to the genetic building blocks that the plant was created from, specifically the genes that were isolated and combined to create the plant's genetic makeup.

 

Germination

Germination is the start of the plant’s growth cycle, precisely when the seed cracks and sprouts a seedling. This process is intentionally triggered to force cannabis seeds out of their dormant state and back into the regular growth life cycle.



H

Hemp

Hemp is a distinct strain of the Cannabis sativa plant, often grown for industrial use. Hemp is used in CBD products and, according to the federal rule, must contain less than 0.3% THC.

 

Hemp oil

Hemp oil products range in strength, which is due to how the plant is extracted. Hemp oil is organic and beneficial for many uses. From cooking to pain relief, hemp oil is a substance that can be incorporated into any mixture or application method to attain healing and therapeutic effects.

 

Hemp seed oil

Hemp seed oil is created by pressing hemp seeds into a liquid. 

 

Homogeneity 

Homogeneity refers to the genetic consistency across strains of cannabis, such as the distribution of THC or CBD in an edible.



I

Industrial hemp

Industrial hemp is grown specifically for industrial purposes, including clothing, textiles, food, biodegradable plastic, biofuel, and medicine. Hemp is federally legal in the United States under the Farm Bill as long as it contains less than 0.3% of THC.

 

Intoxicating

Causing or capable of causing intoxication. For example, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) causes intoxicating effects, but cannabidiol (CBD) does not.

 

ISO 17025 

This is the general requirement specified by the International Organization for Standardization/International Electrotechnical Commission (ISO/IEC) for the competence of testing laboratories.



L

Life cycle

Cannabis plants go through two cycles in their lifetime: the vegetative stage (when the plant is actively growing) and the flowering stage (when the plant is producing flowers). When the plant’s light exposure falls below 12 hours daily, it triggers the flowering cycle.

 

Liposomes

Liposomes are natural sacs that contain the hemp oil used in a variety of products. The tiny sacs work to improve the effectiveness of the hemp oil.



M

Marijuana

Marijuana is the general term that refers to female Cannabis sativa plants that produce flowers containing phytocannabinoids. They are known for their medicinal and psychoactive properties.

 

Microdosing

Microdosing is a technique that involves consuming minimal doses of a substance throughout the day. It is beneficial in allowing the user to maintain stable levels of the substance in the system. 



N

Nabilone (Cesamet)

A synthetic THC pharmaceutical approved in the United States to treat nausea and vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy.

 

Nanoemulsion

Nanoemulsion is a water-soluble process of extracting hemp droplet particles and improving the surface area and bioactivity of the oil.

 

Non-activated

A product that is non-activated means that it has not been heated to activate its key ingredients.

 

Non-intoxicating

Not intoxicating; incapable of causing intoxication. Unlike Tetrahydrocannabidol (THC), Cannabidiol (CBD) is non-intoxicating, as it does not cause intoxicating effects.



O

Organic

Organic foods and products are derived from farming methods that promote ecological balance. They restrict the use of pesticides, fertilizers, and synthetics. These practices promote the health of the environment and the consumer.

Organic products appeal to those who support sustainable farming and care about the safety and quality of what goes into their bodies.



P

Packaging 

Packaging pertains to any container or wrapper used for enclosing or containing cannabis products for retailing or testing. To learn more about how to package hemp material for testing, click here.

 

Pesticide 

Pesticides are chemical or organic substances used on cannabis plants to protect against insects and fungus. Some pesticides used on cannabis can sometimes have undesirable effects. This is an EPA-approved list of non-toxic and safe pesticides to use on hemp plants.

 

Phytocannabinoid

Phytocannabinoids, also known as cannabinoids, are chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant that mimic endocannabinoids naturally produced by the body. There are approximately 113 different phytocannabinoids in the cannabis plant that have unique effects on the body.

 

Potency

Potency is a measure of a substance's strength expressed in the amount required to produce an effect in the body. A high-potency drug evokes a more significant response even at a low dose. In contrast, a low-potency drug evokes a slight reaction at low concentrations and requires higher doses for a similar effect.

 

Psychoactive

A property that affects brain function by interacting with the central nervous system, resulting in an altered cognition and behavior. THC is the primary psychoactive cannabinoid in cannabis plants.



R

Raw oil

Raw oil is the extraction of oil from the hemp plant. The extraction includes all the cannabinoids in their natural state.

 

Receptors

Receptors are molecules in our cells with an affinity for a specific chemical group, molecule, or virus. In the endocannabinoid system, receptors have a relationship with endocannabinoids.

 

Route of administration 

The route of administration is the method a drug or substance is taken into the body. An example is CBD in pill form (oral administration) or applied to the skin (topical application).



S

Salve

A salve is an ointment infused with ingredients from the cannabis plant to be applied directly to the skin.

 

Schedule 1 drug 

Schedule 1 drugs are not accepted for medical use and have a high potential for abuse. Marijuana falls under this classification, but hemp does not.

 

Seed

A seed is the flowering plant’s unit of reproduction, capable of developing into another plant. A male plant must pollinate the female plant to produce seeds.

 

Strain

A strain is a cannabis plant bred for specific characteristics and utilized for medicinal, recreational, or industrial purposes. For example, industrial hemp is a strain that contains more CBD and less THC, making it useful for medicinal purposes.

 

Sublingual

A term that is Latin for “under the tongue." Sublingual is one of the methods for administering drugs by mouth. It involves placing the substance under the tongue, where it can be absorbed into the blood vessels and begin circulating throughout the body.



T

Terpene

Terpenes are aromatic oils that lend various flavors such as berry, mint, pine, and others to different strains. There are more than 100 different terpenes, and every strain has its respective terpene profile.

The effects of terpenes are amplified in the presence of other compounds. This combination is known as the entourage effect.

 

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) 

THC is the main active psychoactive constituent of cannabis. It is responsible for the high sensation.

 

tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCA) 

THCA is the acidic state and precursor to THC. As the plant dries, THCA converts to THC. 

 

Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV)

THCV is a psychoactive phytocannabinoid known as the sibling of THC. The cannabinoid is effective in suppressing appetite.

 

Tincture

A delivery method, typically administered sublingually, is quickly absorbed and distributed throughout the body.

 

Topical

Topicals are of the delivery methods of cannabis, where the product is applied directly to the skin, typically as a lotion or salve, over the areas that need it. Hemp or CBD topicals can be used for joint pain, muscle aches, cramps, swelling, or chronic skin irritation like psoriasis and eczema.

 

Trichomes

Trichomes are crystal-like components of the cannabis plant that contain the most cannabinoid content.

 

Trimming

When the cannabis plant has been harvested, a grower trims the plant of its leaves, placing focus on the remaining buds.



V

Vaping 

A delivery method of cannabis. Cannabis flowers or concentrate is heated in a vaporizing device (vaporizer) to a temperature below the point of combustion to produce vapor.



W

Weed

Weed is the slang term for marijuana or Cannabis sativa.

 

Whole plant

The whole plant pertains to broad extracts containing a spectrum of cannabinoids and other components of cannabis, such as terpenes and phenols.

Unlike isolated CBD or THC, whole-plant products maintain the integrity of the plant by preserving multiple compounds that work together, also known as the entourage effect.

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