The ABCs of medical cannabis

Shopping for cannabis introduces you to a new vocabulary — filled with acronyms and unfamiliar terms. The more you learn, the better you’ll be able to select the most appropriate cannabis products for your health and wellness goals. Below are some of the more common terms you’re likely to encounter.

BHO — Butane hash oil, a potent cannabis concentrate with high THC levels. It’s made by dissolving marijuana plant material in butane or another solvent.

Cannabinoids — Receptors and enzymes in the human body respond to chemical compounds unique to cannabis called cannabinoids. They are responsible for the various therapeutic, and in the case of THC, psychoactive, effects of cannabis. There are more than 85 known cannabinoids including the two most abundant cannabinoids THC and CBD.

Cannabis — Cannabis is a plant genus. Marijuana refers to the female cannabis plant which has flowers. There are three flowering species (indica, sativa, and ruderalis).

CBD — CBD, or cannabidiol, is a chemical compound (cannabinoid) found in cannabis. It offers health and wellness benefits without the “high” associated with THC. CBD is commonly used to treat a number of health conditions including anxiety, inflammation, pain, autoimmune disorders, migraines, seizures, and fibromyalgia.

Hemp — Hemp comes from the fibrous parts of the male cannabis plant. Because it comes from the male plant, it does not contain the cannabinoids found in the flowering female plants. Thus, it is not used therapeutically. Rather, it is commonly used in beauty products, ropes, paper, and other products.

Indica — Indica is one of the three flowering species of the cannabis plant. This species tends to have higher CBD and lower THC. Tends to produce a more relaxing, sedative effect. Indica is commonly used in medical cannabis designed to treat nausea, acute pain, sleep disorders and more.

Marijuana — Though the terms marijuana and cannabis are often used interchangeably, marijuana refers only to the flowering female cannabis plant.

Phenotype — Phenotype refers a plant’s general physical properties such as color, height, branch structure, leaf type, and other observable traits.

Ruderalis — Ruderalis is one of the three flowering species of the cannabis plant. This species flowers based on the age of the plant rather than based on light exposure like the other two species. It has naturally low THC concentrations.

Sativa — Sativa is one of the three flowering species of the cannabis plant. This species tends to have lower CBD and higher TCH. It tends to produce a more energizing effect. Sativa is commonly used in medical cannabis designed to treat anxiety, depression, chronic pain, and appetite.

Strain — Strains are varieties of a given plant species, which are developed by breeders to produce specific traits and characteristics. For example, Tikun Olam has produced several proprietary cannabis strains, each with specific chemical properties and proportions. This allows for more effective treatments of medical conditions.

Terpenes — Terpenes are the organic hydrocarbons in a plant’s essential oil that gives off the plant’s scent. Thus, a plant may smell spicy, sweet, sour, or bitter.

THC — THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the chemical component found in some strains of cannabis that results in psychoactive effects or the “high.” It is the most abundant cannabinoid. In addition to its high, THC is also an effective treatment for a number of medical conditions.