A Glossary of Terms for Cooking with Cannabis
Cannabis has a language unique unto itself, which often puts Kitchen Toke at odds with common word usage. AP style, the journalist’s guide for proper grammar and language usage developed by the Associated Press, helps with consistency.
Consider the main chemical in cannabis: tetrahydrocannabinol, better known as THC. The AP Stylebook says acronyms should be spelled out and defined on first reference. But when THC appears in every recipe and almost all of the articles, repeating the spelling and definition of tetrahydrocannabinol quickly becomes repetitive and superfluous.
Our glossary of terms resolves the matter. Look here for the definition or interpretation of must-
know terms to understand and successfully cook with cannabis.
Bud, bhang, bush, flower, ganja, grass, green, herb, weed Term for cannabis, named
for the part of the plant that’s smoked or consumed.
Budtender The cannabis know-it-all who actually knows it all, down to the most minute detail of a given strain. Budtenders typically staff dispensaries. See Strain.
Cannabinoid The chemical compounds unique to cannabis that provide relief for a myriad of conditions. More than 100 have been identified; THC (psychoactive), CBD and CBN (both nonpsychoactive) are the best known. Cannabinoids are hydrophobic but fat soluble, which makes butter, oil and other fats ideal vehicles for infusing cannabis in food. See CBD, CBN and THC.
Cannabinoid and terpene profile The chemical mix of a strain—cannabinoids and terpenes—that identifies their abilities for classification and use.
Cannabutter Butter infused with cannabis used to incorporate weed
in food. Best for dishes that benefit from butter’s flavor and richness,
such as baked goods and sauces. Ideal for baking, sauteing, basting and finishing dishes. See Pot brownies and Space cakes.
Canna oil Any oil infused with cannabis used to incorporate weed in food. Best for sauteing, salad dressings and any application that calls for oil, including homemade mayonnaise.
CBD, cannabidiol The dominating cannabinoid in cannabis that has no psychoactive effect but relieves pain, anxiety and other ailments. The Food and Drug Administration has declared CBD as “beneficial” and solicited public comment for anecdotal input. See Cannabinoid, Strain and THC.
CBN, cannabinol A cousin of CBD that typically does not create a high but is known for its sedating and pain-relieving attributes. Because CBN balances the body, it can suppress appetite in overeaters or stimulate it in undereaters.
Dabbing A method of consuming cannabis concentrate by heating the concentrate in a pipe, or dab rig, and inhaling its smoke.
Decarb, decarbing, decarboxylation Slowly heating cannabis to activate THC and other cannabinoids so they can be absorbed into the body. See Cannabinoid.
Endocannabinoid system Receptors in the human body that contribute to its ability to maintain homeostasis. If the body’s endocannabinoid system isn’t up to snuff, consuming plant cannabinoids is known to reduce inflammation and other painful symptoms. See Cannabinoid and CBD.
Entourage effect The theory that cannabinoids, including THC and CBD, along with other compounds in cannabis, such as terpenes, interact synergistically so that the medicinal impact of the whole plant is greater than the sum of its parts. See CBD, Terpenes and THC.
Ganjier Someone with a deep knowledge of and love for cannabis and the cannabis industry. The term is derived from the Hindi word for cannabis, ganja.
Hemp milk This plant-based milk is popular with vegans and edible lovers for its creaminess, nutty flavor and high fat content that allows cannabinoids to be better absorbed into one’s body. See Cannabutter
Hybrid strains Made by cross-breeding strains classified as indica or sativa for a combination of effects. See Indica, Sativa and Strain.
Indica An outdated classification for cannabis strains that attributed their sedative and anxiety-relieving effects to genetics. Conventional wisdom now considers the entire chemical mix of a strain. See Cannabinoid and terpene profile and Strain.
Kief, crystal, pollen A potent form of cannabis made from the trichomes of the plant. High in cannabinoids but low in flavor, this dried powder is ideal for cooking. Be aware of the increase in THC if kief is added to cannabutter or canna oil.
Lecithin A fatty substance found in plants, such as soybeans, and proteins, such as eggs, that acts
as an emulsifier. It’s often combined with cannabis-infused butter or oil and allegedly boosts the high associated with THC. See Cannabinoid and Cannabutter.
Microdosing Consuming smaller amounts (usually between one and 10 milligrams) of THC or another cannabinoid to achieve a balanced and longer-lasting therapeutic or relaxing effect. See Cannabinoid.
Pot brownies The quintessential edible, typically made with cannabutter or cannabis-infused oil. See Cannabutter and Canna oil.
Sativa An outdated classification for cannabis strains that attributed their uplifting and stimulating effects to genetics. Conventional wisdom now considers the entire chemical mix of a strain. See Cannabinoid and terpene profile and Strain.
Shatter The purest form of cannabis, a golden-hued concentrate with up to 80 percent THC. Glass-like, it “shatters” when dropped. It’s typically vapped or dabbed but increasingly used in cooking. See Dabbing, Vaping.
Space cakes A common term for cannabis-laced cakes or cupcakes often made with cannabutter. Popular in Amsterdam, these cakes are best eaten slowly to gauge individual tolerance. See Cannabutter.
Strain A specific type of cannabis, historically classified as an indica, sativa or hybrid. Almost 800 strains are recognized worldwide.
Sublingual A method of consuming cannabis by placing droplets of a tincture under the tongue, where blood vessels can quickly absorb the compounds for faster-acting effects. See Tincture.
Terpenes The compounds responsible for the taste and smell in cannabis. From limonene, a citrusy aroma, to linalool, a sweet and oral scent, terpenes are increasingly becoming known for their therapeutic attributes. See Cannabinoid and terpene profile and Strain.
Terpenist An expert in terpenes who uses his or her vast knowledge of strains to pair them with food and drink. See Ganjier.
THC, tetrahydrocannabinol, delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol The main psychoactive chemical in cannabis. It’s best known for creating the euphoric “high” sensation synonymous with cannabis, which often overshadows its therapeutic abilities, such as combating pain, insomnia, nausea and post-traumatic stress disorder. See Cannabinoid.
THCV, tetrahydrocannabivarin Although it’s structurally similar to THC, this compound can produce opposite effects, such as reducing appetite, depending on its percentage in a strain. Researchers are particularly interested in researching THCV for its anti-inflammatory abilities. See Cannabinoid.
Tincture Oil, glycerin or alcohol-based cannabis extract ingested sublingually or used as an ingredient. Since the cannabis dosage can easily be controlled, tinctures are ideal for rookies who want to prevent an uncomfortable high. See Sublingual and Weed sugar.
Titrating, titration Slowly increasing the concentration of a specific cannabinoid with
another type to achieve a desired effect, whether for recreational or medicinal purposes.
Vaping A smokeless method of consuming cannabis in dried or oil form via a vaporizing device. The device heats cannabis to form vapors that are inhaled. Vaping is considered a healthier way to consume cannabis. It heats cannabis without charring and avoids smoke-related carcinogens.
Weed sugar Cannabis-infused sugar made by mixing a tincture with sugar and baking it to evaporate the liquid. Used to sweeten beverages, such as coffee or tea. See Tincture.