If you’re new to growing cannabis, you’re going to hear a ton of new terms, acronyms, and initialisms. Even if you’ve been growing for years, it’s still likely you’re going to hear new terms and need them defined. That’s where this page comes in!
We’re aiming to make this a comprehensive dictionary for terminology related to growing cannabis. If you have something we’ve missed, feel free to let us know and we might add it to this glossary!
A slang term used to refer to cannabis or cannabis use in general. 420 can be used to refer to the time of day (4:20) which is used by weed enthusiasts as a time to meet up and smoke/vape/etc. 420 also refers to April 20th (4/20), which is celebrated as an informal “weed holiday”. This popular term was coined in 1971 by kids attending San Rafael high school in southern California.
710 is used similarly to 420, but it’s specifically meant for those who use dabs or other similar concentrates. 710 is celebrated on July 10th (7/10) though it’s not as popular as 420. The number 710 looks like the word “OIL” when rotated 180 degrees.
Shorthand for “twelve hours of light and twelve hours of darkness”. This means to have your grow lights turned on for 12 straight hours, then off for the next 12 hours. This light schedule “tells” cannabis plants to make buds/flowers instead of growing leaves and stems. It’s important that cannabis plants get no light during their “dark period”.
Shorthand for “eighteen hours of light and 6 hours of darkness”. Similar to 12/12, this means to have your grow lights on for 18 straight hours, then off for the next 6 hours. This is the most common light schedule used by growers to keep plants in the vegetative stage meaning they only grow stems and leaves (no bud).
Shorthand for “24 hours of light, no darkness”. Similar to 12/12 and 18/6, 24/0 means to have your grow lights on for 24 hours a day with no dark period. This is an extreme version of 18/6 that tries to use all the hours in the day to maximize plant growth. Although 24/0 works, growers often stick to 18/6 (or somewhere in between).
Adult Use (also called Recreational Use) is a term used in the U.S. for states where cannabis is legal to use and purchase for those 21 and older. This is as opposed to medical use.
Aeroponics is a type of hydroponic cannabis cultivation where the plant’s roots are suspended in air and occasionally misted with a nutrient solution.
Used to describe bud that is lacking in density, squishy, and with too little plant matter spread over a too-large area. Used interchangeably with “larfy”.
Growers use the term albino bud to refer to bud that’s totally white. However, what many growers call “Albino Bud” is actually normal bud that has been “light bleached“. It’s easy to spot light-bleached bud because the albino-looking spots are always near the top of the plant where the light is most intense. If the white spots aren’t at the top of the plant, you might be looking at a true albino plant or at least a plant with albino characteristics.
Aquaponics is a method of growing that combines aquaculture (raising fish) with hydroponics (growing plants in water). In short, the fish and their environment are used to create the nutrients needed by cannabis plants. It’s worth noting that Aquaponics isn’t a viable or practical grow method yet, but we’re open to being proven wrong!
Unlike photoperiod strains, autoflowering strains start to mature and make flowers/buds on their own without any change in light schedule. This keeps plants small and it acts more like a house plant (just water it and wait for harvest). Auto-flowering strains are essentially immune to problems from light leaks (light at the wrong time can cause accidental re-vegging or hermies in photoperiod plants). The biggest downsides are reduced strain choice and plants stay very small at harvest if they get a slow start.
Backcrossing is the practice of breeding a cannabis plant with one of its parents in an attempt to strengthen specific traits. For example: If a plant is known to have strong anti-anxiety effects, you could breed the plant with its mother to make it more likely that successive generations will have those same anti-anxiety effects.
Most nutrient companies sell “base nutrients”, and a bunch of other stuff that’s commonly referred to as “supplements”. Unlike supplements, base nutrients contain all the minerals your plants need to get all the way to harvest. You can complete an entire grow and get outstanding bud quality and yields with just base nutrients and no supplements.
BHO is an initialism for Butane Hash Oil. As you might have guessed, this is a type of cannabis extract (hash) that is made by using butane to capture the resin from your cannabis plant. The result is a strong, waxy substance usually used for dabbing. Butane is explosive when mixed with air growers have accidentally set fires or even blew up their homes while attempting to make BHO. For this reason, BHO has a bit of a bad reputation though that doesn’t seem to have affected its popularity.
Cannabis plants make a green substance called “chlorophyll” to make energy from sunlight through a process called “photosynthesis”. Chlorophyll is actually what makes plants green! When a plant is stressed, or receiving an over-abundance of light, the chlorophyll gets used up and the plant’s green color fades away. This fading is referred to as “bleaching”.
Blunts are similar to joints, except the paper used to wrap them is different. While joints typically use thin paper, blunts use thicker paper meant for cigars. In fact, blunts are named for the ubiquitous cigar paper that is frequently used to wrap them: Phillies Blunt.
An apparatus for smoking weed that involves filtering the smoke through a chamber that contains water. Sometimes called a “water pipe”, especially at head shops (because the word “bong” is associated with cannabis). Bongs are typically made from glass, but they can also be made from plastic, acrylic, or even ice!
Botrytis is shorthand for “Botrytis Cinerea” which is commonly referred to as “Bud Rot”. Botrytis is a disease that affects cannabis and other plants including grapes which is why its name literally means “grape disease”. Bud rot is irreversible and any bud it infects is no longer fit to be consumed.
A bowl is the part of a smoking apparatus that holds the weed. On a pipe, a bowl is the concave part opposite to the mouthpiece. On a bong or stand-up vaporizer, a bowl piece is generally removable.
Although used infrequently, “bract” is actually the correct scientific term for what growers refer to as a “calyx” (picture and diagram). Since a lot of cannabis knowledge was gleaned by non-scientists (like us), it’s common to use words that aren’t technically correct. Examples include: “bract” instead of “calyx”, “bud” instead of “flower”, or “cola” instead of “branch”. It’s much more common to hear the term “calyx” to describe this part of the plant.
Also called “Ice Water Hash”, Bubble Hash is a potent cannabis concentrate made by washing weed with ice-cold water. The cold water and agitation knock the resin off the plant matter, and the resin is captured by bags with micron screens. The resin is scraped off the screens, dried, and chopped up, and dried more. The end result is bubble hash (ice water hash)!
A modified version of DWC (or Deep Water Culture). Bubbleponics involves growing plants with their roots immersed in water, but the difference is that there is an added “top-feed” which brings nutrient water directly to the plant’s roots. This helps plants grow faster in the beginning of their life and can shave a couple of weeks off of an entire grow cycle.
A slang term for the flowers of a cannabis plant. Although the word “bud” has a technical meaning in plant biology that has nothing to do with cannabis, in the weed growing world the term bud is used almost exclusively to refer to the female flowers of a cannabis plant. As such, even though the terms “bud” or “buds” isn’t technically correct, it’s often used interchangeably with “flowers” or even “weed”.
A calyx (sometimes called a bract) is part of a female cannabis flower (picture and diagram). What we think of as cannabis “buds” or “flowers” are actually a collection of “calyxes” crowded together and on top of each other. If we weren’t harvesting them for their psychoactive effects, calyxes would become the homes to any seeds your plant produces after being pollinated.
“Cannabinoids” are cannabis-specific compounds that produce psychoactive and physical effects. Are you familiar with THC or CBD? Those are just two of the many, many cannabinoids naturally produced by cannabis plants.
Also known as weed, marijuana, ganja, Mary Jane, and about a million other names, cannabis is the awesome psychoactive plant you’re here to learn about. Also known as “Cannabis Sativa”, “Cannabis Indica”, or “Cannabis Ruderalis”, humans have been using this plant for at least 2,500 years!
As you may have guessed by the name, cannabutter or “magic butter” is regular butter infused with the effects of cannabis. This is usually accomplished by cooking the weed and butter together, then straining out the used weed.
Canna caps (sometimes typed as Cannacaps) are edible capsules filled with edible cannabis-infused oil. Canna caps are usually made with coconut oil, but olive oil also works. Some growers forgo the oil altogether and get the same effects by filling the caps with decarboxylated weed only (weed that has been prepared for eating).
Another word for “poop”. Usually refers specifically to the castings of worms. Worm castings are a great amendment for soil that provides gentle organic nutrients for plants. Cannabis plants love worm poop 🙂
CBD (short for cannabidiol) is one of the two most popular cannabinoids. THC is known as the psychoactive cannabinoid while CBD has a reputation for being the more relaxing and “medical” of the two. When taken together, they moderate each other’s effects based on the ratio.
Although one can get CBD by smoking weed containing higher levels of CBD, many people infuse oil with CBD and use that instead. CBD oil is extremely popular right now as government regulation on CBD in the US has lessened a bit.
CFL is short for Compact Fluorescent Lamp, these lights were extremely popular as a form of home lighting…until people figured out they work for growing weed! These have been replaced in homes by smaller LED bulbs that aren’t as good at growing weed, but CFLs still work in a pinch if you can’t get access to any other lights.
CFM stands for Cubic Feet per Minute. CFM is used as a unit of measurement to describe the effectiveness of an exhaust fan. For example, an exhaust fan with 300CFM can move 300 cubic feet of air per minute. So if your tent is 300 cubic feet, a 300CFM exhaust fan could exchange all the air in your tent once per minute.
Chelated nutrients are inorganic nutrients (minerals) encased in an organic molecule. The organic casing makes those minerals easier to uptake by the plant regardless of pH or other environmental factors. In short, chelated nutrients are sort of like vitamins with a nice candy shell that plants love.
Any nutrients made from minerals or other non-living sources. For example, Ammoniacal Nitrogen, Soluble Potash, and Chelated Manganese are chemical nutrients. On the other hand, things like bat guano, worm castings, and sea kelp are organic sources of nutrients.
A slang term used to describe potent weed. Popularized (but not invented) by rapper Dr. Dre in the early 90s with the release of his album “The Chronic”.
A naturally occurring chemical compound that is produced by most plants. Chlorophyll is responsible for the green color you see in plants and – more importantly – their ability to turn sunlight into usable energy.
Clone (also Cloning)
Just like it sounds, a clone is an (almost) exact replica of the plant that produced the clone. Basically, a small piece of a cannabis plant is cut off a treated so that it can grow on its own; this is known as “cloning“. This “cutting” will grow up to be a copy (or a clone) of it’s “mother” plant.
An initialism for Ceramic Metal Halide. CMH’s were introduced to compete for market share with the then ubiquitous High-Pressure Sodium grow light. Although they don’t outperform HPS lighting as far as yields go, they’re still a decent light and can bring in a respectable harvest. These lights weren’t popular to begin with, and their popularity has only waned in the face of HPS’, LEDs, and LECs.
Coco coir (also coco)
Coco coir is an easy-to-use, hard-to-mess-up, super-forgiving grow medium that’s a great place to start for new growers. Coco coir is primarily made up of coconut husks, so it’s easy to use in addition to being renewable and thus, better for the environment. However, growing with coco coir necessitates the use of perlite to increase drainage. Perlite isn’t renewable, so by extension, coco coir loses renewable status, too.
An informal term used by growers to describe a stem that will grow bud/flowers. Some growers use cola to refer to the most prominent stems, while some use cola to refer to any stem since almost every stem on a cannabis plant will grow at least a little bit of weed. Cola is actually a Spanish word that literally translates to “tail”. Also referred to as mains or tops.
A solution with a high concentration of silver particulates. This solution is sprayed on female plants to cause them to “hermie”, which causes the female plant to produce male sex parts. The pollen from these parts can then be used to pollinate another female plant. The result is that the pollinated plant will make seeds that are 99.9% female. This is one method breeders use to make seeds that are “feminized”.
Literally, the process of burning something or setting it on fire. In the cannabis world, this word is usually referring to combustion in terms of combusting plant material to smoke it. This is generally seen as the opposite of vaporizing, where the THC is heated enough to be released into the air, but not enough for any plant material to burn.
Also known as worm tea, compost tea is an aerated solution normally made of worm castings (poop). This solution is given to plants as a”gentle” way to introduce nutrients and beneficial bacteria without a real risk of nutrient burn or toxicity
The result of processing cannabis bud (flowers) by removing as much plant matter as possible while keeping as much resin as possible. Although many people think of concentrates as just hash oil, the term encompasses any method that refines cannabis into a stronger form. This includes hash oil, tinctures, bubble hash, kief, dry-ice hash, shatter, BHO, and many more.
The first set of leaves a cannabis plant makes to process sunlight. Unlike the pointy, serrated cannabis leaves we’re all familiar with, cotyledons are tiny, round, and smooth. Cotyledons are actually formed in the cannabis seed itself and unfurl during germination. Cool!
Describes a specific kind of “high” from cannabis that makes one not want to get up from a comfortable spot…like being locked into a couch. Couchlock can come from the effects of specific strains, but it can also come from THC that has turned into CBN. Couchlock is also associated with weed that is “too strong” for smokers with lower tolerance.
Cross can be a verb that describes the act of breeding two strains together. Cross can also be a noun that refers to the result of two strains being bred together.
A slang term for trichomes. They get this name from the way that trichomes/resin can reflect light and seem like there is glitter or tiny crystals on the bud.
A cultivar is a plant that was selectively bred to enhance certain characteristics. If you found a plant that made golden weed sometimes, and you kept breeding it until it always made golden weed, the always-golden plant would be a cultivar.
Cure (or Curing)
Curing is the final stage of cannabis cultivation. This is when you place buds in an airtight container and give them time to let natural processes occur. 3+weeks of curing can enhance smell, flavor, perceived potency, and it can eliminate hay smell, too.
A “cutting” is what a clone is called before it’s able to successfully take root. As soon as a cutting makes roots and can survive, it’s called a “clone“.
“Dabbing” is the process of heating cannabis concentrates such as wax, BHO, bubble hash, and inhaling the vapor. A “dab” is one dose of concentrate. Usually dabbed with a “dab rig”
“Damping off” describes an illness experienced by seedlings where they wilt and fall over. Typically caused by overwatering, or the base of the stem staying wet for too long.
“Dank” can be a noun or an adjective and is used to describe high-quality buds. As an adjective, good weed is considered “dank”. As a noun, you can smoke some “dank”.
A time of day where cannabis plants get no light. This can be for 0 hours a day, to as much as 6 hours a day in the vegetative stage. In the flowering stage, the dark period is usually 12 hours long but can be longer. It’s especially important that plants in the flowering stage do not receive any light during their dark period or problems can arise.
“Decarb” is short for decarboxylation. This is the process of using heat to turn raw THCa into THC before turning the cannabis into edibles. If you don’t “decarb” your weed before cooking with it, the resulting edibles won’t feel nearly as potent!
This is the process of using heat to turn raw THCa into THC before turning the cannabis into edibles. If you don’t “decarb” your weed before cooking with it, the resulting edibles won’t feel nearly as potent!
To defoliate is to remove leaves from a plant. Defoliate is the verb form of “defoliation”.
Strategic defoliation is a common technique used by growers to increase yields. Growers typically defoliate plants once or more in the flowering stage. The resulting buds are bigger, longer and denser.
A dispensary is a storefront where you can buy cannabis (weed is “dispensed to customers”).
Describes how easy it is for water to move through a medium. A medium that lets pass water pass through relatively quickly is said to have “good drainage”.
A plant is “droopy” when all the leaves start pointing down as if they’re too tired to stand up. Plants naturally put their leaves down to sleep, but usually, droopiness is the result of something going on at the roots such as over or underwatering. Droopiness can also be caused in hydroponics when roots get root rot.
The process of collecting kief/hash/trichomes by moving cannabis over a screen is referred to as “dry sifting” and the resulting piles of trichomes are called “dry sift”.
Dry-Ice hash is the hash/trichomes collected when using dry ice to separate trichomes from plant matter, and separating the trichomes through a screen. “Bubble bags” have a built-in screen and are often the tool used to create Dry-Ice hash.
DWC or Deep Water Culture is a type of hydroponics and involves growing plants in a nutrient water reservoir with air bubbles being pumped through the water to provide oxygen to the roots. DWC is the same as “bubbleponics“, but without the “top-feed” added.
Another name for a “Flood and Drain” hydroponic system. Plants are in a reservoir that periodically is filled with nutrient water and drained several times a day, typically on a timer. The extra air between “floods” helps plants grow faster.
EC stands for Electrical Conductivity and is a measure of the total dissolved solids in your water (similar to PPM). Water with high EC has a lot of “stuff” dissolved in it. Low EC means the water is purer. Helpful when measuring how much nutrients are in your water.
Edibles are any food item that contains parts of the cannabis plant, including THC, CBD and other cannabinoids. Popular edibles are magic butter (can be used anywhere butter is used in a recipe), gummies, oils, and tinctures.
An “eighth” is 1/8 of an ounce or about 3.5 grams. An eighth is a popular portion of weed to sell. Weed is commonly sold in grams, eighths, quarters (1/4 ounce), halves (1/2 ounce), or full ounces.
High powered HID lights require a ballast to regulate the amount of electricity received by the bulb. Electronic ballasts are the newer generation of ballasts, though ballasts themselves are old tech. Electronic ballasts fix most of the problems that came with their older counterpart, the magnetic ballast, but they also cost more.
Ethanol is a type of alcohol that is suitable for humans to consume. Since cannabinoids dissolve readily in alcohol, Ethanol is commonly used to make concentrates such as oil or tinctures.
Another name for ethanol, which is a type of alcohol that is typically high-proof.
An “extract” is basically a concentrated form of cannabis. Popular concentrates include hash, oil, tinctures, and more. With a concentrate, some of the inert plant matter was removed and typically you’re left with a cannabis product that’s stronger than straight flowers.
A fan leaf (also sometimes called a “water leaf”) is a leaf in the standard “cannabis leaf” shape. Most leaves on the plants are fan leaves. They typically are on a stem with an odd number of “points” or fingers. Mature fan leaves typically have 7, 9, or 11 points per leaf.
Although nutrients are more like a vitamin (and light is what’s actually “food” for your plants), it’s common to refer to giving nutrients as “feeding” your plants.
A feminized seed has been bred between two genetically female plants. As a result, 99.9% of the resulting plants will be female. This can be useful for home growers because only female plants make buds.
Fertigation means providing nutrients in the water you give to your cannabis plants. Cannabis plants typically grow faster when they get nutrients from the water as opposed to seeking out nutrients in soil. When cannabis growers talk about fertigation, they’re often referring to high-frequency fertigation, which means watering plants with nutrient water frequently (typically several times a day) and in a suitable grow medium like a coco/perlite potting mix.
FIM stands for “F*ck I Missed” and is an alternative to the “topping” training technique to break the apical dominance of your plant. Instead of cutting off the top of your plant through the stem, only a portion of the top is removed and the stem stays intact. The results of fimming can be inconsistent.
Flood & Drain
Another name for “Ebb n Flow”. A hydroponic Flood and Drain table pumps water in and out of your water reservoir on a timer, so plants are constantly getting a ton of water and oxygen.
A flood table is the name of the equipment that houses your “Flood and Drain” system.
The buds that we smoke from cannabis plants are actually the flowers of the plant. When a plant is “flowering” that means it’s producing buds. If a plant is “in flower” then it means it’s flowering (making buds).
The flowering stage is the stage of a cannabis plant’s lifecycle where it grows fewer leaves and branches and concentrates on making flowers.
There are two types of “flush” popular with cannabis growers. To “flush” before harvest means to stop giving nutrients at the end of a plant’s life so it has time to use up all the nutrients before harvest. The other type of “flush” involves putting lots of water through a hand-watered plant that is sick from nutrient or pH problems. Giving lots of water helps flush out any nutrient buildup or other unwanted stuff in the grow medium, though plants often get droopy afterward.
A popular slang word that refers to cannabis. Comes from the Sanskrit word gañjā and means a “powerful preparation of cannabis Sativa”. The first recorded use of the word was in 1689.
The word “gender” is sometimes mistakenly used by growers when referring to a plant’s “sex”. The word “gender” is usually used when talking about social roles and plants don’t really participate in that stuff. If you’re talking about plants and you’re thinking “gender”, use “sex” instead.
Germination (or Germinate)
The process of growing a seed into a seedling; this is how cannabis plants begin life unless you use a clone.
Gibberellic acid is a hormone produced by some plants and fungi and some growers use it in the process of making feminized seeds.
One of the many terms people use to refer to trichomes or resin. The name comes from the way that trichomes reflect light and seem to sparkle under the right conditions.
Stands for “Grams Per Watt”, as in “X grams of weed per Y watts of electricity”. Although not as popular now, GPW was frequently used to define the efficiency of grow lights and setups. 1GPW was considered really good although some people did much better. Certain styles of growing – especially SOG (Sea of Green) – are so efficient that they make old GPW measurements useless.
A tool used to “grind” flowers into smaller, more manageable bits. This makes it easier to use in general, since you don’t want to roll a whole nug into a joint or try to vaporize it. Weed processed in a grinder has a similar consistency to oregano.
This refers to the act of cultivating cannabis, as in “I love to grow weed”. It also refers to the weed being cultivated, as in “That’s a nice grow!”.
A record of the details of an entire cannabis grow from beginning to end. Usually accompanied by lots of pictures.
The place on a cannabis plant from which stems will grow. Growth tips are a good place to look for “pre-flowers” when you’re trying to determine the sex of a plant.
Excrement (poop) that is almost always from bats when using cannabis products. Guano is a great source of natural nutrition for plants and a key ingredient in many types of soil.
A technique used by growers to produce “smoother” tasting weed. A harvest flush consists of giving your plant just plain water for the very end of its life. The time varies depending on the type of medium used.
Hash is the extracted – and sometimes processed – resin glands of the cannabis plant. Hash can be as simple as just jostling weed on a screen (kief), jostling the weed in ice-cold water (bubble/ice-water hash), or even squeezing weed with a burning hot press (rosin)!
Hash Oil (also Oil)
Whereas hash is the extracted resin glands of the cannabis plant, hash oil is the same thing suspended in oil. Additionally, hash oil can be hash with the consistency of oil. Both uses are common, though, if someone just says “oil” (not “hash oil”), they’re likely referring to hash with an oil-like consistency.
“Haze” started off as a normal strain like any other. But its effects made it so popular that growers have bred it with everything they could get their hands on. Now, Haze is thought of more as a set of genes than an actual strain. This happens from time to time with popular strains, such as “Skunk”, “OG”, or more recently, “Girl Scout Cookies”.
A “head shop” is a store that sells bongs, papers, and other paraphernalia related to cannabis, other drugs, or counterculture. The term originated in America in the 1960s (at the time, people who enjoyed drugs were sometimes referred to as “heads”).
Hemp is literally weed (Cannabis Sativa), only it lacks significant amounts of THC. In the US, hemp is legally any cannabis plant that measures .2%THC or lower.
Hermie is short for hermaphrodite. In weed growing, it refers to a plant that has both male and female sex parts. While “hermie” describes the plant itself, the term “herm” is used as a verb to describe the act of a plant turning into a “hermie”, usually via stress.
High-Intensity Discharge. HID refers to a specific class of high-powered grow lights including Metal Halide and High-Pressure Sodium. Although there are LEDs with similar wattages to HID lighting, HID lighting doesn’t encompass LEDs.
Fertigation means watering plants with nutrient water. High-frequency fertigation for cannabis involves watering plants with nutrient water on a frequent basis, up to 5x a day. High-frequency fertigation must use a grow medium that contains air pockets even when wet to prevent roots “drowning” from lack of oxygen. The most popular grow medium for high-frequency fertigation is a coco + perlite potting mix. When set up properly, marijuana plants typically grow faster in high-frequency fertigation than plants watered a few times a week. In this grow style, cannabis plants are usually watered automatically on a timer via drip-irrigation. Quick tips: use proper potting mix (50/50 coco/perlite works well), use hydro or coco-specific nutrients (such as Canna Coco or Flora Trio), for more frequent fertigation use smaller pots, get an automatic watering system (you will forget if you try to hand-water!), give nutrients every watering, try to ensure EC/PPM of water going in and out are about the same, if plants look perpetually droopy give water less often or less water at a time, maintain 5.5-6.5 pH of the water, and always remove runoff water or have it drain away (never let plants sit in water).
High-Pressure Sodium. The HPS makes tell-tale yellow light that is hard to mistake. HPS’ are known for their low-cost units, making lots of heat, and crazy-high yields.
Describes a plant with genetics from both Indica and Sativa plants. Sometimes, “hybrid” is used to describe a strain with characteristics of Indica and Sativa plants, but that’s a misuse of the word.
Short for “hydroponics”. Technically, hydroponics is any method that doesn’t use soil and gives nutrients via nutrient-water. In that sense, coco coir is technically hydroponic. However, hydroponics is generally used to refer to a growing method where the roots are suspended in aerated nutrient-water (like DWC).
Shorthand for “Cannabis Indica”, this is one of the main species of weed alongside Sativas (Cannabis Sativa). Indicas are known for having calming, feel-good, couch-lock qualities.
A type of HID grow light that started to gain popularity in the 2000s, but never gained significant traction against HPS’ and LED’s. Induction and Plasma lights are both gas discharge lights that don’t need internal electrodes (this makes them last longer).
A method of ingesting cannabis that involves rolling weed into a small cylinder and wrapping that with thin paper. Essentially, a joint is a cigarette filled with weed instead of tobacco (though some people add tobacco, too. That’s called a “spliff”)
Kief is basically a collection of trichomes. It’s the resin from a weed plant. When people use the term “kief”, they’re usually referring to the sugary golden powder that is collected from the bottom of a grinder (sifter) or that falls through a specially made screen (usually collected during the trimming process).
A slang term for good weed.
A “landrace” is a strain that developed in isolation in a particular part of the world. Growers and breeders then used these genetics to develop new strains with enhanced versions of the characteristics found in the landrace strains.
Used to describe bud that is lacking in density, squishy, and with too little plant matter spread over a too-large area. Used interchangeably with “airy”.
LEC stands for “Light Emitting Ceramic” – LEC is a brand name by the company Sun System to describe their Ceramic Metal Halide fixtures. Since a LEC is a type of Ceramic Metal Halide, LEC and CMH (Ceramic Metal Halide) are typically used interchangeably.
LED stands for “Light Emitting Diode” – LED grow lights come in a variety of models and form factors. Some work great for growing cannabis, others are just okay. The particular model you get is important! Older LED grow lights produced a purple light, though a lot of the newer ones produce white, bluish, or pink light.
A “leggy” plant or seeding is growing tall without much side branching and a lot of stem between each set of leaves.
The entirety of all the stages of a cannabis plant’s life. Cannabis plants start as seeds or clones, then they’re seedlings, next they’re in the vegetative stage, and finally, the flowering stage which is the end of their lifecycle even in the wild.
Photoperiod cannabis plants need 12 hours of uninterrupted darkness each day to initiate and stay in the flowering stage. However, if light is getting to the plant during the dark period, it can cause problems with budding. When your plant is getting light accidentally (light is “leaking” in), it’s often called a light leak.
A “light schedule” is a quick way of describing how many hours of light and darkness your plant will get in a day. For example, 12/12 is a light schedule that means 12 hours of light, 12 hours of darkness. 18/6 is another common light schedule; it means 18 hours of light, 6 hours of darkness.
A technique where the resin of a cannabis plant is extracted right after the plant is harvested. The result is a potent, fragrant cannabis extract. Ideally, a grower would cut the plant down and immediately extract the resin. However, most times, the plant is cut down, frozen, and the resin is extracted afterward.
Also called “Super Soil”. “Living soil” is the name given to a specific type of soil where nutrients are provided via a chain of microorganisms. As these microorganisms interact with (eat) each other, they leave behind nutrients that are perfect for your plant’s needs.
In the realm of indoor growing, lollipop is used as a verb (“lollipopping”) to describe a technique where growers remove all of the smaller growth from the bottom few nodes of the plant. This is meant to divert the plant’s effort away from small buds that would never gain significant weight.
LowRyder was the first commercially successful autoflowering strain. Originally offered by a growing pioneer known only as The Joint Doctor. Nearly all modern autoflowering strains have these genetics somewhere in their ancestry. When I first heard of this strain type in 2009, growers used the terms lowryder, ryder, and auto-flowering interchangeably. If a strain was “Diesel Ryder” or “Purple Ryder” you knew it was an auto-flowering strain. Now the term auto-flowering (or “auto”) is used almost exclusively. Probably because it’s way more clear and the original LowRyder strain by The Joint Doctor is long gone from the public eye. But there are still Ryder strains so the legacy lives on.
A measure of total visible light. In cannabis growing, lumens are used as a more direct way to describe the power of grow lighting (as opposed to wattage). Since lumens are a measure of visible light, grow lights that make lots of non-visible light aren’t typically measured in lumens.
Another name for cannabutter, magic butter (or “magical butter”) is simply butter infused with the good stuff from weed (resin). Magic butter can be used instead of regular butter to turn almost any food into a powerful edible.
High-powered HID lights require a ballast to regulate the amount of electricity received by the bulb. Magnetic ballasts are the older generation of ballasts. They’re cheaper, but they also get hotter, make more RFI, and distort pictures taken nearby. (Tip: Don’t buy a magnetic ballast)
Manifold (also Manifolding)
“Manifolding” (verb) is a cannabis training technique that involves cutting the plant at specific times to force the plant to grow in a convenient shape. A “manifold” is the result of successful “manifolding”. Note: Manifolding is Nebula’s improved version of “Mainlining”.
Mainline (also Mainlining)
A cannabis training technique pioneered by grower NugBuckets. Mainlining involves consecutive cuts to your plant to for it to grow 8 main colas (stems).
A fantastic green plant that makes people happy and governments angry.
A slang term for cannabis that has persisted for at least 60 years! A play on the word Marijuana.
Maui Wowie is an “old school” strain known for being smooth, flavorful, never too-potent, but with great effects. Maui Wowie is seen as a relaxing strain and for nostalgic reasons, if you can find it, it’ll typically have THC percentages in the low teens or even single digits.
“Medical Use” describes a legal status of cannabis where cannabis use is legal for people who have gotten sufficient medical clearance. The requirements and rights of a medical user vary greatly depending on where you live.
The stuff your cannabis plants grow in. This can be your dirt outside, soil, coco coir, living soil, water (hydroponics), or even air (aeroponics).
Short for “Metal Halide”. MH’s are a type of HID light that has a blue tint and encourages short plants with small node spacing. MH lights are almost always paired with an HPS light. This is because Metal Halides are great at growing plants in the vegetative stage, but they’re not as good in flowering as an HPS.
A microscopic organism; a living thing you probably can’t see with just your eyes. In cannabis growing, the microorganisms we’re usually talking about are bacteria or fungi.
Nutrients for cannabis plants that are derived from minerals. Most non-organic nutrients fall into this category. Used interchangeably with “chemical nutrients”.
A type of splotchy discoloration on the leaves of a weed plant. Mottling is usually associated with Tobacco Mosaic Virus (TMV).
Monstercrop (also monster-cropping)
In cannabis cultivation, necrosis refers to the death of plant tissue.
Nutrient Film Technique. A method of growing plants where their roots rest on a surface while a thin layer of nutrient water slowly runs over them. This method is typically seen as not viable for cannabis.
In farming, no-till means to grow without disturbing the soil. In cannabis growing, people use the term “no-till” to refer to reusing soil.
A place on a cannabis plant from which stems, fan leaves, sex parts, and flowers can grow.
Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potassium. You’ll see 3 numbers on the front of most nutrient bottles that tell you the ratio of NPK in the nutrients. Plants use many minerals, but these three are seen as the most important.
A cluster of calyxes, also called unground “flowers”. Known for being roundish or oblong. Weed purchased from dispensaries usually comes as a bunch of “nugs”. Large colas are actually a cluster of smaller nugs huddled together.
A plant problem that is characterized by brown, brittle, crunchy leaf-tips. Usually the result of an excess of nutrients during watering or in the medium.
Short for “nutrients”.
Water with nutrients added to it. Nutrient water can also have supplements in it, and it should always be pH’d.
Stuff derived from living things. In cannabis growing, usually refers to nutrients derived from living things (guano, kelp). “Organic” can also refer to weed that has been produced solely with products derived from living things.
An ounce (≈28.35 grams) is one of the common measurements used when buying cannabis. An ounce is on the larger side of the common measurements as many people usually purchase 1/8 of an ounce or less at a time.
This occurs when a grower waters their plant too often, gives it too much water at once, or does both of those things. A plant that is suffering from overwatering is said to be “overwatered”.
A cheap and effective method for germinating cannabis seeds. Involves placing the seeds between layers of wet paper towels that are sitting between two plates. This method works even better with a seedling heat mat.
Photosynthetically Active Radiation. Describes the spectral range of light usable by plants (400nm – 700nm).
Old organic matter that has partially decomposed and ends up like a rich soil. Used in many types of soils and soilless mediums.
Perlite is a substance used to improve drainage in a grow medium. Coco coir is almost always mixed with some amount of perlite.
Plant Growth Regulators. PGR refers to a group of chemicals that gained popularity in the cannabis growing industry due to their ability to make for healthier plants with much denser buds. However, they quickly became just as unpopular when it was discovered that PGRs are linked to cancer and infertility. PGRs are illegal in many places now, but if you somehow get your hands on something with synthetic PGRs, please don’t use it!
pH is the scale we use to specify the acidity or alkalinity of a liquid. 5.5-6.5 is a good range for hydroponics, 6.0-7.0 is a good range for soil.
Describes a type of cannabis plant that needs a dark period before it can initiate the flowering stage. Conversely, autoflowering plants will start flowering whether they get a dark period or not.
A process in which plants convert sunlight into energy. Many growers think of nutrients as food, but sunlight is much closer to food for your plants.
A strain made famous by the 2008 movie of the same name. The name comes from an “atmospheric river” that travels across the Pacific Ocean.
A simple tool used to smoke cannabis. Pipes generally have three parts: a place to inhale, and place to hold the weed, and a carb to control the flow of air. Pipes are simple enough that one can be made from an apple.
Hair-looking growths that only show up on female or hermaphrodite cannabis plants. The pistil is the part of the female plant that can be pollinated by a male plant.
The sex parts of the male cannabis plant. The pollen sac will swell and eventually burst, releasing pollen into the wind to hopefully reach the pistils of a female cannabis plant.
A slang term for weed. Generally, the term “pot” is seen as having a negative connotation.
Parts Per Million. PPM is a way of describing how much “stuff” is in a liquid. For example, if you have tap water with a ppm of 200, that means 200 parts per million parts of that tap water is minerals and other stuff.
Sex parts that show up on a cannabis plant before flowering. Pre-flowers can be used to determine the sex of a plant in plants only 3-6 weeks old!
Pythium is the name for a specific group of plant parasites. In the cannabis world, growers use the word “pythium” when they’re talking about “Root Rot”.
Slang term for 1/4oz (≈7g) of weed.
Acronym for Quick-Wash Ethanol. This is a method of making THC-laden tincture using food-grade ethanol as the solvent.
Acronym for Quick-Wash Isopropyl Alcohol. Similar to QWET, this is also a method of making THC-laden tincture but by using isopropyl alcohol as the solvent. We strongly urge against using isopropyl alcohol for anything you’re going to smoke or eat.
A soft piece of peat moss made into a conical shape. These are used to start seedlings, clones, or to germinate seeds.
“Regular” gets used in two ways when it comes to cannabis. One is to refer to photoperiod seeds as they are seen as “regular” vs autoflowering seeds. The other is to refer to “non-feminized” seeds, as they are seen as regular compared to feminized seeds.
The sticky stuff on cannabis that’s responsible for the effects we all love. Used interchangeably with “trichomes”.
Reveg (also Re-Veg)
Reveg is the term used to describe when a cannabis plant re-vegetates (reverts from the flowering/budding stage to the vegetative/leafy stage). Re-vegging is sometimes done on purpose in a process known as monstercropping.
Radio-Frequency Interference, also knows as EMI (Electromagnetic Interference) is a disturbance to radios and even some electronics that is usually caused by a cheaply made grow light. Poorly constructed ballasts for HPS lights caused RFI that could span for miles. HAM radio users are most affected by RFI. (Tip: Check your lights for RFI using a portable AM radio).
Rig (also Dab Rig)
A (dab) rig is a pipe with an area meant for the heating and consumption of concentrates like hash oil. Dab rigs are usually water pipes (bongs).
Reverse Osmosis. In growing, it refers to reverse osmosis water that some growers use to water their plants. Reverse Osmosis is a method of cleaning minerals, impurities, and other stuff from your water.
Also known as mineral wool, Rockwool is a substance used in cannabis growing as a medium for germinating seeds, or raising seedlings. It’s very rare for someone to use Rockwool as a medium for an entire grow.
A plant disease that attacks the roots of a cannabis plant. Root rot is especially dangerous because it affects the roots first, so you can go quite a while before knowing there’s a problem. Root rot causes plant roots to be squishy and stinky (necrosis).
Not to be confused with resin, rosin is a cannabis extract made by subjecting weed to intense heat and pressure. The result is a sticky, wax-like substance that’s good for dabbing.
Rick Simpson Oil. Rick Simpson is a person who became somewhat famous after he popularized his method of making hash oil and called it “Rick Simpson Oil”. The original method used by Rick Simpson uses a rice cooker to decarb the weed while cooking off the alcohol. It’s also sometimes called RSHO (Rick Simpson Hash Oil) or Real Scientific Hash Oil.
Ruderalis is the scientific name for a type of hemp plant that would eventually be mixed with mainstream cannabis genetics to create autoflowering strains. Ruderalis hemp plants originated in Siberia and had the unique trait of automatically completing their entire life cycle in just 2-3 months. This was an adaptation to the short summers and cold harsh arctic winters, but an industrious grower realized this trait could be useful to home growers. The initial Ruderalis plants produced tiny buds and didn’t make much THC, but were carefully bred with photoperiod strains to increase their potency and bud quality while retaining their lack of a need for a dark period.
Usually refers to the consistency of an extract; sap would be an extract with the approximate viscosity of sap. Growers also use the word “sap” to describe a sap-like excretion by cannabis plants. This seems to happen when a cannabis plant is given too much sugar (like from molasses).
Shorthand for “Cannabis Sativa”, this is one of the main species of weed alongside Indicas (Cannabis Indica). Sativas are known for having high-energy, productive, uplifting qualities.
ScrOG (Screen Of Green)
ScrOG is an acronym for Screen of Green. A technique that involves threading the stems of a cannabis plant through a grid made from netting, nylon rope, or string. This makes it easy to have a ton of evenly spread out colas which drastically increases yields. It’s worth noting that ScrOG is a work-intensive technique that demands quite a bit of time.
Just like it sounds, sea kelp is just kelp from the sea. It just happens that cannabis plants absolutely love sea kelp as it helps them grow more vigorously in addition to helping fight off diseases and heat stress.
A seedling is a cannabis plant that no longer just a seed, but is small enough that people don’t just call it a “plant” yet. Once a plant has 2 or more “real” sets of leaves, it’s past the seedling stage.
A seedling plug is a piece of soft material (usually made of peat moss) that is made to germinate seeds or house young seedlings.
Any cannabis plant that isn’t a clone starts from a seed. Cannabis seeds are a great way to get genetics from areas that aren’t close to you.
In cannabis plants, identifies a specific set of traits that we classify as male and female. Male plants make pollen while female plants make flowers (bud). Some growers mistakenly use the word “gender” to refer to a plant’s sex.
Small bits of cannabis that contain significant amounts of THC, but are harder to package and sell do to its oregano-like consistency. Shake is usually sold at a much lower price than whole flowers.
A cannabis extract with a hard-candy-like consistency. Shatter is almost always BHO (butane hash oil), but it can also be made via other methods without butane.
Sinsemilla (also Sensimilla)
Typically used as a slang term for high-quality weed. Sinsemilla is actually a combination of two Spanish words “sin” (without) and “semilla” (seeds).
Sea of Green. In essence, SOG boils down to “grow as many small plants as possible, with as little work as possible”. For example, Nebula grew 8 plants in a 2’x4′ tent which would be considered a “Sea of Green”.
Although we think of soil as just dirt, in cannabis growing, the word “soil” usually refers to specially made dirt that has a measured amount of minerals and nutrients. However, soil can still refer to the dirt you have outside. Just never use dirt from outside to grow your cannabis plants. They will love you so much more if you give them good soil.
Refers to the community of organisms that live in your soil and how they interact to create a healthy growing environment for your plants.
Any growing style that doesn’t use actual soil as its medium. This counts mediums that “look” like soil, but don’t contain actual soil (like coco coir).
When making cannabis extracts and concentrates, a solvent is a liquid used to capture THC from plant matter and keep it suspended until it can be used or processed further.
We like to call them “The Borg”. Spider Mites are one of the most fearsome cannabis pests you can encounter. They’re hard to spot due to their size, they’re notoriously hard to kill, and they’re known to leave a gross sheet of webbing all over your bud rendering it unusable.
The pollen-producing part of the male cannabis plant. Male plants grow bunches of little “sacs” that contain the stamen and lots of pollen.
“Stems”, “stalks” and “branches” are all terms used interchangeably to describe a growth on a cannabis plant from with leaves and flowers can grow.
A green, hair-like growth that shows up on cannabis plants right near where pre-flowers will show themselves. Stipules are often mistaken for female pre-flowers, but they can be differentiated by their green color (female pre-flowers are white).
Literally a pore (like on your face), but on the surface of weed leaves. Stomata are what plants use to “breathe” in CO2 and release oxygen.
A strain is like a “breed” or “variety” of cannabis plants. For many years – but especially in recent years – people have been breeding cannabis plants together to try to capture traits they like. The results of that breeding are all technically “strains”, but people generally don’t consider something a strain until it has at least somewhat reliable genetics.
The result of putting a cannabis plant in non-optimal conditions. Some types of stress can have benefits to a careful grower, but most types of stress can reduce yields, potency, and overall plant health.
Synonymous with “leggy”. A term used to describe a plant that is growing taller with a small number of nodes (sets of leaves) compared to the length of the stem. A “stretchy” plant is said to have “high nodal spacing” or a lot of space between nodes.
The surface or area in which something lives. Your soil is a substrate for your plant roots, and the top of your soil is a potential substrate for fungus gnats.
Leaf tips that stick out of the buds of a cannabis plant. The name comes from the fact that these leaf tips are usually encrusted with trichomes which makes them look sugar-coated.
Also sometimes called “living soil”. Initially, “Super Soil” was the name for a specific recipe for living soil created by grower Subcool. Now, super soil is used colloquially to refer to any soil that provides nutrients via a colony of microorganisms as opposed to giving nutrients in the water.
Additives meant for cannabis plants that are seen as optional. Supplements have a wide array of effects, but those effects are pretty much everything besides the basic minerals and nutrients needed by a cannabis plant.
Plant nutrients that are made either partially or totally from ingredients that are not organic. This doesn’t necessarily mean the ingredients aren’t natural, just “not from living things”.
A type of fluorescent light characterized by long, thin bulbs. T5 light is generally seen as gentle on plants and people, but the light they emit is only useful for a few inches.
The first root made by a newly germinated seedling. The taproot is the root from which almost all of your plant’s future roots will grow. A couple of cheeky roots can show up higher up on the stem if it gets wet enough.
Total Dissolved Solids Meter. A TDS meter measures the amount of “solids” in your water like calcium, magnesium, lead, etc. TDS meters measure in “ppm” (parts per million).
Naturally occurring chemicals in cannabis plants that are responsible for its unique smells and flavors. The combination of smells and flavors created by terpenes in a specific strain is called a “terpene profile”.
Short for “terpenes”.
Tetrahydrocannabinol, the active ingredient in weed that creates psychoactive effects. It’s the stuff that makes weed so darn great, but it’s also the part that was/is used to demonize weed.
A pre-cursor to THC. THCA doesn’t get you high until it gets enough heat/time to convert into THC. The smoking process gets weed hot enough to instantly convert THCA to THC, but for edibles, weed has to be decarbed to convert the THCA.
Resin suspended in a solvent, usually high-proof alcohol.
Top (also Topping)
Topping is the act of cutting off the top of a cannabis stem. When done correctly, this forces a cannabis plant to grow in a flatter, more manageable shape.
A THC-laden cream or salve meant for external use, usually on the skin.
Refers to the stems of a cannabis plant that are best-suited and most-likely to grow bigger buds and a larger amount of weed than other stems. Also called colas (“cola” is the Spanish word for tail). They look like a star from above when cannabis is still in the vegetative stage.
Used interchangeably with “resin”. The trichomes of a cannabis plant are where you’ll find the majority of its THC, CBD, etc. Trichomes have long stalks with a “bulb on the end that changes color as the trichome matures.
“Trim” can be a verb meaning to cut off excess leaves from a harvested cannabis plant. It can also refer to the plant matter that has been cut off. So, you can “trim” a plant you harvested, and you’ll be left with bud and a pile of “trim”.
Being trapped by the duty of having to trim way too much weed. Example: “I harvested so much weed, I was in trim jail for 9 hours and watched the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy.”
This occurs when a grower waters their plant too infrequently, gives it too little water at once, or does both of those things. A plant that is suffering from underwatering is said to be “underwatered”.
Short for “vaporize” or “vaporizing” respectively.
The act of heating cannabis or an extract to the point where the active ingredients (THC, CDB, etc.) become airborne without combusting the plant material.
A machine used to vape – or vaporize – cannabis and its extracts. Vaporizers heat your material enough to be inhaled, but not enough to burn.
Describes the appearance of leaves with more than one color. In cannabis, variegation is a sign of a mutation or a problem with the plant.
Used as a short version of the terms “Vegtate”, and “Vegetative Stage”. Since “veg” can be used in either way interchangeably, context is important.
The act of growing in a way that’s conducive to being in the vegetative stage. That means growing leaves, roots, stems and preflowers, but no actual flowers.
The stage of a cannabis plant’s lifecycle where it’s growing plant mass, but doesn’t produce male or female flowers.
A light, airy material used in cannabis growing to provide extra drainage. Vermiculite is a less-popular alternative to using perlite for drainage.
Another name for a “fan leaf”. These are large leaves that grow on their own stems and don’t produce flowers…well, 99.9% of the time.
Sometimes called “earwax”, wax is a cannabis extract with the consistency of (you guessed it) wax. Wax can be made with ethanol, but it’s typically produced using butane.
Arguably the most persistent slang term for cannabis.
Castings A euphemism for “worm poop”.
An aerated solution made of water and worm castings. Worm tea provides nutrients and beneficial organisms directly to a plant’s roots without overfeeding or giving leaves nutrient burn.
Refers to the amount of weed harvested in a single grow. Can also refer to the amount of weed harvested from a single plant.
Slang for an ounce (28.35g) of weed.
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