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Cannabis

Cannabis is a generic term used to denote the several psychoactive preparations of the plant Cannabis sativa. The major psychoactive constituent in cannabis is ∆-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Compounds which are structurally similar to THC are referred to as cannabinoids. In addition, a number of recently identified compounds that differ structurally from cannabinoids nevertheless share many of their pharmacological properties.

Bud

Refers to the female flower of the cannabis plant. The flower contains the highest concentration of cannabinoids.

Cannabinoids

The term “cannabinoid” has different meanings. Cannabinoids were originally defined as a group of compounds uniquely produced by the cannabis plant. Subsequent development of synthetic cannabinoids and the discovery of natural cannabinoids in the body (“endocannabinoids”) has somewhat blurred this definition. The molecules derived from the plant itself are therefore now termed “phytocannabinoids”. Synthetic cannabinoids are those which have been man-made. Naturally occurring cannabis (Cannabis sativa) contains a group of chemical compounds not found in other plants known as cannabinoids. Over 70 different cannabinoids have so far been identified but the role and importance of many of these has yet to be fully understood.

Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid (THCA)

THCA is the main constituent in raw cannabis. THCA converts to Δ9-THC when burned, vaporized, or heated at a certain temperature.  THCA, CBDA, CBGA, and other acidic cannabinoids hold the most COX-1 and COX-2 inhibition, contributing to cannabis’ anti-inflammatory effects. This cannabinoid also acts as an antiproliferative and antispasmodic.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)

The most abundant cannabinoid present in marijuana, THC is responsible for cannabis’ most well-known psychoactive effects. THC acts as a partial agonist at the CB1 and CB2 receptors. The compound is a mild analgesic, or painkiller, and cellular research has shown that it has antioxidant activity.

Cannabidiolic Acid (CBDA)

CBDA, similar to THCA, is the main constituent in cannabis with elevated CBD levels.  CBDA selectively inhibits the COX-2 enzyme, contributing to cannabis’ anti-inflammatory effects.

Cannabidiol (CBD)

CBD has tremendous medical potential. This is particularly true when the correct ratio of CBD to THC is applied to treat a particular condition. CBD acts as an antagonist at both the CB1 and CB2 receptors, yet it has a low binding affinity for both. This suggests that CBD’s mechanism of action is mediated by other receptors in the brain and body.  Pre-clinical research (including both cell culture and animal models) has shown CBD to have a range of effects that may be therapeutically useful, including anti-seizure, antioxidant, neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anti-tumor, anti-psychotic, and anti-anxiety properties.

Cannabinol (CBN)

CBN is a mildly psychoactive cannabinoid that is produced from the degradation of THC. There is usually very little to no CBN in a fresh plant. CBN acts as a weak agonist at both the CB1 and CB2 receptors, with greater affinity for CB2 receptors than CB1. The degradation of THC into CBN is often described as creating a sedative effect, known as a “couch lock.”

Cannabigerol (CBG)

A non-psychoactive cannabinoid, CBG’s antibacterial effects can alter the overall effects of cannabis. CBG is known to kill or slow bacterial growth, reduce inflammation, (particularly in its acidic CBGA form,) inhibit cell growth in tumor/cancer cells, and promote bone growth. It acts as a low-affinity antagonist at the CB1 receptor. CBG pharmacological activity at the CB2 receptor is currently unknown.

Cannabichromene (CBC)

CBC is most frequently found in tropical cannabis varieties. CBC is known to relieve pain, reduce inflammation, inhibit cell growth in tumor/cancer cells, and promote bone growth. The effects of CBC appear to be mediated through non-cannabinoid receptor interactions.

Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV)

THCV is a minor cannabinoid found in only some strains of cannabis. The only structural difference between THCV and THC is the presence of a propyl (3 carbon) group, rather than a pentyl (5 carbon) group, on the molecule. Though this variation may seem subtle, it causes THCV to produce very different effects than THC. These effects include a reduction in panic attacks, suppression of appetite, and the promotion of bone growth. THCV acts as an antagonist at the CB1 receptor and a partial agonist at the CB2 receptor.

Cannabidivarin (CBDV)

Like THCV, CBDV differs from CBD only by the substitution of a pentyl (5 carbon) for a propyl (3 carbon) sidechain. Although research on CBDV is still in its initial stages,  recent studies have shown promise for its use in the management of epilepsy. This is due to its action at TRPV1 receptors and modulation of gene expression.

Cannabis oil

Cannabis oil is a thick, sticky, resinous substance made up of cannabinoids, such as THC and CBD, that is extracted from the cannabis plant (Cannabis sativa or Cannabis indica). Cannabis oil is a cannabis based product  obtained by separating the resins from cannabis flowers using a solvent extraction process. Cannabis oil can also be known as marijuana oil, Rick Simpson Oil (RSO), Full extract cannabis oil (FECO), hash oil, dabs, shatter, or wax.  Each of these preparations is processed slightly differently.  

Euphoric

Characterized by or feeling intense excitement and happiness.  Regarding cannabis, this is typically associated to the effects from THC.   Other cannabinoids, like CBD have little to no euphoric effect.

Hemp

Hemp refers to strains of Cannabis sativa that have been bred specifically for fiber used for clothing and construction, oils and topical ointments, nutritional benefits and a wide and growing variety of other purposes that don’t involve intoxication. THC content in hemp is generally considered to be below 3% while cannabis varieties can be above 20% THC.

Extraction

A plant extract is a substance or an active with desirable properties that is removed from the tissue of a plant, usually by treating it with a solvent, to be used for a particular purpose. The cannabis plant is extracted to obtain cannabinoids, terpenes, and other phytochemicals.  At Altus, we use ethanol (alcohol) extraction of the entire flower (bud and leaves), and do rigorous testing to ensure that there are no contaminants or residual solvents.  We test during the growing process, after harvesting the plant, during the mixing of the raw ingredients as we formulate, and finally with our finished product prior to selling it to dispensaries.    

Hybrid

Taxonomic distinctions between varieties or subspecies of Cannabis i.e. Cannabis indica and Cannabis sativa began in the 18th century when differences between their structure and resin production were first noted. The hybrid category was adopted later on, as growers began mixing genetics from different geographic locations.

Indica

Though there are some exceptions to the rule, indica varieties are shorter plants which mature more quickly.  Though recent plant taxonomy studies have mostly determined that cannabis does not actually have two distinct species in indica and sativa, these classifications are still used in the culture to help describe the differences between plants while they are growing, as well as the effect they provide. The USDA currently classifies cannabis as belonging to the family Cannabaceae-Hemp family, the Genus Cannabis L., species Cannabis sativa L. with two common varieties or subspecies sativa and indica.

Spice

A new and dangerous example of a class of “synthetic cannabinoids” or “syncanns”.  Typically sold on the street or in convenience stores, many federal regulations have been put in place to stop the sale of these products that originally managed to skirt laws due to previously uncategorized chemical structure, which is similar but slightly different than plant derived THC.

Sativa

Sativa varieties evolved in the equatorial areas of the world.  Therefore, they did not have to speed through their annual life stages to finish their life cycle before seasonally cold temperatures (as well as many other driving forces) could lead to mortality before reproduction. Sativa varieties grow tall and longer time to mature.   Though recent plant taxonomy studies have mostly determined that cannabis does not actually have two distinct species in indica and sativa, these classifications are still used in the culture to help describe the differences between plants while they are growing, as well as the effect they provide. The USDA currently classifies cannabis as belonging to the family Cannabaceae-Hemp family, the Genus Cannabis L., species Cannabis sativa L. with two common varieties or subspecies sativa and indica.

Psychotropic

Synonymous with psychoactive.  Relating to or denoting drugs that affect a person’s mental state.  THC, with its euphoric effects, is in this category.  Other cannabinoids, such as CBD are not considered psychotropic or psychoactive.   

Psychoactive

Synonymous with psychotropic.  relating to or denoting drugs that affect a person’s mental state.  THC, with its euphoric effects, is in this category.  Other cannabinoids, such as CBD are not considered psychotropic or psychoactive.   

Marijuana

This term used to describe cannabis can be interpreted as both derogatory and political.  When cannabis was being vilified in the 1920s and 1930s, it was a political decision to correlate immigration from the south (particularly Mexico) with cannabis.  By calling it Marijuana, politicians were able to gain momentum in associating it to the immigration population and criminal culture.  Subsequently, more laws went into effect to criminalize possession, use, and distribution of cannabis.  

Trim

After the most valuable portions of the plant are trimmed away what is left over is often referred to as trim. The trim is usually sold to edibles and concentrate manufacturers for production.

Trichomes

A Trichome is an epidermal “hair”. Trichomes can be singular or multicellular. A major function of the trichome is thought to be in plant defense against insects. Chemicals produced in the glandular tip can deter feeding or the trichome can physically prevent the insect from reaching and feeding on the leaf.Holding the majority of the cannabinoid content of the plant, the trichomes are crystalline structures which coat the plant’s bract and leaf surfaces. Looking much like a mushroom when magnified, the head contains the majority of the cannabinoid content and essential oils. There are actually three distinct types of trichomes on the plant: bulbous trichomes are the smallest and not visible to the naked eye, the sessile trichomes are slender and have no head, while the glandular trichomes are the ones that are most often seen and provide the highest amount of cannabinoids.

Terpenes

The aromatic and flavor compounds found within cannabis (and nearly every other plant on the planet), terpenes are responsible for a major portion of differences in smell and flavor of cannabis strains.   There is also data surfacing that terpenes play a role in the uptake and interaction of cannabinoids.