Basic recreational marijuana vocabulary

Marijuana (cannabis), although it has been almost completely illegal to purchase and use during the last several decades, has been consumed by tens of millions of people in the US, Europe, Latin America, and other parts of the world. Over time, popular culture has created a very creative and informal vocabulary to describe marijuana, marijuana-related products, and the effects that marijuana has on its users.

The recent legalization of recreational marijuana in the states of Colorado and Washington has led to new cultural development, a more formal vocabulary of recreational marijuana that comes from government policy makers and the business community. Those who travel to Colorado and Washington to purchase and use recreational marijuana should understand a few of the basic terms to avoid confusion:

  • Marijuana: Marijuana is a dry, shredded green and brown mix of leaves, flowers, stems, and seeds from plants of the Cannabis genus. The two plants from this family most commonly sold for recreational and medical purposes are Cannabis sativa and Cannabis indica.
  • CannabisWhat is called marijuana in the US is referred to as cannabis in most of the rest of the world. In other words, cannabis and marijuana are different names for the same product. This may cause some confusion, in the same way that the terms soccer and football cause confusion. Depending on where you are from, one term or the other is used to describe the same thing. However, in Colorado and Washington, most
  • Medical marijuana: Also known as medical cannabis, this refers to the use of marijuana or its constituent components as medical therapy to either treat a disease or alleviate pain or other symptoms of disease or injury.
  • Recreational marijuana: Marijuana or marijuana related products that are consumed for personal enjoyment rather than for medical reasons.
  • Retail marijuana: Marijuana or marijuana related products that are consumed for personal enjoyment rather than for medical reasons.
  • Edibles: Any marijuana product which is intended to be consumed orally, including but not limited to, any type of food, drink, or pill. More details are available on the edible marijuana basics page.

All of the points mentioned above are relevant for anyone purchasing marijuana in a state where marijuana is legal, and the last point is relevant for anyone planning to travel to a state where recreational marijuana is legal.

Because of the number of new laws an regulations that have been put in place in Colorado and Washington, even people who are regular users of marijuana are novices when it comes to the new legal realities. The key are areas that any novice user should review include the following:

Other marijuana resources

Related resources
Things you should not bring on board

Basic recreational marijuana vocabulary -- Revised 13 July 2014