Talking Cannabis (Part 1)

Photo: Jesse Milns

Photo: Jesse Milns

The conversation about cannabis has left your dealers basement, moved from the stuffy smoked filled dorm room, and finally settled in the mainstream. With this new wave of legalization puffing its way to all corners of the world, cannabis, and the way we talk about it, becomes increasingly important. Some of this conversation may seem unclear to newcomers, and hopefully this helps to clear a few simple things up.

Starting off with the basics, marijuana and cannabis are the same thing. You may also hear the green leafy organic being referred to as bud, chronic, pot, dope, and many other terms depending on your local dialect. It’s the classic Coke/Pop situation, you may prefer one way to describe cannabis, but that doesn’t make anyone more right, or more wrong for that matter. News stations and more established media outlets tend to stick to the more technical terms (marijuana, cannabis) while any others can be found in casual conversation. To an experienced user this may all seem painfully obvious, but as the mumbling about marijuana grows into full blown conversation, many uneducated yet interested individuals will come to participate in the debate. If you are one of these people, don’t worry, if you think someone is talking about marijuana, they probably are. Find yourself on the more experienced side? Remember to make things clear for those around you.

That’s not to say there aren’t different types of marijuana. The two subspecies, known as indica and sativa, have very different properties and recognizably different effects. The thin leafed plant you often see as the emblem of cannabis, that’s a sativa. Generally, sativa has an energizing and uplifting effect. Indica on the other hand, with its short wide leaf, is known for its relaxing properties. To boil it down, sativa will get you up and moving, indica will leave you on the couch staring at the television. These two subspecies can also be combined, creating hybrid strains that have the effects of both subspecies to differing degrees.

It is increasingly difficult to ignore the conversation happening around cannabis. Whether you are in a country that has already legalized marijuana, or living in one going through the process of legalization, understanding the basic terminology surrounding the subject is an invaluable asset for anyone interested in participating.