Notes on this glossary: JMCC has developed this glossary as a simple reference for users to words and terms used on our website and in other public resources. Note that some definitions are widely debated by scientists and within the industry and will be subject to change as more is learned about cannabis and its medical uses in future. Check this page often for additions and updates.
Bioavailability: The proportion of a drug or other substance that enters the circulation system when introduced into the body and so is able to have an active effect.
Cannabis: for practical purposes, we define “cannabis” as varieties with higher THC content and “hemp” as those with less CBD (no more than 1% in Switzerland, 0.3% in the U.S., and .02 in most European countries).
Certified Organic: A certification process for producers of organic food and other organic agricultural products including. Requirements vary from country to country but generally involve a set of production standards for growing, storage, processing, packaging and shipping that include things like avoiding synthetic chemical inputs (e.g., fertilizer, pesticides, antibiotics, food additives), irradiation, and genetically modified seeds.
Closed-loop ethanol extraction: A method used for extraction of cannabinoids like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD), and terpenes from cannabis plant material, using methanol as the solvent. Closed-loop extraction is efficient, produces a clean product, and is regarded as safer than open-loop extraction.
Coir: Or coconut fibre is the fibrous material or “pith” found between the hard, internal shell and the outer coat of a coconut. Coir is natural and rot-resistant, so it’s ideal for horticultural uses.
Cold plasma sterilization: A cutting-edge sterilization process that provides a non-thermal, organic and environmentally friendly alternative to traditional treatments -- those based on UV and gamma radiation (i.e., irradiation), chemicals, ozone or microwaves -- to eliminate microbial contaminants in cannabis and other agricultural crops. See more:
Cultivar: A variety of a plant that was produced from a natural species and that has been bred for desired traits, which are reproduced in each new generation by methods such as grafting, cloning, tissue culture or carefully controlled seed production.
Endocannabinoid system: Briefly, a system of cannabinoid receptors, lipids, and enzymes that performs a large role in maintaining homeostasis, or internal regulatory balance, in many bodily functions. All mammalian vertebrates have an endocannabinoid system, which interacts with endocannabinoids that are found in cannabis. There is lots more information available online, e.g.: https://www.leafly.com/news/science-tech/what-is-the-endocannabinoid-system.
Flavonoids: Are a group of natural substances found in fruits, vegetables, grains, bark, roots, stems, flowers and, of course, cannabis. They are well known for their beneficial effects on health and efforts are being made to isolate the ingredients of flavonoids. They are now considered as an indispensable component in a variety of nutraceutical, pharmaceutical, medicinal and cosmetic applications, including medical cannabis.
GACP: Stands for Good Agricultural and Collection Practices, which is a set of World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines covering areas of cultivation (from seeds and propagation material), collection, harvest, processing, packaging, personnel, equipment, documentation and others for the sake of satisfying the minimum required quality assurance in plant cultivation used in medicines.
GDP: Stands for Good Distribution Practices and is a quality system for warehouse and distribution centres dedicated for medicines. Internationally accepted pharmaceutical GDP regulations require that distributors of pharmaceutical products must align their operations with the standards to ensure that consistent quality management systems are in place throughout a company’s entire supply chain.
GMP: Stands for Good Manufacturing Practice (for Medicinal Products) and is a set of World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines for manufacturing, testing, and quality assurance to ensure that products (specifically foods and medicines) are safe for human consumption or use. Many regions/countries have created their own GMP versions, e.g., EU GMP is considered the most stringent.
Landrace: Cannabis landraces are native plant populations that have developed over centuries by adapting to the environmental conditions of their geographical location and somewhat influenced by the preferences of local growers for certain characteristics.
Marijuana: Believed to be derived from the Mexican-Spanish and sometimes spelled “marihuana”, the term came into English usage after 1910, during a period when nearly a million Mexicans emigrated to the U.S. to escape the Mexican Revolution. Although cannabis was used medicinally prior to this period, it was not commonly smoked for the intoxicating factor of THC. Some historians today believe that global cannabis prohibition, led by the U.S. government in the 1990s, was a racist reaction to its common use among Black and Mexican Americans.
Medical cannabis: Also often referred to as “medicinal cannabis”, medical cannabis is cannabis (or hemp) in dried form, oils extracted from the plant, and related medical preparations used to treat conditions and symptoms such as reducing nausea and vomiting during chemotherapy, improving appetite in people with HIV/AIDS, reducing chronic pain and muscle spasms from illnesses such as Multiple Sclerosis and severe forms of epilepsy. Medical cannabis is produced to meet strict standards of safety and quality as set by regulating health authorities in countries that have legalized it for medical and research purposes, and is increasingly available via a doctor’s prescription.
Nano-emulsification: The process used to produce nano-emulsions, a mixture of two immiscible liquids (e.g., oil and water), one being dispersed throughout the other in tiny, “nano-sized” droplets. Nano-emulsification is often used to improve the delivery of active pharmaceutical ingredients into the bloodstream.
Strain: Defined by many as having some combination of characteristics including botanical lineage, appearance, chemical profile and accompanying effects. The term itself is essentially a slang term for a variety of the cannabis plant, as well as its derivative products, as the characteristics can vary considerably between one grower’s “strain” and another’s. In horticultural and botanical circles, “cultivar” has become the preferred term to delineate the smell, flavours, yield, pharmacological effects and other distinct characteristics of a cultivated plant variety. “Chemovars”, also known as chemotypes, refers to the breakdown of a plant species according to its chemical composition.
Terpenes: Are the aromatic compounds that determine the scent of many flowers and herbs, including cannabis, which contains more than 150 types of terpenes, although most are present in only trace amounts. Terpenes hold diverse functions in the plant and can produce a range of therapeutic and mood-altering effects in users.
Titration: Drug titration is the process of adjusting the dose of a medication for the maximum benefit without adverse effects.
Winterized oils: Winterization is the process of removing compounds—such as fats, lipids, waxes, and chlorophyll—from the crude cannabis oil before the distillation process. Not removing them will lower the purity of the targeted cannabinoids, such as THC and CBD, in the final product.