A Crash Course on Hemp Flower Lingo

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Marijuana vocabulary: what does it all mean?

So, you’re browsing online in search of a brand-new cultivar to try. And as you scan through the hundreds of choices, you find a bright green nug, rich with purple undertones and encased in a cage of fiery orange hairs.

It beckons your name from the list of top-shelf strains, and you click through to find out more about it. But as you scan the seller’s copy, you’re bombarded with a bunch of technical mumbo-jumbos that’s impossible to decode. Trichomes? Calyxes? Cannabinoids and cannabidiol? Yikes.

Although we’ve collectively accepted hemp as a natural remedy for almost every kind of ache or discomfort, many of us don’t exactly know the technicalities of the herb. And thus, most of us are left picking hemp strains based on colors, lineage, and names. But there are better ways to browse the market, and it all starts with decoding hemp flower lingo.


In botany, the calyx is a cluster of leaves that surrounds the bud or flower. Observe a hemp plant, and you’ll find that the calyx is the first part that forms before the formation of a flower.

So, why do retailers so often talk about thick, dense calyxes and why is it important? Well, the calyx is where you’ll find the trichomes – the tiny, fuzzy, white hairs that cover the hemp plant’s leaves. These trichomes are responsible for the production of sticky resin, which is basically where the cannabinoids can be found.

Cannabis plant parts


The Cannabis sativa L. plant from which hemp is taken contains 113 different cannabinoids, and one of them is cannabidiol or CBD. Discovered in the 1940’s, this phytocannabinoid is the most abundant in hemp and makes up 40% of its cannabinoid profile. In a way, you might call it hemp’s main active ingredient.

For the most part, cannabidiol is what gives you that feeling of relief after taking a toke of hemp flower or chewing on a CBD gummy. Although lots of people claim that CBD provides major benefits for overall health and wellness, its use remains controversial and is the focal point of debate. Nonetheless, majority of the hemp market is built on the promise of CBD, earning it the unwavering patronage of millions of users worldwide.


This cluster of closely related chemical compounds are the main active constituents of the cannabis plant. Some of the most popular examples include cannabidiol which is what’s responsible for hemp’s overnight success. Another example would be tetrahydrocannabinol, the main psychoactive compound found in marijuana, which is absent in hemp.

Delta-9 Tetrahydrocannabinol

Abundant in marijuana, this stuff is basically what makes hemp’s brother illegal. Also called THC, tetrahydrocannabinol is part of the cannabinoid family and is the main reason why marijuana gives the feeling of a high. In legal hemp, THC levels should be no more than 0.3% per dry weight. By regulating the amount of THC found in hemp, then local governments can be certain that any hemp-derived products that make their way to the public won’t induce psychoactive effects.

Entourage Effet

Here’s a fun word that you’ll read in hemp-derived oil copy. The Entourage Effect is a proposed mechanism that states that hemp extract taken as a whole works better than isolated CBD. Some studies have found that the various chemical compounds in hemp – specifically the cannabinoids and the terpenes – work together to amplify each other’s effects. So, using CBD along with all of its other cannabinoid brothers and sisters as opposed to using the CBD alone would produce more pronounced benefits.

Full Spectrum

Closely related to the previous term, ‘full spectrum’ refers to any hemp product or oil that was extracted as a whole. That means that the formulations contain all 133 of the cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant, and not just the CBD. Does that include tetrahydrocannabinol? You bet your ass it’s in the mix, but don’t worry. As long as there’s less than 0.3%, you’re in the clear.


Indica hemp varieties are claimed to be more calming, relaxing, and sedating. They can make you feel sleepy and slow, sometimes even inducing a condition of couch-lock, making you want to sit perfectly still as the effects of the strain rush through your system. In stature, indica plants are shorter with broader leaves. They thrive well in colder climates and reach maturity more rapidly than sativas.


The hybrid strains are those that combine genetics from both indica and sativa strains. In effect, they produce balanced outcomes, making them far more suitable for novices and low tolerance users. They’re both calming and energizing, but there are some hybrids that lean towards a specific dominance, with one of the two heritages taking center stage.


Sativa leaning hemp varieties are said to bring a more energetic, lively set of effects. They lend a rush of vigor and wake up the senses with a zest for productivity and creativity. The plant itself might look a little on the tall side, with leaves that are narrower, thriving in warmer conditions over longer periods of growth.


You ever wonder why flowers and plants have that distinct smell? Well, that’s thanks to terpenes. These chemical compounds give off that iconic flower smell, and they’re actually present in lots of the products you have at home. Usually, they’re incorporated as fragrances, like in aromatherapy oils. Various types of terpenes release different kinds of smells, and that’s also how strains get their unique flavor profiles. Some of the most common terpenes include lemonene, mycrene, and linalool.



You’ll often hear retailers bragging about dense trichome layers enveloping a strain’s nugs. But why should that sway you into making a purchase? Easy – trichomes are the little hairs of hemp leaves that release the resin. Yes, that sticky stuff that leaves a tacky feeling on your fingers after toying with a nug. This resin is made up of the cannabinoids that produce the benefits you look for in hemp. So, in a way, you might say that when a hemp flower has a thicker trichome jacket, it’s likely to have far more resin, and thus more potent effects.

This is a guest article, here’s a little about the author

This article was written by George Mouratidis (IHF LLC Expert Cannabis/Hemp Author). George is a full-time copywriter and journalist. He is the founder of WeedCopywriter.com, a bespoke content writing agency for the cannabis industry and the co-writer of the book Ganja Hustle; a hit cannabis growing guide for the USA and Canada markets.


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