Cannabis Terminologies for Growers: A Quick Reference Guide

If you’re just beginning to explore the world of cannabis, you may have come across certain terms you’re unfamiliar with. Learning some of the more common phrases and names makes searching for the right type of marijuana seed more convenient. This type of knowledge builds upon itself: the more you research, the easier it will become to understand the art of DIY home cannabis gardening—which in turn, will allow you to develop and finesse your skills. 

General Cannabis Terminology

Curious to know what “feminized” seeds are? How about “auto-flowering” strains? Take a peek below at brief glimpses into some of the most important concepts associated with cannabis.

Strain

A “strain” simply refers to any unique variety of the cannabis plant. To provide an analogy—Honeycrisp, Fuji,  Red Delicious, and Gala are all unique kinds of apples, and different individuals will prefer different types. Strains of cannabis will each have their own distinct mixture of indica and/or sativa lineage, aromas and tastes, cannabinoid content, and more.

Every cannabis strain will have properties that differentiate it from other varieties of cannabis. More often than not, strains are strategically bred by cannabis experts to produce specific effects. However, some strains, referred to as “landrace strains” developed organically in nature thousands of years ago. These strains contain 100% indica, sativa, or ruderalis lineage.

More often than not, however, strains are of the hybrid variety. A strain’s characteristics typically include specific levels of cannabinoids such as THC and CBD, unique aromas and tastes, specific effects, varying optimal growing conditions, and distinguishing physical characteristics such as height, hues, and appearance.

Cannabinoids

Cannabinoids are chemical compounds present within the cannabis plant. The two most well-known and popular cannabinoids are THC and CBD, which appear in varying levels depending on the strain and are responsible for a cannabis plant’s psychoactive and potential therapeutic effects.

While cannabinoids are most often associated with marijuana, they are also present in other plants and organisms, such as Echinacea and Black Pepper. The latter contains the terpene beta-caryophyllene, which also acts as a cannabinoid.

Cannabinoids interact with our endocannabinoid systems (ECS) and cannabinoid receptors. The ECS is present in all mammals and plays a pivotal role in both maintaining homeostasis and regulating physiological properties. A strain’s THC level will determine the potency of its psychotropic effects. CBD, on the other hand, does not produce any mind-altering effects and is most commonly associated with potential therapeutic benefits.

THC

Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol—which also answers to the name THC—is the main psychoactive compound found in the cannabis plant. THC is the compound that creates the “high” or mind-altering effects typically associated with consuming marijuana.

THC tends to produce sensations of euphoria and altered perceptions. The latter may include both a distorted perception of time, as well as a more vivid interpretation of sounds and colors. It is also known for reducing inhibitions. The effects of THC will vary from person to person—as well as from strain to strain. As such, we always recommend that beginners start with a lower THC level to see how they respond, and if they desire more pronounced effects, select strains with higher amounts once they feel comfortable.

CBD oil in a small bottle and cannabis leaves
Learn about the unique qualities of CBD
Source: IRA_EVVA shutterstock

CBD

Cannabidiol—also referred to as CBD—is another compound found in marijuana plants. Unlike THC, it does not produce mind-altering effects. Rather, it is best known for its potential therapeutic properties.

CBD is non-psychoactive and does not get the user “high.” Rather, strains with high amounts of CBD and low amounts of THC such as Valentine X Feminized Seeds tend to be preferred by those looking to experience a greater sense of calm and reduced stress.

While CBD strains are sometimes associated with their perceived medical benefits, the scientific community has not reached a conclusive answer as to CBD’s medicinal benefits. However, studies continue, and some evidence suggests CBD can produce therapeutic benefits, although this is currently conjecture as more research is needed to confirm these findings. That said, first-hand accounts by marijuana users and anecdotal evidence support the idea that CBD does alleviate certain symptoms. Ultimately, it is always best to consult your physician if you’d like to explore the use of CBD-rich marijuana to ease medical symptoms.

Seed Type Terminology

Below is popular cannabis seed terminology that is imperative for every aspiring or novice grower to know!

Photoperiod Seeds

Photoperiod seeds are a type of cannabis seed that requires specific light cycles to transition from the vegetative stage to the flowering stage.

Typically, a ratio of twelve hours of dark to twelve hours of light is optimal—as this most closely resembles the natural ratio of light to dark that would occur in nature during the summer and fall. In this sense, indoor growers can accurately replicate the effects of growing outdoors, and “trick’ their plants into flowering at specific times. While 12:12 light to dark is the standard ratio, many growers opt to adjust their light cycles depending on the specific strains they select.

One benefit of using photoperiod seeds is that they afford home growers the ability to strategically plan light cycles in order to trigger flowering at specific times. Photoperiod plants are an excellent choice for growers looking to schedule flowering at specific times, and in general, create a more optimized growing experience.

Feminized Seeds

Feminized seeds are a special type of photoperiod seed engineered to produce almost exclusively female plants. Male and female cannabis plants are both important—but for different reasons. Male plants are primarily used for the purpose of breeding new strains. Female plants, on the other hand, are much more useful to home growers. Unlike male plants, female plants produce cannabinoid-rich flowers.

Cannabinoids are the compounds responsible for the vast majority of marijuana’s cerebral and physical effects. While there are cannabinoids present to some degree in a plant’s leaves and stems, the highest concentration of cannabinoids, by far, will be present in the glandular trichomes of a plant—which reside in a plant’s flowers. Therefore, an all-female crop will help ensure you’re getting the very most usable cannabis out of your crop. For this reason, feminized seeds were created to help cannabis gardeners maximize their efficiency.

If a home grower were to plant regular cannabis seeds, they would need to devote time and energy to removing male plants, as they do not produce cannabis flowers and could potentially pollinate the female plants. By starting with a pack of feminized seeds, growers can avoid this issue entirely. In short, feminized seeds will help cultivators save time, maximize yields, and ultimately, have a more enriching growing experience. Growers Choice feminized seeds, specifically, are not only hand-selected and lab-tested, but they also come with an incredible 90% germination guarantee.

Auto-flowering Seeds

Unlike photoperiod seeds, auto-flowering seeds do not require specific light cycles to flower. Rather, they will flower—as the name implies—automatically. There are three primary species of cannabis plants: cannabis indica, cannabis sativa, and cannabis ruderalis. All auto-flowering strains such as Cheese Auto-flowering Feminized Seeds will contain some level of ruderalis genetics.

Ruderalis plants originated in Central Asia, and while they tend to be less potent than sativas and indicas, they have certain attributes that sativas and indicas do not. Some of these include a somewhat stronger endurance in response to inclement weather and less-than-ideal growing environments. Their most famous characteristic, however, is their ability to flower automatically without being exposed to specific light cycles.

In general, auto-flowering seeds are considered a more low-maintenance option for growers and are especially suitable for gardeners who are just getting started on their cannabis cultivation journey.

Strain Name Terminology

If you’ve ever visited a cannabis dispensary, or researched strains online, you may have noticed that certain words appear in more than one strain name. Below, we cover some of the more common terms you’ll see in strain names—and what they each signify. 

Kush Strains

If you come across a strain with the word “Kush” in its name, it may mean that the strain originated in the Hindu Kush mountain region. Typically, a Kush marijuana plant will have an earthy, herbal taste.

Detailed shot of a colorful marijuana plant
Unveil the remarkable properties of Kush strains
Source: Matthew Sichkaruk unsplash

OG Strains

The term “OG” often indicates the strain is “ocean grown”, and while not always the case, strains with “OG” in their name often originated in coastal areas. Keep in mind that terms and their meanings evolve and could mean something different today than they did in the past.

Haze Strains

Haze strains, ironically, are known for clearing the haze from one’s mind. More often than not, they contain high levels of sativa lineage, and therefore, support a greater sense of focus and cerebral verve. One example of a sativa-dominant haze strain is Silver Haze Feminized Seeds. This thought-sharpening hybrid generally produces high levels of drive and a palpable pep in the step.

Diesel Strains

As the name implies, Diesel” marijuana plants often produce a diesel-like aroma and flavor. For some, this may be an acquired taste, but if you enjoy tangy, pungent, gasoline-esque flavors and scents, diesel strains might be your hot ticket.

Skunk Strains

“Skunk” is a category of strains that tends to contain flavors that, while a bit of an acquired taste, are adored by many. If you see the word “skunk” in a strain name, chances are the plant in question will produce strong, pungent aromas that, while similar to actual skunk spray odors, are paradoxically appealing to many cannabis fans.

Green cannabis plants growing in the SCROG method
Learn about the differences between SCROG and SOG growing. 
Source: ThomsonD shutterstock

Gardening Terminology

If you’re new to cannabis growing, the following terms are indispensable in a successful marijuana cultivation journey. Read on!

Hydroponics

The hydroponics growing technique involves submerging your cannabis plants’ roots in water with added nutrients. With traditional growing techniques in soil, a plant’s roots must “search” to find their nutrients. The hydroponic method is preferred by some home growers who prefer their plants’ roots to have direct access to nutrient-rich water.  When carried out correctly, hydroponics allow your plants to redirect their energy towards developing lush foliage and denser, more resinous buds. 

Aeroponics

Aeroponics involves placing your cannabis plants in hanging baskets. Rather than being planted in soil, a plant’s roots will simply hang in the air. This method provides a convenient way to feed your plants: Simply spray their roots with water and fertilizer. If you’re new to growing, Strawberry Cough Feminized Seeds are not only low-maintenance but work quite well with the aeroponic method.

Aquaponics

Aquaponics is a highly niche but intriguing method. Best suited to those with experience, this technique involves mastery of two distinct systems: Aquaculture—which means farming fish such as koi, bluegills, and others, and the hydroponic method mentioned above. Gardeners well-versed in this process can create a virtuous cycle—or nearly closed loop—of feeding their plants with nutrients produced by the fish.

Sea of Green (SOG)

The SOG method requires growing your plants quite densely packed and close together. Not only does this result in a rich, canopy-like structure that helps facilitate growth, but it’s also excellent for indoor growers with smaller amounts of space. Many enjoy this method because it allows plants to flower more efficiently, and in turn, provides a greater number of harvests in a calendar year.

As a general rule, indica plants like Banana Runtz Feminized Seeds and Bubblegum Kush Feminized Seeds will fare better using this method thanks to their bunchier stature—while sativa strains may tend to stretch upwards, which ultimately negates the benefits of being densely bunched.

The Screen of Green (SCROG)

The SCROG method involves training your crop of cannabis plants to grow across a mesh screen. Rather than grow upward, or vertically, as most plants do, this technique teaches your plants to grow horizontally. One of the benefits of SCROG is that the foliage will grow through the openings of the mesh, and accordingly, receive a greater amount of light per square foot. Plants with slender leaves—such as sativa strains—tend to work best with this method. 

 Our Philosophy at Growers Choice 

The last decade has shown remarkable growth in public perceptions and attitudes towards the marijuana plant. While cannabis has had a long and winding history both globally and within the United States, the needle currently appears to be moving in a direction that it hasn’t for quite some time. 

Legal markets within the cannabis industry are producing a variety of cannabis-related resources for consumers and growers alike. While many consumers now have the option to visit a local dispensary and select from cannabis products such as flowers, cannabis extracts, cannabis concentrates, cannabis oil, and more, we believe that the most rewarding wellspring exists for those who have the option to legally cultivate their own, personalized garden of plants at home. If you have the option, we recommend exploring the depth and breadth of strains available at a reputable seed bank, such as our company Growers Choice. Ultimately, the right company will provide a greater level of both quality and selection. 

At Growers Choice, we provide only the finest premium cannabis seeds. Every packet is hand-selected, lab-tested, and comes with a 90% germination guarantee. Additionally, if you’re just learning to grow, we provide several educational resources—from guides on how to perfect the SCROG method, to articles on the key differences between sativa and indica plants. Finally, we provide in-depth product descriptions accompanying every one of our strains. We invite you to dive into our library of second-to-none seeds—and as always, good luck on your growing journey! 

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