The explosive growth of cannabis use across the country has given rise to a whole new culture complete with its own language. As with any cultural phenomenon, there are certain terms that people outside of the cannabis culture do not understand. Some of those terms are necessary, others are not. In fact, the cannabis culture uses a number of unnecessary terms.
Below is a list of five terms the cannabis industry could probably do without. Why stop using them? Because they either engender confusion, sugarcoat the truth, or do both. As long as we are having a national discussion about cannabis consumption, we might as well be honest, transparent, and forthcoming about it.
With the possible exception of referring to the cannabis industry itself, the term really has outlived its usefulness in defining what we are doing both medically and recreationally. The problem with using ‘cannabis’ as a blanket term is that it obscures the distinction between marijuana and hemp – a difference important enough to not ignore.
Utahmarijuana.org, an organization that helps Utah patients obtain medical cannabis cards, explains that cannabis is not a single plant. It is a plant with a number of different varieties, each offering its own cannabinoid and terpene profile. Therefore, a person talking about consuming medical cannabis might not be referring to THC. They might be referring to a CBD product derived from hemp.
We could go a long way toward erasing the confusion by differentiating between marijuana and hemp. Likewise for THC and CBD. Lumping them all together under the cannabis banner doesn’t work anymore.
2. Adult Use
The term ‘adult use’ refers to recreational marijuana use among people aged twenty-one and older. Was the term coined to take the negative edge off ‘recreational use’? That is for you to decide. One way or the other, the term tries to sugarcoat the fact that adult users are recreational users.
Recreational use does not sit well with a lot of people. It is not allowed in many states that have legalized medical marijuana programs. Referring to recreational use as adult use does nothing to further the discussion. It only softens the blow.
Decriminalization refers to legalizing marijuana. The word is completely legitimate and part of the language. However, it is unnecessarily complicated. In everyday life, people don’t talk about decriminalizing things. They talk about legalizing them. The only benefit to using the term is to point out that violating marijuana laws makes one a criminal. But don’t people already know that?
States with medical cannabis programs have a tendency to refer to their dispensaries as ‘pharmacies’. Why would the industry be better off not using this term? Because the term conflates medical cannabis with other prescription drugs. Truth be told, medical cannabis is not prescribed in the way that antibiotics or analgesics are. To date, there aren’t even any prescription standards. Doctors only recommend cannabis. They leave it to patients to determine delivery form and dosage.
Synergy is a term that is excessively overused in the business world. Oftentimes, it is a meaningless word combined with other meaningless words to make people sound like they know what they are talking about. Though it is a legitimate word with a legitimate definition, it is completely unnecessary in the cannabis industry. We all know what the phrase ‘combined effects’ means. We don’t need to gussy things up by talking about synergy.
Cannabis is a topic that engenders much confusion. We could go a long way toward eliminating that confusion by simplifying the terms. Unfortunately, that’s not likely to happen.