Useful Marijuana Definitions

Here are some useful definitions to help get you through the confusing and convoluted laws and conversation around marijuana in America:


  1. Cannabis: cannabis sativa, the Latin name for the plant that, in certain variations, is considered either marijuana or hemp


  1. Marijuana: a legal term of art for cannabis plants and products that has 0.3% THC by dry weight; commonly outside the legal context, marijuana is understood to be the variety of cannabis that gets you high due to its THC content


  1. Hemp: cannabis with less than 0.3% THC; commonly used in industrial and other purposes


  1. Cannabinoid: the entire class of compounds that are extracted from cannabis plants. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are the most commonly known and used cannabinoids.


  1. THC: Tetrahydrocannabinol, the most famous cannabinoid; known for its psychoactive qualities. This is what makes marijuana a Schedule I drug


  1. CBD: cannabidiol, a cannabinoid gaining in popularity for a variety of uses in health and beauty products; while not psychoactive in any way, it is still listed in the federal Controlled Substances Act, but as a Schedule V drug. Schedule V drugs have some demonstrated medical value and the least potential for abuse or addiction.


  1. Acts/Statutes: laws passed by Congress through the regular process of voting on a bill (a proposed law); rules and regulations are based on acts


  1. Rules/Regulations: explanations and applications of laws written by executive agencies; these are basically how an agency is going to interpret and enforce a law passed by Congress; by definition, they are subordinate to laws and can be found by courts to be improper for a number of reasons (such as incorrect procedure, interpretation that exceeds the bounds set by the law itself)

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