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Comprehending cannabis: A new world of words

When you’re sitting in a room full of professionals sporting suits and ties, and they’re at a business social uttering words like “pot” and “marijuana” with straight faces, it’s hard not to laugh.

The emerging medical marijuana industry in Pennsylvania is taking a subject that has long been stigmatized, silenced and taboo, and bringing it into the mainstream business world.

Now, instead of drug dealers we have dispensaries, and parents who were buying illegal drugs off the street to curb their children’s seizures are now permitted to access the drug as caretakers through a safe harbor provision.

And businesspeople are seeking millions of dollars in capital to invest in a legal market that is set to begin operating in Pennsylvania by 2018.

All these players are speaking a new vocabulary.

Bud tenders and adult use

Some things I’ve overheard in my coverage, paraphrased…

Pennsylvania’s medical marijuana legislation does not allow for smoking, so that means patients aren’t going to be able to buy flower from their bud tender at the dispensary.

By not allowing flower, patients are probably going to have a lot of questions for their bud tender about what form of marijuana to use and how much, since it’s available in forms they’re less familiar with.

And, just because patients are using marijuana for medical use doesn’t mean they’re going to get high. They can get some CBD, and that won’t make them feel stoned – it will just make their body feel good. You know, that calming feeling without the freak out.

Marijuana is not yet legalized for adult use, but that will likely follow now that medical marijuana is legal in Pennsylvania.

Weed words: What do they mean?

Most of the definitions are pretty easy to guess, but all of them you’ve likely never heard before – until now.

  • Flower is the leafy, green stuff that is traditionally ingested by smoking.
  • Bud tender is the person working at the dispensary who will help patients choose their medical marijuana.

Physicians will recommend a patient use medical marijuana, but it will be the bud tender – and in Pennsylvania that person will most likely be a licensed pharmacist – that will help patients determine which strain of the plant they should use and in what form.

Medical marijuana is approved in Pennsylvania in forms such as pills, oils and ointments. Although it can’t be smoked, it can be vaporized and inhaled.

  • CBD is an abbreviation for cannabidiol, which is just one type of cannabinoid or class of chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant. CBD is most commonly used for treating pain or inflammation, without the psychoactive effects associated with a different cannabidiol, tetrahydrocannabinol or THC.
  • Adult use is a fancy way of referring about people who consume marijuana for recreational purposes.

Adult use marijuana sales increased 232 percent between 2015 and 2014, making it one of the fastest-growing sectors of the U.S. economy, according to data from Washington D.C.-based Frontier Financial Group Inc., which studies marijuana trends.

Adult use is already legal in states such as Colorado, Oregon and Washington.

The legal marijuana industry, both medical and adult use combined, saw a 31 percent increase in sales between 2014 and 2015, according to Frontier.

Lenay Ruhl

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