Every industry has its own lingo, and as a newbie, it can often take some getting used to.

The cannabis industry is relatively new and growing at a rapid pace. New products, companies, and types of consumption are constantly emerging, and it can truly be a challenge to keep up!

We’ve created a quick reference guide for you to understand some of those crazy acronyms you’ll hear and read about in your cannabis job.

By the time you reach the end of this list, you’ll be a pro! (Or at least sound like you know what you’re talking about to your new colleagues.)

This by no means an exhaustive list, as the industry is ever-changing and full of tons of scientific terminology. But for the cannabis newbie – or any seasoned pro who needs a refresh – this is a great place to start!

Read on to decode the Alphabet Soup of cannabis.

BOE – based on experience. To put it simply, employees’ pay rates will be determined by their prior experience. This is seen on many job listings in place of a fixed rate. Typically – and in a perfect world – more experience yields a higher pay rate.

BHO – butane hash oil. A potent form of cannabis concentrate that comes in various forms of different consistencies such as shatter, wax and more. Used for dabbing (and we don’t mean the ubiquitous dance move that resembles sneezing).

CBD – cannabinoid, also cannabidiol. Cannabinoids are the diverse chemical compounds that are the active parts in a cannabis plant, such as the most commonly known THC (see below). Cannabidiol is another type of cannabinoid that is frequently used to treat pain, as it does not have known psychoactive effects.

CDC – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The US agency responsible for tracking and investigating public health trends. They provide many tools and resources for cannabis use.

cGMP – current good manufacturing practices. (See “GMP” below.) Instructs manufacturers that they must employ technologies and systems that are up-to-date in order to comply with specific regulations from the FDA.

CO2 – carbon dioxide. For those who actually remember chemistry class, you’ll know this is a colorless gas. In cannabis, CO2 is used for extraction and is turned into CO2 oil, which can be used in a variety of cannabis products.

DEA – Drug Enforcement Agency. A government agency that deals with drug abuse and drug smuggling in the US. The DEA is not a fan of cannabis, as it is still considered a Schedule I drug on the Controlled Substances list.

EPC – extended plant count. Refers to the number of medical cannabis plants that a qualifying patient is allowed to grow in their own home. It is granted based on proof of legible medical records proving their ailments.

FDA – US Food and Drug Administration. The FDA is responsible for protecting public health regarding food, tobacco, and other products. They regulate and approve drug products for medical use. (One CBD product has been FDA-approved, but cannabis is still in waiting.)

FF – fresh frozen. This describes cannabis concentrates made from plant material that has been cryogenically frozen immediately after harvest in order to best preserve it. Also refers to a type of hashish made using fresh frozen cannabis flower and trim.

FSE – full spectrum extract. A type of hash oil that includes a higher percentage of a cannabis plant’s unique cannabinoids and terpenes.

GMP – good manufacturing practices. The manufacturing of product with safety and quality to avoid contamination, given by the FDA (see above) under the authority of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

HIA – Hemp Industries Association. A non-profit trade association that represents hemp companies, researchers and supporters in the US and Canada. The group petitions for fair and equal treatment of industrial hemp.

MED – Marijuana Enforcement Division. This is the state division in charge of providing the operational rules for the legal cannabis industry in Colorado.

METRC – Marijuana Enforcement Tracking Reporting Compliance. A regulatory system that cannabis businesses use to monitor cannabis plants from ‘seed-to-sale’ (from the time they are a seed to when their products are sold) in order to comply with state regulations. It’s the official system used by the state of Colorado.

MIPs – marijuana-infused products. Edibles, THC soda, and anything created using a cannabis concentrate falls under this category. MIP also refers to a licensed facility where these products are made.

Shatter. Photo via Flickr under CC.

MITS – Marijuana Inventory Tracking Solution. Program that tracks individual cannabis plants according to government regulation (see METRC above).  

MMJ – medical marijuana/cannabis. The cannabis or cannabis products that are recommended to patients by doctors to treat a variety of ailments.

OLCC – Oregon Liquor Control Commission. This is used in reference to the Oregon MED Badge, which allows a business or individual to operate within the legal cannabis industry.

OSHA – Occupational Safety and Health Administration. An administration created to assure safe and healthful working conditions in the workplace by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance.

POS – point of sale system. Software used in dispensaries and retail outlets to help manage their inventory, process cash transactions, and other primary functions.

REC – recreational cannabis. Cannabis or cannabis product intended for personal consumption. Also referred to as “adult-use.”

THC – tetrahydrocannabinol. Remember when we talked about CBD (cannabinoids)? THC is the most common cannabinoid and the most common psychoactive part of a cannabis plant.

THCa – tetrahydrocannabinolic acid. Different from THC! This is a non-psychoactive compound found in raw and live cannabis. THCa slowly converts to THC as the cannabis plant dries, and heat expedites this process when flower is smoked or vaped.

If you made it through this list, you should consider yourself on your way to becoming a cannabis industry expert. Or at least feel confident and have a better understanding of the industry to bring to the table at your cannabis job!

Have you heard any crazy cannabis acronyms at work? Let us know in the comments!

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  1. Avatar

    What is the salary range for a topicals manager?

    • Avatar

      Hi Debbie,

      Thanks for reading! Our Vangst Cannabis Industry Salary Guide offers insight on salaries and benefits packages for some of the top cannabis industry jobs this year. We are continuing to collect data and utilize our network to gather more information on a wide variety of jobs, so we hope this helps! Please feel free to contact us to discuss further.