Bud is a noun that refers to the mature cannabis flower itself.

What does bud mean?

Bud is a synonym for the actual nugs that you grind up and vape or smoke. THC, and the minor cannabinoids, including CBD, CBC, CBN, CBG, and THCV, are all in the buds of the cannabis plant.

Bud Usage and Meaning


  • “Melvina always has that kind bud.”
  • “I didn’t know she was a bud smoker, but after she cleaned me out at the party, I guess she is.”
  • “Do me a favor and pack that bowl with bud so we can fire it up.”
  • “Let’s roll by the dispensary, because I’m fresh out of bud, all I have is shatter.”

But why do we call marijuana “bud”? In other words, why is this a slang phrase for cannabis?

First of all, because of the importance of the buds themselves as part of the plant. Like we said, that’s where the magic happens with cannabinoids and terpenes. That’s why you want to grind those babies up—that’s the effective part of the plant.

The dense group of buds at the top of the flowering cannabis plant is called the cola. Growers use various techniques such as low-stress training and topping to increase yield, growing multiple main colas on a single plant. When you buy “bud” or “flower” at your local dispensary, you’re buying dried colas of female flowers.

Several elements comprise a single cannabis flower, including a pistil, which looks like hair-like growths, and the trichomes that produce the medicinal and psychoactive resin that contains cannabinoids and terpenes.

Cannabis “bud” is not technically correct, therefore, but is instead a distinct, dried, cured cola or cluster of cannabis flowers, typically found in teardrop-shaped or pyramidal clusters of 30 to 150 individual flowers, densely packed.

Still—they do have a bud-like shape, and it’s easy to see why they’re called buds. These are also found on display at dispensaries, introduced to you by your friendly budtender. Ideally, that person can also talk to you about the quality of the product based on the appearance and smell of the buds, which may be more or less sticky from resin.

Another reason for the name bud is just changing times. Since the cannabis scene has changed so much, there is a need to specify what kind of cannabis you’re talking about.

Going into a dispensary today and asking for marijuana is going to get you a funny look, and the truth is, there are probably edibles, concentrates of all kinds, hash, vape carts, tinctures, topicals, and yes, bud or flower. Most are consumed in their own ways, so clarifying how to consume each product helps consumers.

(Some say that “bud” is also an acronym that stands for “blazing up dank,” but that seems like an afterthought.)

Images that illustrate the definition of “bud”

Bud definition
what does bud mean?

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