Let’s Talk About Cannabis: Industry Areas and Definitions

Understanding the complexity of the cannabis industry can seem like a daunting task. But we’re here to help!


Sales of legal cannabis are expected to hit $43 billion by 2025. But there’s way more to this industry than just growing and selling recreational marijuana. The 5 main professional sectors include: 

  • Industrial Hemp (products with low THC and CBD, such as ropes, textiles, paper, etc), 
  • Daily Wellness (think the CBD-based oils and products you see online including cosmetics)
  • Adult Use (traditional THC-based products like marijuana, edibles, vapes, etc) 
  • Medicinal (THC and CBD products used to treat pain and other medical conditions as prescribed by a medical professional)
  • Pharmaceutical (THC and CBD products that are fully approved as pharmaceutical products after having passed through a large number of tests and clinical trials)

Take a look at the list below for a quick-and-easy guide to some of the most common cannabis-related terms. 

Access Point: An authorized location to sell medical cannabis to patients and customers with a medical prescription. It is regulated by state laws and only permitted to sell medical cannabis products exclusively for medical use. 

Cannabinoids: Compounds found in cannabis. There are many different types of cannabinoids, but the most common are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol, also known as CBD.

Cannabis: This refers to the full cannabis plant, which is used to create hemp fibers as well as consumable products such as marijuana and cosmetics.

CBD: The second most common cannabinoid found in cannabis, called cannabidiol. It is used in specific medications and does not have any psychoactive effect. In many areas CBD products are not as tightly controlled and can be sold in local markets.

Dispensary: A store at which one can legally purchase cannabis products, including marijuana, edibles, and CBD oil, depending on the legality of the products in the specific area.

Hemp: A cannabis plant containing 0.3% or less THC content by dry weight. Hemp is used to make a wide variety of products including clothing, paper, and food.

Seed-to-Sale: A comprehensive system used to track every step of the cannabis supply chain, from growing all the way through product sales. 

THC: Tetrahydrocannabinol (also known as THC) is the main psychoactive substance found in cannabis and is used largely for recreational purposes as well as some medicinal treatments, such as anxiety relief. This is what gives you the “high” when you smoke marijuana. 

Topical: Cannabis-infused lotions, creams, oils, or gels intended for skin application only, not to be ingested. Topical products are used to treat a variety of ailments, ranging from muscle soreness to inflammation, temporary skin conditions, arthritis, and anti-aging products. These products do not contain enough THC for a high.

Did you know LIM has launched a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) degree and a Master of Professional Studies (MPS) degree in The Business of Cannabis?