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Understanding Cannabis Research Terminology

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Understanding Cannabis Research Terminology

Students are encouraged to directly consult the research studies cited in the seminars and courses offered by Higher Learning LV and to continue building their knowledge via their own investigative efforts and business mission-driven goals.

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Learn cannabis research terminology.

Cannabis Research Terminology

When reviewing formal research study reports, an understanding of a few basic terms is very helpful. These include the following (*Merriam-Webster):

  • Agonist: A chemical substance [molecule or chemical compound] capable of combining [binding] with a specific receptor on a cell and initiating the same reaction or activity typically produced by [a] binding endogenous substance.*

  • Antagonist: A chemical that acts within the body to reduce the physiological activity of another chemical substance (such as an opiate), especially one that opposes the action on the nervous system of a drug or a substance occurring naturally in the body by combining with and blocking its nervous receptor.*

  • Biosynthetic pathway: The path of chemical progression of a molecule or chemical compound. In the case of the phytocannabinoids produced by hemp, this route of chemical evolution involves acidic precursors, neutral versions, varin versions, and varin-specific acidic precursors. In actuality, the biosynthetic pathway is more complex, involving additional synthase molecules.

  • Clinical trial: A scientifically controlled study of the safety and effectiveness of a therapeutic agent (such as a drug or vaccine) using consenting human subjects.*

  • Double-blind: Of, relating to, or being an experimental procedure in which neither the subjects nor the experimenters know which subjects are in the test and control groups during the actual course of the experiments.*

  • In vivo: Latin; "In the living body of a plant or animal." In the context of medicinal research, this is any research conducted on living animals, including rodents, canines, or humans.*

  • In vitro: Latin; "Outside the living body and in an artificial environment.” This is a segment of preclinical research that is sometimes called "test tube research" or "petri dish research." In vitro research may involve organs or cells harvested from living animals, but is not performed directly on the creature. A mnemonic trick: Think of the "t" in vitro as standing for “test tube."*

  • Placebo-controlled: **A term used to describe a method of research in which an inactive substance (a placebo) is given to one group of participants while the treatment (usually a drug or vaccine) being tested is given to another group. **Placebo-controlled studies are a way of testing a medical therapy in which, in addition to a group of subjects that receives the treatment to be evaluated, a separate control group receives a placebo treatment that is specifically designed to have no real (chemical) effect. Test subjects who report efficacy from a placebo experience what is called a psychosomatic response.

  • Reuptake: The reabsorption by a neuron of a neurotransmitter following the transmission of a nerve impulse across a synapse.*

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