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Cannabis Certificate Program Research LibGuides: Home

A guide created to support Berkshire Community College's possible future Cannabis Certificate Program


  • Cannabidiol (CBD): a constituent of cannabis that has been traditionally considered non-psychoactive.
  • Cannabinoids: one of a class of chemical compounds that act on cannabinoid receptors, cannabinoids can be naturally derived from the cannabis plant or manufactured.
  • Cannabis: a broad term that can be used to describe the various products and chemical compounds derived from the Cannabis sativa or Cannabis indica species. 
  • Cannabis Chemical Constituents: There are more than 104 different cannabinoids. Other compounds identified include terpenoids, flavonoids, nitrogenous compounds, and more common plant molecules . Among these, Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is responsible for the intoxicated state sought after by recreational cannabis users, owing to its ability to act as a partial agonist for type-1 cannabinoid (CB1) receptors. Cannabinoids exist mainly in the plant as their carboxylic precursors (Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinolic acid [THCA] and cannabidiolic acid [CBDA]) and are decarboxylated by light or heat while in storage or when combusted
  • Cannabis use disorder (CUD)—according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition, a problem-causing pattern of cannabis use leading to clinically significant impairment or distress, as manifested by at least two distinguishing symptoms over 12 months including large amounts/prolonged use, craving, continued cannabis use despite the experience of physical, social, or interpersonal problems caused by cannabis use.
  • Hemp. Hemp and marijuana are from the same species of plant, Cannabis sativa but derive from genetically distinct forms of cannabis distinguished by their use and chemical composition as well as by differing cultivation practices in their production.  Hemp, also known as “industrial hemp” has levels of THC below 0.3%.
  • Marijuana: a Cannabis sativa plant-derived product typically composed from the plant’s dried leaves, stems, seeds, and buds.
  • Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC): Δ9(THC)—the main psychoactive constituent of cannabis.

Most definitions come from,  National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; Health and Medicine Division; Board on Population Health and Public Health Practice; Committee on The health effects of cannabis and cannabinoids: The current state of evidence and recommendations for research. (DC): National Academies Press (US); NCBI, 2017 Jan 12. Retrieved 8/30/19

The definition for hemp comes from,  Johnson, Renée (22 March 2019). Defining Hemp: A Fact Sheet (PDF). Washington, DC: Congressional Research Service. Retrieved 8/30/19

DrugFacts: Marijuana  This publication of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has facts about marijuana, including how people use it, its effects on the brain and overall health, and treatment options.

Important Recent Study

The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids: The Current State of Evidence and Recommendations for Research National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine. 2017   THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS 500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, DC 20001

This comprehensive study from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine provides evidence on health impacts of cannabis products, including both the benefits and health risks.  

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Karen Carreras-Hubbard
Jonathan Edwards Library, Berkshire Community College
1350 West Street
Pittsfield, MA 01085