‘Budding’ chemists: learning the science behind a familiar plant

You probably know THC and CBD, but this Seattle budtender suggests digging deeper

Terroir. Flavor profile. Aroma.

Wine connoisseurs have been geeking out for centuries parsing each sip, and now the cannabis industry is doing the same. Curious about the components but don’t know where to start? Jakob Miller at The Green Door can help.

“It’s really cool when customers start paying attention to the different elements. Not only is it interesting, that knowledge can also be really helpful in narrowing down what works for you,” Miller says.


These natural compounds in the cannabis plant interact with your body in different ways. Learn how the three most common cannabinoids affect you, and you’ll better predict suitable products.

  • THC: Tetrahydrocannabinol, better known as THC, is the main psychoactive component in cannabis. But Miller says if you only focus on THC content you’re missing out.
  • CBD: For most people cannabidiol has a less psychoactive effect, and has been used to support those with conditions such as epilepsy, anxiety, insomnia and pain.
  • CBG: Cannabigerol is a minor component of most cannabis, but Miller suggests taking advantage of higher CBG concentrations if you’re trying cannabis to help with inflammation. “It can also be helpful for sleep and rest,” he says.


Terpenes are chemical compounds naturally found in many plants, particularly conifers (think of that pine-fresh scent). In cannabis terpenes contribute a lot to aroma and each has a different flavor profile, but they can also be a clue to finding the perfect strain for your needs.

“They’ve identified over 100 terpenes in the cannabis plant, and each one has different effects. Everyone responds to cannabis differently, but paying attention to terpenes will help narrow down what works for you,” Millers says.

Three terpenes worth researching:

  • Limonene: “If you want something uplifting, limonene typically makes people feel sunny and creative, and is common in Sativas,” Miller says. It’s also found in citrus fruit peels.
  • Myrcene: Myrcene might remind you of your favorite IPA with its balsam, hoppy aroma, and is often used for relaxation.
  • Turpinolene: Its aroma is complex, but many describe it as fresh. Try turpinolene for energy, and see how it works for you.

Method of consumption

If you’re curious about cannabis but don’t like the idea of smoking, there are plenty of other consumption methods you can try. If your main goal is pain management, Miller suggests consuming sublingually, putting a drop of cannabis oil under your tongue.

“A little goes a long way — a droplet the size of a rice grain is usually all you need,” he says.

For pain management Miller suggests an RSO (Rick Simpson Oil, named after a cancer patient who experienced success with the oil) like Hindu Kush which is heavy in CBD and CBG, and can help with relaxation and pain.

Visit The Green Door at 828 Rainier Ave. South or explore the online store at thegreendoorseattle.com. Call 206-618-7133 to chat with a budtender about your needs, goals and history, and find a product that works for you.