Wondering what the entourage effect is all about?
It’s an idea that cannabis plant compounds like cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids work together to improve the overall therapeutic effect.
Like how spices, sauces, and garnish work together to enhance a meal’s flavour.
Sounds promising, right?
The cannabis entourage effect is only a hypothesis — there’s no scientific validation yet.
- What is the Entourage Effect?
- The Benefits of the Entourage Effect
First theorized by Raphael Mechoulam in 1998, the “entourage effect” refers to the idea that different cannabis plant compounds:
- Create synergistic effects when taken together.
- Boost the therapeutic benefits of the Cannabis sativa plant
- Modulate the psychoactive effect of the plant
To date, there’s NO scientific proof validating the entourage effect.
However, recent studies add to the growing evidence that different cannabis compounds may interact with each other in the body.
So which cannabis plant compounds supposedly create the entourage effect?
The three main compounds resulting in the cannabis entourage effect are phytocannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids.
Here’s a brief run-down of each:
- Phytocannabinoids: These are the phytochemicals found in Cannabis sativa (and any other cannabis strain). Two popular phytocannabinoids include:
- CBD (cannabidiol) — usually derived from hemp extract.
- THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) — derived from cannabis extract.
These cannabinoids interact with specific receptors in the body to produce the desired effects.
- Terpenes: Terpenes give cannabis its distinct smell and taste. They are found in all types of plants (including non-cannabis) and are commonly used in medicines, tinctures, and essential oil products.
There are 200+ known types of terpene in cannabis, some of which have unique benefits. For instance, the terpene Linalool has a calming effect.
- Flavonoids: These are similar to terpenes — they contribute to the smell, taste, and colour of cannabis. The main difference: flavonoids play a significant role in the reproduction of the cannabis plant.
|Fun Fact: Limonene and pinene are Cannabis sativa terpenes that resemble the aroma of lemon, and pine, respectively!|
Now, you might be wondering…
Is there any scientific research into the entourage effect?
Since Raphael Mechoulam theorized the entourage effect in 1998, scientists have been trying to determine how different cannabis compounds interact together.
|Note: No conclusive human trials confirm these synergistic effects of cannabinoids.|
- A recent study on mice revealed THC might enhance CBD’s anti-seizure properties. The study also suggests CBD can help regulate the psychoactive effects of THC
CBD and THC have more pronounced anti-seizure effects when taken together — than when taken individually.
- A study on flavonoids by the US National Library of Medicine revealed flavonoids like cannflavin A, B, and C have antioxidant and neuroprotective properties — like CBD.
This suggests pairing CBD with flavonoids might enhance CBD’s therapeutic benefits more than when taken in pure CBD extract form.
You now know what the entourage effect is.
But how does it work?
While we don’t fully understand the entourage effect yet, studies and clinical trials give us a glimpse into its workings.
Here’s how the entourage effect supposedly works:
As we mentioned before, the whole theory of the entourage effect revolves around the idea that “cannabinoids work better together.”
How do these cannabinoids work in our bodies?
Cannabis compounds, like flavonoids, cannabis extract terpenes, and cannabinoids, interact directly with our body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS).
What is the endocannabinoid system?
Major cannabinoids (THC, CBD) and other minor cannabinoid and chemical compounds interact with the body through the endocannabinoid system.
The ECS is responsible for regulating and controlling many critical bodily functions — sleep, pain relief, immune response, and more.
How do cannabinoids work with the ECS?
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a network of chemical signals receptors in the body.
The two main types of receptors in the ECS are:
- CB1 receptor found in the central nervous system. The CB1 receptor reduces most of the psychoactive effects of a cannabinoid compound (such as THC).
- CB2 receptor found in the peripheral nervous system. The CB2 receptor is mostly involved in immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory actions.
Here’s the kicker:
Scientists aren’t sure HOW CBD interacts with these receptors.
Some scientific reports suggest CBD does NOT bind to the CB1 and CB2 receptors.
While others say instead of a cannabinoid receptor, CBD binds to serotonin receptors and some other undiscovered receptors.
On the other hand, THC has no trouble binding to CB1 and CB2 receptors.
But, it has an overwhelming effect on the ECS and can inhibit other cannabinoids from doing their jobs.
Cannabinoids like CBD help the ECS function normally and maintain the natural balance of the human body.
The entourage effect could help amplify the incredible health benefits of CBD and other cannabinoids.
When CBD pairs with another hemp or cannabis compound, the potential entourage effect might boost its therapeutic potential.
Here are some of CBD’s benefits that the entourage effect might enhance:
- Reduced inflammation: CBD is known for its strong anti-inflammatory properties. But other cannabinoid compounds (THC and cannabichromene) and terpenoid compounds (myrcene) have anti-inflammatory effects too.
When paired, the combined beneficial effect of these cannabinoids might result in increased effectiveness and response.
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- Stress and anxiety relief: CBD has great potential to promote relaxation and reduce anxiety. It does this by inhibiting neurotransmitters in the CB2 receptors of the brain.
Aside from having anti-inflammatory properties, the myrcene terpenoid also has stress-reducing effects. CBD and myrcene together may have more potent calming and anti-anxiety effects.
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- Improved sleep: CBD improves sleep by regulating body temperature, reducing stress, and synchronizing sleep patterns.
A synergy between cannabis terpenes (nerolidol and caryophyllene) and CBD can enhance calming and sleep-inducing effects.
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- Protection from unwanted side effects of THC: While cannabis flower products (with high THC content) may have therapeutic benefits, THC can make you uncomfortable and sometimes overwhelmed.
CBD to the rescue!
CBD is known for taming THC-related psychoactive effects. So taking them together may help reduce THC’s unwanted effects.
A 2018 study showed some cannabis terpenes and flavonoids might have neuroprotective benefits.
These terpene compounds could slow down and reduce the effects of neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
As we mentioned earlier, CBD and THC can enhance medicinal benefits when taken together.
Any CBD product with THC (such as full spectrum CBD oil) is illegal in the UK and many other parts of the world — due to THC’s intoxicating and addictive properties.
Plus, CBD products (like CBD oil or edible CBD gummies) can be sold and marketed only as food supplements, NOT medicines.
So how do you benefit from the combined effects of CBD and THC?
This is where medical cannabis or medical marijuana steps in.
Medical marijuana (containing high concentrations of THC and CBD) is a cannabis product that only a specialist hospital doctor can prescribe for its:
- Pain relief effects
- Anti-inflammatory effects
- Anti-nausea effects
- Anti-depressive effects
Medical marijuana is used to treat the symptoms and side effects of conditions like epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, and cancer.
While THC may be a large factor in the entourage effect, it is not the only factor.
Other cannabinoid and terpene compounds can work in synergy to induce the much sought-after therapeutic effect.
So how can you experience it?
With broad spectrum CBD products!
Broad spectrum CBD extract products contain many beneficial cannabis compounds, excluding THC.
It can provide similar levels of therapeutic enhancement as that of full spectrum CBD products.
A broad spectrum CBD product will NOT induce a psychoactive ‘high’.
Best broad-spectrum CBD product: Love Hemp 1200mg Orange CBD Oil.
|Quick Note: CBD isolate products do not produce an entourage effect.
CBD isolate products contain pure CBD extract and none of the other Cannabis sativa terpenes, flavonoids, or minor cannabinoid compounds (like CBG, CBC, and CBN).
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The entourage effect promises more potent benefits from cannabinoids and other compounds.
However, there’s no concrete scientific backing yet.
For now, the entourage effect is a myth, but getting high-quality CBD hemp products from GreenBox is a fact!
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