The Entourage Effect

The Entourage Effect

The entourage effect refers to the combination of cannabinoids working together in your body creating synergy. We’ll explain how hemp CBD products can achieve the entourage effect and when it isn’t achievable. Whole plant medicine uses the full spectrum of available cannabinoids in cannabis and hemp plants. Whole plant products also ensure that the formula isn’t missing any important terpenes.

What is the “Entourage Effect”?

The entourage effect is complex, but it can be broken down into a simple explanation. Think of your body as a puzzle with a few pieces not fitting together properly. It requires remaining balance to keep the pieces fitting together. Imbalances trigger those negative responses.

The entourage effect is when all of the cannabinoids and terpenes in a cannabis or hemp strain work together in the body creating synergy.

When cannabinoids are removed or isolated, pieces of the original makeup of the strain are missing. In some cases, removing particular cannabinoids (such as THC) makes the entourage effect difficult, if not impossible to achieve because that original composition has been broken.

entourage effect via synergyCannabis Compounds

There are more than 480 different compounds in cannabis. The common names for these compounds are cannabinoids and phytocannabinoids. Research is discovering more cannabinoids. It remains unknown how many more cannabinoids exist. As each new cannabinoid is discovered, it is broken down to determine its purpose in the cannabis plant and what role it plays in supporting healthy functions.

Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol is the most recognized cannabinoid in the cannabis plant and is more commonly known as THC. The second most recognized and second most prominent cannabinoid is cannabidiol, referred to often as CBD.

Several other common cannabinoids include:

  • Cannabinol (CBN)
  • Cannabinodiol (CBDL)
  • Cannabigerol (CBG)
  • Cannabichromenes (CBC)

Research has been completed showing results that the compounds in a cannabis plant work better together rather than when a single compound is isolated. The compounds working together is the “entourage effect”.

THC structure

Structure of THC

Cannabis Strains

Every strain of cannabis has a different cannabinoid and terpene profile. If you are using cannabis for medicinal purposes, paying attention to the strain’s genetics is important. If a strain does not have a description, try to look up seeds for that strain and read the seed company’s information. Then, research the parent strains to see what their makeups are. With this research, you’ll be able to learn what cannabinoids are in each strain and which will be the most present in the strain.

Strain research also helps you determine what types of effects to expect from it. For example, if you have anxiety, you’d want to avoid a strain like Amnesia Haze. Some of its negative effects include mild anxiety and paranoia.

Author’s Tip: If a description of a strain is not available, it’s a brand new strain or your budtender is unable to provide this information, it may be best to choose a different strain. Not knowing what to expect may leave you still needing relief or having an unpleasant experience.

Some strains support relaxation, others support increased energy. You could be sharing cannabis with a friend and feel different effects. The effects of cannabis are individualized. The combination of cannabinoids can react differently in each person’s body.

All of the compounds of cannabis strains work together, which is why isolating just CBD or just THC may not be as effective for some people. One chemical working alone may not provide enough regulation of your body’s endocannabinoid system. Every compound in the cannabis plant contributes to the synergism of the other compounds.

Support from the Medical Community

Dr. Sanjay Gupta explained why whole plant medicine is so important. He said, “More than a decade of experiments revealed that a whole plant extract, bred to contain roughly the same amounts of THC and CBD in addition to other components in the plant, was more effective in reducing the pain and spasms of MS than a medication made of a single compound. After all, eating real fruits, vegetables and other plants provides better nutrition than just taking vitamin pills with one nutrient or mineral in each. Science is showing us that we can likely say the same about cannabis.”

How Hemp CBD Products Produce the Entourage Effect

Single cannabinoid products do have merit. For some, a single cannabinoid is all their body needs. For employment purposes, some people must avoid all THC. In these cases, a CBD isolate product suffices – but even with terpenes added, cannabinoids are still missing, so the entourage effect isn’t achievable.

For others, full cannabinoid profiles are ideal.  When products are made from hemp, since there is a very small amount of THC in hemp, the entourage effect is possible. Some manufacturers, like Canna Trading Co., still add plant-based terpenes to full or broad spectrum hemp CBD oil so that the entourage effect is possible. These terpenes aid in flavor and aroma but also have merits of their own.  

When cannabinoids are isolated, some manufacturers add natural terpenes to their formulas. Terpenes occur naturally in cannabis plants as well as in hundreds of herbs, spices and flowers. Terpenes are found in many everyday items such as citrus fruits, oregano, black pepper and mangoes.

Examples of Terpenes used in Cannabis and CBD Products:

  • Beta-caryophyllene – found in black pepper
  • Limonene – found in citrus fruit
  • Alpha-pinene – found in pine trees
  • Linalool – is present in citrus zest, cinnamon and coriander
  • Myrcene – occurs in basil, mangoes, lemongrass and hops
  • Terpineol – is available from sage, rosemary, lemon peel and oregano
  • Nerolidol – is found in ginger, lavender and lemongrass
  • Humulene – is present in hops, ginseng, basil and cloves

If any of these items are in your normal diet, you’re consuming terpenes and probably didn’t know it. In cannabis and hemp CBD products, terpenes are a welcome addition.

body working in balanceClosing Thoughts

The entourage effect is more important for achieving relief from difficult health conditions than many understand. Whether it’s due to regulation or personal preference, not everyone wants the intoxicating effects of THC but cannabinoids from cannabis, so CBD products with natural terpenes are a good substitute. Full spectrum, broad spectrum and cannabis strain-specific options are superior when seeking to achieve the entourage effect.