by Christine Athens
Any time you delve into an article about CBD products or even THC, you’ll undoubtedly come across the term “entourage effect.” The definition of the entourage effect is one that doesn’t take much explaining. However, its concept and efficacy on existing cannabinoids and terpenes within a cannabis product are largely theorized.
The incredible health benefits of cannabinoids overall are a more recent discovery. There’s still much research to be done and more clinical studies to conduct to learn the extent of their benefits. Studies of the entourage effect are still in their infancy as well, and there seems to be a 50/50 split on whether or not its effects are noteworthy.
In this article, we’re going to define and explain the entourage effect, which will ultimately affect how you choose between the many CBD products on the market.
The Definition of the Entourage Effect
The “entourage effect” refers to the synergistic effects that happen when all of the botanical compounds—cannabinoids, terpenes, fatty acids, enzymes, flavonoids—within the cannabis plant work together. There are approximately 500 compounds total in each cannabis plant, nearly half of which is comprised of phytocannabinoids.
Each compound has its own unique effects and benefits. These effects and benefits tend to shift when in the presence of other compounds, kind of like how your mood may change when you’re around a group of friends, which the most straightforward way to define synergistic effects.
In terms of cannabis entourage effects, a 2010 study done on cancer patients highlights the existence of the phenomenon. During this study, patients experiencing cancer-related pain were given either pure THC or an equal mix of THC and CBD. The group of patients that were given the THC-CBD combination reportedly experienced less pain than the pure THC group.
In essence, the theory behind the entourage effect is that cannabis will perform better when taken as a whole plant extract rather than an isolated cannabinoid. That’s not to say that there are no benefits to CBD isolates, but cannabinoids aren’t the only thing to consider.
The Complementary Botanical Compounds
Cannabis is more than just THC, CBD, and the lesser-known cannabinoids. There are also terpenes, flavonoids, fatty acids, and enzymes to take into consideration. Terpenes and flavonoids being the more prominent of the off-hand bunch.
Terpenes are the compounds responsible for the aromas in all plants. Some of the most common terpenes are limonene and linalool—found in citrus fruits and lavender, respectfully. Terpenes are known to have physiological and psychological effects on the human body and mind, which is why they are at the center of aromatherapy.
A 2019 study showed that by inhaling limonene (the uplifting citrusy scent), the heart rate of the human subjects decreased. While the specific interaction between terpenes and cannabinoids is still unknown, the synergistic effects lie within how the terpenes interact with our brain’s mechanisms. More specifically, the systems that are responsible for our mood, level of alertness, and thought process are altered via neurotransmitters.
Flavonoids are the phytonutrients in plants responsible for their vivid colors. Common flavonoids you may have heard of are quercetin and catechin. Quercetin is typically found in fruits, vegetables, and cannabis. Catechin is found in cocoa, teas, and pome fruits.
Flavonoids are significant in the entourage effect because they are well known for their anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant effects.
Cannaflavin A, a specific flavonoid unique to cannabis, has come up in preliminary studies for its pharmacological benefits. The effects of cannaflavin B and C have yet to be studied. But, just like terpenes, they tend to influence the effects of the cannabinoids.
A Promising Future
The definition of the entourage effect is, by all means, a promising start. As we continue to unlock the secrets of the cannabis plant, modern medicine, as well as the cannabis industry, move forward to a happier, healthier future.
If you’re looking to experience the entourage effect for yourself, Dr. Strains CBD specializes in selling whole CBD flower, wax, and other full spectrum products. Check out the online shop, visit us in person, or reach out to us with any questions!