The Entourage Effect is the term used to describe the enhanced or altered medicinal effects of cannabis when multiple compounds are combined. This effect creates properties that are not present in cannabis compounds working alone. The theory of the entourage effect also suggests that the effect of one of the compounds used can be more pronounced, while the effect of the other can be diminished. Currently, most of the research into the entourage effect is focused on interactions between CBD and THC cannabinoids and how they affect each other.
CBD or Cannabidiol is a compound extracted from hemp plants. It is known to treat a variety of health issues such as anxiety, chronic pain, depression, and epilepsy.
What is CBD?
CBD is one of many cannabis extracts which have great therapeutic potential. CBD is the non-psychoactive compound found in the cannabis plant and through several clinical applications, it has been shown to have positive effects on your health and wellbeing.
Unlike THC, CBD does not have psychoactive effects and will not cause you to feel high. THC or Tetrahydrocannabinol is the primary psychoactive compound in marijuana. It is also known to help with various health issues including reducing nausea, increasing appetite, and reducing pain.
What is the entourage effects and how does it feel?
Cannabis plants are made up of a hundred different single compounds that include cannabinoids, phytocannabinoids, and terpenes, among others. These chemical compounds in cannabis plants have different beneficial effects on the body but when combined, will give a unique user experience.
THC is known to give the feeling of being high. CBD on the other hand is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid. Although THC is the main psychoactive ingredient in medical marijuana that causes people to feel high, when it’s combined with CBD, it will not create the “high” effect and will leave you feeling calm and relaxed. This is because CBD products on the market in the UK must have less than 0.2% THC to meet the legal requirements. This is not enough to make you feel high.
There are many CBD products sold in markets containing different CBD concentrations. If you want to take CBD, start with the smallest dosage and increase your daily dose depending on your desired effects.
What are the benefits of the entourage effect?
The entourage effect suggests that the compounds in the cannabis plants like THC, CBD, and terpenes work together to increase their therapeutic effects and that the compounds become more effective when combined. The compounds’ combined actions also impact different physiological mechanisms and signalling pathways in the body. Taking these cannabinoids together may enhance the benefits for:
- Reducing anxiety
- Reducing inflammation
- Nausea relief
- Appetite control
- Pain management
- Anti-tumour properties
- Cognitive boost
- Respiratory improvement
- Blood sugar regulation
There are different types of CBD. If you want to gain entourage effects, use full-spectrum CBD as this type contains all the compounds of CBD and the right and legal amount of THC. Meaning, using full-spectrum CBD products will make the user feel good but not high from the THC content. CBD also counteracts the anxiety-inducing effects of THC and helps users feel calm and relaxed.
The Entourage Effect How CBD and THC Work Together
There are various types of CBD available, containing different compounds and concentrations: full-spectrum CBD, broad-spectrum CBD, and CBD isolate. While full-spectrum CBD includes all products of the cannabis plants with less than 0.3% THC, broad-spectrum CBD contains most of the compounds from the cannabis Sativa but little to no THC. CBD isolate contains only CBD with no other cannabinoids or THC.
Although both CBD and THC have the same chemical formula, their atoms are differently arranged, which gives CBD and THC different pharmacological effects. This means it can affect your body differently.
Both CBD and THC work with receptors that release neurotransmitters in your brain that can affect pain, mood, sleep, and memory. Both CBD and THC are also known to help alleviate anxiety, provide pain relief, and reduce inflammation.
These compounds work together to create a potential cannabis synergy effect. You can think of the entourage effect as the enhancement of your endocannabinoid system through the use of multiple cannabinoids.
Health Benefits of Terpenes and Role with Cannabinoids
Cannabinoids are natural compounds found in cannabis plants. The two main known cannabinoids are THC and CBD. Cannabinoids are known to reduce anxiety, inflammation, relieve pain, control nausea and improve a person’s appetite.
There are also what you call terpenes or terpenoids, which are aromatic compounds in many plants like cannabis, which contain high concentrations of them. These aromatic compounds create the scent of many different plants. Terpenes also offer health benefits including anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, analgesic, and neuroprotective effects, among others.
When terpenes work with cannabinoids like CBD and THC, they form a synergy effect that creates stronger effects than what would both achieve on their own.
What does the Entourage Effect Mean For CBD Consumers?
Taking a balanced formulation of these cannabinoids and terpenes is more effective than taking THC and even the highest quality CBD alone. This means that for you to experience the full health benefits, you may want to use a full-spectrum CBD product as this type of CBD product contains all compounds of the cannabis plants and the legal amount of THC. Health benefits may be more prominent when multiple compounds from the cannabis plants are present, in this case, THC and CBD combined, creating the entourage effect.
Is the entourage effect scientifically proven?
There is no hard evidence if the entourage effect is real. Like what we know about medical cannabis, the entourage effect remains a theory. More research is needed to prove that the combination of compounds from cannabis plants enhances their effects.
Here are some of the research conducted on the combined effects of cannabinoids:
Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research published a study in 2019 wherein they tested six common terpenes alone and in combination. The results suggested that the effects of THC on the cannabinoid receptors were unchanged by the addition of terpenes.
A study was also conducted by the University of Arizona Health Sciences in 2020. The research team evaluated four terpenes and tested them alone and in combination. The results suggested that when administered individually, all four terpenes lowered pain sensitivity, and lowered body temperature. When the terpenes were combined, they saw a great reduction in pain sensation compared to when they were tested individually.
Are All Hemp Extracts Equal?
No. Not all hemp extracts are equal as the purification process, extraction methods, and parameters used are different from every company that offers products with hemp extracts. Some of these plant extracts undergo different lab testing, and some don’t.
CBD oil and hemp oil both comes from the same cannabis plant family but hemp oil is different from CBD oil as it does not contain any psychoactive cannabinoids like THC. Hemp oil or hemp seed oil is extracted from the seeds of a cannabis plant and only consists of beneficial nutrients such as omega fatty acids. This means that hemp oil is not equal to other botanical extracts from hemp.
If you’re planning to buy CBD hemp-derived products like CBD and THC, you need to check the labels to know that you are buying a quality product. Currently, the only cannabidiol product that is FDA-approved is Epidiolex which is known to help two forms of epilepsy.