The entourage effect describes phenomena in which multiple compounds found in the cannabis plant, such as cannabinoids and terpenes, combine together to generate a higher therapeutic impact than each molecule would have on its own. The chemicals’ unique interaction with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which regulates different physiological processes, is thought to be responsible for this impact.
Some researchers believe that the entourage effect helps explain why cannabis-based products containing a wider range of chemicals may be more effective for pain relief and sleep aid, rather than pure CBD or THC.
In This Article
What is the Entourage Effect?
The entourage effect, also known as Ensemble Effect, is one of the major positives of cannabis use, especially if you are using it for medicinal purposes. There is a reason the cannabis plant has been used for thousands of years by indigenous tribes in North, Central, and South America.
When a cannabis plant is smoked or inhaled through vapor, the act of inhaling the plant releases a lot of plant compounds–many of which can greatly benefit the body. Each cannabis compound found in the marijuana plant reacts with other plant compounds to give a combined effect, depending on which compounds are in the plant.
Recently, the cannabis plant has been researched and studied by the medical community as a way to relieve all kinds of ailments. Research studies have found that when plant strains contain both THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol), patients undergoing pain treatment report feeling less pain when compared to patients who received cannabis strains with either THC or CBD alone.
Scientists have studied some of the effects of compounds other than THC and CBD found in cannabis. For example, a recent study looked at the effects of CBD and another compound found in cannabis called CBG, which is a minor cannabinoid. Researchers found that when both CBD and CBG are present, it helps repel the bacteria that cause MRSA (methicillin-resistant staph aureus).
The combination proved even more effective when it was combined with terpene, such as Pinene, also found in cannabis. The entourage effect may be a medical breakthrough for disease-fighting, side effects, illness, and pain.
Who Discovered the Entourage Effect?
Dr. Ethan Russo was the first person to discuss the entourage effect in a research review in 2001. Ten years later, in 2011, Russo published a review called “Taming THC: Potential Cannabis Synergy and Phytocannabinoidterpinoid Entourage Effects.” Dr. Russo’s research review, although lengthy, delves into uncharted territory by exploring the potential synergistic effects of combining various compounds found in marijuana.
Dr. Russo’s findings suggest that when CBD is combined with specific terpenes, such as caryophyllene or limonene, it may enhance its therapeutic properties. For example, the combination of CBD and caryophyllene may be more effective in treating addiction, while pairing CBD with limonene may lead to a reduction in anxiety symptoms in patients.
While this was a groundbreaking study, it is clear that more work needs to be done in researching cannabis and its potential.
How Does the Entourage Effect Work?
The entourage effect is a process in which multiple compounds found in the hemp or cannabis plant collaborate and enhance the plant’s overall therapeutic potential. The ensemble effect is based on the premise that the many components found in cannabis, such as cannabinoids and terpenes, interact with one another.
Cannabinoids are the primary active compounds found in cannabis, accounting for the majority of the plant’s therapeutic benefits. THC and CBD are the two most well-known cannabinoids.
THC or tetrahydrocannabinol is the plant’s main psychoactive component, whereas CBD, otherwise known as cannabidiol, is non-psychotropic and provides a broad range of therapeutic benefits. Both chemicals, however, are regarded to have stronger medicinal effects when taken in conjunction with other plant components, such as terpenes and flavonoids.
Terpenes are the chemicals responsible for marijuana’s distinct scent and flavor. The cannabis plant has about 200 known terpenes, each with its own set of qualities.
Some terpenes can enhance the effects of certain cannabinoids, while others can minimize cannabinoids’ potential undesirable side effects. Myrcene, for example, is believed to boost the effects of THC, whilst Limonene is known to alleviate anxiety.
Furthermore, some believe that the presence of specific terpenes can alter how the body metabolizes cannabinoids, possibly enhancing their therapeutic properties. The terpene Beta-Caryophyllene, for example, can interact with CB2 receptors, modulating the immune system and reducing inflammation. [Source]
The mixture of various components in cannabis is thought to interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system and provide a stronger effect than any single molecule alone. It is crucial to note, however, that research on the entourage effect is still in its early phases, and additional studies are needed to completely understand how and to what extent these chemicals interact and amplify each other’s effects.
Cannabinoids tend to work more effectively when taken together. Using full-spectrum CBD containing CBN (cannabinol), for example, may result in improved memory and pain relief. Similarly, a product containing CBC or cannabichromene may be advantageous for those seeking to alleviate both pain and inflammation. CBG (cannabigerol), a minor cannabinoid, has anti-inflammatory and disease-fighting qualities and, when taken with CBD, may help with digestive issues.
Terpenes are compounds that give many plants their taste and smell. For example, rosemary gets its taste and smell from terpenes. Researchers have found that when terpenes are added to CBD or THC products, they may add antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, anti-cancer, and anti-inflammatory properties to the cannabis product.
For example, beta-caryophyllene terpene has anti-inflammatory benefits, which means you can fight both pain and inflammation when this terpene is added. The terpene linalool aids with anxiety and depression, and it fights microbes as well. Guaiol, found in pine trees, fights cell death with its antioxidants.
Flavonoids are compounds found in the cannabis plant that contribute to its color, aroma, and taste. The most notable flavonoids in cannabis are those that are exclusive to the plant and give it its unique smell and flavor, such as cannflavins A, B, and C.
Flavonoids, along with other compounds found in cannabis such as terpenes and cannabinoids, contribute to the entourage effect by interacting with each other and the body’s endocannabinoid system. These interactions can enhance or modulate the effects of the individual compounds, leading to a more diverse range of therapeutic benefits.
For example, flavonoids may interact with cannabinoids such as THC and CBD, to modulate their effects and potentially increase their therapeutic potential. Additionally, Flavonoids may also affect the absorption, distribution, metabolism, and excretion of other cannabis compounds, thus influencing the overall effects of the plant.
Which Type Of Product Encourages The Entourage Effect?
Full-spectrum CBD products are created by utilizing the full cannabis plant as opposed to CBD isolates that contain a single ingredient such as CBD. This implies they have a broad variety of chemicals that can collaborate to deliver a completely different effect. This is why opting for products containing multiple cannabinoids and terpenes is advised if you’re looking to benefit from the ensemble effect.
What Does The Entourage Effect Feel Like?
The entourage effect’s impact on cannabis effects might vary depending on the precise combination of cannabinoids and terpenes utilized, as well as the dosage. THC alone, for example, can have psychoactive effects, however, combining THC and CBD can diminish THC’s psychoactivity while extending its effects.
The entourage effect could be a medical breakthrough in the treatment of adverse effects, illness, and suffering. However, additional research is needed to properly comprehend the entourage effect’s potential.
Heather Wilson is a passionate cannabis enthusiast who has dedicated over four years of her life to working as a budtender. With a deep understanding of the difference between marijuana strains, cannabinoids, terpenes, and their effects, she has helped countless customers find the perfect product for their needs.
In addition to her work as a budtender, Heather is also an enthusiastic cook who loves to try new recipes incorporating cannabis. Whether she's whipping up a batch of infused cookies or cooking a delicious meal with cannabis-infused oil, Heather is always eager to explore the culinary possibilities of this versatile plant.
For Heather, cannabis is more than just a recreational substance. She uses it for her health and is an advocate for safe and responsible use. With a strong desire to spread awareness about the benefits of cannabis and fight the stigma that still surrounds marijuana, Heather is a true champion of this misunderstood plant.
Through her work and cooking, Heather is helping to change the conversation around marijuana and show the world that this plant has a lot to offer, both medically and recreationally. Heather joined with Brian to found Concept420 in 2022.