The Entourage Effect Explained
No matter what your experience level with cannabis, you’re likely familiar with two crucial cannabinoids – THC and CBD. These compounds are known for their healing effects. THC is also known for the psychoactive high it produces. While they’re both considered crucial components of the plant, they’re only a part of the equation. Cannabis contains numerous other compounds that all work together to produce the entourage effect.
What Is the Entourage Effect?
Cannabis is so much more than THC and CBD. The plant produces many other cannabinoids, such as CBN, CBG, and CBC, as well as dozens of terpenes, such as myrcene, linalool, pinene, and several others. Terpenes are the compounds that give cannabis strains their unique flavors and aromas.
The term “entourage effect” refers to the synergistic manner in which all of the different cannabinoids and terpenes work together to produce beneficial effects. There’s limited research still, and much of the evidence is anecdotal, but it’s believed that the compounds together produce better effects than each individual one alone.
Cannabinoids and Terpenes Working Together
While the entourage effect is still considered a theory, there is evidence pointing towards its existence. Studies show that THC and CBD work together to help alleviate pain in cancer patients better than THC alone. It’s also been shown that CBD may help to reduce the psychoactive effects of THC, keeping a user from getting too high.
Neurologist and pharmacologist Dr. Ethan Russo wrote a review detailing the phenomenon and the potential synergistic effects that cannabinoids and terpenes have. Some of the combinations he wrote about include:
- THC and CBN for sedation and sleep
- CBD and limonene for anxiety
- Pinene with THC to counteract the memory impairment effects of THC
Benefits of the Entourage Effect
Terpenes don’t just give cannabis strains their scent and aroma; they have their own unique healing benefits. Some help to alleviate pain and inflammation, while others reduce anxiety or promote relaxation.
Terpenes also play a role in how cannabinoids bind with the cannabinoid receptors in your endocannabinoid system. By altering the ways in which already beneficial cannabinoids act within the body, they become more effective.
As research continues, we are finding out more information about which cannabinoids and terpenes work best for specific symptoms. Understanding how they work together can lead to the development of new strains based on certain needs.
The Best Way to Receive the Entourage Effect
There are many ways to enjoy cannabis. There’s smoking, vaping, using tinctures, or consuming edibles. To experience the entourage effect, you want to look for full-spectrum products.
Fresh cannabis buds already contain a wide array of cannabinoids, terpenes, and other compounds. Full-spectrum tinctures, capsules, oils, and edibles retain all of the beneficial components of the plant, enabling you to reap the full benefits that cannabis has to offer.
In addition to full-spectrum products, there are others on the market labeled as broad-spectrum and isolates. Broad-spectrum products are refined to remove THC, while isolates contain a single compound. While these products do have their benefits, full-spectrum is your best option for the entourage effect.
While the entourage effect is still considered a theory, there is evidence of its existence. If you’re interested in experiencing it for yourself, speak with a budtender at your dispensary to find the best products to meet your needs.