The Entourage Effect is one of the many intriguing scientific facts and theories about cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabis, and it is also one of the most mysterious and controversial. There is a lot of research, speculation, and misinformation surrounding the notion that the synergistic effects of cannabis’ various compounds are greater than the sum of their individual effects.

THE ENTOURAGE EFFECT: FACT OR FICTION?

The “Entourage Effect” does exist. The Entourage Effect has shown promise, but our knowledge of it, and the efficacy of various cannabinoids and other compounds in achieving it, is still in its infancy.

What gives? To put it plainly, it’s due to the widespread availability of THC and the slowly withering of social stigma.

Many credible scientific studies have examined THC’s Entourage Effect, particularly the synergistic effects of THC and CBD. However, due to the restrictive legal framework surrounding the use of THC, further study in this area is challenging for scientists. Nevertheless, pharmaceutical research into multiple sclerosis and pain treatments has revealed the Entourage Effect to be of great promise. Several are cited in Scientific American’s in-depth look at the Entourage Effect.

First, let’s explore the various CBD products currently available and see which ones are thought to use the entourage effect. CBD isolate, a form of CBD in which all but CBD has been removed, is omitted below because it does not produce an entourage effect.

Full-spectrum CBD

If you want a CBD product that gives you access to a wide variety of cannabinoid compounds, look no further than full-spectrum CBD. Products that maintain the complete cannabinoid profile of the plant, including trace amounts of THC, are so designated. Find a CBD product that comes from hemp but has less than 0.3 percent THC if you want to avoid the psychoactive effects of THC.

Terpenes, flavonoids, fatty acids, and other minor cannabinoids are also included in a CBD oil’s composition.

Broad Spectrum CBD

In addition to the low levels of THC, many people are drawn to broad-spectrum CBD products because of the variety of cannabinoids they typically contain. As a result, most full-spectrum products will test as ND for THC on the COA despite having undetectable (very low) levels of the substance.

Besides the extra attention paid to the THC content, these products are nearly indistinguishable from full-spectrum versions.

Whole plant CBD

Many people mistakenly believe that whole plant CBD and full spectrum CBD are the same; however, there are important distinctions between the two. To begin with, unlike full spectrum oil, which only contains a subset of the plant’s cannabinoids, whole plant CBD includes the entire plant.

Whole plant CBD is like full spectrum CBD but with fewer purification steps. However, some people find the flavor unpleasant, and others worry that the CBD oil itself and the hemp plant, in general, will have a bitter aftertaste.

CANNABINOIDS

The cannabinoids in the cannabis plant are the ones that have gained the most notoriety. As it turns out, the cannabis plant contains more than a hundred cannabinoids. Cannabidiol (CBD), Cannabinol (CBN), Cannabidiol (CBC), and THC (the more notorious relative) are all in this group.

In contrast to THC, CBD and other cannabinoids are not psychoactive, meaning they do not produce a high. Instead, these different cannabinoids contribute their own benefits to the calming and therapeutic effects associated with CBD products.

TERPENES

You’ve probably heard a little bit about terpenes already. They are the natural chemical compounds that give plants their distinctive aromas. They are in high concentrations in many plants, including tea, citrus fruits, and herbs, and are responsible for their unique smells.

Terpenes play a crucial role in plant life. They serve multiple purposes: entice pollinators, scare off grazing animals, and ward off parasites. In addition, essential oils made from them are widely used in human culture. Roughly 400 terpenes have been identified in the cannabis plant.

Terpenes have various beneficial effects on our bodies beyond just their pleasant aroma.

FLAVONOIDS

By hearing the name, you might assume that flavonoids contribute to flavor. But, actually, they don’t.

Rather, flavonoids help produce the hues we see in flowers and shrubs. The origin of the name is the Latin word flavus, which means yellow.

Fruits and flowers get their vibrant hues from pigments called flavonoids, which also have more functional roles in plants. For example, they absorb poisons, shield plants from predators like microbes, and reduce the harmful effects of UV light.

Researchers have learned a lot about flavonoids and their health benefits. For example, the anthocyanidins in grapes, berries, and cannabis have reduced cardiovascular disease and cancer risk. Cannabidiol, kale, and peach flavonols have been studied for their potential antioxidant effects.

There are over 6,000 different types of flavonoids, and hemp contains 20 of them.

HOW WAS THE ENTOURAGE EFFECT DISCOVERED?

In 1998, Hebrew University of Jerusalem researcher Raphael Mechoulam discovered that one particular endocannabinoid molecule interacted more effectively with receptors in the endocannabinoid system when combined with two other molecules.

In their study, Mechoulam and his colleagues coined the term “Entourage Effect” to describe this phenomenon.

Soon, researchers such as Ethan Russo, Gudrun Ulrich-Merzenich, and Hildebert Wagner realized the importance of studying how various cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids interact with one another to boost the plant’s overall effect.

Throughout his career, Russo has become one of the most vocal advocates for the Entourage Effect, studying it extensively and citing numerous studies supporting his claims.

THERAPEUTIC POTENTIALS OF ENTOURAGE EFFECT

In a 2005 paper, renowned cannabis researcher Raphael Mechoulam called cannabis a “neglected pharmacological treasure trove.” ignored by scientists? Absolutely. However, we consumers also play a role.

For a long time, the psychoactive compound THC has been given center stage in cannabis discussion. However, even in regulated markets with access to various strains, many consumers continue to opt for those with the highest THC levels.

For decades, plants high in THC content have been bred in response to this demand for more potent intoxication. Few high-CBD strains have risen above the background noise as noteworthy cannabinoids. Time and consumer demand are needed to coax the plant into yielding a wide variety of therapeutic compounds.

An increasing albeit still modest amount of attention is being paid to terpenes and rare cannabinoids. Examples include the recent trend among cannabis breeders to prioritize CBG production and the extraction industry’s increasing interest in novel cannabinoids like CBN, CBC, and delta-8-THC. Moreover, there has been a rise in interest in studying the entourage effects of terpenes.

It’s comforting to think that, especially with the help of cannabis legalization and education, we may not be too far off from discovering cannabis’s many benefits.

BOTTOM LINE

An intriguing theory, the “entourage effect,” describes how various compounds and phytochemicals in cannabis can interact with one another to produce a wide range of therapeutic effects. We can only hope that the increasing body of knowledge will result in an explosion of CBD product options, each with its own unique set of health benefits.

While the entourage effect has been the subject of extensive study, it’s important to remember that the evidence for its therapeutic value largely stems from anecdotal reports. Some people, in fact, claim that the placebo effect it produces is incredibly powerful. The cannabis industry has made a lot of claims about the entourage effect, so it’s essential to go into this topic with an open mind and a healthy dose of skepticism.

In the grand scheme of things, it wouldn’t do any harm to mix cannabinoids with other components in hemp plants. There’s a good chance it will be fine for you if it works wonderfully for most people.

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