When it comes to cannabis, many people focus on two of the main cannabinoids – THC and CBD. While these cannabinoids provide numerous benefits, they’re not the only compounds in the plant. Cannabis is full of numerous other cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and other compounds. All of these components work together to create what’s known as the entourage effect.
What Is the Entourage Effect?
Cannabis is a plant with hundreds of compounds. The entourage effect is the idea that cannabinoids, terpenes, and other compounds work together in harmony to provide the desired effects. While THC and CBD provide benefits on their own, the presence of these other compounds enhances those effects, providing you with a better experience.
For example, one study looked at cancer patients using cannabis. Some patients took pure THC extract, while others took a balanced CBD/THC extract. The study found that patients taking the CBD/THC extract experienced less pain than those taking the pure THC version.
It’s not just the cannabinoids working with one another. The entourage effect also refers to the cannabinoids working synergistically with the many terpenes present in the cannabis plant. While there are few studies currently available, there is plenty of anecdotal evidence to support the theory.
How Compounds Work Together
While the entourage effect may only be a theory at this point, many people believe in it, and there is a substantial amount of anecdotal evidence available. Dr. Anthony Russo, who has thoroughly studied the compounds in cannabis and how they affect the body, wrote a review in which he describes the benefits of the compounds and details their potential synergistic effects. Some of the synergies include:
- The terpene pinene counteracting the effects THC may have on your memory
- Limonene with CBD may help to lessen the symptoms of anxiety
- Caryophyllene and CBD may help to more effectively treat addiction
- The two cannabinoids THC and CBN may help to enhance the sedative effects of cannabis, making it easier to fall (and stay) asleep
- CBD and CBG, which can help to treat MRSA, may be more effective when combined with pinene
Which Products Are Best for the Entourage Effect?
There are countless cannabis products on the market today. So, which ones are best for promoting the entourage effect?
One of the best products you’ll find for achieving the entourage effect is the whole cannabis buds. As a raw product, the flowers contain a whole host of cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and other compounds.
Many cannabis extracts can also help to promote the entourage effect. The ones to look for are called full-spectrum extracts. You’ll find them in the form of tinctures, capsules, vape oils, and concentrates. These products contain THC, CBD, and a vast array of other cannabinoids and terpenes.
You’ll also come across broad-spectrum and isolate products. Broad-spectrum cannabis products contain many beneficial compounds, but lack THC. Isolates contain only one single compound, generally THC or CBD. While these products have their benefits, and many users prefer them over others, they don’t provide the same benefits as broad-spectrum varieties.
It’s no secret that cannabis provides numerous benefits. The interaction between the cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids make this possible.