In this article, we’ll be exploring the entourage effect theory and how it plays a role in how a particular strain of THC, CBD, and CBN product, as well as how these products affect the human body. However, before getting to that, we should first talk about what the entourage effect is.
What is the entourage effect and is it real?
In layperson’s terms, the “entourage effect” refers to what gives each cannabis strain its traits or character, which, for example, explains why Amnesia Lemon is more of an energizing strain and Black Domina is a strongly sedating strain. The character of a strain is determined by its multitude of components like THC, CBD, CBN, and CBG, along with terpenes, which are what give cannabis its plethora of fragrances and some of its health benefits, etc. All of these components work together to create what is known as the “entourage effect,” or what Chris Emerson, a trained chemist, and co-founder of a designer marijuana vape products company, succinctly describes as “the sum of all the parts that leads to the magic or power of cannabis.” This synergistic effect is considered to be controversial due to the limited scientific data that exists to support this theory. However, there are some studies that show that non-THC cannabinoids can affect the body’s nervous system’s cannabinoid receptors and work in a synergistic manner to provide various benefits, which we’ll get into below.
The Entourage Effect on CBD and THC
THC is the only cannabinoid that has psychoactive properties, whereas cannabidiol, more commonly known as “CBD,” not only lacks the ability to make one “high” but can also regulate THC’s psychoactive effects by either preventing users from feeling “too high” or in some cases aiding in bringing users down from too intense of a high. Research has shown that CBD mollifies the more psychotic effects of THC by blocking some cannabinoid receptors. What this means is that CBD can dampen the effects of THC, which is known to bind with brain and immune system receptors, by planting itself in the receptors and obstructing THC from binding in these areas.
More simply put, CBD hampers the more stimulative effects of THC, thereby resulting in an “entourage effect.” While CBD in and of itself has many useful and desirable benefits, the fact that it can also work in a symbiotic relationship with THC and the human body’s endocannabinoid system to bring about an entourage effect is a hugely positive reality for users. One way that this is both desirable and applicable is when using cannabis for medical purposes.
The synergy of terpenes with other cannabinoids
As mentioned above, terpenes are what give cannabis its various aromas and some of its health benefits. While there is some debate over just how much terpenes impact cannabinoids like THC and CBD, there is a lot of evidence that non-cannabis-related tinctures like essential oils, which contain terpenes, do provide physical and mental therapeutic effects-hence, “aromatherapy.” When it comes to cannabis, despite the debates, there does seem to be a lot of evidence that would back up the theory that terpenes in the company of other cannabinoids provide users with an entourage effect.
For example, the strain Lemon Haze is, unsurprisingly, known for its strong lemon fragrance and for potentially having the medical benefits of alleviating depression-related symptoms, stress, acute and chronic pain, muscle spasms, and back pain, headaches, and migraines. In relation to this, Lemon Haze’s citrus scent is officially known as “limonene,” which is a type of terpene. Limonene has been studied and proven to possess anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antioxidant, anti-stress, and several other disease-preventing therapeutic properties.
As such, the combination of the terpene limonene works in a synergistic manner with sativa-dominant Lemon Haze’s 25% THC content to bring about an entourage effect of both physical and cerebral benefits to users. One other quick example of the entourage effect of terpenes and cannabis is pinene, which is the aroma of pine that sometimes with cannabis is described as “woody.” Pinene has antioxidant, antimicrobial, and neuroprotective properties, and the potential to combat short-term memory impairment as associated with THC. A couple of strains that are known for their pinene content are OG Kush and Diamond OG.
CBD isolate vs. broad-spectrum CBD vs. full-spectrum CBD and the entourage effect
It can be incredibly confusing when trying to understand the differences between the wide variety of CBD products that are currently available and trying to remember which ones offer an entourage effect and which ones don’t and why, and so on. In short, a CBD isolate only contains CBD and is generally a good place for novices to start. Because it only contains CBD, isolate does not provide any entourage effects. A broad-spectrum CBD includes all of the components found in a cannabis plant, which means it has terpenes, essential oils, and cannabinoids–except for THC. Because of this, it does provide some entourage effects, but not quite to the same degrees as a full-spectrum CBD. To get the maximum amount of entourage effects from a CBD product, then a full-spectrum CBD is the one to choose as it contains all of the cannabinoids that naturally occur within a cannabis plant including THC. However, note that a full-spectrum CBD is not going to get you high. Though some full-spectrum CBD tinctures might contain up to 2mg of THC, which gives some users the entourage effect of euphoria.
While the entourage effect is still a theory, there’s little disagreement over whether or not CBD can affect the impacts of THC. Hopefully, as more and more research occurs, those in the cannabis industry will be able to create more products that benefit users by meeting their specific recreational and medical needs.
Written By Kim Thompson
Along with being an award-winning creative and literary writer, Kim works as a freelance copywriter, editor, and proofreader both domestically and internationally.
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