Ed. Note: While there is no good peer reviewed scientific evidence that the entourage effect actually exists, this story shows there is some scientific inquiry into the effect of all the components of cannabis. All the THC, CBD, other cannabinoids and terpenes work together to provide a holistic healing experience along with other effects that go with cannabis consumption.
What is the Entourage Effect?
“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”
Use CBD isolates, they say. It’s better, more effective, and safer than THC or CBD mixed with THC. But cannabis experts beg to differ. To get the most therapeutic benefits from cannabis, you have to have the perfect combination of the different cannabinoids and the various terpenes. When these compounds are working together and enhancing each other’s therapeutic effects is called the entourage effect.
Why CBD Isolates May Not Be Enough
On its own, CBD already produces amazing therapeutic effects. It significantly reduces chronic pain. It also effectively controls inflammation. CBD also decreases the frequency as well as the severity of seizures. CBD works wonders for several symptoms and ailments.
However, one study showed that CBD produces a sort of inverted U-shaped curve when it comes to dose response. In this study, the participants received CBD at 100, 300, and 900 mg. At 300 mg, CBD proved to be most effective in reducing anxiety. However, the anxiolytic effects of CBD dropped at 100 and 900 mg. This result followed the same pattern seen in animal studies.
Why You Need the Entourage Effect
Cannabis contains over a hundred different types of cannabinoids. In addition to the cannabinoids, cannabis also has different terpenes and flavonoids. These compounds give the different strains their unique flavor, aroma, and color.
Like the cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids also produce therapeutic effects. For example, pinene found in Strawberry Cough and OG Kush enhances focus, boosts motivation, and improves attention.
According to the entourage effect, these compounds working together produce a very powerful therapeutic effect. This effect is far more potent than just isolates alone.
If you carefully chose the cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids and control their dosages, these compounds will not only work together but also inhibit some of the negative effects of cannabis.
An Example of the Entourage Effect
One study demonstrated a perfect example of the entourage effect. THC, at a high dose, produced anti-seizure effects. At a similar dose, CBD and CBN failed to produce any anticonvulsant effects. However, at a mixture of 50 mg/kg each of THC, CBD, and CBN, they produced potent anti-seizure effects.
How to Maximize the Entourage Effect
We respond differently to medical cannabis because our endocannabinoid systems differ from one another.
For better symptom control, you have to take advantage of the entourage effect. For example, you’re suffering from insomnia, choose a product that contains CBD and CBN. It also benefits you if the product contains myrcene, linalool, or limonene. These terpenes produce sedating and relaxing effects that can boost CBD and CBN’s therapeutic properties.
For ADD/ADHD, patients benefit from the entourage effect of THC, CBD, and pinene. These work together to improve focus and boost concentration.
For infection, cannabinoids like CBD, CBN, and CBG work very well with terpenes like limonene, beta-caryophyllene, and linalool. The antibacterial effects of these compounds working together have the potential to effectively kill MRSA or Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.
Cannabinoids working with terpenes and flavonoids can make medical cannabis products even more effective against symptoms.
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