In this post we answer the question, "What is the entourage effect?"
So, let's cut straight to the chase:
- “The entourage effect” refers to the synergistic experience of a wide range of cannabinoids and terpenes that work together for a more balanced and enjoyable cannabis experience.
- You can personalize your cannabis experience by picking strains with cannabinoids and terpenes that intrigue you.
- Strains with a high percentage of various cannabinoids and terpenes are best if you’re looking for the entourage effect.
- Full-spectrum cannabinoid products can potentially set off the entourage effect.
"What is the entourage effect?"
"The entourage effect" is a phrase coined by Raphael Mechoulam, an Israeli plant biologist, which describes the way cannabinoids other than Delta-9 THC (regular THC or "THC") interact and cooperate with THC through modulation.
Mechoulam proposes that the effects of the plant's psychoactive constituents combine and coordinate to produce a joint effect greater than the sum of effects achieved separately.
The cannabis genus produces over 550 unique cannabinoids (cannabis compounds), flavonoids, terpenoids and acid compounds. To date, scientists identify over 100 distinct cannabis compounds, including CBD and Delta 9, and Delta 8 THC.
In addition to the plant-based cannabinoids (phytocannabinoids) the cannabis genus creates, it also makes flavonoids and other phytonutrient-dense components which provide the beautiful colors connoisseurs look for in the leaves, pods and pistils. Most, if not all, fruits contain flavonoids and terpenoids giving them their distinct look, feel and flavor.
How Does the Entourage Effect Work?
The entourage effect means when different compounds in cannabis work together to produce a synergistic and enhanced effect. Basically, it means that the entire spectrum of cannabinoids, terpenes, and other compounds work together to create a full-spectrum experience rather than the isolated effects of each cannabinoid.
The idea of an entourage effect has intrigued the cannabis community, with the rumors being that the therapeutic and holistic benefits of cannabis can be expanded when there’s interplay between different cannabinoids within the plant, rather than just using THC and CBD.
Cannabinoids, Terpenes, and the Entourage Effect
Cannabinoids are the chemical compounds found in cannabis that are responsible for some of the effects produced. You might know the two most famous ones: THC and CBD. Although one is psychoactive and the other isn’t, they both have potential effects that play into the entourage effects (just like the other 100+ cannabinoids in marijuana).
Cannabinoids work together with terpenes, the compounds responsible for the scent of weed - whether skunky, sweet, or spicy. Caryophyllene, myrcene, and linalool are just a few of the many.
Terpenes don’t just provide the weedy smell but also possess potential therapeutic properties that synergistically interact with the cannabinoids, making for a complete entourage experience.
Since each strain has a different variation and mix of cannabinoids and terpenes, the entourage effect can manifest in different ways. Going for high-THC strains with pinene may lead to a more euphoric experience, while a focus on CBD and linalool is a more mellow choice.
The great thing about this is that you can tailor your cannabis experience by exploring and trying out different strains until you find the one that speaks to you.
Antioxidant-rich flavonoids like ‘quercetin,’ show up in a lot of tropical citrus fruits, veggies, and many of your favorite cannabis strains.
Flavonoids provide plants like hemp and cannabis their color, whereas terpenes give them the mouth-watering smell.
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The most common terpenes found in nature are ‘limonene,’ often found in tropical fruits, and ‘linalool,’ which develops in lavender and haze strains.
Terpenes effect the body in powerful ways, not just aroma. The interaction between terpenes in the bloodstream accounts for a lot of the way cannabis users desire to feel after consuming the plant.
Slice open a nice, ripe grapefruit or tangerine. Then, take whiff. What you smell is the terps.
When you ask the question, "What is the Entourage Effect?", you point to all the plant compounds reference above. They work together as a group. Imagine a basketball team. instead of just one or two players working in isolation, everyone comes together.
The entourage effects is the reason why you see hemp/cannabis products marked as ‘isolate,’ ‘broad-spectrum,’ or ‘full-spectrum.’
The entourage effect shows how many aspects of the cannabis plant work everybody-all-at-once as opposed to one-at-a-time.
The human body is complex and so is the cannabis plant. Mechoulam's methodology works to explain how both super systems operate together in synergy.
What Does the Entourage Effect Feel Like?
The cannabis experience tends to be subjective, and that’s no different when it comes to the entourage effect. Although there are some similarities between experiences, it’s important to remember that everybody experiences cannabinoids differently.
However, users have reported the feeling of a smoother onset, a sense of heightened clarity, and a more balanced sensation that keeps them present and in control yet mellow and relaxed.
Different strains will produce different kinds of effects, so if you want a true entourage effect, try going for strains with high percentages of many minor and major cannabinoids. The exciting thing about the entourage effect is that it’s pretty personalizable.
While more research needs to be done, users report caryophyllene-dominant strains like White Widow for stress relief, myrcene-heavy strains like Granddaddy Purple for pain, and linalool-heavy strains like Zkittles for the potential anti-inflammatory properties.
The Science Behind the Entourage Effect on Cannabis
First coined in 1999, the term entourage effect has gained momentum in the cannabis community, especially since the industrialization of the green goddess.
Since then, a growing body of research has tried to dismantle the secrets cannabis has to hold, and while anecdotal evidence has long been what we trust, science is providing a more concrete foundation for knowledge.
Back in 2011, a study focused on the THC versus CBD ratio and the psychotic effects of this balance. It was shown that a higher CBD content moderated the psychotropic effects of THC.
More recently, in 2020, scientists reviewed literature to focus on the possibility that the entourage effect may be a new source for the treatment of mood disorders. In 2021, a study linked the entourage effect to analgesic properties, exciting the chronic pain community as they search for holistic alternatives to treat symptoms.
These studies provide valuable insight, but it’s important to note that the cannabis community still needs to advocate for more research to fully understand how different cannabinoids and the entourage effect can impact individual experiences and potential therapeutic benefits.
As we dive deeper and deeper into the entourage effect through the interest that it’s gained, we unravel the mysteries of a plant that holds a lot of promise in helping people live fuller, more content, and fun lives.
The interactions of cannabinoids and terpenes go beyond just THC and CBD, and the scientific research uncovering the nuances could have a tremendous effect on both medical and recreational cannabis.
The entourage effect is the peak of a holistic cannabis experience, and its promise of balanced and customizable effects continues to pique interests all across the cannabis spectrum. Challenging the reductionist view of cannabis, the holistic side helps pave the way for more understanding of the therapeutic potential of cannabis.
The entourage effect is sought out by many cannabis enthusiasts, and the synergy between different effects has caught the attention of the entire industry. As we venture into the future of cannabis, one thing is for sure: we’ll be hearing a lot more about the entourage effect as time goes on.
The Entourage Effect in Weed: Frequently Asked Questions
What Does the Entourage Effect Feel Like for Different People?
The entourage effect may feel different for each individual, as each endocannabinoid system is different. Some may feel a balance between relaxation and alertness, while others could feel mood enhancement and heightened sensations.
Does Science Prove the Entourage Effect?
While more research needs to be done, some studies support the entourage effect, especially when mentioning THC vs CBD. Ongoing research can answer more questions definitively.
Does the Entourage Effect Contribute to the Medical Benefits of Cannabis?
The entourage effect could potentially amplify the benefits of cannabis by providing a more integral therapeutic effect.
Which Strains are Best for Entourage Effect?
Different strains offer different entourage effects. High-THC strains energize, CBD-strong strains relax, and hybrids give a balanced effect. The quantity of terpenes in strains can also impact the entourage effect.
Can You Experience the Entourage Effect Without Cannabis Flower?
You can experience the entourage effect without cannabis flower by consuming full- and broad-spectrum edibles, vapes, and tinctures.
Thank you for reading, "What is The Entourage Effect?". Please leave comments or questions below.
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