You may know the natural benefits of the two main components of cannabis – CBD and THC – but there are actually hundreds of other medicinal compounds in the plant.
When used together, they deliver a synergistic phenomenon known as the entourage effect.
What is the entourage effect?
The entourage effect is the synergistic phenomenon that occurs when multiple cannabis compounds work together to create a powerful, amplifying effect.
Dr. Ethan Russo, a neurologist with extensive background on the effects of cannabis compounds on the human body, explains that any cannabis compound can enhance the natural properties of other cannabis compounds. Because of this, cannabis compounds together will produce stronger and more varied effects than any single compound could alone.
With literally hundreds of compounds naturally produced in cannabis, the variety of different synergies this plant offers is amazing.
To understand how powerful the entourage effect can be, and more importantly, how it can be used to enhance your experience, let’s take a look at the two main groups of cannabis compounds: cannabinoids and terpenes.
Cannabinoids, terpenes and the entourage effect
Cannabinoids and the entourage effect
Cannabinoids are a group of active cannabis compounds that can interact with receptors in our endocannabinoid system (ECS) to produce a variety of effects.
In addition to CBD and THC, scientists have identified more than 100 different cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, and many are still not identified.
When used together, the unique properties of each cannabinoid are enhanced by the entourage effect, which naturally provides greater relief than they would individually.
In the table below, you can learn more about some of the primary cannabinoids in cannabis and their unique properties.
Terpenes and the entourage effect
Terpenes are the aromatic molecules found in most fruits, plants, and herbs, including cannabis. They are the source responsible for the tangy smell of lemon, the pungent aroma of pine and the relaxing taste of lavender.
In cannabis, terpenes are produced in the plant’s sticky resin glands and are responsible for the variety of unique flavors given off by different strains of cannabis.
By stimulating the receptors in our olfactory system, terpenes can stimulate a wide variety of psychological and physiological effects that can be very beneficial to the body.
Check out the table below to learn more about some of the primary terpenes produced in cannabis and how they can be used to enhance the entourage effect.
Comparison of the entourage effect in different CBD products
When buying CBD, there are different types of CBD to choose from: CBD isolate, broad spectrum CBD, full spectrum CBD and whole plant extracts.
Depending on the type of CBD used, the effect of the entourage effect can vary widely.
To understand which CBD products can maximize the entourage effect, let’s examine the different chemical profiles of each type.
CBD isolate is made by isolating CBD and removing all other compounds and substances from the extract. This results in a pure CBD extract.
CBD isolate products do not contain any other cannabinoids or terpenes and therefore do not provide an entourage effect. CBD isolate can deliver the therapeutic effects of CBD; Unless the user is restricted to pure CBD for legal reasons, however, CBD isolates severely limit the potential effects of cannabis.
Full spectrum CBD
Full Spectrum CBD is made by extracting all of the cannabinoids and terpenes found in the cannabis plant, including THC.
Because Full Spectrum CBD contains a full range of cannabinoids and terpenes, it can deliver a powerful entourage effect with benefits that will far exceed those of CBD isolate.
Unfortunately, due to the legal status of THC in most states, Full Spectrum CBD should only be used by people residing in states with far-reaching cannabis laws.
Fortunately, for those who live in a state where cannabis is illegal, there is a solution.
Broad spectrum CBD is a blend of CBD isolate and full spectrum CBD.
Similar to Full Spectrum CBD, Broad Spectrum CBD is made by extracting all cannabinoids and terpenes from the plant; However, it then goes through an additional process to completely remove all of the THC from the extract.
By removing the CBD from the extract, Broad Spectrum CBD can provide most of the benefits of Full Spectrum CBD without the strict legal requirements.
Whole plant extracts
Whole plant or whole plant extracts are often confused with Full Spectrum CBD; however, they are not the same.
While both extracts contain a full range of cannabinoids and terpenes, whole plant extracts are less processed than full-spectrum extracts and may contain other compounds naturally produced in the plant, including fats, fiber, vitamins, and other nutrients.
Ultimately, whole plant extracts provide the strongest entourage effect, but they are generally governed by the same laws as THC.
If you live in a state with far-reaching cannabis laws, whole plant extracts are the best choice to get the maximum entourage effect.