The entourage effect is a phenomenon associated with cannabis. It refers to the increased efficacy of the plant when all of its compounds are present, as opposed to isolated cannabinoids. This includes THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids, as well as terpenes and flavonoids.
But what is the science behind this entourage effect? What does it mean for cannabis users? Let's take a closer look.
Cannabis is a complex plant, and it is only recently that scientists have begun to unlock all its secrets. We now know that hundreds of different compounds exist in the plant, including over 100 cannabinoids.
These cannabinoids interact with each other and our bodies in various ways. Some, like THC, are responsible for the plant's psychoactive effects. Others, like CBD, can counteract those effects.
But this is not all that cannabinoids do. They also interact with the body's endocannabinoid system, which is responsible for regulating various important functions.
The endocannabinoid system is made up of receptors that are found throughout the body. When cannabinoids bind to these receptors, they can produce a variety of effects.
Before we move on, here is what all these terms mean:
Cannabinoid: A compound found in cannabis. There are over 100 different cannabinoids in the plant, including THC and CBD.
Endocannabinoid system: A network of receptors found throughout the body that cannabinoids bind to. This system is responsible for a variety of important functions, including pain, inflammation, and appetite.
Receptor: A protein that binds to a molecule (in this case, a cannabinoid) and causes a biological response.
CBD: It is a cannabinoid that is known for its therapeutic benefits.
THC: It’s the cannabinoid that is responsible for the psychoactive effects of cannabis
Now that we've defined some terms let's talk about how the entourage effect works.
What is the Entourage Effect?
The entourage effect is the theory that all of the compounds in cannabis work together to produce a greater overall effect than any of those compounds can produce on its own. In the most simplified term, you could say that the entourage effect is the reason why whole-plant cannabis is more effective than isolated cannabinoids.
The entourage effect is thought to occur because of the way that cannabinoids interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system.
We know THC and CBD are the two most well-known cannabinoids, but there are dozens of other lesser-known cannabinoids, like CBG and CBN. Each cannabinoid has a different affinity for the receptors in the endocannabinoid system.
All of these have separate benefits when taken alone, such as reducing anxiety or pain. This is because each strain has a unique combination of cannabinoids, terpenes, and other compounds.
However, combining all these different cannabinoids is thought to produce a more well-rounded effect than any cannabinoid can produce on its own.
How does the Entourage Effect Work?
The entourage effect is thought to work by modulating the effects of cannabinoids.
For example, CBD is thought to increase the therapeutic effects of THC while reducing its psychoactive effects.
They increase each other’s therapeutic effects. This is because CBD inhibits the enzyme that breaks down THC in the body, which allows more THC to be available for the body to use.
CBD also binds to CB1 receptors, which are the receptors that THC binds to in the brain. By binding to these receptors, CBD is thought to decrease the effects of THC.
The entourage effect is thought to be responsible for the wide range of effects that cannabis can produce.
Some people use cannabis for its energising and uplifting effects, while others use it to relax and de-stress.
The entourage effect is just one of the many ways that cannabis can produce different effects. Other factors, like the strain of cannabis, the method of consumption, and the person’s individual biology, can all play a role in the effects that cannabis produces.
But overall, the entourage effect is an important theory that helps to explain why cannabis can produce such a wide range of effects.
So, next time you’re wondering why a certain strain of cannabis produces a certain effect, remember that it might be because of the entourage effect.
The Benefits of the Entourage Effect - What does the Research Say?
While the entourage effect is still being studied, in 2021, there is a growing body of evidence to support the idea that the entourage effect is real and that it does indeed play a role in the therapeutic effects of cannabis.
A 2021 research from the University of Arizona Health Sciences found that Cannabis terpenes can be effective in pain therapies, and the entourage effect of these compounds needs to be further explored.
The researcher associated with this research said, "We're interested in the concept of the entourage effect, with the idea being that maybe we can boost the modest pain-relieving efficacy of THC and not boost the psychoactive side effects so that you could have a better therapeutic."
Another study conducted in 2010 has shown that patients with cancer pain who received pure THC extract or an extract containing near-equal levels of both THC and CBD reported less pain than those who did not get the increased extract. This suggests that the THC/CBD combo may effectively treat cancer pain.
The entourage effect has been studied in conjunction with a number of conditions, including:
- Chronic pain
- Epilepsy and more.
A 2011 review of studies in the British Journal of Pharmacology found that taking terpenes and phytocannabinoids together may be beneficial for treating these conditions. The review found that the combination of the two substances may be more effective than either alone.
Overall, the research on the entourage effect is still in its early stages. Still, there is a growing body of evidence to support the idea that it is real and that it does play a role in the therapeutic effects of cannabis.
So, if you’re looking for the maximum therapeutic benefits of cannabis, you may want to consider using a cannabis product that contains both cannabinoids and terpenes.
What Ratio of THC to CBD is Best?
Now that we know about the entourage effect, let’s talk about THC to CBD ratios.
Cannabis affects people differently. Some people may want a high THC strain to help them with pain relief, while others may want a high CBD strain to help with anxiety.
But the exact ratio of THC to CBD that’s best for you will depend on your individual needs, and talking to your health provider beforehand is always the best idea.
In general, a 1:1 ratio of THC to CBD is a good starting point for most people. However, some people may want a higher THC strain, while others may want a higher CBD strain.
For instance, the ratio for pain relief would differ from the ratio for anxiety. A higher THC strain may be more effective if you want to use cannabis for pain relief. This is because THC is the main compound in cannabis that’s responsible for pain relief.
On the other hand, if you want to use cannabis for anxiety, a higher CBD strain may be more effective. This is because CBD is the main compound in cannabis that’s responsible for reducing anxiety.
Talking to your health provider according to your individual needs is always the best way to figure out what’s best for you.
It’s important to remember that everyone is different, and what works for one person may not work for another.
Ratios of CBD: THC can range between >20:1 all the way to 1:10. As a general rule of thumb, anything higher than a CBD: THC ratio of 10:1 should not elicit a high.
To conclude, the entourage effect is a phenomenon that occurs when cannabis compounds work together to produce a therapeutic effect. The most well-known example of the entourage effect is the combination of THC and CBD, which is more effective for pain relief than either THC or CBD alone.
Studies have been conducted on a number of conditions, including chronic pain, cancer, inflammation, and epilepsy. The research suggests that the entourage effect may be beneficial for treating these conditions.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only, we do not condone the use of any illegal drugs and none of our products contain THC.