The Entourage Effect – A Full Explanation
The primary constituents of interest in the cannabis plant (Scientific name: Cannabis Sativa) are called cannabinoids. These building blocks are what give cannabis the properties it has and are what separates it from every other plant species out there. Cannabis has been used for as long as history has been recorded, and it is these cannabinoids and the effects they elicit that explain why the plant is so popular all over the world.
In recent history, scientists across the globe have focused a lot of money, time and effort into researching what the cannabis plant does. The main effort of this research is to separate fact from fiction to gain a fuller and deeper understanding surround the facts involving cannabis’ interactions with the human body.
One such effect that has become the predominate focus of research is – The Entourage Effect.
What is the Entourage Effect?
The Entourage Effect describes the way that the cannabinoids work when they interact with the body. The effect is described as synergistic – which means that the effects of the cannabinoids working as a whole is greater than the effects of an individual cannabinoid on its own. There are over 100 cannabinoids that have been discovered. Two of the most famous of these cannabinoids are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD).
So, The Entourage Effect states that if you were to consume 25mg of CBD, on its own and in its purest form, the effect would be lower than if you took 25mg of CBD in a mixture that contains other cannabinoids. This doesn’t state that the CBD on its own doesn’t have any effect; only that its effects are enhanced when in the presence of other cannabinoids.
The different ways in which The Entourage Effect affects the body is: –
- Potency – The best example would be to consider THC – the main psychoactive constituent of cannabis that users report elicits the ‘high’ or ‘stoned’ feeling. It is reported that the potency or strength of THC in terms of its psychoactive nature is increased when in the presence of other cannabinoids. It is also reported to reduce negative effects that are sometime associated with THC, such as memory loss. However, CBD has been shown to reduce the effectiveness of THC, but this operates outside of the entourage effect. In fact, it has also been shown that THC can enhance the effects of CBD.
- Effectiveness – Cannabinoids interact with the body’s endocannabinoids system (ECS). The idea behind The Entourage Effect is that the amount that a specific cannabinoid interacts with the receptors of the ECS is increased when in the presence of any of the other cannabinoids, and preferably all of them. Therefore, any effect you were trying to procure for consuming any specific cannabinoid would be increased.
Is Full Spectrum CBD Best for Every Situation?
The short answer is – NO. Full Spectrum CBD is not always the answer as not every person is the same. People respond to different formulations of cannabinoids in different fashions. An example would be that some people report fully positive effects to THC, whereas others report only negative.
Subsequently, it has been suggested that the best way to consume cannabinoids are personally tailored quantities of each cannabinoids for each individual. Currently, this is a completely outlandish suggestion and would certainly only be unfeasible for all but the extremely rich in society. Those who can afford their own personal team of biologists and nutritionists.
It also would strongly depend upon the reason why an individual would want to consume cannabinoids. If a certain benefit is to be achieved, then maybe a formulation that has more CBD and less THC would be better across the board. However, another benefit might require a formulation that is high in THC and low in CBD. Maybe another might require a 50:50 mix.
The idea of whole plant formulation being the best for every possible scenario is fast becoming a misconception in the cannabis world. A whole-plant formulation is one that contains every single cannabinoid, terpenoid, flavonoid and other compound contained within cannabis. By suggesting that this is the ‘best’ is essentially conceding defeat into understanding the individual components of cannabis and states that you are happy to just throw a one-size-fits-all approach at fixing any potential issues or conditions.
However, we do require an increase in clinical research and scientific understanding before we are able to fully understand what formulation works where. So, you could concede that a whole plant formulation is best for general use until we have a deeper understanding of the biological action of cannabinoids. Until then, use what you feel works best for you and always consult your practitioner before making any health related changes.