A Guide to Cannabis and The Entourage Effect
If you have been using CBD products for a while or are considering starting to take CBD, you’ve probably heard of the ‘Entourage Effect.’
There are hundreds of articles online that discuss THC and CBD, perhaps the two most famous compounds present in the cannabis plant.
However, there are over 100 other compounds that are less abundant in cannabis but help to play an essential role in the overall effects that cannabis provides.
It’s believed that many of the compounds, terpenes, fatty acids, and flavonoids present in cannabis and hemp plants work in synergy with one another to complement and enhance the benefits that they offer as an individual component.
In this five minute guide, we’ll take a look at the ‘entourage effect’, how cannabinoids and terpenes could potentially work together, and which cannabis-derived products are likely to promote this synergistic reaction.
We’ll move on to discuss the difference between full-spectrum, broad-spectrum, and isolate CBD products, before finishing the guide by answering some frequently asked questions.
What is the Entourage Effect?
The genus of cannabis plants contains roughly 500 different compounds. Included in this estimation are over 100 phytocannabinoids (CBD and THC are phytocannabinoids).
Aside from phytocannabinoids, a multitude of flavonoids, terpenoids, and fatty acids are all present within the cannabis and hemp plant.
Flavonoids are phytonutrients, and they provide the lush green color for which cannabis is famous. The same can be said for crisp red apples and vibrant blueberries, their rich colors are visible thanks to their unique flavonoid profile.
Some of the most common flavonoids are ‘catechin,’ which is present in green tea, and ‘quercetin,’ which is present in fruits, vegetables, and cannabis.
When consumed, flavonoids can provide anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and antiviral effects. This is especially true for the flavonoids present in cannabis.
Whereas flavonoids give plants, fruits, and vegetables their color, terpenes are what produce the unique aromas in these natural organic products.
The most common terpenes include ‘limonene,’ which is present in citrus fruits, and ‘linalool,’ which can be found in lavender.
Terpenes are known for their therapeutic effects on the human body. If you’ve ever practiced aromatherapy, you’ll know that it’s original concept is based around terpene interactions.
Think about the smell of freshly cut grass, or the sharp aroma when you squeeze a lemon, terpenes are responsible for both of these scents.
The term ‘Entourage Effect’ refers to all of these compounds working together instead of just one or two working in isolation.
For this reason, you’ll notice the majority of CBD products are classed as ‘isolates,’ ‘full-spectrum,’ or ‘broad-spectrum.’
In simple terms: The entourage effect describes the benefits provided by ingesting multiple components from the cannabis plant together rather than one-at-a-time.
It makes sense; it’s why we take multivitamin tablets instead of sourcing each vitamin supplement. However, this concept goes a bit deeper, with experts suggesting that individual compound effects are enhanced when used together with others.
We previously discussed the intricacies of CBD and its interactions with our bodies’ endocannabinoid system’. It’s incredible to see the multitude of benefits that this natural compound can potentially offer to humans. This piece will build upon this knowledge, looking at how these benefits could be heightened thanks to the entourage effect.
The Entourage Effect: CBD and THC Working Together
Two compounds that have been proven to illustrate the entourage effect are THC and CBD. A 2010 study administered to patients either an isolated THC extract or a combination of THC and CBD in equal measures. Towards the end of the study, the patients that were given the CBD and THC together reported better results concerning pain alleviation.
Remember, this is just one example of the ‘entourage effect,’ which only alludes to two compounds working in synergy. There are dozens of other cannabinoids present in the cannabis plant, including CBG, CBC, and CBN. Then there’s the terpenes and flavonoids, which make the beneficial effects of such a diverse range of compounds potentially lucrative.
Unfortunately, there are limited studies to support these synergies in humans. However, research is ongoing, and there is a vast amount of anecdotal evidence that supports the entourage effect.
Cannabinoids and Terpenes Working Together
In 2011, Dr. Ethan Russo, a pharmacologist and neurologist specializing in cannabis compounds and their effects on the human body, published a paper entitled, ‘Taming THC: Potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects.’
In this paper, Dr. Russo looked at the benefits of common cannabis compounds and the potential synergistic effects based on their pharmacology.
For instance, CBG and CBD have proven to fight against some forms of MRSA bacteria. However, their effects may be strengthened if they are combined with ‘pinene,’ a terpene known to fight MRSA.
Some other synergies that Dr.Russo touched on in his review paper include:
- THC, combined with CBN, could yield enhanced sedative effects.
- CBD and the terpene ‘limonene’ could work together to alleviate some forms of anxiety.
- Another terpene called ‘pinene’ could work to counteract the memory loss associated with using THC.
- CBD, combined with the terpene’ caryophyllene,’ may provide benefits to some forms of addiction therapy.
At the time of writing, the entourage effect still stands as a theory unbacked by concrete evidence. However, as the popularity of CBD increases, it’s likely that more research will be funded and completed surrounding cannabis compounds and combinations.
Broad-Spectrum, Full-Spectrum, and Isolate CBD Products
As you search for the best CBD product to suit your needs, you’ll notice several different cannabinoid spectrum options available.
Most CBD manufacturers produce ‘Broad-spectrum CBD,’ ‘Full-Spectrum CBD,’ and ‘CBD isolate’ products.
Although these products sound similar to one another, they’re each unique in their own right. Allow us to explain to you what the ‘spectrum’ tells you about CBD products and their potential uses and effects.
If a CBD product is labeled as ‘full-spectrum,’ it is likely to contain all of the phytochemicals produced naturally in the cannabis plant. These include CBD, terpenes, flavonoids, essential oils, and trace cannabinoids. Note that most full-spectrum extracts will contain a negligible amount of THC, which is generally below 0.3%.
If you use a full-spectrum product, all of the active compounds that have been extracted from cannabis or hemp plants could potentially work together to enhance the health benefits of individual cannabinoids, leading to the ‘entourage effect.’
Broad-spectrum CBD products contain CBD alongside all the other compounds extracted from the cannabis plant, except THC.
As broad-spectrum CBD products contain multiple cannabinoids aside from THC, they can also potentially provide the ‘entourage effect.’
Broad-spectrum contains every other cannabinoid, flavonoid, terpene, and essential oil present in cannabis, except for THC.
CBD isolate is the most purified form of CBD available on the market. Isolate products are created by removing all the other ingredients present in the cannabis plant, leaving pure CBD behind.
The advantage of taking CBD isolate products is that they often contain the highest concentration of CBD per dose or serving. Isolate products are normally 99% pure but fail to provide an ‘entourage effect’ due to the lack of other cannabinoids and active ingredients.
For this reason, isolate products are often cheaper and less popular than the ‘broad-spectrum’ and ‘full-spectrum’ alternatives.
Which Cannabinoid Spectrum Should you Choose?
Depending on whether you want to experience the potential therapeutic wonders of the ‘entourage effect,’ or you know you specifically require CBD on its own, there will be a CBD spectrum to suit your needs.
To help you decide, we’ve listed some of the pros and cons associated with each spectrum, followed by examples of who each spectrum will probably benefit the most.
Full-Spectrum CBD: Pros & Cons
- Users can reap the benefits of the entourage effect
- Full-spectrum products contain a form of CBD, which is the least processed compared to alternative spectrums.
- These products contain flavonoids, terpenes, and essential oils, potentially enhancing the benefits that they provide.
- Full-spectrum could contain THC, which may be flagged on a drug screening test.
- THC content has the potential to cause legal problems in some countries/states.
- These products sometimes carry a potent aroma.
Full-spectrum products are recommended for:
- People looking to alleviate symptoms that CBD broad-spectrum and isolate products have failed to provide relief.
- CBD users who wish to benefit from trace amounts of THC present in their extracts.
- People who live in states where there is a legal cannabis market.
Broad-Spectrum CBD: Pros & Cons
- Broad-spectrum products provide the full range of potential benefits from the ‘entourage effect.’
- Due to the lack of THC, there is no risk of psychoactive effects.
- Broad-spectrum products undergo less processing than isolates.
- There is generally less availability for these products compared to isolates of full-spectrum products.
- There isn’t a great deal of research currently available concerning these products.
- Some broad-spectrum products have a strong hemp flavor, which isn’t to everyone’s taste.
Broad-spectrum products are recommended for:
- People who are sensitive to THC.
- People who live in states with harsh THC restrictions.
- First-time CBD users who don’t wish to use any THC.
- People looking to alleviate conditions that CBD isolate has failed to help with.
CBD Isolate: Pros & Cons
- Isolates provide the most concentrated forms of CBD available.
- There is zero risk of experiencing psychoactive effects.
- These products are flavorless and odorless.
- CBD isolate products do not offer all the potential benefits of the ‘entourage effect.’
CBD Isolate is recommended for:
- CBD users who prefer to take flavorless products.
- Individuals that are subject to drug testing.
- CBD users who have been recommended to use large doses of CBD.
- New CBD users that don’t want to ingest any other cannabinoids.
There is a range of factors to consider when deciding which cannabis spectrum is best to use.
Everybody has a unique lifestyle, weight, body chemistry, metabolic rate, and history with other substances, and each of these factors may influence the way your body reacts to CBD supplements.
In some individuals, broad-spectrum CBD is the best choice as it can provide some of the ‘entourage effects’ without potential psychoactive effects associated with THC.
For others, a hefty dose of pure CBD could be enough to provide relief for their conditions, while others will benefit from THC’s addition in ‘full-spectrum’ products.
There is still a great deal of research required to prove the effectiveness of each spectrum. In the meantime, we recommend experimenting with several different spectrums until you find a CBD product that suits your requirements.
Frequently Asked Questions
How does CBD work?
CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system. This system plays an essential role in maintaining vital homeostatic functions within the human body. These include memory, sleep, mood, appetite, and pain sensation.
THC acts on CB1 receptors located within the brain, which accounts for its’ psychoactive effects. CBD works primarily with CB2 receptors, which are located throughout the body in our endocannabinoid system. The human body contains more CB2 receptors that all other receptors combined.
What are Terpenes, and why are they important?
The cannabis plant produces an estimated 200 organic hydrocarbon compounds known as terpenes.
Some of the most prevalent terpenes present in the cannabis plant include:
Pinene: Which is also used in medicine as an antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and bronchodilator.
Myrcene: Which has analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and antimutagenic properties.
Caryophyllene: Which is a natural anti-inflammatory.
Linalool: Known to boost the immune system and work as an anti-inflammatory on a cellular level
Will Cannabidiol (CBD) Help my Ailment?
Here at Avida, all of our CBD products are sold as food supplements that may help to promote everyday wellbeing. We never claim that they can treat, prevent, cure, or diagnose any condition or disease.
Regulations and legislation leave us unable to make medical claims for any of our products. Therefore, we cannot provide advice regarding the treatment of any ailments or illnesses. We recommend conducting your own research and speaking to a medical professional if you expect to relieve any medical conditions using CBD.
What is the best way to take CBD?
There is no ‘best way’ to take CBD; each individual should find a delivery method that suits their needs and circumstances.
The most popular methods of CBD delivery are:
Sublingual (Placing CBD tincture or oil beneath the tongue).
Ingestion (Swallowing CBD via capsule, CBD gummies, or drink).
Inhalation (Vaping CBD vape oil or flowers using a vaporizer device).
Topical (Applying CBD-infused oils, lotions, or salves to the skin).
Each of these delivery methods provides a different bioavailability (absorption rate), which determines how quickly CBD will take effect within the body. They also impact the rate at which CBD is absorbed and how long it can be detected within the body. The administration is an important factor that will influence the products you purchase, and the reasons you decide to use CBD.
Will CBD Get me ‘high’?
No, CBD products will not get you high. Almost all CBD products contain less than 0.2% THC, which is the cannabinoid responsible for getting people high when they use cannabis. Regular CBD users can function and interact as normal.
We hope that you’ve found our guide to cannabis and the entourage effect useful. Although there is only limited research currently available to suggest that the ‘entourage effect’ is beneficial, we do not doubt that future research will confirm its advantages.
Until then, as always, we recommend ‘starting low, and going slow’ if you’re new to CBD supplementation. For additional information, click here to contact the Avida support team today.