What is the CBD Entourage Effect? How to choose quality CBD Oil to aid anxiety, focus, or sleep, to promote the entourage effect for maximum health benefits. The entourage effect describes unique synergy achieved by all cannabinoids and terpenes in the cannabis plant. What does the entourage effect mean for CBD users? This article will provide you with everything you need to know about the whole-plant concept. An Explanation of One of the Most Powerful Medicinal Discoveries: The Entourage Effect Full-spectrum is one of the most popular buzzwords in the CBD industry, but what does it mean? It appears front and center on many CBD products, including ours, but why? What is the Entourage Effect and why is it so important?
CBD Oil Benefits – What is the Entourage Effect?
CBD oil is increasingly a big name in wellness. It’s no wonder. The benefits are becoming well-known, and the research to back it up grows every day! There is another term though that is starting to become synonymous with CBD. That is the entourage effect.
Whether you’re vaping, eating or using a topical product with CBD, you can get the maximum benefits of the cannabis plant through the entourage effect. We’re here to talk a bit about precisely what it is.
What is the Entourage Effect?
Cannabis plants are filled with so many different therapeutic elements, and usually, CBD and THC are the ones who steal the spotlight. There are actually hundreds of cannabinoids found in the plant along with terpenes, flavonoids and fatty acids. All of these create something called the entourage effect.
So what is this magical effect that CBD users can’t stop talking about? It’s when all of the compounds in the cannabis plant work together to maximize CBD oil’s effects. So the cannabinoids, terpenes and other elements you find in your CBD oil combine to relieve your anxiety better, help you focus or aid you in all the other wellness issues you face.
CBD stands for Cannabidiol. It’s naturally occurring and is found alongside over a hundred other cannabinoids in the Cannabis plant. CBD is the second most abundant cannabinoid found in Cannabis. Cannabinoids are found in our bodies already and in Cannabis plants.
Cannabinoids interact in the body in a lot of different ways, but the most important thing to know is that they make up the endocannabinoid system (ECS). ECS balances out our bodies when they are dealing with stressors and helps maintain homeostasis.
In 1998 Raphael Mechoulam and Shimon Ben-Shabat were two of the first researchers to talk about the entourage effect and the ECS. They said it ‘ may represent a novel route for molecular regulation of endogenous cannabinoid activity.’ In other words, it was beneficial.
Recently a study by Ethan Russo supported the benefits of the entourage effect saying “The plant does it better.” He states that there is a firm foundation for Cannabis synergy, making it clear of the benefits of the entourage effect.
Terpenes are also found to work with CBD and other compounds in the cannabis plant and also help with brain health.
Terpenes Are Beneficial On Their Own
Terpenes not only work well with CBD but have benefits all on their own. Terpenes are the oils found in plants that make them give off a unique smell and influence the flavour. Plants had initially developed these terpenes to keep potential predators away and attract pollinators. Cannabis is no different, and there are hundreds of terpenes found in there.
The myrcene terpene is one of the most popular in cannabis plants. It has a more ‘earthy’ or ‘musky’ smell. It’s thought to be useful in helping with pain and inflammation. There’s also limonene terpene that gives off a citrusy scent and helps with issues like stress, heartburn, immune system deficiencies and has antibacterial and antifungal properties. Pinene terpene gives off the smell of a forest and is believed to be anti-inflammatory. Then there are lots of other ones found in the cannabis plant like linalool, caryophyllene and humulene.
CBD Full Spectrum, Broad-Spectrum and Distillate
If you want to get the benefits of the entourage effect, the best way to go is with full-spectrum and broad-spectrum distillate CBD products. Broad-spectrum distillate is what we use at Amphora with all of our products so that you can get the benefits of the whole plant, plus our added terpenes. We don’t use any harmful carrier oils or solvents, and our CBD oil is organic so you can have a great experience with CBD.
Full-spectrum CBD extract contains all of the wonderful natural elements found in the cannabis plant including CBD, other cannabinoids, essential oils, terpenes and flavonoids. Some of the better-known cannabinoids are Cannabigerol (CBG), Cannabinol (CBN), Cannabichromene (CBC), Cannabidivarin (CBDV) and Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV). It also has only small amounts of THC, the psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis plants. The THC will be no more than 0.2% in full-spectrum CBD oil to be compliant to the law in the U.K. Broad-Spectrum has all the same cannabinoids as full-spectrum, minus the THC altogether.
If you want to make sure the CBD inhale product you’re using is safe, you need to find the certificate of analysis (COA). A COA tells you that you’re getting exactly what the brand says is in their CBD oil, and it has been certified by a third-party. At Amphora, our certificates of analysis are easy to find on our website.
There is no doubt that one of the most exciting things about CBD research is how much more they are discovering about the entourage effect. You should be excited too! With a wide-range of full-spectrum, broad-spectrum and distillate products, you can experience all of what the cannabis plant has to offer. It means that you can get even more benefits out of your CBD oil to help you with your overall wellness.
Written by | Infused Amphora Team
The Infused Amphora Team is dedicated to creating resources to educate and engage consumers on the growing evidence of CBD benefits and the extensive health and wellness properties of CBD Oil.
Contributor | Angus Taylor CEO
Infused Amphora “Learn” is intended for informational purposes only and is NOT a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
CBD Entourage Effect: What Is It & How It Works with Other Cannabinoids
The entourage effect is one of the most intriguing discoveries in recent times when it comes to cannabis plants and their compounds. Proponents of the entourage effect claim that extracts produced from the whole cannabis plant increase the efficacy of its health benefits — something that would be unachievable with isolated compounds.
Scientists have contradictory views on this concept. There are clear indications that full-spectrum cannabis extracts are more effective in certain cases than their isolated counterparts. The advocates of isolating specific compounds and standardizing dosages aren’t so positive about these findings, claiming that attributing the entourage effect to all situations is a far-reaching generalization.
A full-spectrum product in the world of cannabis includes cannabinoids — even traces of THC — terpenes, and other compounds. There are also broad-spectrum extracts and isolates. The broad-spectrum is like a “light” version of full-spectrum because it contains all the aforementioned substances except for THC. Isolates, in turn, refers to pure cannabinoids that have been separated from the remaining constituents of cannabis. These are flavorless and odorless products that are sold in powders or infused into different items.
In this article, we’ll focus specifically on the entourage effect; this will be the most detailed yet to-the-point guide you’ll ever read, so even when you’re done with the text, save it for later and share it with friends to increase their awareness about different CBD spectra.
What Makes Cannabinoids and Terpenes So Special?
Cannabinoids and terpenes are the active ingredients of cannabis that work synergistically to amplify the health benefits of each other. Cannabis researchers call it “the entourage effect.”
The debate has usually revolved around THC vs CBD, and comparing which one is better. But in fact, we should look at them as complementary compounds that can help you get the most out of your cannabis use.
Believe it or not, there’s a whole lot going on in the plant on a molecular level.
But how does one decode the term “entourage effect?” What is the role of the other 113 cannabinoids and 200 terpenes?
Find your answers in the next section.
What is the Entourage Effect in CBD?
In very simple terms, the entourage effect helps maximize the health benefits of CBD oil. It occurs when all the compounds within the cannabis plant interact with our bodies, producing stronger effects than they would if a person took them in isolation. These stronger effects are referred to as a “synergy.”
The entourage effect was first mentioned by two scientists in 1998 — Raphael Mechoulam and Shimon Ben-Shabat. They suggested that the endocannabinoid system (ECS) manifested “the entourage effect.” (1) According to the authors of the study, various “inactive” compounds and related molecules enhanced the activity of the major endogenous cannabinoids: 2-AG and anandamide. Mechoulam and Ben-Shabat said their discovery made it clear why botanical medications were often more effective than synthetic isolates.
For CBD oil users, it means that CBD isn’t the only compound responsible for the health benefits you experience. If you feel stronger relief from the stress of physical discomfort using a full-spectrum CBD oil, this may be caused by the synergistic effects provided by other cannabinoids, such as CBD, CBDV, CBG, CBC, or CBN, and terpenes such as beta-caryophyllene, limonene, myrcene, or linalool.
While CBD is a powerful compound on its own, it needs a team of supporters to develop its full potential.
Terpenes are fascinating molecules, and we’re going to devote an entire section to them, but before we make it there, let’s take a look at the most well-known entourage effect between CBD and THC.
THC & CBD: The Most Well-Known Cannabis Entourage Effect
One of the first observed and most cited entourage effects is the relationship between CBD and THC.
While THC, the cannabinoid that gets you high, binds directly to the CB1 cannabinoid receptors in the brain, CBD uses different mechanisms to manifest its effects. When you take these two compounds together, CBD reduces THC’s psychotic potential by blocking the sites of the CB1 receptors to which THC tries to bind. As a result, you feel less high than you would if you consumed THC alone.
The evidence supporting CBD’s ability to help take the edge off THC is piling up. In the 1980s, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), approved a synthetic form of THC known as Marinol. While the medication did a decent job of increasing patients’ appetite, it also had side effects such as paranoia. Another FDA-approved drug, Sativex, contains both CBD and THC in a 1:1 ratio, so patients can tolerate it without getting too stoned.
Once you understand the interaction between CBD, THC, and the CB1 receptor, you should get a general idea of how the entourage effect works.
THC is the agonist of this receptor, meaning it works like a key that unlocks the receptor’s lock. CBD isn’t a direct agonist of the CB1 receptor, but it competes with THC for its space. As mentioned, taking these two compounds together leaves fewer receptors for THC to activate. In this scenario, the potential side-effects of THC, such as anxiety and paranoia, are modulated.
Adie Wilson-Poe, a professor at Washington University (St. Louis) says that CBD uses a minimum of 14 different mechanisms of action in the central nervous system alone. Aside from that, it has over 65 molecular targets. CBD acts through a myriad of pathways, so it’s hard to link its health benefits solely to CB1 occupation.
Now, when you take full-spectrum CBD oil, there are a lot more compounds entering your body. Using full-spectrum products activates legions of beneficial molecules at the same time.
Benefits of THC-Only Products
Please note that we cannot make any health claims regarding cannabis compounds. We always encourage you to do your own research and explore the world of cannabinoids and terpenes. Below we only share information about the potential benefits of THC-only and CBD-only products.fg
The benefits of THC include:
- Deep relaxation
- Relief from stress
- Reduced discomfort and stiffness
- Regulation of the sleep cycle
- Modulation of the gut microbiome
- Improved appetite
THC effects usually reach their peak when you consume an edible. When you eat a cannabis brownie, for example, THC gets metabolized in the liver, transforming into 11-hydroxy-THC. This metabolite is five times stronger than THC. So, when you smoke cannabis and take 10 mg of THC, it enters your lungs and goes to the bloodstream through the lung tissue. A 10 mg THC edible translates to 50 mg of THC when it comes to its potency.
Benefits of CBD-Only Products
CBD has very different effects from THC. The most vivid example is the lack of intoxication. It is the compound of choice for those who don’t tolerate THC well or are afraid of failing a drug test. Cannabidiol is also great for general supplementation because it supports the proper functioning of the endocannabinoid system.
CBD is mostly used to relieve:
- Sleep deprivation
- Physical discomfort
- Endocannabinoid deficiencies
CBD also has a strong affinity with the immune system, regulating communication between immune cells and improving its performance.
What Happens When You Start to Use Whole-Plant Products?
The modulation of the psychoactive effects of THC is a significant benefit of the entourage effect, but the whole-plant concept is about more than that. Full-spectrum products can improve the overall efficacy of cannabinoids. The main reason why this is a new discovery is the lack of research regarding the health benefits of cannabis due to its prohibition. The minor cannabinoids, as well as terpenes, have many positive effects of their own, but it’s difficult to gauge the efficacy of certain entourage effects with different ratios of these compounds.
From our perspective, it’s rather a matter of the entourage effect making everything better rather than isolates being less effective — as far as preliminary research shows.
Evidence of the Entourage Effect
There’s a lot of science to support the higher efficacy of full-spectrum CBD. In 2011, Ethan Russo, one of the most esteemed cannabis researchers, published an important study in the British Journal of Pharmacology (2). In the study, Russo wrote that cannabinoids and terpenes produce synergistic effects that translate to better therapeutic effects.
Russo also conducted a more recent study published in the journal Frontiers in Plant Science in 2019 (3). He reviewed multiple studies that investigated the case for the Entourage effect. Russo concluded that there is strong evidence to suggest that the phytochemical factory in cannabis is more beneficial for humans than isolates.
In contrast, a study by Santiago et al., published in Biorxiv in 2019, claimed that there is no such thing as the entourage effect (4). The authors of the study analyzed the responses of cells transfected with human cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) in the presence of THC and a few selected terpenes.
The authors found that the receptors were not altered by any of these compounds, whether they coexisted together or were used in separation. However, the authors also admitted limitations to their research. The main concern was the fact that the team only focused on a single CB1 and CB2 pathway.
What Are Terpenes?
Most people think about fragrances and flavors in herbs when they hear the word “terpenes.”
However, the research conducted over the last few years have shown that terpenes are potent therapeutic molecules. That’s because they are responsible for starting the entourage effect in the cannabis plant.
Terpenes are volatile aromatic substances that evaporate easily and provide plants, fruits, vegetables, and spices with their unique aromas. The more aromatic the plant, the more terpenes are in it.
If you’ve ever wondered why cannabis strains smell differently but still have some characteristics similar to other plants — the answer is “terpenes.”
So far, we know about 200 terpenes in cannabis, but only a few of them occur in concentrations large enough to be worth mentioning.
Terpenes can be broken down into three groups:
Whether a specific terpene falls into one of these categories depends on the number of repeating units of a 5 carbon molecule known as isoprene, the structural marker of all terpenes.
10 Most Commonly Found Terpenes in Cannabis
As mentioned earlier, only a few terpenes are found in amounts substantial enough to mention them in this text:
Here are the 10 most commonly found terpenes in the cannabis plant:
Health Benefits of Terpenes
It is true that terpenes influence the aromas of plants, but there’s a growing body of evidence that they have a plethora of health benefits — especially when consumed along with cannabinoids such as CBD.
The list of potential health benefits of terpenes include:
- Reduced stress
- Appetite control
- Relief from physical discomfort
- Cognitive boost
- Better blood circulation
- Modulation of nausea and vomiting
- Protection of healthy cells
Needless to say, these effects are stronger when put together in a cannabis extract such as full-spectrum CBD oil.
Final Thoughts on the Entourage Effect
The entourage effect has garnered a lot of attention recently. If this concept is true for all cannabis extracts, it may change the way people use hemp and marijuana-based products forever. However, the existence of this phenomenon doesn’t necessarily mean that broad-spectrum CBD or CBD isolate is inferior to full-spectrum products. There are cases where the entourage effect isn’t the desired effect.
Nevertheless, the concept that cannabinoids and terpenes are more powerful together than on their own is an intriguing one. In an interesting video, Dr. Sean McAllister evaluates the effects of THC and CBD on tumor growth. He suggests that using the two cannabinoids on cancerous cells in the lab leads to faster death of malignant cells while protecting the healthy ones.
The real challenge faced by scientists is to find out how we can possibly leverage the entourage effect by manipulating the ratios of cannabinoids and terpenes. When we get a deeper understanding of this phenomenon, we could adjust different forms of CBD to specific needs. Now that’s what we call personalized science!
An Explanation of One of the Most Powerful Medicinal Discoveries: The Entourage Effect
Full-spectrum is one of the most popular buzzwords in the CBD industry, but what does it mean? It appears front and center on many CBD products, including ours, but why? What is the so-called Entourage Effect and why is it so important? This blog post examines the scientific benefits of full-spectrum CBD products and the Entourage Effect.
A full-spectrum product contains CBD along with all of the other minor cannabinoids and terpenes naturally produced by the hemp plant. That is, it contains the full-spectrum of hemp compounds. Fitting name, right? This is in contrast to broad-spectrum and isolate products. Broad-spectrum products contain CBD and all minor cannabinoids except THC. Isolate products contain only CBD. Full-spectrum oils are the truest representation of the hemp plant, and the most therapeutic. This is where understanding the Entourage Effect comes into play.
The Entourage Effect: 1 + 1 = 3
The Entourage Effect is a term for the synergistic benefit derived from all compounds found in the hemp plant. CBD is just one beneficial cannabinoid, but paired with THC, minor cannabinoids, terpenes, and other hemp compounds, a greater therapeutic benefit is achieved than any one compound in isolation.
CBD, THC, minor cannabinoids, and even some terpenes all interact with your Endocannabinoid System (ECS). Your ECS regulates a wide range of biological processes (sleep, appetite, memory, immune function, pain response to name a few). By pairing CBD with other compounds that interact with the ECS, it increases the effectiveness of CBD.
Dr. Ethan Russo is a leader in medicinal cannabis research and has shared multiple papers supporting the Entourage Effect. Many users have experienced little to no benefit from CBD isolate products, but have been helped greatly by full-spectrum products due to the Entourage Effect.
Why is CBD with THC Better?
Full-spectrum CBD oil containing THC and other cannabinoids is far superior to CBD oils containing just CBD. THC is typically the most abundant compound (outside of CBD) in CBD oil. THC contributes greatly to the therapeutic effects of CBD, even in low concentrations that don’t lead to intoxication (e.g. 0.3% for hemp products). This is due to the Entourage Effect.
All BATCH products, except for our Muscle Gel, contain full-spectrum CBD oil. Using our in-house HPLC testing instrument, we’ve identified and quantified seven well-known cannabinoids found in our extracts: CBDV, CBDA, CBG, CBD, d9-THC, d8-THC, and CBC. Additionally, there are hundreds of lesser-known, and less abundant, cannabinoids that we don’t have the abilities to quantify. All of these cannabinoids further contribute to the healing powers of full-spectrum CBD products.
What Role Do Terpenes Play in the Entourage Effect?
Terpenes are a class of organic compounds that also contribute to the Entourage Effect. They are aromatic in nature, giving plants their scents. For example, pinene gives pine trees their distinctive smell. Limonene contributes to citrus fruits’ odor. These compounds are also found in the hemp plant. We all know how smelly the hemp plant can be! Some terpenes (e.g. beta-caryophyllene) interact directly with the Endocannabinoid System and can contribute to the Entourage Effect and the healing ability of CBD.
All of our CBD oil contains naturally occurring terpenes found in the hemp plant. In addition to this, we supplement our products with terpene isolates to dial up or down desired effects depending on the product application. This is how we formulate different effect-based blends like Clarity, Dream, Soothe, and Calm.
All CBD is Not Equal
The high price of CBD may motivate some customers to search for the cheapest available option. While we’re all for frugality, we also have to caution our customers. Make sure the CBD you are purchasing is indeed full-spectrum and backed up with lab results (preferably from a trusted third-party lab). Look for cannabinoids besides CBD on potency lab reports. Isolate products are typically cheaper, but lack the true power of the Entourage Effect. We highly recommend full-spectrum products for the highest therapeutic benefit.