You have probably heard about the cannabis entourage effect. This term is very popular in the cannabis and CBD industries. But, is the entourage effect real? The entourage effect is a holistic approach to cannabis, in other words, the plant as a whole has more positive effects than each isolated cannabinoid.
This theory claims that cannabinoids together create a synergy, which means that cannabis as a whole is greater than the simple sum of its cannabinoids and terpenes. In other words, we get a multiplying effect.
Is the entourage effect real? Is it scientifically valid? Let’s dive in and explain this theory.
What’s the Entourage Effect?
CBD is being researched for its potential modify effect on THC. For instance, it helps to mitigate psychosis-related outbursts associated with THC consumption. CBD is a cannabinoid known for its positive effects in the treatment of anxiety. Therefore, if THC is consumed combined with CBD, then CBD can help to calm anxiety associated with THC consumption.
The term “entourage effect” is controversial as it has been associated mainly with the cannabis and CBD industry. However, there are examples of this entourage effect. For instance, patients who used THC and CBD-only medicines have experienced fewer effects than those patients that have used plant-based medicines with both THC, CBD and other cannabinoids.
For example, marinol is a THC-based medicine used as an antiemetic. Marinol is taken orally and its effect takes longer than inhaled or infused cannabis medicines. Patients noticed that herbal non-pharmaceutical cannabinoid-based medicines had a better antiemetic property than THC pharmaceutical products.
THC-only and CBD-only medicines could be beneficial for many patients, but this doesn’t mean that many people couldn’t benefit from the combined use of cannabinoids. This is what we know as “entourage effect” or synergistic effect.
Although some users claim that ‘whole plant cannabis’ has a stronger effect than CBD-only or THC-only, the entourage effect isn’t entirely understood by the scientific community.
Cannabis: Cannabinoids, Terpenes and Synergy
There are different ways to intake cannabis to use all its cannabinoids and terpenes. The most popular methods are smoking and vaping, but there are also other methods like cannabis oils that could be orally ingested.
Is the entourage effect real? Well, some people claim it’s real and that whole cannabis plants work better than each cannabinoid by its own. Moreover, some sources state that terpenes have therapeutic effects. Terpenes are the organic compounds present in a wide variety of plants especially in conifers. Some sources claim that terpenes have anti-cancer, stress-relief or analgesic properties. Some terpenes have been found to have antibacterial properties as well. However, terpenes have been used mostly in aromatherapy and therefore, we still don’t know to what extent terpenes have a positive health effect.
In trials with cannabis extracts, THC-predominant extracts failed to show better results than placebo as pain-relief treatment. On the other hand, whole plant extracts with both THC and CBD proved to be statistically more efficient than both THC-only and placebo. This study proves that THC and CBD work synergistically in the treatment of pain.
CBD-only or Together with Other Cannabinoids?
We name just CBD and THC because they are the most well-known cannabinoids. However, let’s not forget that there are at least 113 cannabinoids. For example, there are other cannabinoids such as CBN (cannabinol), CBG (cannabigerol) or CBC (cannabichromene).
Some people claim to experience negative effects with THC consumption. The most common side effect or negative effect is anxiety. Consequently, some users prefer to take CBD-only. CBD isolates are great if you don’t want to experience any psychoactive effects associated with THC consumption.
There are some ongoing researches focused on developing customized marijuana strains to meet the needs of a wide variety of patients or customers.
To sum up, is the entourage effect real? It’s quite clear that the entourage effect is real, but we still don’t know to what extent the synergistic effect of cannabinoids works. We know that CBD can mitigate THC-induced anxiety and paranoia. In addition, some sources claim that CBD together with THC alleviates pain better than THC-only or CBD-only medicines.
Conclusion: Is the Entourage Effect Real?
The term “entourage effect” has been widely disseminated by the cannabis and CBD industry. It is true, on the other hand, that it has been researched and that there are studies that state that cannabinoids have a more efficient effect if they are taken together rather than separately. However, it’s important to emphasize that in some cases it’s advisable to take CBD separately since certain people may experience anxiety or paranoia after a THC intake (usually occurs with high THC intakes).
Whole plant vs Isolates: Terpenes
There are sources that include terpenes as part of the entourage effect. There are some researches about terpenes and their therapeutic effects. However, it’s controversial if terpenes have effects on cannabinoids. We cannot state that terpenes increase the potency of CBD or THC.