The entourage effect refers to the mechanism by which certain cannabis compounds act synergistically with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) to modulate the overall psychotropic impacts of a THC-containing compound. Among the over 120 cannabinoids, cannabidiol (CBD) is the most widely touted for its ability to modify the euphoric effects of THC.
When discussing the health implications of cannabis, CBD gets more mention than any other cannabis phytocannabinoids. On the other hand, THC is mostly famous for its mind-altering properties. However, recent research now suggests that using CBD together with THC, along with many other smaller organic compounds known as terpenes, is more effective than using either CBD or THC alone.
The interaction between THC and CBD with terpenes is what accounts for the entourage effect.
What Do We Know So Far?
There’s limited research conducted on the entourage effect of cannabis. But the findings we have so far, coupled with numerous anecdotal accounts, are all positive on the potential of phytocannabinoids to modulate the effects of THC when you consume the substances together.
In this 2010 study, various cancer patients were offered either THC concentrates or extracts containing near-equal amounts of CBD and THC. The patients that consumed THC/CBD compounds reported much-reduced pain than those who used pure CBD extracts.
There’s another randomized controlled experiment of oromucosal cannabis extracts that was conducted among patients suffering from intractable pain despite having been under optimized opioid treatment. In the experiment, an extract of the whole cannabis plant featuring both CBD and THC worked better on the pain compared to a THC-predominant extract.
But in this 2019 study, researchers tested the potency of 6 common terpenes, both individually as well as in combination. They found that THC affected the endocannabinoid system in almost the same manner, regardless of the incorporation of terpenes.
With conflicting findings on the entourage effect, there is a need for further research to draw definite conclusions on whether this effect exists.
But perhaps the one piece of literature that might help paint a clearer picture of the entourage effect is a review by Dr. Ethan Russo known as Taming THC: Potential Cannabis Synergy and Phytocannabinoid-terpenoid Entourage Effects. In the review, Dr. Russo, who is a neurologist and pharmacologist, analyzes some of the officially-documented benefits of various compounds of cannabis edibles Canada.
For example, CBG and CBD have shown remarkable abilities to prevent bacterial staph-infection, MRSA. Dr. Russo opines that combining these substances with an MRSA-fighting terpene called pinene might help deliver compounded protection against MRSA.
Tips for Enjoying the Entourage Effects
To fully leverage the entourage effects of cannabis, the following are a few things you must pay attention to.
Choose the Right Strain
If you browse from a huge selection of CBD isolate, you’d realize that there are scores of cannabis strains out there. You may already be acquainted with Indica, Sativa, and hybrid strains. Each strain delivers specific effects on the user.
For instance, the Granddaddy Purple strain packs THC and numerous terpenes, such as caryophyllene, myrcene, and pinene. THC and caryophyllene are famous for their analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. Myrcene is excellent for relieving insomnia. Therefore, the Granddaddy Purple might be perfect for a person who’s suffering from pain and is unable to fall asleep.
Dr. Russo’s review highlights other potential synergies. For example, CBN and THC may deliver greater sedating effects while the terpene pinene boosts the memory, which may have been otherwise impaired by THC. The review also highlights the potency of CBD and caryophyllene in treating addiction. Lastly, patients suffering from anxiety can immensely benefit from the anti-anxiety abilities of CBD and limonene.
Take Care of CBD-THC Ratio
CBD and THC are the most studied cannabis extracts. Therefore, they’re the compounds that you’ll likely bump into when searching for cannabis-based products, be it for medicinal or recreational use.
Generally, cannabis affects everyone differently, which means that the ratios are unique to every individual.
The CBD-THC ratio you choose also depends on the intended use. For instance, THC contains nausea-relieving properties. So, if you’re suffering from a condition for which medical marijuana can be useful, you may need to settle for a product that features more THC than CBD. Similarly, a person suffering from muscle pains will likely go for an extract that’s higher in CBD compared to THC.
In some instances, you may do well with a product that contains a near-balance between these two compounds. For example, when working out, you’ll need THC to boost your energy and increase your appetite, while CBD will help relieve muscle pains, reducing the recovery time between workout sessions.
Caveats: 1. Both THC and CBD come with side effects. The common side effects that CBD might cause in some individuals include nausea, loss of appetite, diarrhea, weight changes, etc. on the other hand, THC might cause short-term memory loss, fatigue, dry mouth, and slow reaction times.
Most officially approved THC-containing compounds have 0.3% or less THC concentration. Check on the laws within your region before experimenting with higher THC doses.
3. Go for Full Spectrum Cannabis Products
If you’re looking to leverage the entourage effects of cannabis, always insist on full-spectrum products. Full-spectrum products are cannabis extracts that contain as many cannabinoids as well as terpenes in one package as possible. The opposite is isolates or extracts that contain just one compound.
If a product bears the label CBD isolate or CBD concentrate, it implies that the product contains nearly 100% CBD and nothing else. You may also come across extracts labeled broad-spectrum. These are compounds that are refined to eliminate THC. One can procure them from reputed retailers High Supplies Premium Cannabis Seeds that assure high-quality products and pocket-friendly rates.
4. Choose Your Mode of Administration
Lastly, the method of administration you opt for will significantly determine how soon you benefit from the entourage effects of cannabis. Conventional methods of consumption include sublingual tinctures, pills and capsules, topicals, edibles, and vaping. Generally, tinctures enter the bloodstream much faster.
But whichever mode of administration you opt for, always go easy on the doses. As a beginner, you can experiment with between 5 and 15 mg of CBD, while for THC, you’re better off with 5 mg or less. Monitor the effects of these compounds before increasing your dosage.
The entourage effect of cannabis is the reason behind the rise in the popularity of full-spectrum cannabis-based products. Who wouldn’t want to enjoy the compounded benefits that different cannabis compounds and terpenes offer?