What is the entourage effect?
- The entourage effect is when compounds found within the cannabis plant combine in the body
- It is believed that cannabinoids produce a much better effect together than when taken alone
- Broad-spectrum CBD lets you benefit from the entourage effect without the unwanted side effects of THC
Containing more than 140 different phytocannabinoids, the cannabis plant is packed full of compounds that work with your endocannabinoid system to support the body’s essential processes. Many cannabinoids such as CBD are well-researched and hugely popular, so people often take them individually. However, little do people know that taking them together to produce something called the ‘entourage effect’ could actually proven to be a much more effective way of reaping the wellness rewards.
When the naturally occurring plant terpenes and multiple cannabinoids interact within the body, it’s called the ‘entourage effect’ – but what’s so impressive about taking two or more of these extracts together? Before we explore the benefits, it’s important to understand what makes up the individual elements of the cannabis plant.
What are cannabinoids?
Cannabinoids are fat-soluble molecules (similar to vitamin A or D) that are good for both the plants that produce them and for us. Discovered in the early 1900s, cannabinoids were first identified in a sample of resinous hash from the cannabis sativa plant, which is exactly how their name came to be.
Put simply, they’re the active ingredients within hemp and cannabis plants, with cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) being the most well-known and prevalent within the plant itself. For a more in-depth look at cannabinoids, broad spectrum vs full spectrum and how they interact within the body, take a look at our blog article all about cannabinoids.
But as well as cannabinoids, terpenes found within the cannabis plant also play a very important part in producing the entourage effect.
What are “minor cannabinoids”?
But before we do that, it’s key to note that despite CBD and THC playing a huge part in the therapeutic benefits of the cannabis plant, there are over 100 different cannabinoids that have the potential to combine to generate the entourage effect. Other minor (but major!) cannabinoid include:
- CBG (cannabigerol)
- CBC (cannabichromene)
- CBN (cannabinol)
- CBT (cannabitracin)
- CBL (cannabicyclol )
Cannabinoids can also exist in many different forms. First, there is the ‘raw’ form, which hasn’t been undergone any heat activation:
- CBDa (cannabidiolic acid)
- THCa (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid)
- CBGa (cannabigerolic acid)
- CBCa (cannabichromenic acid)
- CBNa (cannabinolic acid)
Then the ‘standard’ form:
- CBDv (cannabidivarin)
- CBDva (cannabidivarinic acid)
- Delta-8 THC (delta-8 tetrahydrocannabinol)
- Delta-10 THC (delta-10 tetrahydrocannabinol)
- THCv (tetrahydrocannabivarin)
- THCva (tetrahydrocannabivarinaric acid)
- CBCv (cannabichromevarin)
It might seem quite complex but don’t worry. We’ll get into the detail of exactly how these various elements combine to deliver the most desired effects of CBD for the body a little later.
What are terpenes?
Found mostly in plants, and even in some animals, terpenes are naturally occurring chemical compounds that create flavours and even colours associated with different types of vegetation. When it comes to cannabis, terpenes are what make certain strains smell or taste different from others.
So, how do cannabinoids work alongside terpenes? Interestingly enough, the terpenes in hemp activate many of the same receptors that cannabinoids do. Terpenes may even help open up barriers within the brain, allowing greater amounts of cannabinoids to pour in and do what they do best – restoring balance to many essential physiological and psychological processes.
What is the endocannabinoid system?
So, how is it possible for these compounds to support the body and help maintain essential balance? Well, it’s because they work with your endocannabinoid system. This powerful in-built network of receptors within your body has been proven to help regulate a wide range of essential psychological and physiological processes within our body, including mood, appetite, sleep and pain. Located throughout your entire nervous system, as well as your vital organs, cannabinoids and terpenes benefit this process by attaching themselves to these receptors to enhance the role of the endocannabinoid system.
Find out more about the importance of the endocannabinoid system.
CBD and the entourage effect: What does the research say?
Well, a study in the British Journal of Pharmacology found that taking terpenes and cannabinoids together was potentially beneficial for both physical and mental issues including reducing the perceptions of pain, reduction in inflammatory markers and reducing stress – proving the entourage effect to have great potential.
Based on what we know about cannabinoids and terpenes, it works a little something like this:
Which CBD products offer the entourage effect?
So, to make CBD oil, the compound is expertly extracted from the plant, before being purified and distilled into a pure oil. This oil is then infused with a carrier oil (such as MCT oil) to help release it into the body for better absorption.
If the label on a CBD product declares that it is full-spectrum, this means that it contains all the phytochemicals that are naturally found within the hemp plant. These can include CBD, THC, terpenes, and a range of other cannabinoids, which combine to amplify the potential health benefits of CBD and enhance the effectiveness of the product – the entourage effect.
However, THC is the plant’s main intoxicating compound, which means that it has the potential to make the user “high”. Although the THC content in full-spectrum CBD oil is low, it is still present in traceable quantities, and full-spectrum oils are therefore illegal in many countries, including the UK. Plus, despite the potential added benefits of the entourage effect, it is possible to experience side effects including tiredness and nausea. Find a more in-depth answer to the question, what is THC over on our blog.
If a product contains CBD isolate, it is exactly that – CBD isolated from every other compound found within the cannabis plant. So, while it will deliver the highest levels of purity, the body will not benefit from the natural synergy between the various cannabinoids and terpenes.
Broad-spectrum CBD oil differs from full-spectrum oil in one important way: it does not contain traceable amounts of THC. While it does contain many of the other cannabinoids and compounds found within the cannabis plant, the THC is almost completely removed after the initial extraction process – and is non-detectable at 0.01%. As a result, broad-spectrum CBD is still capable of producing the improved therapeutic benefits of the entourage effect without any unwanted side effects.
Not sure where to get yours from? Explore our range of broad-spectrum CBD oils to find the perfect CBD product for your wellness needs. If you’re unsure of how to take CBD, fear not. We have you covered over on our Naturecan Blog.
In a nutshell, using a combination of cannabinoids is the ideal way to reap the rewards of the cannabis plant. So, when it comes to CBD, if you want to benefit from the entourage effect throughout the day without the worry of potential CBD side effects, the choice is clear.
Broad-spectrum CBD oil contains a rich mix of cannabinoids and other naturally-occurring compounds, including terpenes, CBN, CBC, and CBG, which all combine and interact with the body to create the entourage effect. This potent combination of phytochemicals has the potential to support a range of conditions, without any of the negative outcomes associated with THC.