Beyond THC & CBD: Understanding the Entourage Effect
- CBD, Health

Beyond THC & CBD: Understanding the Entourage Effect

With the meteoric rise of CBD products and the growing interest in the possibilities of other marijuana constituents like terpenes and flavinoids, it seems like cannabis is in danger of being overshadowed by its ingredients. That would be a pity, as the cannabis plant is far more than the sum of its parts. Consider this post a friendly reminder of that fact.

While it’s true that CBD and THC have considerable efficacy in isolation, they have even more to offer when acting together. CBD complements THC and vice versa. Moreover, each is further complemented by all the other components of cannabis, terpenes in particular.

This synergy has a name that you’ve probably heard before: it’s called the entourage effect. To fully grasp this concept, it’s necessary to understand the cannabis flower’s main constituents and their effects.

CBD and THC

CBD has become a hot commodity in recent years thanks to a heightened awareness of its therapeutic benefits and lack of side effects. One of the primary constituents of cannabis, this naturally occurring compound, can help relieve numerous ailments, from anxiety and depression to chronic pain and insomnia.

CBD products are available in a variety of forms, including oil, edibles, pills, and gummies. It can also be applied topically in the form of lotion or cream. Absorbed through the skin, topical CBD helps keep skin hydrated and can also be used to treat painful or inflamed areas of the body. Cope CBD has a range of such products. Several companies even make CBD pet food.

As for THC, some research suggests that it’s even more therapeutically beneficial than CBD. But since THC is the psychoactive compound in cannabis that makes you high, it’s not likely to be available over the counter any time soon.

It’s not uncommon for CBD products to contain small amounts of THC; however, the ratio of CBD to THC is always enough to prevent intoxication.

What are terpenes?

Terpenes are highly aromatic hydrocarbons that occur throughout nature and account for the characteristic scents of plants and flowers. This includes but is certainly not limited to cannabis, where terpenes are especially abundant.

When you smell marijuana, you’re smelling the terpenes present in that particular strain. In all, cannabis contains more than 200 different terpenes. They produce aromas and flavors, true, but many of them also have therapeutic properties that are accentuated by the presence of CBD and THC.

Terpenes like myrcene, linalool, and caryophyllene, for example (all of which are highly concentrated in the cannabis plant), are used to help manage various mental and physical issues, including depression, insomnia, pain, and inflammation. Furthermore, a 2018 study published in InTechOpen concluded that cannabis terpenes could protect against dementia and other cognitive disorders.

Certain terpenes can increase the amount of CBD absorbed by the skin, boosting the effectiveness of topical creams and lotions. That helps explain why a lot of CBD products include terpenes.

The entourage effect

Plenty of research has been conducted into how CBD and THC harmonize to produce optimal effects for the user. Most notably, CBD acts as a sort of check on THC, limiting how much it binds to receptors in your endocannabinoid system. This translates to a controlled high with fewer unpleasant side effects.

More recently, scientists have begun to look into how terpenes interact with CBD and THC. According to a paper published in The British Journal of Pharmacology, combining terpenes with cannabinoids can enhance the entourage effect concerning the treatment of pain, inflammation, anxiety, depression, epilepsy, cancer, and fungal and bacterial infections.

Another study compared purified CBD and CBD-rich extracts in the treatment of epilepsy. The authors found that CBD-rich extracts (containing THC and terpenes) were more potent and produced fewer side effects. In their conclusion, they wrote that “it’s reasonable to suggest that the higher potency of the CBD-rich Cannabis extracts over purified CBD is related to other plant compounds acting synergistically to CBD.”

In other words, CBD-rich extracts are better because of the entourage effect.

Full-spectrum CBD products

If you would like to benefit from the entourage effect, look for full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD products. Unlike most extracts on the market—which contain only CBD or CBD with trace amounts of THC—full-spectrum extracts feature all of the plant’s active ingredients. That includes CBD, THC, terpenes, flavonoids, and more.

Full-spectrum products replicate the cannabis plant’s natural makeup. This facilitates the entourage effect and allows you to derive maximum therapeutic relief.

Beyond THC & CBD: Understanding the Entourage Effect

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