You’ve likely come across the term “the entourage effect” if you’ve read anything online about hemp. It’s important to understand the various compounds in hemp that contribute to the entourage effect in order to better understand what this is.
Although most people simply associate cannabis with CBD and THC, it’s actually a complex plant that’s composed of over 500 different compounds. Some of these compounds contain benefits of their own and play a significant role in the entourage effect, which is what makes this plant so beneficial for your body.
Cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids are some of the most important compounds in hemp that lend to the entourage effect. Let’s take a deeper look into the entourage effect and what it entails.
3 Chemical Compounds in Hemp that Contribute to the Entourage Effect
Sometimes also referred to as phytocannabinoids, cannabinoids naturally occur within the hemp plant. The most famous and abundant cannabinoids in cannabis are THC and CBD. To date, there have been over 100 identified cannabinoids in cannabis.
Cannabinoids interact with cannabinoid receptors within the endocannabinoid system and are ultimately responsible for the effects commonly associated with THC and CBD.
These well-known cannabinoids are beneficial in their own ways, but there are also other lesser-known cannabinoids that research has shown to have benefits of their own:
- Cannabinol (CBN)
- Cannabigerol (CBG)
- Cannabichromene (CBC)
- Cannabidivarin (CBDV)
- Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV)
If you’re familiar with CBD, you’ve likely heard of the term “terpenes.” They’re an important aspect of the entourage effect, contributing their own unique benefits. There have been approximately 100 terpenes identified in hemp to date.
Terpenes exist in every plant, not just hemp! Terpenes are the essential oils of a plant and what gives each of them their own unique aroma and flavor. In cannabis, they’re produced in the same glands as cannabinoids.
Terpenes are known to actively affect cannabinoid receptors and are what allow cannabinoids to enter the brain through the blood-brain barrier. They’ve also shown to directly impact neurotransmitters in various ways.
The influence of terpenes can elicit various effects because not all terpenes work in the brain in the same way. Some might help you relax, while others could give you a much needed energy boost.
Below are some of the most prevalent terpenes found in the hemp plant:
- Caryophyllene: Caryophyllene contains a somewhat spicy flavor and aroma. You’ll also find caryophyllene in rosemary, hops and black pepper.
- Limonene: Limonene is the second most common terpene found in hemp and gives off a citrusy scent. It is said to help increase well-being, focus and attention. It is also found in citrus fruits, rosemary, mint and pine.
- Linalool: Linalool is known for its calming effects. Linalool is also present in lavender oil and some fungi.
- Myrcene: Myrcene is the most abundant terpene in hemp and has an aroma similar to that of cloves. It is known for its calming effects. It’s also found in hops, mango and thyme.
- Pinene: Pinene has the scent of pine and is known to support energy levels and concentration. Pinene can also be found in rosemary.
Flavonoids, like terpenes, are found in all types of plants and are responsible for their color. The gorgeous greens of kale, bright blues of blueberries and radiant reds of beets aren’t the only things flavonoids are responsible for. They also interact with other chemicals in the plant during various growth stages.
Research suggests that flavonoids are extremely beneficial for health because they help support homeostasis in the body.
The Entourage Effect Explained
Now that you have a better understanding of the hemp components that influence the entourage effect, it’s easier to understand what they lend to it.
Essentially, the entourage effect is all the compounds of the hemp plant working harmoniously together to increase its wellness-promoting potential.
The entourage effect isn’t anything new. As a matter of fact, an integral part of alternative and holistic wellness practice is using the entire plant instead of just one part. Whole-plant extracts often have greater benefits than their isolated components.
For example, take the cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids found in hemp. By synergistically working together, they create a more powerful effect than if they were used separately.
It is Ralph Mechoulam, referred to as “the father of cannabis research,” who is responsible for the discovery of the endocannabinoid system, which brought increased attention to the idea of the entourage effect. Mechoulam described it as something that “may represent a novel route for molecular regulation of endogenous cannabinoid activity.”
More Recent Discoveries
Dr. Ethan Russo, a neuroscientist and cannabis researcher, further investigated this concept in 2011. He presented the idea of other cannabinoids leading to increased wellness benefits and dove deeper into the role of various terpenes.
The scientific cannabis community widely accepts that the entourage effect is real. Put simply, most individuals tend to respond better to CBD products that contain the cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids that contribute to the entourage effect.
Full Spectrum CBD, Broad Spectrum CBD, CBD Isolate and the Entourage Effect
You have choices when it comes to cannabidiol. What’s the difference? Does one lend itself better to the entourage effect than the others?
You have also probably heard CBD sometimes referred to as CBD isolate. While CBD isolate does contain wellness-promoting potential, it doesn’t contain any other beneficial cannabinoids, terpenes or flavonoids, so these products do not promote the entourage effect.
The Joy Organics Difference
At Joy Organics, we understand just how important the entourage effect really is. That’s why our broad and full spectrum products contain 0.0% THC.
This isn’t to say a CBD isolate product won’t work for you, but it doesn’t contain the compounds that lend to the entourage effect. Most prefer the whole plant to an isolated compound.
The Power of Many
The general consensus about the entourage effect within the cannabis scientific community is that it is real, and it is beneficial for providing enhanced benefits associated with hemp.
At Joy Organics, we believe that being educated about the CBD products you’re taking is vital for ensuring you experience the results you desire. Understanding the entourage effect is a great step to take to better understand how to choose the best products for your needs. Still have questions about the entourage effect? Please contact us at any time. We’re always here to help.
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Hannah Smith is Joy Organics Director of Communications. She is driven by her passion for providing clear and accessible wellness and CBD education. In 2015, she received her BA in Media, Culture and the Arts from The King’s College in New York City and before Joy Organics, worked as writer and photographer in the Middle East and North Africa. Her work has been featured on Forbes, Vice, Vox, Denver Post, and the Coloradoan.