What is the Entourage Effect?
If you’ve read anything online about CBD, you’ve likely come across the term “the entourage effect.” To better understand exactly what this is, it’s important to understand the various compounds in hemp that contribute to it.
While most simply associate cannabis with CBD and THC, it’s actually a complex plant composed of over 500 different compounds. Some of these compounds not only contain benefits of their own but also play a significant role in the entourage effect, which is what makes this plant so beneficial for your body.
Some of the most important compounds in hemp that lend to the entourage effect include cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids. Let’s take a deeper look into the entourage effect and everything it entails.
3 Chemical Compounds in Hemp that Contribute to the Entourage Effect
Cannabinoids, sometimes referred to as phytocannabinoids, 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 absolutely 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)
- Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV)
- Cannabidivarin (CBDV)
If you’re familiar with CBD, it’s likely you’ve heard some talk about terpenes. They’re an important aspect of the entourage effect, contributing their own unique benefits. To date, about 100 terpenes have been identified in hemp.
Terpenes aren’t just found in hemp. They exist in every plant! 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 different ways.
The influence of terpenes can elicit various effects, as not all terpenes work in the brain in the same way. Some might help you relax, while others could give you a much needed mental and physical energy boost.
Some are more common than others. Following are a few of the most prevalent terpenes found in the hemp plant.
- 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.
- 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.
- Pinene: Pinene has the scent of pine and is known to support energy levels and concentration. Pinene can also be found in rosemary.
- Linalool: Linalool is known for its calming effects. Linalool is also present in lavender oil and some fungi.
- Caryophyllene: Caryophyllene contains a somewhat spicy flavor and aroma. You’ll also find caryophyllene in rosemary, hops and black pepper.
Like terpenes, flavonoids are found in all types of plants and are responsible for their color. The gorgeous greens of kale, bright hues of blueberries and deep 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, as they help support homeostasis, or balanced wellness, 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.
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. In 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.
Take the cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids found in hemp for example. 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
In 2011, Dr. Ethan Russo, a neuroscientist and cannabis researcher, further investigated this concept. He presented the idea of other cannabinoids leading to increased wellness benefits and dove deeper into the role of various terpenes.
It’s widely accepted among the scientific cannabis community 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
When it comes to cannabidiol, you have choices. What’s the difference? Does one lend itself better to the entourage effect than the others?
You’ll likely come across CBD referred to as “full spectrum” or “broad spectrum.” These are terms that refer to the components of the hemp plant that work together to provide the entourage effect.
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
There’s a general consensus in the cannabis scientific community about the entourage effect. It’s real, and it’s 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 one step in better understanding 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’s passionate about providing wellness and CBD education in a clear and accessible way. Before Joy Organics, she worked as a travel writer and photographer.