In the world of hemp and cannabis, there are a lot of strange terminologies that seem to pop up out of nowhere. Recently, you may have heard people discussing cannabis’s “entourage effect” and its impact on cannabis experiences. But, what does this term mean?
If you haven’t heard of the entourage effect just yet, that’s okay! This phenomenon is still somewhat poorly understood in the cannabis community, giving researchers the opportunity to find out more and how this happens. However, what we do know now is quite promising and provides us an inside look into how the overall plant functions — and how it works within the human body. Ready to find out more? Let’s take a deep dive into the entourage effect, what it feels like, and how you can experience it for yourself.
So, what is the entourage effect, and what does it have to do with cannabis?
In recent years, cannabis scientists have discovered a unique characteristic of the plants’ compounds that include multiple cannabinoids and terpenes: they work best synergistically. Essentially, when you keep multiple chemical compounds in cannabis together, they thrive off of each other. You get a much more productive cannabis experience than if you ingested these parts individually. This phenomenon is what’s dubbed “the entourage effect”. Let us explain further.
Inside the cannabis plant, you have three main components: cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. Each one of these components plays a significant role in the functioning of the cannabis plant as a whole. Some cannabis products isolate just one cannabinoid — let’s say CBD in this instance — instead of multiple cannabinoids or terpenes for a more a complete cannabinoid profile. By doing this, the CBD must work alone and no longer has other chemical compounds with it synergistically, possibly making the effects less well-rounded than they would have been if paired with other cannabinoids and terpenes.
The entourage effect gained popularity in 2011 after a publication by researcher Ethan B. Russo, as the evidence demonstrating this kind of beneficial relationship simply couldn’t be denied. Now, it is something that cannabis scientists continue researching, attempting to understand further how—and why—these components function so beautifully when paired together.
Now that you’re familiar with the entourage effect, let’s talk about how this can benefit you from a medical perspective.
Essentially, you can think of the entourage effect as a way of boosting the results of your medical cannabis product if it contains multiple cannabinoids and/or terpenes. By keeping the components together and allowing them to act synergistically, the impact felt from well-formulated medical cannabis products may be better overall.
Full-spectrum products have gained considerable popularity within recent years, primarily due to the entourage effect phenomenon. As their name suggests, full-spectrum products embrace full-plant values. This means that they include all the major components of the cannabis plant, just without the plant material itself. While you can find full-spectrum cannabis products, the ones that are truly rising to fame are full-spectrum CBD products.
However, a medical cannabis product does not have to be “full-spectrum” to be optimized for medical effect. For example, a “broad-spectrum” product containing the right amount of CBD, THC and a highly effective terpenes such as beta-caryophyllene (BCP) can be as effective or more effective than full-spectrum products that do not contain sufficient amounts of each of these valuable components. For example, most of Opticann’s CB4 products are multi component and contain these ingredients for enhanced effect.
Okay, but what happens if you don’t want to consume THC at all? Does the entourage effect still exist for THC-free products?
If you’re not a fan of THC, or simply don’t want to consume it, you don’t have to. Rather than turning to a full-spectrum product, you can try a broad-spectrum formulation. Broad-spectrum medical products embrace a broad amount of the cannabis plant, including cannabinoids and terpenes but not necessarily THC. For example, Opticann’s CB4 Relief capsules are THC-free but contain both CBD and BCP to take advantage of the entourage effect.
Even if some CBD products do not include THC, that doesn’t mean the entourage effect won’t work. The rest of the compounds can still work together to promote better, fuller results, even if there isn’t any THC to back it up. Broad-spectrum CBD products are ideal for anyone who wants to experience this more all-encompassing experience, but does not want to have any THC involved.
Both full-spectrum and broad-spectrum medical cannabis products are available at most dispensaries and from Licensed Producers with a Medical Document.
Opticann’s pharmaceutically formulated CB4 products are developed with broad-spectrum ingredients to take advantage of the entourage effect. CB4 Relief-T and CB4 Relief softgels are formulated with VESIsorb® to maximize absorption and potency of CBD and Beta-Caryophyllene, with or without small amounts of THC for the entourage effect. These highly absorbed formulations may result in more convenient dosing, with fewer pills required versus other CBD products that are available. CB4 Relief Deep Rub Gel, a topical formulation also containts CBD, BCP and THC for synergistic broad-spectrum effect.