Whether you are educated on cannabis, or you’re new to our favourite weed, you’ve likely heard of the entourage effect. The term is a reference to the phenomenon that occurs when minor cannabinoids & terpenes combined with CBD and THC work as one to offer health benefits, and shape the particular effects of your high.
There are two common terms used to identify the entourage effect, “Whole-plant synergy” and “Whole-plant medicine.” It basically stands for cannabis products having many compounds that deliver healthy benefits that you don’t get with isolated compounds or cannabinoids.
In 1998, professors Shimon Ben-Shabat and Rapgael Mecholuam proposed a case on behalf of whole-plant synergy. This research argued in favor of the endocannabinoid system in the body responding favorably to cannabis extracts through the increase of primary endocannabinoid activity. This synergy also points to more effective benefits with botanical whole-plant drugs, rather than drugs that only contain an isolated molecule from the plant.
Now you must ask, “What exactly is entailed with the entourage effect?” Since the release of this emerging research, how should it be understood? This is asked because the entourage effect has now become a part of the lexicon of cannabis, and it is labeled regularly on products.
There has been a great number of published studies in the past years that dig deeper into this phenomenon. Researchers try to trigger the effect, a single study even claiming the effect is over-pitched.
The Entourage Effect : What We know!
To start off, evidence has suggested that select cannabinoids boost effects more than others. As an example, the compound THC is believed to enhance CBD performance. Other cannabinoids may have contributions to these benefits as well.
A breast cancer tissue study in vitro, as well as test animals, indicated better outcomes when minor cannabinoids were present. Also, another study of CBD vs. the extract with CBD and the whole plant presented that the extract from the whole-plant was equally as effective at treating epilepsy on a severe scale.
The opinion of Dr. Jordan Tishler, MD, suggests that though proven, the entourage effect is overgeneralized. He stated that, the reason pure THC is not specifically useful can be explained by the entourage effect, making whole-plant cannabis the better option. It is still believed that the idea of other chemicals impacting the functionality of CBD is unsupported to the present date.
Scientists have produced new forms of the entourage effect for understanding. In fact, there is believed to be two distinctive phenomena:
- Intra-Entourage Effect- Interactions between terpenes and cannabinoids
- Inter-Entourage Effect- Terpene-to-terpene and Cannabinoid-to-Cannabinoid interactions
The inter-entourage effect has more supporting evidence than intra-entourage.
The Entourage Effect : Is it Real?
Now for the million-dollar question, is the entourage effect a real thing? Tishler believes it is, but he states that it is misunderstood. He states that the interactions of the effect are “limited.” Supporting this statement with the fact that the data is limited as well, making it hard to prove it’s true effectiveness. Whether or not it is real, evidence supports that it is. More studies need to be conducted to prove one way or the other, whether the entourage effect truly exists.