UNDERSTANDING THE ENTOURAGE EFFECT AND CANNABIS COMPOUNDS
As of August 2020, 11 states (plus Washington, D.C.) allow the recreational use of marijuana. While this isn't that many, what's encouraging is that it's becoming more acceptable to use cannabis. And with more acceptance comes more research into its benefits, whether it's recreational or medical.
Today, we have an idea of the entourage effect, which is the idea that the sum of cannabis compounds work together to provide better and stronger effects than they would individually. Unfortunately, there needs to be more research done to confirm the entourage effect, as all current evidence is anecdotal.
However, this doesn't mean it isn't worth exploring.
Exactly what is the entourage effect? We'll answer this question and more in this article.
THE SCIENCE: WHAT WE KNOW SO FAR
The entourage effect is a relatively new discovery. It was first mentioned in 1998 by Dr. Ralph Mechoulam et. al, where they suggested that the endocannabinoid system experienced an entourage effect in response to cannabinoids (which are found in cannabis).
From this research, Dr. Mechoulam and his team suggested that this might be why botanical drugs were more effective together vs. when their isolated compounds were utilized.
This work was revolutionary because some compounds that were previously deemed "inactive" (such as metabolites) were found to work together with other components to amplify the overall effects of plants like cannabis.
COMPOUNDS THAT MAKE UP THE ENTOURAGE EFFECT
So what is the entourage effect? As we've said above, it's where you reap the benefits from cannabis due to the synergy of the compounds found in it instead of taking them individually.
In general, people only know about 2 active compounds that give cannabis its effects: THC and CBD (which are both cannabinoids). THC is what gets people "high"; many also claim THC is useful for certain health issues. CBD also has similar effects, except without psychoactive or intoxicating results.
While these two cannabinoids can certainly interact with one another and amplify one another's effects, this is just a small glimpse into the entourage effect. There are numerous other cannabinoids at play; over 100, to be exact!
In addition, there are also terpenes, which are aromatic oils that give cannabis its smell, taste, and scent.
The blend of everything listed above is what truly creates the entourage effect: CBD, THC, other cannabinoids, terpenes, and other compounds. This is also what Origins research with independent cannabis labs used to create lifestyles in order to help people choose their desired cannabis effects based on varying ratios of these compounds.
CANNABIS PRODUCT TYPES WITH THE ENTOURAGE EFFECT
So you want to experience the entourage effect: how do you make sure you get products with the proper compounds?
There are certain names and titles you can look for when browsing marijuana products. For example, we'll talk about a few below: marijuana or hemp flower, live resin vape carts or concentrates, and full-spectrum cannabis products.
Do note that even if products have these labels, you should always check the lab tests to ensure that the products actually have the compounds they claim they do.
MARIJUANA HEMP OR FLOWER
Marijuana or hemp flowers are exactly what they sound like. They're the blooms that are covered in trichomes and picked from female cannabis plants.
If you seek out quality products, these buds or marijuana flowers will typically have the entourage effect of terpenes and cannabinoids.
Again, you should always check the lab tests to make sure you're getting good quality products.
LIVE RESIN VAPE CARTS OR CONCENTRATES
Live resin is cannabis flower in cartridge or concentrate form. This is done by immediately freezing harvested cannabis flowers, then pressing them into a cartridge, or making them into a concentrate.
This process allows the marijuana to retain its cannabinoids and terpenes, all without the addition of harsh chemicals.
FULL-SPECTRUM CANNABIS PRODUCTS
Full-spectrum cannabis products are also known as whole plant extracts. This means the product has retained the entire profile of the cannabis plant, including cannabinoids, terpenes, and other compounds like flavonoids.
With products labeled as full-spectrum, the entourage effect is certainly possible.
PRODUCT TYPES WITHOUT THE ENTOURAGE EFFECT
Not all marijuana products will have the entourage effect. But it is important to note that the lack of the entourage effect isn't synonymous with quality.
In fact, there are plenty of top-notch cannabis products that are still great to use. You just won't get the entourage effect.
These product types might be an optimal choice for those who are on a budget, as they usually cost less due to fewer compounds in them. Take a look below to see what these products are.
THC DISTILLATE VAPE CARTRIDGES
THC distillate vape cartridges usually have anywhere between 90% to 98% THC. Even if you find products that contain CBD, that doesn't mean it has the entourage effect.
Plus, added terpenes don't count either. They're usually not cannabis terpenes; instead, they're extracted from fruits and other plants.
THC OR CBD ISOLATE
As the name suggests, these products only have THC or CBD, nothing else.
Depending on what you're using marijuana for, these can be fantastic products. Just do note that they don't contain everything necessary for you to get the full entourage effect.
Broad-spectrum is very similar to full-spectrum cannabis, except there's one difference: there is no THC in it. This is because this compound is removed after the extraction process.
While broad-spectrum products do have some cannabinoids, terpenes, and other compounds, it's usually not enough to produce the entourage effect. However, these are ideal for people who are avoiding THC due to drug tests at work and similar.
HOW TO SPOT FAKE ENTOURAGE EFFECT CANNABIS
Unfortunately, there will be companies who try to pass off their products as having the entourage effect, even if they don't. So how do you spot these fake products?
For one, if they're very cheap and look cheap, then that's a red flag. Also, a completely clear product is a warning sign as well.
You should also take a look at their lab reports. If there's a very high amount of THC (or any single cannabinoid), the product most likely doesn't have the entourage effect. The same goes for if the tests show no other cannabinoids besides THC and CBD.
If the brand doesn't have any lab tests to show, then that is a clear red flag. You should only purchase products from companies that can produce third-party lab results.
Lastly, fake entourage effect cannabis will have terpenes added in. These might be labeled as "all-natural." You should only purchase products with the original terpenes from the cannabis plant.
EXPERIENCE THE ENTOURAGE EFFECT FOR YOURSELF
Now you know all about the entourage effect and cannabis compounds.
As of the time of writing, more research is needed for us to find out even more about the entourage effect. Hopefully, as laws loosen, this will facilitate more research on what has a lot of potential for healing.
In the meantime, you can try out some quality cannabis products to experience the entourage effect for yourself. Browse our selection now to see what's available in your area!