What’s the entourage impact in hashish?
Bailey Rahn January 8, 2020
(Michal Strychowski / Stock)
This article was originally written on October 28, 2015 and has been updated since then.
Take a close look at your cannabis buds. They are covered with sticky, glowing spots of resin and this resin contains hundreds of therapeutic compounds that contribute to the effects and benefits of cannabis.
You probably already know the plant's two best known compounds, THC and CBD but there are many other compounds that the plant appears to produce in lesser quantities that play one supporting role in the overall effect of a particular tribe.
This theory that different cannabis compounds work together to achieve unique effects and benefits was called the "entourage effect".
What is the entourage effect?
When we smoke or vaporize cannabis, our bodies absorb hundreds of botanical compounds. Everyone arrives with unique effects and benefits, and their behavior can change in the presence of other connections. This is the entourage effect.
Something similar could change your mood depending on your social environment. How do you behave when you are alone, hanging out at a party with strangers or with your best friend? Your mood and the personality you project will change depending on who is in the room.
To illustrate the entourage effect of cannabis, we are working with the two compounds you are probably familiar with: THC and CBD. In a 2010 study patients with cancer pain received either a pure THC extract or an extract that contained almost equal amounts of THC and CBD – patients with the combination of THC and CBD said they had less pain ,
Cannabis is much more than just THC and CBD. It also produces other cannabinoids like CBN CBC CBG and dozens more – as well as terpenes These aromatic compounds are also easy to find in the essential oils of lavender, orange, black pepper, eucalyptus and much more. With such a variety of useful compounds in cannabis, the possible synergies can make your head spin with excitement.
Unfortunately, there are very few studies that investigate these synergies in humans – it is still a theory supported by a small amount of research and, of course, a lot of isolated cases by curious cannabis enthusiasts all over the world who are experimenting with new varieties of the plant.
Cannabinoids and terpenes may work together
This theory of the entourage effect is written in a review entitled " Taming THC: Potential Cannabis Synergy and Phytocannabinoid Terpenoid Entourage Effects" by Dr. Ethan Russo, a neurologist and pharmacologist, has extensively described long-studied cannabis compounds and how they affect the body.
In this essay, Dr. Russo examines the benefits of common cannabis compounds and describes their potential synergistic effects based on their pharmacology. For example, the cannabinoids CBD and CBG have been found to inhibit bacterial staphylococcal infection MRSA – how can they be more effective in combination with the MRSA-fighting terpene pinene or with terpenes that increase skin permeability?
Let's look at a specific master example.
Variety: Granddaddy Purple
Cannabinoids and terpenes: THC (diamonds), myrcene (blue), caryophyllene (fuchsia), pinene (green)
Potential synergies: If you understand the potential benefits of THC, myrcene and caryophyllene, you can recommend this strain to someone who wants to sleep (thanks, myrcene) and who wants to fight pain and inflammation at the same time (thanks, THC and caryophyllene).
The variety of cannabinoids and terpenes found in cannabis flowers is often the reason why some consumers prefer buds to extracts. there are so many active ingredients with their own potential benefits in bloom.
Some other potential synergies that are described in "Taming THC" are:
- The pine-scented terpene pinen can help counteract the memory loss caused by THC.
- A combination of CBD and the peppery terpene caryophyllene can be helpful in treating addiction.
- CBD and citrus-scented terpene Limonene could work together to alleviate anxiety.
- THC and the cannabinoid CBN may have increased sedative effects.
The entourage effect remains, to repeat it, an unproven theory. But as terpenes and novel cannabinoids become objects of consumer interest, we will likely find more research on the horizon.
THC and CBD pure drugs
Which cannabis products rather promote this so-called entourage effect?
Cannabis flowers undoubtedly contain a large number of cannabinoids and terpenes because they are a raw herbal product. However, some cannabis extracts also offer a wide variety of cannabinoids and terpenes. We call these full-spectrum cannabis extracts.
Oils, consumable capsules, swabs, vapor cartridges … Full spectrum extracts can be in a variety of forms. What characterizes them as a "full spectrum" is the long list of chemical compounds they keep. That said, the extract could provide THC, CBD, CBG, CBN, myrcene, caryophylls, limes, and more – all in one convenient pack.
Not all cannabis extracts capture the wide range of compounds produced by the cannabis plant. Some are formulated as a means of removing THC – broadband cannabis extracts – or as isolates that contain a single compound, usually CBD or THC.
While many people prefer cannabis products that contain many cannabinoids and terpenes, there are reasons to enjoy isolates. You know exactly which cannabinoid you are taking and you do not have to worry about which cannabinoids you might be interested in.
THC-pure drugs include synthetic renderings of THC, the two most common being Marinol (Dronabinol) and Cesamet (Nabilon). These are drugs that are FDA-approved and are often prescribed to treat nausea or pain related to cancer. As we saw in the 2010 study mentioned earlier, these isolate drugs may not be as effective as combination drugs that contain both THC and CBD.
And considering that CBD helps contain the adverse side effects of THC, especially with anxiety it is not difficult to imagine why some prefer a combination over pure THC. A survey by 2011 on forms of consumption showed that only 1.8% of 953 patients preferred synthetic THC isolates over inhaled or infused methods.
A "treasure trove" of medical possibilities
Raphael Mechoulam, one of the most respected cannabis researchers in history, describes cannabis in a work from 2005 as "neglected pharmacological treasure trove". Neglected by researchers? Absolutely. But partly also from consumers like us.
For decades, cannabis has primarily been regarded as a container for the almighty promoter THC. Even in legal markets with a wide range of options, many people reach for the variety with the highest THC content.
In response to this decades-long demand for higher values, the plant was grown to contain practically nothing but THC. Virtually every other cannabinoid is a whispered side thought, with some high-CBD strains that are exceptions. It will take a lot of time and consumer demand to get the plant to produce a diverse "treasure" of therapeutic agents.
Interest in terpenes and rare cannabinoids is beginning to flow, albeit slowly. For example, we see cannabis growers focus on CBG production and extract producers are catching novel cannabinoids such as CBN, CBC and Delta-8-THC . Research on terpene entourage effects is also gaining increasing interest.
Given the ongoing spread of legalization and information, it's nice to think that we're not far from opening the treasure that cannabis has to offer.