What is the "entourage effect"?

If you are familiar with the hemp plant and CBD you've probably come across the term "entourage effect". Here's an explanation on what's behind that.

What is the "entourage effect"?
Photo by Jeff W / Unsplash

If you are familiar with the hemp plant and CBD you've probably come across the term "entourage effect". The entourage effect was named by the chemists Dr. Raphael Mechoulam and Dr. Shimon Ben-Shabat from Israel in the late 90's. Here's an explanation on what's behind that.

An entourage effect: inactive endogenous fatty acid glycerol esters enhance 2-arachidonoyl-glycerol cannabinoid activity - PubMed
2-Arachidonoyl-glycerol (2-Ara-GI) has been isolated from various tissues and identified as an endogenous ligand for both cannabinoid receptors, CB1 and CB2. Here we report that in spleen, as in brain and gut, 2-Ara-GI is accompanied by several 2-acyl-glycerol esters, two major ones being 2-linoleoy…
Entourage Effect Publication

First of all we have to discuss the meaning of "full spectrum" CBD oils. Full spectrum CBD oils are made from extracts that retain the natural chemical profile of the hemp plant. Often they are referred to as "whole-plant" CBD extracts. During the extraction process, the cannabinoids, flavonoids and terpenes are preserved. As a result the extract contains many essential vitamins, proteins and fatty acids. The hemp plant contains over 200 different terpenes and 100 cannabinoids. Additionally, several hundred other chemical compounds.

What are Terpenes?
Terpenes are a large group of organic compounds that occur naturally in some insects, in fruits and vegetables and in almost all plants - including cannabis plants - and influence their flavour profile and aroma.

The entourage effect is when different compounds of the plant work together to increase physical well-being. Or in other words: an increase in effect occurs when different components of the hemp plant are taken in combination, as opposed to, for example, only cannabinoids.

Every one of us has an endocannabinoid system (ECS) where e.g. our sleep, mood and appetite are influenced. That's where the body's own receptors for endocannabinoids are located. Endocannabinoids are produced by the human body. Cannabinoids and terpenes added to our bodies through e.g. CBD oils are also able to activate and influence those ECS receptors.

girl friends hands piled togethger
Photo by Hannah Busing / Unsplash

Terpenes can improve the result of cannabinoids by, for example, alleviating possible side effects and enhancing the impact. For the entourage effect to happen, the cannabinoids and terpenes need to work together.

In contrast to full spectrum oils are isolates. Here, the CBD molecule is isolated from the rest of the cannabis plant during extraction. As a result, CBD isolates do not contain THC, terpenes or flavonoids, and therefore also don't contain vitamins or proteins. The entourage effect does not occur when consuming isolates.

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