There are about 120 different phytocannabinoids present in the cannabis plant. Cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are the most popular phytocannabinoids. They act on your endocannabinoid system to help regulate homeostasis, mood, and appetite.
People consume THC and CBD separately. However, research suggests that it can enhance their effect if you take them together with some true terpenes. Read below to find out about CBD and the entourage effect.
What Is the Entourage Effect?
When you take CBD with other native compounds of the hemp plant, they work together to enhance the therapeutic effects of CBD. It is because the associated compounds help CBD to interact better with the human body. This interaction between terpenes and phytocannabinoids is called the entourage effect.
The entourage effect boosts the health benefits of cannabinoids. For example, the results of CBD are enhanced when it works in synergy with another compound such as a terpene.
Other popular cannabinoids are CBC and THC, and these cannabinoids also interact better with the endocannabinoid system when taken with terpenes.
So what are terpenes, and how do they help? The glands of the hemp plant secrete terpenes to repel predators or pollinators. In addition, these compounds are responsible for the aroma of cannabis.
In addition to this, their consumption is associated with pain management, balance, stress relief, and relaxation.
These are some common terpenes.
Besides terpenes, flavonoids help to create the entourage effect. Flavonoids are natural compounds found in the hemp plant. They impart color to the plant.
Besides that, they help in proper cell cycle function and protect the plant against diseases. Moreover, these compounds are taken in supplement form as they act as antioxidants.
Therefore when cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes are taken together, they interact and affect the endocannabinoid system creating a more substantial influence than a single compound taken in isolation.
How Does the Entourage Effect Work?
Now that we know about the entourage effect, let’s learn about how it works to provide benefits.
Dr. Ben-Shabat researched whether inactive endogenous fatty acid glycerol esters enhance cannabinoid activity. His research proved that compounds such as true terpenes had the potential to increase the activity of cannabinoids.
More research proved that when CBD is taken with THC, it results in complementary pharmacological activities that strengthen clinical applications. They also help to improve the therapeutic effects of cannabis extracts.
Products That Provide the Best Entourage Effect
Full-spectrum CBD products that contain THC, cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes provide the best entourage effect. It is because these different compounds work together on the endocannabinoid system of neurotransmitters to maximize health benefits.
For example, a pure CBD oil would fail to provide the best entourage effect in contrast to a full-spectrum CBD oil.
Since health professionals do not recommend THC to everyone, broad-spectrum CBD products work as a good alternative. Broad-spectrum CBD products such as CBD oil do not contain THC, but they have all the other important cannabis extracted compounds necessary for the entourage effect.
According to a review from the British Journal of Pharmacology, taking phytocannabinoids and terpenes together could benefit the following conditions.
- Fungal infection
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Recommended Ratio of THC to CBD
Cannabis has a different effect on everyone; therefore, the recommended ratio of THC to CBD is different for each user. For example, if a user has Crohn’s disease and uses cannabis-based medicines, it will have a different ideal ratio than a user who takes cannabis to relieve muscle pain.
Therefore, there isn’t a set dosage for everyone. Moreover, THC and CBD can cause side effects. Hence, if you want to take them, it’s vital to talk to a healthcare provider.
The Side Effects of THC and CBD
Since THC is a psychoactive compound, it has many side effects. Besides this, CBD can cause potential drug interactions if you take any medicines along with other cannabinoids.
Here are some possible side effects.
- Slow reaction time
- Dry mouth
- Short term memory loss
- Weight fluctuations
Is CBD Still Beneficial Without THC?
There is plenty of promising research that proves the benefits of the consumption of isolated CBD. Therefore, if you wish to take CBD without THC, you can look for CBD isolate.
CBD isolate is in the form of crystals. It’s up to 99% pure. This white crystalline powder does not even contain trace amounts of phospholipids as they are free of anything other than CBD.
On the other hand, the broad spectrum CBD contains some naturally occurring compounds present in the cannabis plant. These compounds can provide the entourage effect.
Broad-spectrum CBD products are also THC-free; hence they successfully produce the entourage effect. In contrast, the full spectrum CBD typically contains various hemp extracts along with 0.3% THC.
Since this is low, it does not produce the ‘high’ associated with THC consumption.
You can get the individual benefits of CBD regardless of the type you use, with or without THC. For some conditions, the entourage effect may prove more beneficial.
Future of Entourage Effect
The entourage effect is a well-supported theory. However, more research is needed regarding CBD, THC, and their entourage effect.
According to some studies, using terpenes in combination did not enhance the effects of THC as the cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2 remained unchanged. However, this does not mean that the entourage effect is absent in all cases. But, we need more research regarding this to solidify the idea of the entourage effect.
As research continues around the cannabis plant and its various compounds, we are sure to come across some other great health benefits of phytocannabinoids in the future. In addition, there may also be more information regarding the entourage effect.
For now, CBD continues to prove to work well as an alternative to pain-relieving medications. But, before you take CBD or related compounds, you should consult a doctor.