Entourage Effect: Full Spectrum with Cannabinoids and Terpenes
THC? CBD? But what about the rest of the cannabinoid family? So far, scientists have been able to identify and isolate over 113 different cannabinoids from the cannabis plant. Cannabinoids aren’t even the only chemicals found in the cannabis family.
Many scientists and experts have stopped to wonder what role do these “secondary” compounds playing in our body and minds, and many of them believe it could be more crucial than we originally thought.
What is the Entourage Effect
Cannabis is a complex plant that contains a great number of cannabinoids, i.e.: chemicals that interact with our endocannabinoid system to produce the desired medical or therapeutic effects.
The best-known of these chemicals is THC, responsible for marijuanas ‘high’ effect. CBD has been praised by physicians worldwide for its amazing benefits.
The entourage effect is a postulate that proposes that CBD on its own doesn’t have the full potency that it can achieve when working together with other cannabinoids. Combining different cannabinoids in different proportions could have diverse effects on a patient. There are even specific ratios for CBD and THC which effect the potency.
The rest of the cannabinoid family is known to have little or no effect in humans, thanks to the Entourage Effect. If measured in the right amount, they can help strengthen or weaken their siblings powers in order to aim more specifically to bring a desired effect.
What Cannabinoids Does Cannabis Contain?
The star of the cannabinoid family, and the aforementioned chemical behind marijuana’s psychoactive ‘high’. It binds with endocannabinoid receptors 1 and 2 to produce a psychoactive action as well as other therapeutic effects for some.
Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid (THCA)
THCA is basically THC in its acid and non-psychoactive form. It’s found in high quantities on fresh undried cannabis. The main reason cannabis is dried and then burned for consumption, is to convert THCA into THC.
CBD is one of the active ingredients in medical marijuana and industrial hemp. It doesn’t have any of the psychoactive effects that THC does. It has been widely studied for helping with various conditions, most notably epileptic seizures. Studies show that CBD can interact positively with THC, to enhance its painkilling capacities and improve its relaxing effect. It can even provoke a tamed effect of THC’s euphoria, thanks to the above-mentioned entourage effect.
Cannabidiolic Acid (CBDA)
Much like the way THCA becomes THC after the cannabis plant is dried and heated, CBDA converts into CBD by the same process, called decarboxylation. This is where the carbon dioxide and hydrogen get released from the compound to leave way to the non-acidic version of the same compound.
CBN is another mildly-psychoactive component of cannabis, which has recently been discovered to produce similar therapeutic effects to that of CBD. The difference with CBD lays in the fact that CBN is basically a degraded form of THC, that comes up as the THC-rich flower buds age.
This minor cannabinoid exists in high quantities in premature cannabis. Afterwards it gets converted into THC and CBD, so most cannabis strains out there have less than than 1% of it in their formula. Although there have been no clinical tests of CBG in humans, studies performed on mice and other animals show promising evidence of the compound’s therapeutic capacities in curing glaucoma and other eye-related ailments, as well as ameliorating bladder and bowel conditions, and Huntington’s disease.
This cannabinoid is actually the second most commonly-found compound in native cannabis. It shares the same chemical formula as THC and CBD with a different arrangement that doesn’t bind with cannabinoid receptor 1, thus making it non-psychoactive. It shares many of the therapeutic qualities of CBD, as a powerful, anti-inflammatory and neuroprotector agent, as well as an acne fighter. Current strains in the market usually focus on achieving high CBD and THC content, thus leaving aside CBC. People interested in finding this compound should look for CBC-rich strains.
THCV is only found in small quantities on some cannabis strains. It's very similar to THC and also has psychoactive qualities, though it presents a different kind of ‘high’. In contrast to THC, it’s an appetite suppressor. It can help with diabetes, Alzheimer's, panic attacks, and it can also stimulate bone growth.
Homolog to CBD, CBDV has also been demonstrated to also have anticonvulsant qualities. This means it can be valuable in managing epilepsy-related seizures. It also has no psychoactive effects. Clinical trials for this cannabinoid have already started in Australia in 2016 with favorable results.
What are Terpenes
Terpenes are aromatic organic compounds that exist in many plants, They are responsible for giving herbs and spices their characteristic smells and fruit for their recognizable tastes. Their main function in nature is to ward off herbivores and other possible predators. There are over 20,000 different terpenes in nature, and at least 100 of them can be found in the cannabis plant. Different terpenes are produced when the cannabis plant is cultivated under diverse temperature, humidity and lighting conditions. The plant can also show a distinct terpene profile depending on its genetics.
Special drying processes can also affect terpenes and produce modified versions of them called terpenoids. Together with terpenes can have soothing or stimulating effects after being smelled, much like other aromatic essential oils found in nature.
Terpenes are what cause different cannabis strains to portray their distinct tastes and smells. It has also been proven that they play a key role in the way cannabinoids affect and interact with our organisms. A 2011 study showed how the interactions of different terpenes with THC could form a synergy that can boost the latter’s therapeutic and psychoactive effect, like the entourage effect. The same process is believed to take place in our organism, when CBD interacts in the company of other naturally occurring terpenes.
What Kind of Terpenes Does it Contain
As its name suggests, this terpene produces a sweet citric smell reminiscent of lemon. It can be found in cannabis as well as in rosemary, juniper, pine and mint. Its benefits include stress relief, antifungal and antibacterial properties. It’s also beneficial for skin conditions and can improve the absorption of other terpenes through the skin and digestive track.
A terpene commonly found in pine resin and other conifers, as well as in basil and parsley. It can stimulate creativity and short term memory retention. It also counteracts some of the negative effects THC’s can produce in some people, like paranoia.
Common to over 200 plants, linalool’s characteristic smell can be found most frequently in lavender. It is specially sought after in medical strains of cannabis, for its anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects.
This is a spicy smelling terpene that can also be found in black pepper, cinnamon and claves. It is mostly used in topical presentations of medical cannabis for its strong anti-inflammatory properties.
This musky-scented terpene can also be found in sage, ginger, and ginseng. It has been in use by traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years.
A 2003 study, showed that its presence can be effective in slowing cancer growth in humans. It can have synergetic effect in combating cancer, when Caryophyllene is also present in the mix.
Benefits of Full Spectrum
As we can establish from our analysis, even though components like THC and CBD are the main active ingredients in cannabis products, they’re not alone. Their action can be boosted and modified when ‘non-active’ or less powerful ingredients are included in the formula.
Full Spectrum CBD oil is a CBD concentrate that also includes other compounds, to make CBD’s effect more potent and efficient. In other words, Full Spectrum oil takes advantage of the Entourage Effect in order to improve the benefits.
However, some experts have recently stated that, although the Entourage Effect is real, Full Spectrum CBD may have unpredictable results if not used carefully. Since some compounds enhance the main cannabinoids’ effects, and others mitigate them, blindly taking full-spectrum CBD could randomly achieve the desired results, but might also hit the opposite outcome.
Even though Full Spectrum is the most effective alternative when searching for a holistic approach to cannabis medicine. A possible future shows a market filled with tailored products including the exact terpene and cannabinoid combination to help with every specific condition.
The best way of achieving the most effective results for one’s condition is to carefully choose a Full Spectrum CBD oil that includes the right compounds to bring a desired and consistent result.
Full Spectrum vs Isolate Only Compounds
CBD can be found on its own on what is called CBD isolate products. These products only include CBD as their sole active component. Though they will have an effect on the consumer, this effect will not be as rich as it can be when accompanied by other terpenes and cannabinoids.
Benefits of the Whole Plant
The main difference between Full Spectrum and Whole Plant is that, while in Full Spectrum we get a all of the plant’s cannabinoids and terpenes, Whole Plant also utilizes extract from stalk, stem, seed, and leaves to produce a more complete version of the product.
While some argue that these secondary parts of the plant are unnecessary and non-important, others have the presence of waxes, fats and other fibrous material can bring an even more holistic approach to CBD oil.
These statements have not evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease. Always check with your physician or medical provider before starting a new dietary supplement program.