What Is the Entourage Effect and Why Does It Matter?

If you’ve shopped at a dispensary lately then you’ve probably noticed the THC percentages being listed on the labels of cannabis products. While cannabinoids like THC are certainly an important part of the cannabis experience, they aren’t everything. Other plant compounds may work together with cannabinoids like THC to produce the effects you’ve come to expect from cannabis. 

What is the entourage effect and how does it affect the cannabis you enjoy? Here’s why terpenes and other compounds matter just as much as THC. 

What Is the Entourage Effect?

If you’ve been reading up on terpenes, cannabinoids or other active ingredients in cannabis then you may have seen the term “entourage effect” mentioned before. But just what is the entourage effect and why does it matter?

The entourage effect is a theory proposing that all of the different compounds in the cannabis plant come together to produce the cannabis experience. In other words, terpenes, cannabinoids, flavonoids, and other active ingredients all work together synergistically to produce the therapeutic and mind-altering effects we associate with cannabis. 

This leads to an interesting follow-up question: Why do different strains produce different effects? It may happen because each strain has a different cannabinoid and terpene profile. While two strains may have the exact same THC levels, their unique combinations of terpenes and cannabinoids (along with other active ingredients in the plant) is likely what leads them to produce vastly different effects. 

While the idea of the entourage effect might sound like cannabis magic, it’s grounded in scientific observation. It was proposed after the results of a 1998 study where researchers found that the activity of certain endocannabinoids (cannabinoids produced by our bodies) like 2-AG and anandamide was increased by the presence of other ‘inactive’ metabolites and related molecules. Since cannabinoids are so similar to endocannabinoids, and since both endocannabinoids and cannabinoids produce effects via the endocannabinoid system, the entourage theory suggests that the same forces may be at play whenever you consume cannabis. 

Cannabis Is More Than Just Cannabinoids

When it comes to discussions about the effects of cannabis, THC and CBD get all the attention–and for good reason. These cannabinoids are responsible for producing much of the therapeutic and mind-altering effects of cannabis, but they’re not the only compounds that affect how cannabis works. 

For starters, there are many more cannabinoids than just THC and CBD. In fact, over 100 different cannabinoids have been discovered in the cannabis plant. Just because most of them only exist in small trace amounts does not mean that their collective presence does not affect how cannabis works and what it is capable of doing.

Additionally, over 100 different types of terpenes have also been identified in the cannabis plant. While terpenes are primarily known for giving plants flavor and aroma, research indicates that they may also have therapeutic effects and benefits of their own

Although usually left out of the entourage effect discussion, flavonoids are another plant compound that shouldn’t be overlooked. For example, cannaflavin A and cannaflavin B are two cannabis-specific flavonoids that are believed to have anti-inflammatory potential 30x stronger than aspirin. 

As such, the THC or CBD content of any specific cannabis product is likely just one influencing factor in determining the effects it produces. The entourage effect proposes that every compound found in cannabis may actually be contributing a little something to the overall effects produced by the plant: kind of like the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

The Entourage Effect In Action

One example of the entourage effect in action is what happens when you combine THC and CBD. THC is known for producing euphoric and uplifting effects, but when CBD is added to the mix these effects get toned down into a more level buzz. CBD is believed to negate some of THC’s mind-altering effects by acting upon endocannabinoid system receptors and reducing their ability to bind to THC molecules, thus reducing the effects of THC in the process. 

The Entourage Effect: Final Thoughts

Drop by our dispensary today or check out our online menu right now to browse a wide selection of cannabis products and experience the entourage effect for yourself! Questions? Comments? Please don’t hesitate to reach out: We’re always happy to help and look forward to serving you soon.

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