You’ve probably already heard of THC and CBD, the two most prominent and most talked about cannabinoids in the cannabis plant. Most of the plant’s intoxicating and therapeutic effects have been attributed to these two compounds.
But did you know that there are actually hundreds of other compounds in cannabis that may also contribute to the effects produced by your favorite cannabis products? It is thought that these compounds may work together in something called the entourage effect.
What Is the Entourage Effect?
The entourage effect is a phenomenon whereby the many compounds in the cannabis plant work together in synergy to produce more complete therapeutic and mind-altering effects.
Compounds like cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and others, are believed to support each other in producing more comprehensive effects than they ever could on their own.
Since every cannabis strain has a unique chemical composition, this would explain why different strains are capable of producing vastly different effects.
When the cannabis plant is smoked, hundreds of botanical compounds are absorbed into our bodies. These compounds aren’t just capable of producing therapeutic effects, but their presence may also change the way that the other compounds that are present behave.
The entourage effect was first stumbled upon by researchers in 1998 and has since been supported by further research indicating that the compounds in cannabis work together.
How THC & CBD Interact
A great example of this phenomenon at work is the interactions between THC and CBD.
You may have noticed that certain cannabis products contain very specific ratios of THC and CBD. This is because, when consumed together, these two cannabinoids produce a noticeably different buzz than when they are consumed separately.
The high produced by consuming these cannabinoids together is less stimulating than a THC buzz yet more sedating than a dose of pure CBD. A dose of CBD has also been found to alleviate some of the anxiety that can sometimes be a side effect of THC. It is thought that CBD affects the ability of protein cell receptors in the body to bind to THC molecules, resulting in weaker THC-induced effects.
Isolate vs Full-Spectrum
What does the entourage effect mean when it comes to cannabis products?
It indicates that products containing full-spectrum or broad-spectrum extracts may produce more potent, or at least more comprehensive, effects than those made from isolate.
Full-spectrum extracts contain the full spectrum of cannabis plant compounds. Everything that would naturally be found in the plant should be found in the extract. Broad-spectrum extracts contain much of these compounds, but not all. They are effectively a halfway point between full-spectrum extracts and isolates.
As their name implies, isolates are molecularly isolated compounds. You can commonly find these extracts in the form of products like CBD isolate powder or THC-only tinctures.
Even if a product is not clearly labeled as being an isolate or a full/broad-spectrum extract, that doesn’t mean it hasn’t been produced using one. Take a close look at the label on your edibles and tinctures to check for yourself.
While full-spectrum extracts are preferred by many people, others still swear by isolates. The entourage effect may make full-spectrum or broad-spectrum products a superior option for alleviating certain symptoms or treating certain conditions. But it’s important to experiment for yourself and see first hand what works best for you. Get started by finding your nearest Cloud Cannabis location.