CBD, THC, and the Entourage Effect
CBD is everywhere and we are here to help you start to understand some of the terms associated with it. The Entourage Effect is one of those terms, but it can be tricky to understand.
The entourage effect is the idea all compounds found in cannabis are best when taken together than when taken separately. This can be likened to eating an orange when you want vitamin C benefits compared to eating a vitamin C tablet.
Like any new product you purchase, it’s important to check out the label. There are many telling pieces of information on them, including if the product has the entourage effect.
Here's what you should be looking for in a CBD product:
Now, most CBD products won’t openly say, “Entourage effect included.” Instead, you are going to look for other words that classify what type of CBD product you are purchasing. While they all come with their own sets of benefits, these each have a different level of potency. Here are some terms to look out for when shopping for the highest-quality CBD products.
Full Spectrum CBD Oil
Full-spectrum is the terminology to look for when seeking a product which has the entourage effect. CBD products that are truly full-spectrum are extracted while maintaining the integrity of as many cannabinoids as possible, including tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), therefore, CBD oil derived from hemp will have trace levels of THC up to .3% by law.
Its low concentration of this molecule makes the product non-intoxicating. However, with THC in the equation, all of the cannabinoids are present. All cannabinoids being accounted for is the basis of the entourage effect and what makes full-spectrum CBD oil one of the highest-quality hemp products on the market.
So, if you are buying CBD oil, and it’s labeled as full spectrum as well as zero THC… it’s not full spectrum.
Broad Spectrum CBD Oil
Broad spectrum CBD oil also carries the entourage effect, for the most part. However, the formula is likely not as potent as full spectrum hemp extract. The reason for this is that broad spectrum CBD oil contains little to no THC.
After the extraction process, some companies will remove THC from the final product. However, the remaining cannabinoids remain in the formula, therefore, broad spectrum can sometimes also technically be full spectrum, depending on the formula. Since THC levels are so low in hemp to begin with, the differences are minimal. However, broad-spectrum CBD oil may not be as bioavailable or beneficial as full spectrum.
When you first see the words, “CBD isolate,” you might interpret that the product is a potent dose of this cannabinoid. While there are benefits to using CBD isolate, you are legitimately purchasing CBD that’s isolated from other hemp compounds. That means there are no additional cannabinoids in the formula. Therefore, if you are buying CBD isolate, you most likely won’t experience the benefits of the entourage effect.
The benefit to CBD isolate, however, is that it is completely THC Free, and thus anyone needing to avoid any amount of THC can feel safe taking this product as it won’t cause a failed THC drug test.
The Entourage Effect and Cannabinoids
While there are benefits to THC and CBD, you won’t experience maximum results without the other 111 phytocannabinoids discovered by humankind. Research on the entourage effect primarily looks at how THC and CBD interact with other chemical compounds found in hemp. However, there has been research and studies conducted on several phytocannabinoids and their potential benefits as well.
While in their beginning stages, the studies are promising. These early analyses also lend credence to the fact the entourage effect exists, and that this phenomenon plays a vital role in experiencing maximum benefits from hemp extract.
Like CBD, CBC doesn’t seem to elicit an intoxicating experience. This cannabinoid also shows to be antagonists of our TRPV1 and TRPA1 receptors. These receptors play a role in our pain perception. In addition, early studies report that CBC may be potentially beneficial in neurogenesis.
This cannabinoid has started to make waves in the scientific community for its possible sedative effects. Our body converts THC to CBN. While it’s not psychoactive or intoxicating, the way CBN interacts with the CB1 receptor may be the reason those exposed to THC get those sleepy eyes. Preliminary sleep studies with CBN are promising for those who are looking for a non-habit forming sleep-aid.
Cannabidiolic Acid (CBDA)
CBDA is the precursor to CBD. Like CBD, the main objective of CBDA is to bring homeostasis to the system. Research on CBDA shows that this cannabinoid inhibits the COX-2 enzyme. As a result, CBDA may potentially be a potent anti-inflammatory.
Tetrahydrocannabinolic Acid (TCHA)
When pressure is acted upon THCA, it converts to THC. While research on this cannabinoid is still in its early stages, there are a lot of promising finds on this molecule. Anecdotal evidence points to THCA potentially having neuroprotective properties. Thanks to the entourage effect, THCA and CBC may play a role in boosting brain function.
While there are minimal traces of CBG in hemp, both THC and CBD start off as this essential cannabinoid. CBG is broken down into CBGA, which then branches off to either CBDA or THCA. Eventually, it becomes one of the two cannabinoids most associated with cannabis.
This cannabinoid is found in small doses in hemp. It has intoxicating capabilities. However, research indicates it may help with brain disorders, including epilepsy. Thanks to the entourage effect, many of the intoxicating side effects are offset, allowing the hemp extract user to experience the other benefits of THCV.
While cannabinoids play a huge role in how the entourage effect works, there is another critical component of this scientific phenomenon. These compounds also live within the trichome glands and are bound by the hemp plant’s volatile oils. They are known as terpenes and are the chemical compounds responsible for the science behind aromatherapy.
The Entourage Effect and Terpenes
Research indicates that terpenes play a critical role in the entourage effect. One analysis stated, “Selective cross-breeding of high-terpenoid- and high-phytocannabinoid-specific chemotypes has thus become a rational target that may lead to novel approaches to such disorders as treatment-resistant depression, anxiety, drug dependency, dementia and a panoply of dermatological disorders, as well as industrial applications as safer pesticides and antiseptics.”
There are over 100 terpenes in cannabis. Here are the terpene aromatic compounds commonly found in hemp.
This chemical compound is typically found in tangy plants like mango, lemongrass, and bay leaves. Studies on this terpene find that it exhibits strong antibacterial and antimicrobial capabilities. In terms of the entourage effect, myrcene has shown to exasperate the effects of THC.
Lastly, this compound keeps an eye out for the rest of the entourage. Research on myrcene suggests this compound combats resistance in the blood-brain barrier. Therefore, it opens the door for other cannabinoids and terpenes to reach more areas of the endocannabinoid system.
Caryophyllene is a spicy scent that is found in clove, black pepper, and hops. It is not known to have any intoxicating effects. However, studies on caryophyllene suggest this compound is effective in boosting potential anti-spasmatic and anti-inflammatory capabilities of hemp extract. These benefits make caryophyllene a must for athletes in need of CBD for recovery.
One of the most well-researched terpenes, linalool is responsible for the floral scent of lavender, rose, and Roman chamomile. It also plays a crucial role in the entourage effect, promoting a sedative-like impact on the system. Research indicates this terpene helps boost production of GABA, a calming neurotransmitter in the brain. Thus, linalool is essential for regulating sleep patterns and may promote mental well-being.
Also, linalool has shown a lot of promise in rejuvenating skin cells. When combined with other terpenes like limonene and with cannabinoids like CBD hemp extract is a great addition to anyone’s beauty regimen.
As the name suggests, this essential oil is responsible for the piny scent found in hemp, pine needles, and sage. Research on pinene is promising to support cognitive function. In fact, pinene helps counteract the psychoactive abilities of THC. This action allows the body to still reap THC’s non-mind-altering benefits. Lastly, pinene helps keep the entourage in the entourage effect robust by forming other terpenes, including limonene.
Citrus fruits can thank this terpene for its distinct scent. However, CBD users can thank limonene for the hemp plant’s energizing effects. Limonene is quickly absorbed by the bloodstream, making it so beneficial for those who use CBD tinctures for a jolt of phytocannabinoid self-care. In true entourage effect fashion, limonene also assists the body in absorbing other terpenes.
This compound is responsible for the wood-like scent found in clove, hops, and coriander. Humulene commonly interacts with caryophyllene. Research indicates, the two boost one another’s potential anti-inflammatory effects.
How to Experience the Entourage Effect with Hemp Extract
Just because it has CBD on the label doesn’t mean you are going to experience the entourage effect. It is essential that your product is either full-spectrum or broad-spectrum hemp oil. When you see these words, it means that the entire hemp plant was included during the extraction process.
Each part of the hemp plant is unique and requires different nutrients to carry out their purpose for the survival of the plant. The stems, seeds, and leaves of hemp have varying concentrations of amino acids, terpenes, and cannabinoids. Utilizing the whole plant isn’t just more sustainable; it can actually enrich the overall formula.
Research indicates that cannabinoids and terpenes can be increased naturally during the growing process. These sustainable plants require excess light in order to up their cannabinoid counts. However, thanks to federal laws, these practices can also make choosing a CBD company more difficult.
Opt for a CBD company or brand who works with farmers which are Farm Bill compliant and cultivate phytocannabinoid-rich hemp. The best way to check for this is to always ask for or review the lab test or certificate of analysis (COA) for each CBD product you purchase.