The entourage effect of cannabis
The entourage effect of cannabis occurs when not all plant components have been removed
Anecdotal evidence that marijuana or cannabis has a medicinal effect on the body dates back thousands of years. Each great civilization throughout history mentions the medicinal use of cannabis as a therapeutic ingredient to alleviate all kinds of ailments.
The first discoveries about our endocannabinoid system were made since the 90’s when we started to invest in giving a scientific explanation to the whole history of medicinal experiences associated with cannabis consumption and to find natural alternative treatments based on this botanical species. Thanks to all this scientific effort today we know quite well the compounds contained in the cannabis plant and how to obtain them separately. We know what cannabinoids are, what types of cannabinoids exist and some of their effects on our body if administered in isolation and concentrated. For example, we have managed to get rid of all the psychoactive effects of marijuana by removing the cannabinoid THC from the hemp plant.
However, something suggests that cannabinoids separately from the rest of the plant’s chemicals, terpenes and flavonoids do not work in the same way as when consumed together. There is a theory that the effects of each cannabinoid are amplified and balanced called “entourage effect” and that it makes consuming cannabis with its full spectrum of phytocomponents much more efficient to obtain the therapeutic benefits we desire.
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What are terpenes?
All plants have terpenes. Terpenes are the components responsible for the aromas and flavours of each botanical species. They are basically the phytochemicals that make up the essential oils of plants. Some examples are: All plants have terpenes such as geraniol, humulene or camphene. Terpenes are the components responsible for the aromas and flavors of each botanical species. They are basically the phytochemicals that make up the essential oils of plants. Some examples are:
Did you know that the cannabis plant contains all these terpenes mentioned and a list of dozens more?
The cannabis plant contains more than 100 different terpenes each at a different concentration depending on the strain. This is why we find different aromas in each type of cannabis. Most of these compounds have the natural function of protecting the plant from fungi and bacteria and even attracting pollinating organisms. Recent scientific studies try to explain how these compounds interact with cannabinoids and what their role is in the entourage effect.
For example, when an individual consumes cannabis with THC content, the individual experiences certain mental gaps during THC “high”. This momentary memory loss effect causes short-term memory errors such as forgetting what the reason for conversation is as soon as you start it. These microlapsus can be counteracted with a terpene called alpha-pinene that is present in the cannabis plant. Strains with a high content in this terpene, thanks to the entourage effect, manages to inhibit these adverse effects of THC cannabinoid. However, if isolated alpha-pinene terpene is consumed, it does not interact with the cannabinoid receptors of our endocannabinoid system.
The plant’s phytonutrient spectrum
The entire spectrum of phytonutrients of the plant not only compensates for certain reactions of each chemical compound in our body, but is also able to potentiate some effects. Dr. Ethan Russo one of the greatest scientific eminences in the cannabis study concludes in several of its scientific publications that it takes about 4 times more concentration of a fully isolated cannabinoid to achieve the same intensity in the effects of a single dose of the plant’s full spectrum.
Thanks to the scientific study of each compound, its synergies and antidotes with the rest of the compounds present in cannabis will come a day when a specific cannabis strain can be created for each therapeutic target. That is, deciphering the recipe for ideal concentrations of cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids from the seed of the cannabis plant itself. At the moment the only proven thing is that only by combining all or almost all the properties of the natural plant can we obtain and benefit from the effects of synergies with each other. And that it is very inefficient at the therapeutic level to completely separate a cannabinoid from the rest of its peers by nature.
How do I know if I'm optimizing the entourage effect with my CBD oil?
There are different types of CBD oils and not only their quality differs in cannabidiol concentrations in each. Depending on the CBD extraction method that has been used to isolate it we will have one spectrum of phytocomponents or another. In addition, it is very easy to differentiate the type of CBD oil that we are consuming only by looking at the aroma it gives off. As we mentioned above terpenes are basically the chemicals that make up essential oils and that give the characteristic smell to each plant. This way if when we uncover our CBD can we do not notice any aroma we will know for sure that it is not a full spectrum cannabidiol oil since it lacks the terpenes.
What types of spectra exist in the CBD oil market?
Isolated CBD which is pure cannabidiol; Full spectrum CBD which thanks to its extraction process (normally supercritical CO2) preserves all the cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids and the minimum THC content of the plant; and finally the broad spectrum CBD oil which is halfway between isolated CBD and full spectrum CBD but which is subjected to industrial processes to completely eliminate the THC content.
In Higea, all our natural CBD oils are full spectrum as we want to preserve their naturalness and achieve the benefits and synergies of each chemical of the hemp plant. As soon as you uncover any of our full spectrum CBD oils you will notice their natural aroma and, consequently, you will taste their terpenes when consuming it.
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