The Entourage Effect refers to the compounded benefits of consuming multiple therapeutic components simultaneously. The theory suggests that a mix of elements (like cannabinoids and terpenes) is more beneficial and easier to manipulate than single, isolated compounds.
The Entourage Effect is a common discussion point in terms of cannabis use, specifically, whether referring to intoxicating “marijuana” or non-intoxicating hemp. Proponents suggest that full-spectrum cannabis products are more beneficial to users than isolated elements. On the other hand, some insist that there is not enough conclusive evidence to confirm the hypothesis, suggesting that isolated cannabinoids like CBD are just as effective as full-spectrum products.
Today, we’ll discuss the validity of both claims and explain what you can do to make the Entourage Effect work for you.
What is the Entourage Effect?
The cannabis plant contains hundreds of beneficial compounds, only some of which are cannabinoids like THC and CBD. It also contains terpenes and flavonoids, both of which have well-known potential, as well. For example, terpenes (which contribute aroma and flavor ) may promote memory, reduce nervousness, or calm the mind. Similarly, flavonoids contribute to plant pigmentation and influence things like digestion and absorption.
When consumed individually, these compounds have profound effects on the body. However, when taken together, these beneficial properties compound to deliver a myriad of benefits to the consumer. In fact, these elements are so helpful that some doctors in Japan prescribe “forest bathing” to help their patients recover from illness. To be clear, forests or other densely natured environments contain a variety of aromatic terpenes that work together to reduce stress, improve focus, and promote healing. The best part: all you have to do is simply breath them in. Dietary recommendations for colorful meals with a variety of plant-based options follow this same theory.
Cannabinoids also have a myriad of benefits. Interestingly, these benefits seem to increase when consumed in conjunction with other elements like terpenes and flavonoids. Unfortunately, we don’t fully understand the method through which this happens (yet). Cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes all have a long history of use and research. However, we are only beginning to understand how they work together to cause an Entourage Effect of therapeutic properties.
Unique Balance for Unique People
Following years of research about the Entourage Effect, we can now choose cannabis varieties based on our unique needs. For example, those who seek hemp benefits can choose what balance of cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids suit them best.
Some companies are now experimenting with terpene additives in their cannabis products to accentuate specific qualities. Often dubbed things like “rest” for products that contain sedative terpenes or “alive” for products with uplifting terpenes, these product manufacturers insist that their products effectively target the unique needs of each person.
Clearly, there is a benefit to these enriched products. However, nothing can replace the delicate balance of cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes from Mother Nature. Full-spectrum cannabis products (those that contain all beneficial cannabis compounds) provide the perfect mix of these elements without any human interference. All components are present to benefit the user in their own unique ways. Though broad-spectrum (products that contain many – but not all – cannabis compounds) come close, they will never take the cake.
Finding Your Perfect Balance
Cannabis comes in many forms. The most significant distinction is between hemp and marijuana. Importantly, this determines whether the product is psychoactive and, in many cases, legal. As a federally-legal substance, hemp must have no more than 0.3 percent THC on a dry weight basis. With THC levels this low, it is impossible for hemp to get someone high. Those who reside in states where marijuana is illegal can still consume hemp for all of the same benefits minus any psychoactive side-effects.
Additionally, consumers can choose which terpenes they most desire in a hemp strain. By carefully selecting an ideal terpene profile, users can improve the effects of both cannabinoids and terpenes within their bodies. For example, they can choose terpene profiles rich in limonene for more uplifting effects or choose varieties rich in linalool for its more calming qualities. To find the best hemp products for you, check out this article about the effects of different terpenes on the body.
Final Thoughts about Hemp and the Entourage Effect
Hemp products are flooding the market. However, they are not all equal and will not all perform optimally for all users. For a more thorough outlook, your hemp products must contain the full spectrum of cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids.
By far, the best way to ensure a range of benefits is to consume full-spectrum, unmodified smokable hemp flowers. Hemp flowers produce terpenes, cannabinoids, and flavonoids, all of which are incredibly beneficial to holistic health. Plus, they are more flavorful and authentic to a standard cannabis experience (minus the high, of course).
Have you experienced the Entourage Effect when smoking hemp flowers? Tell us about it.