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Whether you’re a cannabis consumer or a fan of hemp-derived CBD, the entourage effect in cannabis is what many industry experts believe heightens the plant’s benefits and the consumer’s overall experience.
Anyone looking to consume cannabis or CBD should make the effort to fully understand the entourage effect and how it works.
When we understand it, and when we understand the entourage effect of the phytocannabinoids in particular, we can make smart decisions and even smarter purchases.
So, is the entourage effect real..? Learn today
What is the entourage effect?
The entourage effect, explained as simply and directly as possible:
The result of all naturally-occurring compounds in the cannabis plant working together. This means that the flower you smoke, or the tincture you consume, or the topical you apply to your skin is packed with what Mother Nature intended.
So, what is needed for the entourage effect to occur?
The answer is very simple: all cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids and other plant compounds.
The idea behind the entourage effect is the closer the product is to what it was when growing in the soil, the more effective and beneficial it will be to the human body, or the greater the experience it will offer.
Essentially, the entourage effect happens when product manufacturers don’t interfere or refine the contents of the cannabis plant.
When we don’t refine, when we let the plant be as it was born to be, we also allow it to work its greatest magic. At least, that’s the theory.
So, is entourage oil better for CBD consumers? It really is a matter of taste and individual need, but what we will say is, 100 milligrams of synthetic single-molecule CBD is not by any means the same as 100 milligrams of CBD-rich whole plant.
Bread is bread, but white just isn’t the same as wholegrain.
The Entourage Effect: CBD
The CBD industry is booming, supported by creative brands and innovative product manufacturers, but what is the entourage effect of CBD?
Within the margins of all this creativity are a number of fairly standard products, described using established industry vocabulary, including full spectrum, broad spectrum, isolates, whole plant and distillate.
Let’s begin with whole plant…
When you see a CBD product marked whole plant, it means that it’s a product that’s as unrefined as you can get. It’ll be packed with all organic plant compounds, all naturally-occuring terpenes and the strain’s exact cannabinoid profile content, with the exception of THC levels, which under federal law must always stay below the 0,3% limit.
When a CBD product is described as being full spectrum, it means that it includes all terpenes and all cannabinoids, just as is the case with whole plant, but it might not be so raw or organic in terms of other plant compounds.
Full spectrum oils tend to undergo some kind of refinement process, visible in the end product through color.
A whole plant CBD oil will always be much deeper in color and thicker in viscosity than a standard full spectrum, but what both have in common is the power of the entourage effect.
Broad spectrum products are those that promise 0% THC content and isolates are oils that have been vigorously refined. In the case of a CBD isolate, what we’re left with is as close to pure CBD as possible.
A CBC isolate translates to pure CBC, a CBG isolate is pure CBG, and the list goes on. As such, products that go from broad spectrum to isolates cannot claim to offer the advantage of the entourage effect.
The Entourage Effect: THC
In the same way that product manufacturers choose to refine, or not, cannabis-infused and hemp-derived products that don’t need to be inhaled, cannabis growers experiment with cannabis cultivation and seed genetics as a way of breeding strains that are high or low in a determined cannabinoid or set of cannabinoids.
Why do they do this?
Because it’s believed that each cannabinoid benefits the body or affects the body in a highly particular way, encouraging growers to want to accentuate those effects.
In particular, growers enjoy experimenting with the levels of THC and with how THC interacts with the other cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant.
As an example, it’s thought that CBD has the power to level out or reduce the intensity of the effects of THC on the human body.
Does CBD kill your high? No. It simply modifies it, which is helpful to many medical patients who want the benefits without losing focus.
As such, most brands and dispensaries are careful to share the THC:CBD ratios of all strains available, as it helps consumers find strains to match desired experiences and outcomes.
The Entourage Effect: Terpenes
Terpenes are best described as volatile aromatic molecules.
They’re extremely healthy for people as well as plants and even form the basis of aromatherapy, a popular holistic healing modality.
To date, there are around 200 known terpenes in the cannabis plant family and the structural hallmark of each terpene compound gives cannabis an enduring, evolutionary advantage, mainly because they repel insects, ward off animal grazers and, in some cases, prevent fungus.
So, what do terpenes do in CBD products and what role do they play in the entourage effect?
Aside from what we’ve already established with regards to the power of a holistic plant product, terpenes add to the overall cannabis experience.
Let’s compare to wine, for instance.
While every single bottle of wine is fermented grape juice, with the power to alter human mood, the better the wine smells, the more enjoyable it is to drink and the better the overall experience for the consumer.
Terpenes are all about experience. Without them, as in the case of a CBD isolate for example, it’s just not an enjoyable experience.
We definitely recommend taking the time to look at a terpenes and cannabinoids chart in detail. It can really open up your mind to the extensive aromatic experiences available to us as cannabis and hemp consumers.
If you’re interested in finding a more in-depth entourage effect definition, feel free to contact our team directly via our contact page or any of our social media channels. We’re here to help you better understand the industry and make more informed decisions as a cannabis and hemp-derived CBD consumer.