Today’s blog will outline the entourage effect for CBD products. First, you’ll probably ask, what is an entourage effect? Well, glad you asked. Next you might ask, why should I care? Also, a great question. Let’s take them one at a time.
What is the entourage effect?
Essentially, the entourage effect is when all the components of the CBD work in concert to support your health. So, end of blog, right? Nah, I’m just getting started. CBD is just one of many components derived from hemp. True the others appear in lesser quantity than CBD, but they are important in supporting what CBD does in our bodies.
When you take CBD you also receive a lot of botanical compounds. Each compound comes with its own effect and benefit, but which can change upon encountering other compounds. So, if you look at the dictionary meaning of entourage you’ll see it is a group surrounding or attending an important person. So, think of these lesser compounds such as cannabinoids, flavonoids, terpenes and other phytochemicals in the hemp plant as the group surrounding or attending CBD.
As I’ve often mentioned in this blog, every body (human or animal) has an endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is responsible for maintaining balance within our system. This balance is called homeostasis.
In 1998, Raphael Mechoulam, renowned CBD researcher, Israeli organic chemist and professor of Medicinal Chemistry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel, worked with fellow researcher Shimon Ben-Shabat to understand how our ECS demonstrated the entourage effect. An October 19, 2019, article explained that, “According to the duo, various inactive metabolites and related molecules boosted the activity of the primary endogenous cannabinoids [cannabinoids that naturally occur in our bodies]: 2-AG and anandamide. They said it helped explain why botanical drugs were often more effective than isolated ones.”
In layman terms think of it as the entire entourage (sorry couldn’t help myself) of compounds interacting efficiently to establish or reestablish balance. So rather than isolating one compound in the hopes of achieving homeostasis, the crew bands together to boost the health benefits of cannabis.
Why is the entourage effect important?
As I’ve noted above, when compounds work together, the sum is greater than the parts. In a 2011 study published in the British Journal of Pharmacology, researcher Ethan Russo wrote that cannabinoids and terpenes do work together to provide improved therapeutic effects.
Think of it this way. Whole foods are more nutritious than eating overprocessed junk food and trying to get vitamins and minerals by taking supplements. Consuming whole foods allows your body chemistry to work with all the foods’ compounds to create a stronger, healthful influence. CBD is no different. When multiple compounds in their natural state combine, they are often more effective than using an isolated compound. Instead, compounds can amplify each other’s chemistry, making the overall plant more effective in addressing symptoms.
The best way to experience the entourage effect is to use full-spectrum hemp oil (FSHO). It contains all the cannabinoids and compounds found in the hemp plant. In addition, it contains many essential vitamins and minerals, fatty acids, proteins, chlorophyll, fiber, flavonoids and terpenes. FSHO contains dozens of cannabinoids. The most abundant is CBD, which makes up 90% of this full-spectrum oil. Other cannabinoids contained in hemp oil are CBD, CBG, CBN and trace levels of THC (under .2%).
Extracted FSHO also contains vitamins A, C and E, as well as B complex vitamins such as riboflavin, thiamine and niacin. In addition, it’s a source of vitamins not sufficiently present in many diets including beta-carotene. As stated above, this FSHO includes numerous minerals, fatty acids, proteins and a host of other components, all of which work together to enhance the healthful benefits of this unique oil.