Probably the most important part when it comes to CBD products, or in general all of hemp and cannabis, is the “Entourage Effect.” Simply put, the Entourage Effect is the enhanced effect of chemicals and compounds found in hemp or marijuana that synergically work together rather than merely an isolated cannabinoid, such as CBD or THC alone.
Entourage Effect: What Studies Show
Entourage Effect, which has not been talked about much until recently, comes with extensive research to back its effects. Starting from 1998, when Professors Raphael Mechoulam and Shimon Ben-Shabat “posited that the endocannabinoid system demonstrated an “entourage effect” when they noticed these compounds, “markedly increased the activity” of our receptors. These receptors, which then interact with our Endocannabinoid System, “play a crucial role in regulating our physiology, mood, and everyday experience.”
Later in 2001, John McPartland and Ethan Russo published a paper titled, “Cannabis and Cannabis Extracts: Greater Than the Sum of Their Parts.” This publication went on to further examine the claims of Professors Mechoulam and Ben-Shabat of how cannabinoids acted with secondary compounds, such as terpenes and flavonoids.
They found supporting evidence that extracts rich in “ameliorative phytocannabinoid and terpenoid content offer complementary pharmacological activities that may strengthen and broaden clinical applications and improve the therapeutic index”. In short, there is evidence that terpenes enhance the effects of cannabinoids.
There are countless research studies done on the benefits of CBD & THC in isolation. CBD has shown to possess anti-psychotic, anti-seizure, and anti-anxiety properties, while THC has shown to have analgesic, antiemetic, and anti-inflammatory properties. However, the evidence is showing that isolating these cannabinoids or creating them in a lab, dramatically limits the full potential of hemp and cannabis.
So other than CBD & THC, what else is there?
What are “minor cannabinoids” or “phytocannabinoids”?
Minor cannabinoids also called “phytocannabinoids,” are cannabinoids found in hemp and cannabis that have unique medicinal traits just like CBD. Although there is still extensive research to do on these “minor cannabinoids,” even with the limited research that has been conducted, there is clear evidence that they possess health benefits.
We will focus on each of these cannabinoids in separate blog posts, as there is so much evidence that we want to acknowledge to back up our claims, but here is a shortlist of other cannabinoids that we’ve found. Keep in mind that there are a little over 80 cannabinoids we’ve seen to date.
- Cannabigerol (CBG)
- Cannabinol (CBN)
- Cannabichromene (CBC)
- Cannabidiolic Acid (CBDa)
- Cannabidivarin (CBDV)
- Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV)
What are Terpenes? Entourage Effects Key
Terpenes are an essential group of aromatic compounds that give plants their unique fragrance. Terpenes are also often referred to as terpenoids, which are oxygenated derivatives of terpenes. They’re present in every single plant on earth, and anything you can sense and smell from a plant is due to the terpenes present in the plant. There are about 20,000 terpenes in all plant oils, but in cannabis and hemp, there are a little over 200 known terpenes to date.
Scientifically speaking, terpenes are “a large class of hydrocarbon compounds constructed from five-carbon isoprene units that are combined to produce a great variety of skeletons.”
But wait… What’s unique about Terpenes if they just give plants their smell?
Terpenes also hold many medicinal properties that also influence cannabinoids to be more effective in our body, which is known as the Entourage Effect. Some of the health benefits of terpenes include anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antioxidant properties–just to name a few. Terpenes are known to be used alone to help with a range of health issues.
Here is a quick glimpse at two terpenes and what scientists and researchers have learned about them:
To learn more about terpenes, make sure to check out our What are Terpenes blog post, where we’ve designed a wonderful, easy to read and informative infographic. **We’ll be updating this blog post in the next month to be a lot more informative backed by real studies**
What are Flavonoids?
Cannabinoids and terpenes have been showing to take all the spotlight as cannabis and CBD products are being widely used. First, people learn about how there are other cannabinoids other than THC or CBD, and then they learn about these fantastic compounds called terpenes. However, there is something else that contributes to the entourage effect, and that is flavonoids.
Flavonoids are a group of phytonutrients found in all sorts of fruits, flowers, vegetables, and of course, cannabis & hemp whose primary function is to serve as cell messengers and also known for giving the pigment of the plant. Flavonoids make the yellow of sunflower pop out against a sunny blue sky or how they give blueberries their name. However, studies have shown these compounds possess many health benefits.
Scientists have identified thousands of them throughout nature. However, some are known to be only found in cannabis and hemp. These flavonoids found in hemp and marijuana are called cannaflavins.
In a study conducted in 2011 called “Pharmacological Activities of Flavonoids: A Review,” they found flavonoids to possess these following properties:
- Lowers risk of heart disease
Entourage Effect: Cannabinoids Work Better With Terpenes and Flavonoids
In conclusion, cannabinoids work better with a combination of other cannabinoids, terpenes, & flavonoids. The best analogy for this is, would you bet on a basketball team who has five players working together or the other team who has only one player doing all the shooting, defending, stealing, & rebounding?
What To Look For When Buying CBD Products
When looking to purchase CBD products, make sure to look for reputable companies that back their Full Spectrum or Broad Spectrum extracts that they do, in fact, contain other cannabinoids and have a terpene profile. Having a variety of compounds rather than just CBD or very little of these other compounds doesn’t compare to CBD products that have more compounds packed inside.
The purity and quality play a significant role as well. CBD extraction is not a fixed process. Instead, it has a variety of various methods that can alter the quality significantly. This is something we cover in our Quality page and our Quality and Consistency blog post, which we highly recommend checking out. The goal is to extract the most beneficial compounds, which are the cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids, with the least heat degradation while eliminating all unwanted compounds such as the gums, lipids, heavy metals, pesticides, and so on.