Whether you’re just dipping your toe into the world of CBD or you’ve been using it for a while, chances are you’ve heard of the entourage effect. You might already understand that it’s a desirable effect when it comes to CBD drops and other products, but what is it? How does it work? And how can you ensure you experience it?
In this article, we’re going to explore what the entourage effect is, and how it relates to cannabinoids and CBD. We’ll break down quite a few of the most-asked questions we hear so that you can better understand how it works, how you can use CBD terpenes to your advantage, and which CBD products to look for to achieve the best possible outcome.
Read on to learn more!
Overview of the Endocannabinoid System
In order to better understand how the entourage effect works, let’s explain the endocannabinoid system, as well as some key terms that you should become familiar with:
- Terpenes: these are aromatic compounds in the hemp and marijuana plant (as well as a host of others) that can produce various effects when consumed. Read more in-depth about terpenes here: https://riponnaturals.com/what-are-terpenes
- Flavonoids: phytonutrients that not only add color to fruits, vegetables, and other plants, but they also serve as antioxidants, regulate the immune system, and can help reduce inflammation.
- Cannabinoids: chemical compounds that bind to the endocannabinoid system (ECS) receptors throughout your body to induce homeostasis. Your body produces some of these naturally, but phytocannabinoids are plant-based and can come from the hemp and marijuana plants.
- Endocannabinoid system: the system in humans and animals that regulates homeostasis. Controls the compounds in the body that influence sleep, stress, appetite, inflammation, mood, pain, and other functions.
- CB1 receptors: receptors in the ECS, primarily located in the nervous system and brain, as well as the heart, bladder, and small intestine. When some cannabinoids bind to CB1 receptors, they can produce a high.
- CB2 receptors: receptors in the ECS that are located in several internal organs, as well as white blood cells. These receptors do not produce a psychoactive effect, but they do influence your immune system, as well as cell reproduction.
- Full-spectrum CBD: CBD product that includes all the cannabinoids and terpenes that are naturally found in the hemp or cannabis plant, including trace amounts of THC.
- Broad-spectrum CBD: CBD product that includes all the terpenes and cannabinoids from the cannabis plant, but without any THC.
- CBD isolate: pure CBD, minus any other cannabinoids or terpenes.
How the Endocannabinoid System Works
To illustrate how the entourage effect works, let’s consider inflammation. Inflammation can happen because of an injury, allergic reaction, or illness. Say you bump up against something that scratches you, and your skin tears. Immediately, your body kicks into action to repair the damage. As a result, your blood clots at the site of the injury, histamines cause the tissues to swell, and your immune system sends antigens to the site to fight infection. Your body even produces pain-killing molecules so you can get to safety without pain hindering your ability to get out of danger.
Your ECS is what oversees this entire response. It works to induce healing, to fight infection, to reduce pain, and to return your body to its normal state (homeostasis). When your body signals a problem such as an injury, the ECS produces cannabinoids, which bind with CB1 and CB2 receptors to moderate these vital processes in the body. Once everything is good to go, the ECS produces macrophages, “cell eaters” that consume the cannabinoids to stop the responses.
Sometimes, however, people suffer what’s called endocannabinoid deficiency, which means the body can’t produce enough cannabinoids on its own to achieve homeostasis. Many mental and physical health issues have been associated with this deficiency, and scientists and conducting more research on it.
We do know that phytocannabinoids can work with the body to create a similar response, and this is why CBD, THC, and other cannabinoids have been recognized for centuries for their potential health benefits.
Now let’s look at how cannabinoids work—and, more specifically, the entourage effect!
What is the Entourage Effect?
Let’s start with a basic overview of the entourage effect. Whether you intend to supplement your current wellness routine, or you have something more specific that you’re seeking out CBD products for, one of the primary keys to their efficacy lies within the entourage effect.
Consider this: when you take pure CBD (also known as CBD isolate), the only compound you’re consuming is CBD, which on its own has several potential health benefits. You will not experience the entourage effect with CBD isolate.
But when you take a full- or broad-spectrum CBD product, you are receiving the benefits of CBD as well as benefits from the accompanying terpenes and flavonoids. The full-spectrum entourage effect occurs when using full-spectrum CBD because of the small amounts of THC in the product, as well as the full range of cannabinoids. If drug testing is a concern for you, we do not recommend taking a full-spectrum product because even small amounts of THC can build up and show up on a test. Consider a broad-spectrum product, which still produces the entourage effect but without the THC.
When you use CBD, CBN, or CBG oil, for example, these cannabinoids work with the CB1 and CB2 receptors in your body in the same way your body’s natural endocannabinoids do. The difference is that these cannabinoids work synergistically with the terpenes and flavonoids to create an effect that’s much greater than either one of these compounds on their own. They provide a boost to each other, maximizing the potential impacts in the body, or even buffering them.
CBD and the Entourage Effect
So what should you look for if you want to use a CBD product that creates the entourage effect? In addition to seeking out a full- or broad-spectrum formula, you want to take a look at the terpenes. The terpenes boost the effects of the cannabinoids, and each has its own potential benefits.
Finally, you will want to consider whether or not you use a broad- or full-spectrum CBD product. The THC in full-spectrum products is 0.03% or less, and it’s not enough to produce a “high” feeling.
Terpenes and the Entourage Effect
The first place to start is to look at a product’s third-party lab reports. This not only ensures that the CBD you’re purchasing is free of pesticides, heavy metals, and other undesirable ingredients, but it also shows you the levels of specific cannabinoids and terpenes that exist in the product.
CBD with terpenes is crucial to the entourage effect. For example, if you would like to experience the entourage effect for anxiety, you could consider a CBD oil with the following terpenes: linalool, myrcene, or caryophyllene, to name a few. Or if you’re looking for something that could make you feel a little more energetic, look for limonene, valencene, pinene, or terpinolene. Terpenes matter greatly, and targeting the right ones is critical!
When you buy CBD oil, look on the product page for the lab report if terpenes aren’t listed in the product description. The best CBD companies want you to understand more about their products to make an informed decision and will make this information easily accessible.
Check out our guide to terpenes, as well as their potential health benefits here:
We hope this has helped you better understand the benefits of the entourage effect so that you can be a more informed consumer. When you’re considering CBD, CBN, or CBD products, check out Ripon Naturals. We proudly carry Sunmed products, and whether you visit our store in Ripon or buy CBD online, we’re here for you!