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What is the Entourage Effect and How Does it Work?

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We talk about the entourage effect all the time when it comes to cannabis consumption, and there’s a good reason for it: it’s a fascinating and unique process that happens when you consume marijuana. In this guide, we’ll discuss:

  • What is the Entourage Effect?
  • Who Discovered the Entourage Effect?
  • How do Cannabinoids, Terpenes, and Flavonoids Work Together?
  • How Does it Work?
  • Why is it Important?
     

What is the Entourage Effect?

The entourage effect is a theoretic principle that it is not just one terpene, cannabinoid or flavonoid working to create the effect we experience when consuming cannabis. Rather, it is every part of the marijuana plant, down to those little individual molecules and compounds, which create a whole-body experience. 

Previously, it was believed that just THC or CBD was the cause of a marijuana experience. Now, as we better understand the chemicals within marijuana, it stands to reason that not one but every part of the cannabis plant has a part to play in how we feel when consuming cannabis.
 

Who Discovered the Entourage Effect?

Many scientists have studied and continue to study cannabis, but it was Israeli chemists Shimon Ben-Shabat and Raphael Mechoulam who discovered the effect in 1998. These professors theorized that cannabis compounds work together to enhance their individual effects, creating distinct characteristics and psychoactive capacities.

Never heard of the endocannabinoid system? You’re not alone! That’s why we created this guide to the endocannabinoid system.
 

How Do Cannabinoids, Terpenes, and Flavonoids Work Together?

Cannabinoids, like THC and CBDterpenes like myrcene, limonene, and caryophyllene; and flavonoids are all created in the cannabis plant’s trichomes. Trichomes are these little hair-like structures on the surface of plants that serve as resin glands, and it’s inside these glands that all these interesting molecules and compounds are made.

As the cannabis community has started to research cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids, we’ve come to discover that each molecule and compound has unique properties. THC, for example, has psychoactive properties. Each cannabinoid, terpene, and flavonoid also react differently when they enter the human body. This is because of how they interact with the endocannabinoid system. But while each of these molecules and compounds interact uniquely, they also work together within the body to create a unique experience. This, again, is just another piece of the entourage effect.

How Does the Entourage Effect Work?

Sometimes, analogies help explain things, so that’s what we’re going for here. Imagine your favorite movie or show soundtrack. Imagine all the instruments playing in that soundtrack. Percussion, string, wind, etc. Now, imagine the cannabinoids are the percussion, the terpenes are the string ensemble, and the flavonoids are the wind instruments. Sure, you could have a good song with just one piece of that symphony, but imagine the soundtrack from Star Wars just being percussion? It just isn’t quite as good. That’s the same idea with the entourage effect and the cannabis experience. 

There are distillate and isolate products available, a pure form of a targeted cannabinoid created by removing everything except the desired compound (like THC or CBD). This will create a different experience than consuming full spectrum or broad spectrum extracts, as well as flower. Only you can decide if it’s better, but most cannabis connoisseurs prefer the full entourage effect experience.
 

Why Is the Entourage Effect Important?

There are several reasons why the entourage effect is important. Firstly, it means we still have a lot to learn about cannabis. This is a good thing! It means that research will continue, and we’ll be able to really start understanding how the chemicals in cannabis actually work in the human body. We have a good idea of how it works when it comes to the endocannabinoid system, but there is still a lot of mystery out there. For instance, did you know we just discovered another cannabinoid, THCP, in 2019? Without continued research, we cannot hope to understand every unique property of marijuana.

Scientists are studying a variety of chemicals found in cannabis, including THCV, CBN, humulene, linalool, pinene, and more. What we’re finding is that these cannabinoids and terpenes exhibit unique qualities in animal models. While research is early, and more studies are required in humans, there is potential to unlock important uses for these molecules and compounds. 

To find out how specific products may contribute to the entourage effect, visit a local Verilife dispensary.

 

Recreational Cannabis is not available in all states. Cannabis is for medical use only and may only be used by certified patients in Maryland, New York, and Pennsylvania. State laws impact what dispensaries can and can’t sell to recreational customers and medical marijuana patients. Not every type of product, consumption method, dosage form, or potency mentioned on this blog will be permitted in all locations.

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