Have you ever examined the flower — or bud — of a cannabis plant? If you have, you might notice small, sticky crystal-like structures all over it. These structures are trichomes, and they’re responsible for producing two famous chemical compounds: THC (or tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (or cannabidiol).
In addition to THC and CBD, trichomes create over 100 other chemical compounds, including terpene and flavonoids. When all of these compounds work together in harmony, they create the cannabis entourage effect.
What’s the Cannabis Entourage Effect?
The cannabis entourage effect is a theory explaining that various strains of cannabis produce different amounts of THC and CBD, along with other compounds unique to the strain, which work together to create different highs.
When you walk into a dispensary, you’ll discover a variety of cannabis products. Each of these products offers information about the “kind of high” they offer. The theory is that if THC is the only chemical interacting with your body, there wouldn’t be different highs.
Many studies are currently being done to test the entourage effect on various ailments. An example of the entourage effect comes from a study done on patients with severe cancer pain. Patients were dosed with either pure THC extract or a combination of THC and CBD. The patients who were given the combination had a more significant reduction in pain.
How Do Cannabinoids and Terpenes Create the Cannabis Entourage Effect?
To truly achieve the entourage effect, you need more than just THC and CBD. It is believed that several other chemicals contribute to the effect.
Cannabinoids are the active chemical compounds produced by the trichomes in cannabis plants. Terpene’s highly aromatic compounds are responsible for the plant’s smell.
With more US states relaxing laws on cannabis, there is a high demand for research and information on the effects of cannabinoids and terpenes.
How Do Cannabinoids Interact With the Body?
Two cannabinoid receptors currently make up the endocannabinoid system (ECS). These receptors were discovered in the 90s and are known as CB1 and CB2. They are primarily located in the nervous system and a few in the immune system.
The purpose of the ECS is to keep the body in balance and help regulate sleep, moods, memory, appetite, and fertility.
The ECS also reacts to cannabinoids like THC and CBD. THC causes you to get high because it attaches to “auction sites” in your ECS. Currently, CBD has at least 12 sites of action in the brain. More research is being conducted to learn more about how cannabinoids work with the ECS.
The success of CBD and THC has caused a demand for information about the effects of several cannabinoids in hopes of isolating their health-related impacts. These cannabinoids and their possible uses include:
- CBD — which can be used to help pain relief, anti-anxiety, neurological disorders, and skincare.
- THC — which can help reduce nausea, chronic pain, and inflammation.
- Cannabigerol (CBG) — which can be neuroprotectant, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory.
- Cannabichromene (CBC) — which may reduce nociceptive pain.
- Cannabinol (CBN) — which may impact energy, moods, appetite, focus, pain, and immunity.
How Do Terpenes Interact With the Body?
The primary responsibility of terpenes is to produce a fragrance. Unlike cannabinoids, they are found in most plants. However, research suggests they also interact with the endocannabinoid system.
Many studies are being done to research the possible benefits of various terpenes. Here are a few of the most common terpenes:
- Myrcene — which has anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties
- Caryophyllene — which has anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties
- Pinene — which has anti-inflammatory properties
- Limonene — which has immune-boosting and heartburn-relieving properties
- Terpinolene — which has antioxidant properties
- Humulene — which has anti-inflammatory properties when used topically
- Linalool — which has topical antifungal, anticonvulsant, and sedative properties
- Ocimene — which has antiviral and antifungal properties
- Nerolidol — which has antifungal, antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties
- Bisabolol — which can reduce skin inflammation
- Guaiol — which has antimicrobial properties
Studies have also shown the combination of terpenes and cannabinoids have a more significant effect on conditions such as:
- Fungal infection
Studies have also indicated that terpenes can improve CBD’s neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory effects.
How Can You Maximize the Cannabis Entourage Effect?
Body chemistry differs from person to person, so your desired entourage effect will be different than those of other people. The entourage effect works with your ECS to help create a perfect balance and harmony within your body.
Maximizing the entourage effect will require some research on your part and you’ll need to decide what benefits you are seeking. Here are some additional tips to help you:
- Write down what effects you are seeking — The effects can include relief from ailments, physical effects, and/or psychological effects, such as wanting pain relief or nausea relief with an energy boost
- Research and write down which cannabinoids and terpenes provide the desired effects
- Look for full spectrum products — These products should contain all of the naturally occurring cannabinoids in the cannabis plant
- Talk to a professional budtender about what products contain the cannabinoids and terpenes you’re looking for
Is the Entourage Effect Safe?
Research is still being done on the cannabis entourage effect. Possible side effects can vary depending on the product. If you’re trying a full spectrum CBD product, the THC content should be low and you likely won’t experience an intoxicating high.
If you’re using cannabis products with high amounts of THC, the side effects can include:
- Dry mouth
- Increased appetite
- Increase heart rate
- Reduced coordination
- Overwhelming high
To safely experience the entourage effect, make sure you are in a safe place and won’t need to do anything for a few hours. Additionally, you may want to have a friend with you the first time you try a new cannabis product. Then, find a place to relax with some snacks and enjoy.
How Can VidaCann Help?
With 21 locations, VidaCann is one of the largest medical cannabis retailers in Florida. We can provide you with high-quality cannabis products catered to your needs. Our products that are manufactured and cultivated in-house include cannabis flowers, concentrates, topicals, and vaporizers.
For more information, visit one of our convenient locations and speak to one of our professional budtenders. We will help you choose the best products to help you achieve the perfect entourage effect.