Entourage Effect: What You Need to Know About CBD and Synergy
Hemp's a popular plant. But did you know that all of its compounds work together to create the entourage effect? In a nutshell, the entourage effect is the combined response of all the compounds in hemp. CBD is just one of the dozens of compounds found in hemp. And while it's the most well-known, it's not the only one that matters.
What Is the Entourage Effect?
Dr. Ethan Russo is one of the leading researchers on hemp compounds. The entourage effect is the combined response of all the compounds in hemp. This response includes not just CBD but all the other cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids present in the plant. He explains the phenomenon like this:
"Synergy is a boosting of effect. So, it would be the idea that 2 + 2, instead to equaling 4, it gives you an 8 in terms of the benefit. So, for example, as we’ve mentioned, cannabidiol treats pain. But there are other ingredients in cannabis that also treat pain or may limit the side effects of other components, and so it is sort of like an ensemble of musical instruments where you might think if THC as the soloist with an important part provided by cannabidiol, but you also have these other components producing a harmony that really increases the overall effect and makes hopefully the best possible medicine."
We've pulled a sizeable chunk of Russo's explanation from Project CBD. Here's a more straightforward way to see it:
- CBD may help with pain relief, but other cannabinoids, like CBG and CBC, are also effective.
- We know CBD's potential anti-anxiety properties, but terpenes like myrcene can also help with anxiety.
- CBD is an anti-inflammatory, but flavonoids like quercetin can also help reduce inflammation.
The various compounds in hemp work together to create a more effective response than they could on their own. This is what's known as the entourage effect.
What Are Hemp Compounds?
Hemp compounds are the various chemicals found in the plant. This includes phytocannabinoids like CBD and THC, terpenes, and flavonoids. These compounds all interact with each other to create a synergetic response. Synergy also means that the reaction is greater than the sum of its parts.
These are the cannabinoids produced by plants. You're probably most familiar with THC and CBD, but there are over 100 different phytocannabinoids in hemp. Other minor phytocannabinoids include:
Researchers are studying the possible therapeutic benefits of these cannabinoids. So far, they've found that some minor cannabinoids may help with:
- Pain relief
- Anti-inflammatory effects
- Reducing anxiety
- Appetite stimulation
- Nausea reduction
The FDA has not evaluated these results yet. So, more research is necessary.
Terpenes are a type of aromatic compound found in plants. They give hemp its characteristic smell. But terpenes also interact with cannabinoids to create the entourage effect.
Some common hemp terpenes include:
Terpenes also have their own therapeutic benefits. For example, myrcene is a sedative while pinene is a stimulant. There are over 20,000 terpenes found in nature, and around 200 have been identified in various hemp strains.
Flavonoids are a type of phytonutrient (plant nutrient). They give fruits and vegetables their color. But like terpenes, flavonoids also contribute to the entourage effect.
Some common hemp flavonoids include:
Flavonoids have their own therapeutic benefits as well. For example, quercetin is an anti-inflammatory, while catechins are antioxidants.
How Can You Achieve Synergy With CBD?
The best way to enjoy the benefits of the entourage effect is with a full-spectrum CBD product. This means that the CBD oil contains all the hemp plant's compounds, including THC (up to 0.3%).
The small amount of THC is not enough to make you feel high. But it increases the efficacy of CBD. That's because THC and CBD work together to create a stronger response.
If you're worried about the THC, you can also try a broad-spectrum CBD oil. This oil contains all the hemp plant compounds except for THC. Consumers who are sensitive to THC or have regular drug testing opt for broad-spectrum CBD oil.
Many brands offer a CBD isolate. While this has a high concentration of CBD, it lacks the other hemp compounds. So, you won't get the entourage effect with a CBD isolate.
What Are the Side Effects of the Entourage Effect?
There are no known side effects of the entourage effect. But keep in mind that CBD oil is a relatively new product. So, more research is necessary to understand its long-term effects.
CBD is considered safe. The World Health Organization even says that it has a good safety profile. But some people may experience side effects from CBD, such as:
- Dry mouth
If you experience these side effects, stop using CBD oil and talk to your doctor.
CBD may also interact with other medications you're taking. So, talking to your doctor before using CBD oil is essential. This is especially important if you take:
- Blood thinners
- Anti-anxiety medications
- Immune suppressants
- Anti-seizure medications
Your doctor can help you determine if it's safe to take CBD oil with your other medications.
How Should I Use Full-Spectrum CBD?
If you want to try full-spectrum CBD, there are a few things to remember.
First, start with a low dose and increase it gradually. This will help you see how your body responds to CBD. It's also essential to choose a reputable brand. Each product should have a certificate of analysis or COA, which you can find on the brand's website. Look for brands that use third-party lab testing to ensure quality and safety.
Choose the right product for your needs. CBD oil is available in different forms, such as:
Tinctures -This is the most popular form of CBD oil. You take it by placing a few drops under your tongue and holding it there for 30-60 seconds before swallowing.
Capsules - This form is simple and allows you to control your dosage.
Edibles - CBD oil is also available in gummies, candies, and other food items.
Topicals - You can also find CBD oil in lotions, creams, and other topical products.
Vapes - You can vape CBD oil using a special vape pen device. Vaping is a safe and effective way to get the effects of CBD.
Smoking - You can also smoke hemp flowers that contain CBD.
If you choose a capsule or edible, know it may take longer to feel the effects. That's because CBD has to go through your digestive system before it enters your bloodstream.
Also, topicals are significant for localized pain relief. But they don't provide the full-body effects that other forms of CBD oil do. You can use topical applications with other CBD oil for the best results.
CBD oil is also available in different strengths. So, you can start with a low dose and increase it as needed. Begin with a small amount, such as 5-10 mg. You can increase the dose by 5-10 mg until you find the dose that works for you.
The entourage effect is a phenomenon that occurs when THC and CBD work together. This interaction creates a stronger response than either compound can produce on its own. Check out our complete line of full-spectrum CBD oil products.