The entourage effect is the exciting theory that the variation of hundreds of different compounds and phytochemicals present in cannabis are responsible for the variety of effects we feel when consuming the plant in its many forms. Some research shows that unique balances between cannabinoids and terpenes can help us with a wide variety of problems—both mental and physical.
THC and CBD
The cannabinoids THC and CBD are the two most common, and most researched, compounds in cannabis. They can be consumed in many different ways, either together or separately, for a wide array of uses. However, emerging research suggests that combining the two is more beneficial than using one or the other alone. Studies have shown that combining THC and CBD helped patients mitigate cancer-related pain. In a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study, researchers found that patients who used both cannabinoids together reported greater relief from symptoms than those who used just one or none.
These amazing results aren’t isolated to physical health alone—in fact, there are studies that suggest similar findings within the brain and cognition. A specific study delves into how THC, CBD and other compounds have been found to help with diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s, and Parkinson’s along with illnesses like schizophrenia.
These two compounds aren’t the only ones who have shown promising results—other cannabinoids have been found to produce their own benefits and effects on the body. Some research shows how CBN, CBC, CBG and many more can affect things such as sleep, energy, appetite, mood, inflammation and more.
As legalization of cannabis sweeps across the nation, research on terpenes—the largest phytochemicals found in the plant—is slowly taking off. For decades, growers have had a suspicion that terpenes affect more than just taste and smell. Many consumers agree. Now studies are finally catching up and it’s no longer purely anecdotal. In 2011, a review of studies published in the British Journal of Pharmacology found that combining cannabinoids and terpenes may be beneficial for pain, anxiety, inflammation, epilepsy, cancer, and more. Some have found that a blend of terpenes and cannabinoids is especially useful in combating mood disorders such as depression and bipolar among others.
The entourage effect is a groundbreaking theory backed by both anecdote and studies that may help millions find the relief they need. As more states legalize, the laws on cannabis research are relaxing. Only time—and many more interested scientists—will tell us just how powerful the harmony between cannabinoids and terpenes can be.