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CBD and the Entourage Effect

CBD and the Entourage Effect

There’s a lot of talk these days about cannabis and its entourage effect–that magical combination of different terpenes and cannabinoids which influences the effect of a cannabis preparation. For recreational marijuana users, the entourage effect amounts to different kinds of highs. A quick tour of marijuana strain descriptions will make you believe that every marijuana strain is as distinct as varieties of wine, each with its own specific tastes, effects, and stimulations. This is great for recreational marijuana users, but what does this mean for full-spectrum CBD users? Today our CBD101 primer tackles the thorny issue of CBD and the entourage effect. 

Marijuana and the entourage effect

For the longest time, everyone knew at least one thing about marijuana; it got you high, and sometimes, it also got you into jail. Which is all most people ever knew or wanted to know about it. Times, as the saying goes, have definitely changed. With the rescheduling of both hemp and marijuana in many states, marketers are now marketing each and every strain of cannabis as if it were mana from heaven. Every marijuana strain seems to have a unique terpene profile, with the various interactions of cannabinoids and terpenes producing a variety of effects from creativity, to appetite boosting, to couch-lock and… well, the list is almost endless.  

The entourage effect is, in essence, what gives each strain of cannabis its unique character. The strain Purple Haze is marketed as a heady, psychedelic experience due to its particular terpene, flavonoid, and cannabinoid profile, while Northern Lights is said to give a euphoric, pleasant “body high,” relieving pain and having a sweet taste. The scientific jury is out on much of what cannabis can and can’t do, and some of the giddy claims from the field definitely require more scientific proof. The question remains, what does the entourage effect mean for CBD users?

CBD and the entourage effect

For starters, most CBD users aren’t as preoccupied with flavors and qualities of their “high” as the recreational marijuana set is. However, with much of CBD use aimed at alleviating the effects of moods, stress and anxiety, sleep disturbance, and pain management, a case could be made for the entourage effect in CBD and what it can do for folks more interested in the wellness aspects of these terpenes and cannabinoids working together in concert. 

What the illegal cannabis growers and breeders of the past have gifted us is a particular understanding of the genetics of cannabis which science can use to associate with treatments for specific conditions. This could be ground-breaking for CBD users who may desire a specific cannabinoid effect, but not another. For example, they may want the ease of falling asleep without an additional appetite boost.

Beyond the noticeable psychoactive effects of THC, we do know that some phytocannabinoids can have a neurochemical impact on our brains as well. For a full-spectrum CBD oil like Soulsome, this means that many of the compounds in Soulsome’s oil seem to enhance the effects of the CBD molecule and work in tandem with it. CBD has also been known to block specific receptors that THC typically uses to produce its “stoned” effect. One researcher has even gone so far as to suggest that, should we find definitive proof behind the Phytocannabinoid-terpenoid synergy of the entourage effect, a range of therapeutic products derived from cannabis and the specifics of this entourage effect could be forthcoming in the future.

Although scientific evidence is scant for much of the field, we know a few things about CBD and how it is instrumental in the entourage effect of the cannabinoid compounds all working together. A straightforward example of this is how CBD is very good at blocking the CB1 receptor. Typically the CB1 receptor is one which THC binds with; however, when levels of CBD are similar to levels to THC in cannabis, researchers found that the CBD seemed to lessen the effects of the THC, especially unwanted toxic psychosis. One such example comes from the multiple sclerosis drug Sativex which contains a 1:1 ratio of THC and CBD. High in THC (48mg), Sativex is unusual in that a smaller dose of around 10mg of THC can often bring on psychotic symptoms but, when combined with CBD, only a tiny percentage of the test group (4 out of 250: 1.6%) reported such toxic psychosis symptoms. 

CBD certainly seems to be the lynchpin in the entourage effect in cannabis products, which bodes well for full-spectrum CBD oils like Soulsome’s as they incorporate all of the terpenes, phytocannabinoids, and other cannabinoid compounds from the plant. For Soulsome, this means the cold-pressing of raw hemp flowers extracts not only the valuable CBD but the many plant-based compounds which come with it, possibly providing a broader experience of CBD for the end-user.

There is no question that more research into cannabis, CBD, and the entourage effect is essential at this early stage of scientific inquiry. The good news is that it is starting to be done in earnest, and we should soon have a better understanding of the entourage effect. Science must unpack the mechanisms behind the cannabinoid and terpene orchestra and how and why they play so well together. For CBD users at least, the key seems to be the power of CBD itself and its almost opposite effect to its more fun-loving cousin THC. What we already know about CBD ad the entourage effect from anecdotal evidence seems to suggest that there is something to the entourage effect for many CBD users who prefer a full-spectrum effect to that of a CBD isolate for this very reason: A single, isolated instrument may sound great on its own, but when the whole orchestra plays together the music really does sound better. 


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