Ever heard the saying, “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts”? While Aristotle wasn’t talking about CBD specifically, he could have been, because that’s exactly how CBD’s “entourage effect” works.
CBD is rich in an array of chemical compounds, among them cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. And it’s the synergistic effect of all these components working together to produce a combined result that has been dubbed the “Entourage Effect”.
In essence, consuming full-spectrum CBD, with all the cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids offers more health-supporting benefits than if you consumed each of the compounds alone.
Let us go deeper into the topic and understand the entourage effect and its possible implications on CBD consumption in the near future.
Different Types of CBD
Before going any further, let me first give you a quick recap about the three different varieties of CBD that I will be talking about in this article.
Let’s give them a quick overview.
Full Spectrum CBD
Out of the three forms, full Spectrum CBD contains the most significant number of phytocannabinoids.
Particular attention should be paid to the composition as full-spectrum CBD contains THC, which should not exceed 0.02% in order to be legal in the UK.
So, Full Spectrum = CBD + THC + Other Cannabinoids + Flavonoids + Terpenes
Broad Spectrum CBD
Broad-spectrum CBD is similar to full-spectrum except that it does not contain THC.
This can be a helpful option if you strictly want to avoid THC because of restrictions at your workplace.
So, Broad Spectrum = CBD + Other Cannabinoids + Flavonoids + Terpenes
This is the purest form of CBD available on the market. Most extracts contain either 98% or 99% CBD with a negligible concentration of other phytocannabinoids.
So, CBD Isolate = CBD ONLY
How Does CBD Work?
All the cells in our body, including our brain, are interconnected through channels like an electric supply to our houses. These channels are called neurons, while the point of contact is called a receptor.
When you consume cannabinoids, say CBD or THC, it goes through your blood to your brain, where it then starts binding to the receptors and modulates your brain’s neuronal activity.
So, when any component reaches these neurons, it interacts with the receptors and alters the neuronal firing pattern.
According to various proposed theories by the researchers, different cannabis components bind to other receptors in the brain. The most famous receptors for cannabis in the brain are CB1 and CB2.
CBD moves through different channels in the neurons yet unidentified by the scientists. Similarly, the other cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids and minor components interact with the receptors and contribute to the results that the consumer feels.
A study in 2011 showed that consuming terpenes, and phytocannabinoids can be helpful for a few health issues such as fungal infections, anxiety inflammation, pain and epilepsy. This combination may reduce cancer pain as well! A later study showed that consuming terpenes and flavonoids can improve brain health. The amount of THC and CBD also impact the results experienced. If there is more CBD, the user will feel a lower impact of THC because CBD reduces the unwanted effects of THC. The same study revealed that CBD can curb the side effects of THC like anxiety, sedation and hunger.
Therefore, we can establish the fact that the components of the hemp plant are the same, but the varying quantities and the combined effects make all the difference and this is the Entourage Effect!
How Do Cannabinoids and Receptors Interact?
Just as cannabinoids and terpenes interact with the receptors, so too do they interact with each other. Moreover, there are numerous different receptors in the brain that perceive each component uniquely. These receptors react differently and therefore, the effects vary with individuals!
We have heard of the CB1 and CB2 receptors, but Dr David Meiri, Ph. D, Assistant Professor at Technion Israel Institute of Technology discovered many other receptors and concluded that there are about 50 receptors in the endocannabinoid system.
Dr David Meiri explained in a session that receptors work like lock and key. When more binding of cannabinoids takes place, unique effects are generated, and better efficacy can be achieved.
By now you must be wondering if there is a specific combination of cannabinoids and terpenes that is best for any health condition that you want to improve.
Unfortunately, the years of stigmatizing cannabis as a dodgy substance, resulted in lack of research. We do not know which lock and key will work best for our specific problems but now work has begun and some ground-breaking studies are providing important insights.
How To Get the Entourage Effect?
To get the maximum benefit from your CBD, it is important to choose a high-quality broad-spectrum product. Full-spectrum products contain the biggest range of cannabinoids, flavonoids and terpenes. Therefore, when you consume a full-spectrum CBD, you have the potential to experience the biggest entourage effects as the different chemical compounds work in synergy to produce an effect that is more effective than if any of the compounds were to be taken in isolation.
If you can’t take full-spectrum CBD because you are concerned about the low (and completely legal) levels of THC, then broad-spectrum CBD is your best option. You will still experience the synergistic benefits of the compounds, although the overall effect may be slightly less than if THC was present as part of the combined product.
Ending The Discussion
The cumulative effect of cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids and other minor components of CBD is called the Entourage Effect. All the components work in synergy and provide unique effects to users.
CBD research has introduced many potential medical benefits of the Entourage Effect of different chemical compounds contained in full-spectrum CBD oil, however, there is still a long way to go before we know how they interact.