The Entourage Effect can be briefly summarized like this; the health benefits of all the cannabinoids and terpenes when they complement and balance each other.
Because cannabis contains hundreds of potentially therapeutic molecules, it is easy to understand why researchers want to isolate and use them in a whole range of future drugs. People are currently researching which cannabinoids are responsible for which medicinal effects and then study their mechanisms of action in the body.
Such research has led to drugs such as CBD-isolate (Epidiolex), combination of CBD- and THC- isolates (Sativex) or synthetic cannabinoids (Marinol). You can get these prescription medicines from your doctor. However, it is a known fact that the results are better if the cannabis product contains the entire spectre of active substances, i.e. cannabinoids and terpenes, as they work synergistically and enhance each other’s effect.
A meta-analysis comparing CBD-isolate with whole plant CBD in the treatment of epilepsy found that CBD from the whole plant (full spectrum) was not only twice as effective as the isolated equivalent, but that lower doses were needed to achieve the same therapeutic effect. This indicates that the Entourage Effect is the reason for that.
There are a total of 144 cannabinoids identified, and the more cannabinoids there are in a CBD-oil, in addition to CBD (cannabidiol), the better the Entourage Effect. For example, there are many cannabinoids that can have an analgesic effect, but they use different mechanisms to achieve that effect in the body. CBD has an analgesic effect by regulating the release of inflammation-producing cytokines, while THC acts on the transmission of pain signals in the spinal cord and brain. CBC (cannabis chromium) is another cannabinoid that can also alleviate pain, by blocking Substance P, one of the main neurotransmitters for pain.
Look for a CBD oil that is full spectrum. This does not mean that the product contains every cannabinoid there is, but considerably more than the oils that are broad-spectrum or made from isolate which has only cannabidiol. If the CBD oil is made from several different strains of cannabis, the therapeutic effect will be even better due to the Entourage Effect. Different types of cannabis have different compositions of cannabinoids, some types have a lot of some cannabinoids, while others have a lot of other cannabinoids. Therefore, it behoves to use several different types of cannabis plants when making CBD oil. Any CBD brand should refer to a third-party lab report that shows exactly the contents of the oil.
In addition to cannabinoids, the cannabis plant contains over 200 terpenes, which also have unique beneficial effects. Many terpenes work together as antagonists or agonists on the endocannabinoid receptor, and together with cannabinoids also contribute to the Entourage Effect. For example, the terpene Myrcene is known to enhance the analgesic effect, while the terpene Linallo and Limonene have anti-inflammatory effects.
The “take home message” is that you can’t beat nature when it comes to making the most potent CBD-oil.