Let's step away from the cannabis world for a moment (whatever). Have you ever wondered if Bob Marley would be this legendary without the Wailers? Toots as good without the Maytals? Probably not. There are those occasions when the whole is more than the sum of the parts. The same goes for light cannabis. We then speak ofentourage effect, this mysterious phenomenon causing cannabidiol (CBD), associated with other cannabinoids, but also other organic substances (terpenes, flavonoids), produces more pronounced effects, even new effects. Fascinating, isn't it? Perfect, we tell you all about the entourage effect !
Entourage effect: definition
The entourage effect is the name given to thecoordinated action of the different components of cannabis on the bodywhether it's legal industrial hemp or marijuana. In short, it is therefore quite simply a synergy, allowed by the consumption of several components of the plant at the same time.
Indeed, the entourage effect has been demonstrated following several studies always reaching the same conclusions: consuming whole plant extracts produces in most cases different and more pronounced effects than consuming certain pure compounds.
This discovery, still little or poorly understood, is accompanied by good and bad news for the scientific community, as for consumers elsewhere. She indeed further complicates the actions of cannabis on the human body, and takes us a little further away from when we'll be able to actually understand how one interacts with the other. On the contrary, the more than likely existence of the entourage effect opens an incredible number of doors as to the possible effects of cannabis on the human body. With them is also born the hope of being able create strains capable of producing very specific effects.
It is still necessary to be able to find the perfect balance between the different components of a cannabis plant.
Cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids: all players in the entourage effect
When it comes to cannabis, the first somewhat technical term to come up for discussion is usually CBD. Or THC. In any case, a cannabinoid. Main responsible for the effects of cannabis, these molecules play an essential role in the entourage effect. However, they are not the only ones and the understanding of the latter must be based on the consideration of at least three main families of components:
- cannabinoids: chemicals naturally produced by cannabis and capable of interacting with the human body by activating our endocannabinoid system. They encompass the THC and CBD, of course, but also the CBN, CBC, CBL and many others since it would exist in all a hundred different cannabinoids.
- terpenes: class of hydrocarbons especially known to be the origin of the smell and taste of different varieties of cannabis. They are also present in many other plant species and have very varied characteristics, both in terms of aromas (earth, resin, spices, citrus fruits) and effects (analgesic, sedative, anti-inflammatory).
- Flavonoids: plant pigments known above all for their antioxidant effects, and therefore their action against free radicals. They therefore participate in the aromas and color of light cannabis buds (like our lemon skunk), but also to their properties, especially anti-inflammatory.
It is therefore on this basis, as rich and complex as it is, that scientists must work, particularly in the context of the therapeutic cannabis, still a simple object of study in France.
Medicinal cannabis: enjoying the entourage effect by combining THC and CBD
This is nothing new, tetrahydrocannabinol, better known as THC, is a particularly maligned cannabinoid. For its high effects first of all, but also its highly addictive character and the loss of control that it causes in its consumers, it is considered in France as a narcotic. European law also prohibits the cultivation and marketing of any derivative product from a hemp plant with a THC content greater than 0,2%. Same refrain for the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), which considers THC as doping, but allows athletes using CBD.
These restrictions are not surprising given the known side effects of THC. The surprise comes rather, at first glance, from the quasi-systematic presence of THC in treatments (in countries where it is recognized as such) based on so-called medical cannabis. Here again, we must turn to the entourage effect to understand the interest ofcombine certain cannabinoids, such as CBD and THC, or other organic components in order to get the most out of it.
A study conducted by the Professor Jeremy R. Johnson and published in the Journal of pain and symptom management in 2010 thus showed in particular that, in the context of the treatment of certain pains, neither THC nor CBD alone offered much more convincing results than a simple placebo. On the other hand, they significantly improved the condition of patients. A year later, a other study published in the same scientific journal and also interested in the entourage effect has also shown that, in their natural environment, the various cannabinoids, associated with terpenes and other flavonoids, benefit from a synergy that does not exist when administered as an isolate.
Choosing the right CBD products to benefit from the entourage effect
Beyond the opportunities that they open to the scientific community, these different elements highlight the importance of choosing the right ones. CBD products if you want to get the most out of it. This is true for the type of product itself, ideally turning to little or no processed products. This is particularly the case of hemp infusions. Depending on their needs, but also the preferred method of taking, many consumers are turning to light cannabis extracts. Here again, knowledge of the entourage effect encourages choose the right CBD oil, in particular by preferring an oil with broad spectrum rather than an isolate.