The Entourage Effect. Full-Spectrum CBD Explained
An Explanation of One of the Most Powerful Medicinal Discoveries: The Entourage Effect
Full-spectrum is one of the most popular buzzwords in the CBD industry, but what does it mean? It appears front and center on many CBD products, including ours, but why? What is the so-called Entourage Effect and why is it so important? This blog post examines the scientific benefits of full-spectrum CBD products and the Entourage Effect.
A full-spectrum product contains CBD along with all of the other minor cannabinoids and terpenes naturally produced by the hemp plant. That is, it contains the full-spectrum of hemp compounds. Fitting name, right? This is in contrast to broad-spectrum and isolate products. Broad-spectrum products contain CBD and all minor cannabinoids except THC. Isolate products contain only CBD. Full-spectrum oils are the truest representation of the hemp plant, and the most therapeutic. This is where understanding the Entourage Effect comes into play.
The Entourage Effect: 1 + 1 = 3
The Entourage Effect is a term for the synergistic benefit derived from all compounds found in the hemp plant. CBD is just one beneficial cannabinoid, but paired with THC, minor cannabinoids, terpenes, and other hemp compounds, a greater therapeutic benefit is achieved than any one compound in isolation.
CBD, THC, minor cannabinoids, and even some terpenes all interact with your Endocannabinoid System (ECS). Your ECS regulates a wide range of biological processes (sleep, appetite, memory, immune function, pain response to name a few). By pairing CBD with other compounds that interact with the ECS, it increases the effectiveness of CBD.
Dr. Ethan Russo is a leader in medicinal cannabis research and has shared multiple papers supporting the Entourage Effect. Many users have experienced little to no benefit from CBD isolate products, but have been helped greatly by full-spectrum products due to the Entourage Effect.
Why is CBD with THC Better?
Full-spectrum CBD oil containing THC and other cannabinoids is far superior to CBD oils containing just CBD. THC is typically the most abundant compound (outside of CBD) in CBD oil. THC contributes greatly to the therapeutic effects of CBD, even in low concentrations that don’t lead to intoxication (e.g. 0.3% for hemp products). This is due to the Entourage Effect.
All BATCH products, except for our Muscle Gel, contain full-spectrum CBD oil. Using our in-house HPLC testing instrument, we’ve identified and quantified seven well-known cannabinoids found in our extracts: CBDV, CBDA, CBG, CBD, d9-THC, d8-THC, and CBC. Additionally, there are hundreds of lesser-known, and less abundant, cannabinoids that we don’t have the abilities to quantify. All of these cannabinoids further contribute to the healing powers of full-spectrum CBD products.
What Role Do Terpenes Play in the Entourage Effect?
Terpenes are a class of organic compounds that also contribute to the Entourage Effect. They are aromatic in nature, giving plants their scents. For example, pinene gives pine trees their distinctive smell. Limonene contributes to citrus fruits’ odor. These compounds are also found in the hemp plant. We all know how smelly the hemp plant can be! Some terpenes (e.g. beta-caryophyllene) interact directly with the Endocannabinoid System and can contribute to the Entourage Effect and the healing ability of CBD.
All of our CBD oil contains naturally occurring terpenes found in the hemp plant. In addition to this, we supplement our products with terpene isolates to dial up or down desired effects depending on the product application. This is how we formulate different effect-based blends like Clarity, Dream, Soothe, and Calm.
All CBD is Not Equal
The high price of CBD may motivate some customers to search for the cheapest available option. While we’re all for frugality, we also have to caution our customers. Make sure the CBD you are purchasing is indeed full-spectrum and backed up with lab results (preferably from a trusted third-party lab). Look for cannabinoids besides CBD on potency lab reports. Isolate products are typically cheaper, but lack the true power of the Entourage Effect. We highly recommend full-spectrum products for the highest therapeutic benefit.
Entourage Effect & CBD Oil: How the Synergic Effect Enhances CBD
The Entourage Effect is the term used to describe the enhanced effects of cannabinoids, such as CBD, when multiple compounds synergistically work together rather than alone. That synergistic effect is known as the Entourage Effect.
Everyone just knows about CBD or THC, but hemp contains much more than just those two cannabinoids.
Imagine two basketball teams playing against each other. Team red has only one player doing all the shooting, stealing, defending, and rebounding, while team blue has all five players working together doing different things. Which team would win? Obviously team blue will win.
Not All Hemp Extracts Are Equal
Just because two companies manufacture CBD oil does not mean the quality is close in terms of effectiveness and safety.
CBD oil from one company is not the same CBD oil as another. It’s important to understand that many variables come into play to manufacture CBD extracts.
The hemp plants’ genetics, the extraction method, and the parameters used, and the purification process are three of the several crucial parts of the manufacturing process.
The first two parts mentioned can be exceptional. Still, if the purification process cannot retain the essential cannabinoids and lighter compounds such as terpenes and flavonoids, it doesn’t make much of a difference.
Purchasing from a reputable company with extensive knowledge and experience in hemp extraction is crucial to getting a safe but effective product.
Entourage Effect: What Research Shows
It started In 1998 when Professors Raphael Mechoulam and Shimon Ben-Shabat found the Endocannabinoid System demonstrated an “entourage effect” when they noticed the plant compounds significantly increased the activity of our receptors.
These receptors, which interact with our Endocannabinoid System, play a crucial role in regulating and balancing many body processes such as immune response, communication between cells, sleep cycles, memory, and more.
In 2001, two highly notable researchers John McPartland and Ethan Russo, published a paper titled “Cannabis and Cannabis Extracts: Greater Than the Sum of Their Parts.”
This research paper further examines the claims of Professors Mechoulam and Ben-Shabat on how cannabinoids act with secondary compounds, such as terpenes and flavonoids.
Their research found supporting evidence that extracts rich in both cannabinoids and terpenes increased pharmacological activities that strengthened and broadened clinical applications and improved the therapeutic index.
To summarise, terpenes enhance the effects of cannabinoids, and having terpenes intact with cannabinoids shows a noticeable difference in effects.
More than Just CBD – Cannabinoids, Terpenes, and Flavonoids
What are “minor cannabinoids”?
Minor cannabinoids are cannabinoids, just like CBD or THC, found in hemp. Since they are found in much smaller amounts, ranging from 0.01mg to 5-7mg per 1,000mg of extract, they’re considered “minor” cannabinoids.
Although found in minor amounts, they still play a crucial role in the synergistic effects of CBD products. You would be surprised at how they always make a difference even at those minor amounts.
Research studies of minor cannabinoids lacks compared to CBD. However, they still show promising results for what we know. Here are three cannabinoids of the 113 scientists have discovered to date:
What is Cannabigerol (CBG)
CBG is the final form of CBGA, which is sometimes called the “stem cell” cannabinoid. Scientists have researched the potential antimicrobial and digestive benefits of CBG.
What is Cannabinol (CBN)
CBN can be produced by aging THC or converting CBD. Many people who use CBN believe that this cannabinoid has sleep-promoting properties, and CBN has been investigated for its potential neuroprotective benefits.
CBC is a little-known cannabinoid that has been investigated for its potential analgesic benefits. Scientists have researched the activity of CBC at the nervous system’s TRPV1 receptors, which regulate inflammation and pain.
Other notable cannabinoids are Cannabidiolic Acid (CBDA), Cannabidivarin (CBDV), Cannabicitran (CBT), or Tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV).
What are Terpenes?
Terpenes are another group of chemical compounds found in hemp and are an essential group of aromatic compounds that give plants their unique fragrance. They’re present in nearly every plant on earth, and anything you can sense and smell from a plant is due to the terpenes present in the plant.
Health Benefits of Terpenes and Role with Cannabinoids
Not only do terpenes play a crucial role in the Entourage Effect, but they hold a wide range of health benefits. Medicinal properties like anticancer, antimicrobial, antifungal, antiviral, antihyperglycemic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and antiparasitic.
Here are three terpenes and their benefits:
What is Beta-Caryophyllene
Since it interacts with your brain’s CB2 receptors, beta-caryophyllene works like a cannabinoid. It doesn’t get you high, however, and this terpene is believed to have potent anti-inflammatory benefits.
What is Linalool
Found in lavender as well as hemp, linalool appears to have impressive antimicrobial benefits. This terpene also interacts with your nervous system, and it might help with depression and anxiety.
What is Guaiol
Guaiol has a piney flavor and aroma, and this terpene may offer antiparasitic benefits. Like many other terpenes, guaiol also appears to have antioxidant effects.
What are Flavonoids?
Cannabinoids and terpenes have been showing to take all the spotlight as cannabis and CBD products are being widely used. First, people learn about the other cannabinoids—outside of THC or CBD—then they learn about these fantastic compounds called terpenes. However, there is more that contributes to the entourage effect—flavonoids.
Flavonoids are a group of phytonutrients found in all sorts of fruits, flowers, vegetables, and of course, cannabis & hemp. The primary function of flavonoids is to serve as cell messengers and is also known for giving the plant pigment.
Flavonoids make the yellow of sunflower pop out against a sunny blue sky and give blueberries their name. However, studies have shown these compounds possess many health benefits.
Scientists have identified thousands of them throughout nature, and some are known to be only found in cannabis and hemp. The flavonoids found in hemp and marijuana are called cannaflavins .
In a study conducted in 2011 , they found flavonoids to posses the following properties:
- Lowers risk of heart disease
Summary on Entourage Effect: Enhancing the Effects of CBD Oil
Cannabinoids work better with a combination of cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids versus a CBD product with fewer compounds or, even worse, just pure CBD.
Don’t forget the analogy of the two basketball teams. Which team do you think would win? The team with five players working together to shoot, pass, defend, rebound, or the team with just one player doing everything?
Obviously, the team with five players working together would win.
Why Choose Colorado Botanicals
Our team at Colorado Botanicals holds decades of experience in each part of the hemp manufacturing process. From the farms to growing hemp organically, the post-process of farming in drying the plants to the crucial extraction and purification process to retain as many cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and other important plant oils as possible.
If you’re looking for a product that maximizes the full potential of the Entourage Effect, visit our wide variety of products such as our CBD oils , CBD gummies , CBD creams , CBD softgels , or our CBD face mask.
Manufacturing of CBD extracts is not a fixed process, and not all extracts are equal.
To learn more about our high standards and process from seed to exact, make sure to check out our Quality page and our Quality and Consistency blog post. If you want to dive deeper into what makes the best CBD oil, then check out this blog post .
The goal is to extract the most beneficial compounds: the cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids, with the least heat degradation. All while eliminating unwanted compounds such as the gums, lipids, heavy metals, pesticides, and so on.