What is CBD’s Entourage Effect?


Have you ever heard of the CBD “Entourage Effect?” It’s a fascinating theory that could revolutionize how you use CBD.

Cannabis contains several compounds that serve various purposes. Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of the most important of these compounds because of its numerous health benefits.

Another active component is Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is the compound responsible for why you feel “high” after consuming cannabis. In the 1980s, Marinol, a synthetic THC drug, was released with the expectation that it would deliver the same health benefits as consuming a whole cannabis plant. It didn’t.

Like most other herbs, cannabis works best for medicinal purposes when you consume the entire plant.

Why? The Entourage Effect.

What Is the CBD Entourage Effect?

An entourage is generally a group of people working together to serve or assist one person. The combined efforts of the group serve the person well and enable them to perform at a higher level.

It is the same with CBD. In CBD, you have several cannabis compounds that work together like an entourage to make the plant’s effects more potent. If you consume any of these compounds individually, the effect decreases.

When you consume the entire cannabis plant, you receive the complete entourage with all the compounds working together within your body. It delivers an effect that surpasses what each component can deliver individually—the perfect example of synergy in motion.

It’s possible because the compounds in the plant that naturally amplify the chemistry of the other components. It makes consuming cannabis as a whole more effective at treating unwanted symptoms, for example.

If you consume only the THC component of cannabis for pain relief, you’ll have more of its psychoactive effects. If you consume the whole plant, you’ll get more than 85 cannabinoids in cannabis that work with THC to ease pain and deliver better results.

The CBD compound is especially crucial since it regulates THC’s effects on the human body.

Different species of cannabis contain different levels of Phytocannabinoids (THC, CBD, and others), Terpenoids, Flavonoids, and Fatty acids. The resulting entourage effect will vary from species to species.

For the optimal entourage effect, especially for pain symptom relief, you need a plant with the perfect balance of all the compounds that naturally occur in cannabis.

You can get this from specially bred strains of cannabis with the ideal balance of CBD and THC.

The Most Common Entourage Effect CBD

Consumers and scientists agree that the CBD Entourage Effect they most commonly witness is how CBD influences the effects of THC and vice versa. The interaction between the two compounds maximizes the therapeutic effects of CBD oil.

THC is the primary intoxicating cannabinoid. It operates by binding with the CB1 receptors of the endocannabinoid system. CBD doesn’t bind to CB1 receptors, but it reduces the number of CB1 receptors that THC can affect.

Unless you are a pro-stoner, you don’t want marijuana with higher THC levels. It leads to intense highs, with hallucinations and paranoia as potential side effects.

If your medication contains equal parts THC and CBD, you’ll have a mellower “high” and increased feelings of relaxation. It makes the medication more tolerable and reduces the likelihood of experiencing THC’s adverse side effects.

What Happens When You Use THC-Only Medicine?

Plants that contain more THC than CBD initiate a more intense high, but that’s not all. THC is also useful for treating:

  • Anxiety
  • Chronic pain
  • Glaucoma
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Muscle spasticity

The THC levels of your medication play an important role in its effectiveness for treatment, so it’s best to get a prescription from a medical professional rather than to try and self-medicate.

What Happens When You Use CBD-Only Medicine?

The effects of CBD are very different from THC. For instance, cannabis plants that contain more CBD than THC have fewer psychoactive effects. You are less likely to get high, making it a suitable alternative medicine for treating young children with epilepsy, for example.

It also doesn’t show up in most drug screenings, so CBD use is suitable for people with sensitive jobs who need relief from:

  • Chronic pain
  • Depression
  • Inflammation
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Migraines
  • Nausea
  • Psychosis
  • Seizures

Some users may experience side-effects, such as fatigue and irritability, though.

What Happens When You Use All of the Compounds?

THC and CBD both deliver anti-inflammatory effects, pain and anxiety relief, and other phenomenal benefits. These two compounds aren’t the only elements in cannabis that offer these benefits. Compounds, such as CBN, CBDV, and terpenes, amplify these effects, as well.

Since CBD and THC are not solely responsible for pain relief, using either compound as an isolate won’t get you optimum results. The best results with fewer side-effects appear when all the compounds in cannabis combine in your system. It complements the potential benefits and minimizes the side-effects of the other components.

For example, pinene can counteract THC’s adverse effects on your memory and cognition, letting you enjoy more of the upsides of THC. CBD also makes the psychoactive effects of THC more tolerable.

Aside from balancing the effects of THC, there are other potential benefits from seeking the entourage effect instead of relying on THC or CBD isolates. Sadly, there is limited research into these benefits for now, especially regarding the effects of the more obscure cannabinoids.

The existing research already shows that the Entourage Effect of cannabis surpasses that of any isolated cannabinoids, however. THC and CBD are the most prominent players among cannabis compounds, but the potential can’t be fully realized without the activity of cannabis’ other compounds.

The unique balancing properties of the over 400 different organic compounds in cannabis are more potent in the human body when all are present, delivering wider-reaching results.

More Evidence of the Entourage Effect

In 2011, Ethan Russo released a study that shed more light on how cannabinoids and terpenes work together through the Entourage Effect to deliver more potent therapeutic benefits.

The more recent study in 2019 confirms that one cannabis compound cannot match the potential of an entire marijuana plant. So, if the entire plant or a full-spectrum CBD product is more beneficial, why do people still use isolates?

Not everyone is as informed as they could be on the matter. Rather than put in the necessary research about which CBD product works best, people often imitate and use the products they see others using.

The cannabis market is not yet fully regulated, either. Quality control is a growing issue, and some brands falsely claim their CBD product is full-spectrum or whole-plant based. Consumers who fall prey to the false advertising of such companies experience inconsistent or undesired results.

We want to help you avoid such issues, which is why we’ve included everything you need to know about it. Finding the right product for harnessing the therapeutic benefits of the Entourage Effect CBD doesn’t have to be a challenge.

How to Get the Best Entourage Effect CBD Experience

Experiencing the beneficial effect of each cannabis compound working together is easy. You only need the right cannabis product.

You can go for whole-plant cannabis or the more convenient option of a full or broad-spectrum CBD product.

  • CBD Isolate products contain only the CBD compound. There are also THC isolate products for customers who are primarily interested in getting high. These types of products cannot deliver the Entourage Effect, however.
  • Full-spectrum CBD products contain CBD and all the hemp’s natural compounds, including flavonoids, terpenes, fatty acids, some THC (about 0.3%), and other cannabinoids. It can deliver the Entourage Effect with minimal psychoactive side effects.
  • Broad-spectrum CBD is similar to full-spectrum CBD and contains much of the same components (except for THC). It is ideal for those who want the Entourage Effect without the risks of getting high or failing a drug test.

If you want the complete Entourage Effect of CBD, without any of the risks of THC, the best product to go for is Broad-spectrum CBD. The broad-spectrum CBD has been created by removing only the THC from a full-spectrum oil.

It is better to choose a product from a reputable brand that’s clearly labeled “broad-spectrum CBD.” These products are THC-free, yet deliver maximum effectiveness.

If THC isn’t an issue for you, you can go for full-spectrum products that are labeled “full-plant extract” or “whole-plant extract.”

An isolated CBD product will not contain any of the naturally occurring fatty acids, enzymes, terpenes, and other Phytocannabinoids that trigger the Entourage Effect. It will contain only pure CBD and will deliver more limited results.

Not every brand is completely honest about the content of its CBD product. For your peace of mind to ensure that you get the desired results, always select a reputable product from a certified brand that is third-party tested.

Find out more about how to pick the right CBD oil here.

Final Thoughts

There have been a few studies that claim the CBD Entourage Effect is a myth, such as a study by Santiago et al. published in BioRxiv in 2019. Note that this study was limited to only a few terpenoids and was not extensive enough to make these claims.

In our opinion, based on our experience and other studies, the Entourage Effect is real. It is also the best way to experience the full benefits of using CBD oil. These benefits are only accessible when you use the right quality broad-spectrum or full-spectrum CBD products, however.

Avoid any mistakes and be sure to shop from a reputable CBD brand. It’s a safe and reliable way to get a clean product that contains all the essential compounds that come from consuming a whole cannabis plant.

FAQs About CBD’s Entourage Effect

Question: What Is the CBD Entourage Effect?
Answer: In CBD, the entourage effect can be achieved by taking multiple cannabis compounds to make it more effective.

Question: How to get the best entourage effect on CBD products?
Answer: You can go for whole-plant cannabis or the more convenient option of a full or broad-spectrum CBD product.

Question: Can you experience an entourage effect on CBD products without the risk of THC?
Answer: If you want the complete Entourage Effect of CBD, without any of the risks of THC, the best product to go for is Broad-spectrum CBD. The broad-spectrum CBD has been created by removing only the THC from a full-spectrum oil.

Question: Is CBD entourage effect a myth?
Answer: Some studies claim the CBD Entourage Effect is a myth, such as a study by Santiago et al. published in BioRxiv in 2019. Note that this study was limited to only a few terpenoids and was not extensive enough to make these claims.

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Gene Daniels

Gene Daniels

Gene is the head of the learning CBD Oil editorial team. He has been active in the hemp community for many years publishing works on hemp-based wellness. Mr. Daniels takes great care to ensure all health-related info is pulled from reputable resources and is free of personal bias.