What Does the Entourage Effect Feel Like?

May 12, 2023The nama Team

The entourage effect occurs when multiple compounds in cannabis work synergistically to produce stronger effects. But what does this interaction feel like?

What Does the Entourage Effect Feel Like?

The entourage effect involves internal biochemistry, but does not generate a consciously-felt experience in the way that alcohol or other substances do. Let’s explore the entourage effect and the feelings associated with taking multiple compounds in the cannabis plant. 

What is the Entourage Effect? 

A cannabis researcher named Dr. Ethan Russo hypothesized what is called the entourage effect. Russo hypothesized that cannabis compounds work best when taken together. There are over 100 compounds found in the cannabis flower, stems, and leaves, each with their own unique properties. 

Cannabis research shows that when cannabis compounds like cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids interact with each other, their therapeutic properties interact synergistically within the body’s endocannabinoid system. 

This whole-plant medicinal phenomenon is known to offer a more balanced cannabis experience with a wider range of effects than when taking an isolated cannabinoid by itself. The scientific research on the entourage effect is still in its early stages, but the cannabis industry is calling for a deeper look and more clinical trials about its effect on humans. 

One can produce the entourage effect by taking full-spectrum CBD. These cannabis products contain many active compounds including THC, CBD, and other various cannabinoids, along with terpenes and flavonoids. 

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What Does the Entourage Effect Feel Like? 

The entourage effect is not a specific feeling but a hypothesized set of biochemical interactions within the body. This effect offers a more profound, longer-lasting experience when using products containing a combination of cannabinoids and terpenes from cannabis plants. Choosing a cannabis strain with a balanced ratio of CBD and THC will have a more refined effect on the body than using a strain with high THC and no other compounds. 

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How Does the Entourage Effect Work? 

When the entourage effect is at play, there is enhanced activity in the endocannabinoid system. Cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes all interact with the ECS in different ways to offer benefits to the body. When combined, those benefits become more pronounced. 

Cannabis Compounds

Cannabinoids are the most well-studied compounds in cannabis, with THC and CBD being the most abundant. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the major psychoactive component of cannabis known for its euphoric effects, offering a range of benefits like improving mood and anxiety and relieving pain and inflammation. Cannabidiol (CBD) is the major non-psychoactive component of cannabis known to improve sleep, boost appetite, and relieve pain. Some minor cannabinoids include CBN and CBG. 

Terpenes are aromatic compounds responsible for the scent and flavor of cannabis. Terpene profiles of different cannabis strains are known to have their own effects, too, like promoting relaxation and focus. Some common terpenes found in cannabis are myrcene, limonene, pinene, and linalool. If you ever smell cannabis that has the scent of a pine tree, it’s because of the pinene terpene. 

Flavonoids are plant pigments responsible for the color of cannabis plants. They’re known to have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Some common flavonoids are quercetin, apigenin, and kaempferol. 

The Endocannabinoid System

The ECS is a complex network of naturally-produced endocannabinoids, receptors, and enzymes that regulate many important physiological processes in the body, including mood, appetite, pain, learning and memory, and immune function. 

Endocannabinoids activate the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the endocannabinoid system to cause their effects. CB1 receptors are primarily in the brain and central nervous system, involved with pain regulation, mood, and appetite. CB2 receptors are most often found in immune cells and are involved with regulating inflammation and immune function. Enzymes break down the endocannabinoids once they’ve completed their job. 

Cannabinoids like THC and CBD interact with the cannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) in the ECS to produce their effects. THC is known to bind directly to these receptors in the same way neurotransmitters do, whereas CBD indirectly interacts with these receptors with a more antagonistic approach. Flavonoids and terpenes play a role in regulating cannabinoid activity in the ECS, either inhibiting or activating the enzymes that break them down. 

When these compounds are present together, they have a much greater overall effect on the ECS. THC and CBD’s interactions are most important here because CBD is known to downregulate THC when used in collaboration, making THC a more tolerable substance for users. 

Is the Entourage Effect Real? 

Research about whether or not the entourage effect is real is still in early stages, but reports suggest that the theory does have scientific validity. Preliminary studies suggest that this potential cannabis synergy deserves more attention. A 2020 article discussed that terpenes and cannabinoids could be useful in the treatment of anxiety disorders. Other reports discuss how terpenes enhance cannabinoid activity. Learning more about the entourage effect on humans is an important part of the advancement of cannabis education. 

What are the Benefits of the Entourage Effect? 

One of the main advantages of the entourage effect is that it can enhance the therapeutic benefits of medical cannabis. Combining compounds increases their bioavailability and can give users greater relief from symptoms and an overall improvement in health. Taking CBD and THC together can reduce the psychoactive effects of THC while amplifying its benefits. This is because CBD downregulates THC, making it a more tolerable substance. 

Low amounts of THC seem to be more beneficial than high doses. Microdosing THC involves consuming low doses of THC content (under 10 mg). Read our guide to the benefits of microdosing THC for more on the topic. 

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The Entourage Effect and Pain Relief

CBD and THC both have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties that can be useful for people who experience chronic pain or have inflammatory conditions. Clinical studies have shown CBD decreases oxidative stress in the body, which lowers inflammation. People microdosing THC for inflammation should look for cannabis extracts containing terpenes because they work with cannabinoids for more potent effects, offering their own anti-inflammatory properties to the mix. 

The Entourage Effect and Reducing Anxiety

CBD is well-known for relieving anxiety due to its anxiolytic properties. At low doses, THC can relieve anxiety, too. In higher doses, however, THC could exacerbate anxiety symptoms. Microdosing Delta 9 with CBD will smooth out the effects of THC to make it more effective at reducing anxiety. Terpenes like limonene are known to have calming properties. When using a terpene extract with CBD and low doses of THC, the benefits of all will be more effective. Read our article to learn more about the best weed strains for anxiety and focus

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The Entourage Effect and Sleep

Studies have shown that cannabinoids have been known to reduce the severity of insomnia, helping users fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. The relaxing effects of terpenes like linalool could also contribute to improving one’s ability to transition to sleep. Using a combination of cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids could help regulate the body’s sleep-wake cycle and improve sleep quality. 

At low doses, THC can benefit sleep. A review shows that microdosing THC for sleep could decrease sleep latency. It also showed that CBD is a promising cannabinoid to benefit REM sleep behavior disorders. 

If you’re looking for a holistic cannabis option that helps you get a good night’s rest, try our Sleep Plus gummies, with a full spectrum blend that has CBD, low doses of THC, and even 3 mg of melatonin in a blackberry lavender flavor. Our Extra Strength Sleep Drops are easy-to-dose CBD capsules with a full-spectrum terpene-rich, organic hemp extract to help you sleep through the night. 

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What is the Difference Between Full-Spectrum and Broad-Spectrum CBD? 

Full-spectrum and broad-spectrum CBD both contain multiple cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. Unlike full-spectrum CBD, broad-spectrum CBD products do not contain THC. Since THC is a major component of the entourage effect, broad-spectrum products are not known to offer the same benefits as full-spectrum products do. For people who want to experience a wider range of cannabis but do not want to use THC, broad-spectrum is the best option. 

Like our broad-spectrum CBD gummies, with just 10 mg of CBD formulated from high-quality hemp that is perfect for all-day use. 

Some people do look for CBD isolate, a pure form of CBD doesn’t contain other compounds. These types of products are popularly purchased as CBD oils or tinctures and are generally best for those who might have a sensitivity to other compounds in the plant. Read our CBD blog to learn more about whether full-spectrum CBD or CBD isolate is better for you

Is CBD Legal? 

CBD extracted from the hemp plant is considered federally legal after the 2018 Farm Bill created a legal distinction between hemp and marijuana. According to this bill, “hemp products" refer to a cannabis plant (cannabis sativa and cannabis indica) that contains no more than 0.3% THC by dry weight. If the product contains more than 0.3% THC by dry weight, it is considered marijuana, which is a controlled substance. Read our article to learn more about how Delta 9 THC is legal

All of our vegan CBD gummies are carefully sourced from seed to sale from organic, 100% American hemp extracts that comply with this federal law. 

THC and CBD FAQ

One achieves the entourage effect by using full-spectrum CBD products that contain a wide range of flavonoids, terpenes, and cannabinoids, including THC, for a whole-plant medicinal experience. Cannabis compounds work synergistically to offer enhanced, longer-term benefits.

Full-spectrum CBD could cause you to fail a drug test. Even if the plant contains trace amounts of THC, a positive drug test could occur. How long THC stays in your system depends on your tolerance, frequency of use, and overall health.

CBD is a non-psychoactive, well-tolerated cannabinoid that will not get users high, even in high doses. Taking a CBD product that is full-spectrum could offer mild euphoria, depending on how much THC is present.

CBD is well-known for a plethora of health benefits, including improving anxiety, reducing pain and inflammation, offering neuroprotection, increasing appetite, supporting sleep, and treating epilepsy.

There are many ways one can take CBD to achieve the benefits of the cannabinoid and others present in the plant. CBD oils and tinctures are generally taken with a droplet under the tongue. Some people use topical CBD in the form of lotions, creams, and oils for pain relief and as part of their skincare routine. The most popular method of consumption is through edibles and gummies because they’re convenient, easy-to-dose, tasty treats that offer effects for the longest amount of time in the body. 

Try our Euphoria Delta-9 THC gummies in tasty strawberry flavors for a customized, equal blend of CBD and THC.

CBD is considered safe and well-tolerated. Some minor side effects of CBD could include dry mouth, fatigue, and nausea, but these symptoms are known to subside within a few hours. If you have any pre-existing health conditions or are taking other medications, it’s best to consult with a doctor before using any cannabis products.

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Citations:

Ferber, S. G., Namdar, D., Hen-Shoval, D., Eger, G., Koltai, H., Shoval, G., Shbiro, L., & Weller, A. (2020, February 1). The “Entourage Effect”: Terpenes Coupled with Cannabinoids for the Treatment of Mood Disorders and Anxiety Disorders. PubMed Central (PMC). https://doi.org/10.2174/1570159X17666190903103923

Farm Bill. (n.d.). Farm Bill | USDA. https://www.usda.gov/farmbill

Chen, A. (n.d.). Some of the Parts: Is Marijuana’s “Entourage Effect” Scientifically Valid? Scientific American. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/some-of-the-parts-is-marijuana-rsquo-s-ldquo-entourage-effect-rdquo-scientifically-valid/

Russo, E. B. (n.d.). Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects. PubMed Central (PMC). https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1476-5381.2011.01238.x

Ferber, S. G., Namdar, D., Hen-Shoval, D., Eger, G., Koltai, H., Shoval, G., Shbiro, L., & Weller, A. (2020, February 1). The “Entourage Effect”: Terpenes Coupled with Cannabinoids for the Treatment of Mood Disorders and Anxiety Disorders. PubMed Central (PMC). https://doi.org/10.2174/1570159X17666190903103923

LaVigne, J. E., Hecksel, R., Keresztes, A., & Streicher, J. M. (2021, April 15). Cannabis sativa terpenes are cannabimimetic and selectively enhance cannabinoid activity - Scientific Reports. Nature. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-87740-8

Atalay, S., Jarocka-Karpowicz, I., & Skrzydlewska, E. (2019, December 25). Antioxidative and Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Cannabidiol. PubMed Central (PMC). https://doi.org/10.3390/antiox9010021

Kaul, M., Zee, P. C., & Sahni, A. S. (2021, February 12). Effects of Cannabinoids on Sleep and their Therapeutic Potential for Sleep Disorders. PubMed Central (PMC). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13311-021-01013-w

Cannabis, Cannabinoids, and Sleep: a Review of the Literature - PubMed. (2017, April 1). PubMed. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11920-017-0775-9

 

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