Understanding the entourage effect: Why it changes the effects of CBD

If you’ve ever shopped for cannabis or CBD products, you may already have come across the words “full-spectrum” or “broad-spectrum” products. These cannabis products offer many more benefits than isolate CBD products because they contain a broad or full range of cannabis molecules such as cannabinoids and terpenes. 
Part of the reason why these products work so well is the so-called “entourage effect”. But what is this effect and how does it work? What does it mean for you as a consumer? And how does it affect the type of products you may want to buy? Keep reading for a much deeper understanding of this scientific principle. 

Cannabinoids And Terpenes

The cannabis plant is incredibly rich in beneficial molecules which are classified into two broad categories: cannabinoids and terpenes. Cannabinoids are molecules such as CBD, CBN, CBG, and the famous THC. These molecules have a direct impact on the endocannabinoid system (ECS), meaning that they can provide direct benefits for our bodies. 

Terpenes are molecules found in cannabis and in countless other plants. They are the compounds that give cannabis products their unique smell and taste. For example, the “limonene” terpene is known for giving off a citrusy scent, while “pinene” evokes fresh pine needles. 

What Are Terpenes Used For?

Although they’re mainly known for the scent that they give off, terpenes are responsible for so much more. Each terpene has unique therapeutic properties. For example, some are more calming, others can stop nausea, and others still contribute to pain-relieving properties.

Terpenes are naturally present in the hemp plant, although which ones appear really depends on the strain of cannabis. There are thousands of different cannabis strains out there, all of which have a different terpene profile. As well as giving cannabis a unique smell (think of the limonene terpene in strains like lemon haze), they also affect the overall effect of the strain. In the case of lemon haze, the limonene terpene is responsible for improving mood and relieving stress. 

Nowadays, you’ll find that a lot of CBD products use a “terpene blend” as part of their ingredient list to boost their existing properties. Not only do these terpenes add some effects that may not have been present in the original product, but they also boost the existing properties of the cannabinoids. To understand how it works, we have to start explaining what we mean with the phrase “entourage effect”. 

What Is The Entourage Effect, Really?

The entourage effect is a popular theory in cannabis science. The word itself derives from the French “entourage” which means “surrounding”. The entourage effect essentially explains what happens when cannabis molecules such as cannabinoids and terpenes surround each other. 
Hemp plants naturally contain hundreds of different molecules. However, the effects of hemp on the body is more than the sum of its different parts. For example, when we take CBD and limonene together, we get more than just the benefits of CBD + those of limonene. This is the theory explained by the phrase “entourage effect”. 

Essentially, these cannabis molecules affect the body much more powerfully when they are taken together. Molecules such as CBD have better effects when taken alongside all the naturally occuring cannabinoids and terpenes in hemp than when taken on its own. 

Another great example of that is looking at the way that CBD and THC mutually impact each other. Studies have found that using THC together with CBD makes the effects of CBD stronger, while CBD balances out some of the psychoactive qualities of THC. In a drug called Sativex, the 1:1 THC to CBD ratio is used to treat multiple sclerosis. It’s not just that CBD and THC both work in reducing spasticity, it’s also that they show their best potential when used together. 

How The Entourage Effect Changes The Effects of CBD

If you’ve ever looked at a list of CBD benefits, it can be quite overwhelming! From soothing pain to treating insomnia, improving skin texture, and even regulating appetite, CBD seems to do it all. 
Although there is just one CBD molecule, some CBD products are much better for pain-relief, while others are ideal for a mood-boost or an anti-inflammatory kick. Again, this is due to the entourage effect.

The molecules that CBD is surrounded by have a massive impact on its effects. For example, a CBD product that contains a lot of the cannabinoid CBG and the terpenes caryophyllene and linalool may be particularly appropriate for treating pain. 

By understanding how the entourage effect works, you can get to know which cannabinoids and terpenes formulations will work the best for your unique condition, whatever it may be. 

Broad- And Full-Spectrum Products

Although the “entourage effect” is just a theory, scientists agree that it’s very useful when thinking about the effects of cannabis on the human body. The simple fact is, cannabis molecules seem to be much more effective when used all together rather than separately. 
As a result, it makes sense for most of us to look for products that preserve all of these naturally occurring molecules. Those are what we call “broad-spectrum” and “full-spectrum” products. In some cases, it also makes sense to use products that have been enriched with additional cannabinoids and terpenes. These products make full use of the entourage effect by using molecules that complement and boost those already present in hemp’s natural form. 

A Few Tips On Choosing CBD Products

Now that we’ve delved deeper into the workings of the entourage effect, let’s take a look at some tips for choosing the best CBD products:

  • Whenever possible, go for full-spectrum or broad-spectrum products.
  • Make sure that the manufacturer provides a Certificate of Analysis.
  • Read the certificate of analysis to find out what terpenes and cannabinoids the product actually contains.
  • Take some time to learn about cannabinoids and terpenes to learn about the best ones for your needs. 

Renact’s Patented Cannabinoids Formulations

At Renact, we’ve patented two unique cannabinoid formulas that contain a very wide range of beneficial cannabis molecules. While our products are fully THC-free, they contain all of the cannabinoids and terpenes naturally found in the hemp plant. Not only that, but these molecules have been carefully selected to address specific needs: sleep troubles, or anxiety. Visit our product pagesand try them today to start experiencing the full benefits of the entourage effect—order your starter kit now! 

Share this post
10 benefits of vaping CBD in 2024
Why bioavailability matters