When using cannabis, most of us think THC creates the effects of weed. But THC isn’t the sole compound behind your experience while using cannabis. The cannabinoids and terpenes work with the THC in the strain to create the impact. The entourage effect is this synergistic combination, and it’s one reason why cannabis works in a variety of ways.
Curious how these different parts of cannabis work together and how to get the high right for you? Below we delve in. Call it the entourage effect explained.
Overview of the Entourage Effect
Most cannabis users understand strains such as indica, sativa, or hybrids. The common knowledge is that indica evokes sedative effects, sativa elicits a stimulating effect, and hybrids create a balancing effect. As we’ve learned more about the nuances of cannabis, these three categories don’t capture the whole picture.
Rather than classifying cannabis by the strain, we can dig into its chemical profile. The chemical profile teaches us about the unique combination of cannabinoids, terpenes, terpenoids, flavonoids, and pigments. Driving the strain’s effects are the volume and ratio of these chemicals. Understanding the combination of these chemicals gives us the ability to control substances. This allows us to create strains that ease pain, provide focus, give an energy boost, or relax the mind.
The entourage effect is the combination of terpenes and cannabinoids that creates a unique high. There is some early research on cannabinoids (the chemical compounds that create the high) and terpenes (the smelly substance found on cannabis plants) and how they create the entourage effect. We’re still in the early stages of learning about these molecules and their impact on cannabis. With legalization spreading across the nation, hopefully, we’ll be able to conduct further research. Terpenes’ studies are more developed since they’re found throughout nature. They’re studied for medicinal and industrial use from other plants.
What We Do Know
There are many cannabinoids in a cannabis strain. THC is the predominant one, but we also measure CBD, CBG, CBN, THCV, and other small cannabinoids. The different ratios of each cannabinoid impact the effect of the strain on the user. These cannabinoids are also affected by the terpenes present in the plant. These combinations affect how cannabis binds and interacts with your body. This is why different types/strains of weed can provide unique experiences for the user.
For example, one study showed that CBG in combination with CBD increased the effectiveness of ALS treatment. CBD provides neuroprotection to the body, and when combined with CBG the compound was more effective in binding to cell receptors.
Think how impactful this one study is on the knowledge of disease treatment. Understanding the power of these combinations benefits users and the medical community at large.
Terpenes’ Role in the Entourage Effect
Terpenes are the drivers of cannabinoids. They influence how well the cannabinoids bind to cells. They also provide their unique properties to the user’s experience.
Dozens of terpenes are in cannabis strains. Key ones are Myrcene, Limonene, Caryophyllene, Linalool, Humulene, Terpinolene, and Pinene. Terpenes are incredible because they’re all over the natural world. Some of these same terpenes are also in mangoes, citrus, black pepper, lavender, hops, apples, and pine trees.
One study demonstrated that beta-myrcene (a terpene) can strengthen the impact of cannabis’ analgesic or pain-relieving effect. This occurs because the combo of the terpenes and cannabinoids aids in crossing the blood-brain barrier, improving the THC-binding receptors.
Since terpenes occur across nature, our understanding of them and their medicinal benefits are further explored than cannabinoids. Many studies link individual terpenes compounds as having anticonvulsant and anti-anxiety properties.
Heirloom’s Insight on the Entourage Effect
Heirloom Collective believes there are benefits to studying the entourage effect further. We cultivate a variety of strains looking to bring out the highest genetic potential. Our goal is to provide a large array of choices for users. Our understanding is that it is not high THC content that provides high potency, but a variety of compounds with optimum genetic configuration create a potent blend.
If you’re wondering what the entourage effect feels like, check out broad-spectrum CBD and THC-specific strains to experience the effect in different ways. Products like full spectrum CBD contain all the natural benefits of the cannabis plant. You can get full-spectrum CBD oil and full-spectrum CBD gummies to try the benefits of the entourage effect for yourself. We also have prepared recommendations on some of our products below.
- Banana Daddy – A lower THC strain that hits hard. This strain only contains around 20% THC but the diverse terpenes profile of ⅓ myrcene, ⅓ limonene, and ⅓ split across 7-8 compounds including Linalool. Even with the smaller amount of THC the combination of the different terpenes creates a potent flower. Many strains that contain the mid to high 20s for THC percentage allow for the terpene ratio to upgrade the effects.
- Mana – A cross strain that carries 4% terpenes with a ratio of 2:1:1 limonene to myrcene to caryophyllene. Mana has a potent effect with a wonderful smell and taste.
- Zour Apple – Creates a focused and creative energy high check. With a strong 25% THC, mid 3% terpenes with about 40% terp makeup being Terpinolene. This provides a bright zingy smell similar to Granny Smith apples.
The entourage effect is key to the different highs and impact of the weed you use. We highly encourage more study into this field as there are myriads of benefits and we have only scratched the surface.