The Entourage Effect: The Power of Cannabinoid Synergy

The Entourage Effect: The Power of Cannabinoid Synergy

Table of Contents

The cannabis plant has a fascinating molecular fingerprint. It produces over a hundred different cannabinoids and more than 150 aromatic terpenes. From an indica to sativa, every strain of cannabis comes with a unique combination of compounds that offers distinct experiences, whether it’s serene relaxation to a sense of elevation. This rainbow of experiences is linked to a theory known as the entourage effect. 

The entourage effect is currently under investigation for its potential medicinal applications, but it has long improved the overall experiences of cannabis enthusiasts. Of course, those unfamiliar with this phenomenon may be skeptical of claims that some magical synergy even exists between components of the cannabis plant. Yet, the evidence is worth considering. 

Below, we shed light on the scientific basis and anecdotal sensations of the entourage effect so you can tap into the power of cannabinoid synergy. 

What is the Entourage Effect?

infographic explaining the entourage effect

The entourage effect is a theory about how all the different cannabis compounds work together in the human body. It suggests that by combining cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes, you will derive a more pleasurable experience and possibly greater degree of effects than you would consuming, say, THC alone.

Think of the entourage effect as enjoying a full orchestra performance versus a lone violinist. While the notes from a violin can be undeniably powerful on their own, each note is amplified for greater musical impact when rolled into a symphony, to paraphrase renowned researcher Ethan B. Russo

Today, you’ll often hear about the entourage effect in combination with full-spectrum products —  products like full-spectrum CBD oil, THC blends, or other unique cannabinoid combinations like CBG, CBN, THCV, and more. Often, these have been specifically designed to stack the effects of a diverse range of cannabis-derived elements for an improved experience.

What Cannabis Compounds are Involved in the Entourage Effect? 

The short answer is that any and all compounds may be involved in the entourage effect.

The longer answer, as we often find with questions about cannabis, is that it’s likely very complicated. At this point, a lot of evidence corroborates the theory of the entourage effect, but nothing has yet been proven through robust clinical trials.  

Still, we can share what the preliminary studies have discovered about which cannabis compounds seem to work together. 

Example of the Entourage Effect with Cannabinoids

Let’s start with the most common example: THC and CBD.

Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is beloved for its psychoactive effects. But for some people (and in high enough amounts), it can create quite an intense experience. Depending on an individual’s unique endocannabinoid system, the effects may be too intense. 

Cannabidiol (CBD), on the other hand, offers no psychoactive effects and instead more nuanced experiential effects like calmness and relief. 

These are their effects alone, but when taken together, the CBD helps balance the intensity of the THC. As one of the most studied combinations, THC taken with CBD has been shown to increase “the tolerability and therapeutic window of Δ9-THC to potentiate its beneficial effects.” Essentially, CBD helps reduce the adverse effects of THC and, therefore, could make it more useful for applications in medicine. 

Example of the Entourage Effect with Terpenes

lemon and cannabis bud limonene terpene

Terpenes may also play a significant role in improving or balancing the effects of cannabinoids. Several scientific studies, including “Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects” by Russo, suggest there could be useful combinations of cannabinoids and terpenes.

For example, Russo highlights myrcene and linalool as two terpenes with mildly sedating effects. He theorizes that combining them with THC and CBD could amplify the sensation, resulting in the relaxing experience appreciated by many cannabis enthusiasts. 

How Do You Get the Entourage Effect?

young man using a cannabis tincture oil

Experiencing the entourage effect for yourself is actually quite easy. Look for full-spectrum, hemp-derived cannabis products rather than those that contain just an isolated compound. For example, instead of CBD isolate, shop for a full-spectrum CBD tincture. Instead of gummies infused with THC distillate, try edibles made with THC blends.

Look for some of the following keywords on product packaging: 
All of these terms describe products that contain more than one compound and, therefore, should mean you’ll experience the synergistic benefit from a cornucopia of ingredients. 

What Does the Entourage Effect Feel Like?

woman enjoying the entourage effect's relaxation

By now, it should be clear that no single effect or benefit is linked to the entourage effect. Instead, it's more of a comprehensive theory describing an orchestra of possible effects. 

This is because there are thousands of different cannabis and hemp options out there, each with a unique combination of cannabinoids and terpenes. Plus, cannabis is a highly individual experience. 

For example, what you feel after consuming our Sour Belts (with their synergistic blend of Delta-8, Delta-9, Delta-10, THCV, and THCP) will always be a little different from someone else’s experience with the very same product.

But with all those caveats out of the way, we can make a few broad suggestions about what the entourage effect could feel like, especially about the most common combinations, like CBD and THC. 

Synergy of THC: CBD

One of the most famous combinations associated with the entourage effect is THC and CBD. Together, the intensity of the THC-related high is muted and more pleasant. Yes, the effects are still there, but they’ll feel rounded out with fewer pointy bits. 

Synergy of Cannabinoids and Terpenes

What about adding in terpenes? Certain terpenes may highlight or accentuate the effects of cannabinoids. For example, there could be value in combining CBD and daily stress-relieving terpenes like limonene and linalool.

Again, these specific combinations haven’t been tested in clinical trials, but are promising given individual studies of the compounds. 

Does the Entourage Effect Happen with Other Botanicals?

scientist investigating mushrooms compounds in a lab

Although we now associate the entourage effect solely with cannabis, it was initially discovered elsewhere in nature. There are many other examples where a combination of natural ingredients works synergistically for greater overall impact.

It's perhaps been studied most extensively in mushrooms, but there is also evidence suggesting certain spices (due to compounds like curcumin and piperine) may yield unique effects when taken together.

More than the Sum of its Parts

We hope this information helped to demystify this increasingly prominent phenomenon. 

Whether it's cannabinoids and terpenes or turmeric and black pepper, when taken together, certain plant derivatives can amplify and balance the effects of one another. Thus, the realm of possibilities of the entourage effect is an exciting frontier in modern research and individual experience.

If you’re ready to explore the power of natural ingredients working in synergy, check out our high-quality plant-based formulas designed to calibrate how you feel. Derived from legally compliant hemp, we have several options that pair CBD and THC together and blends that incorporate other botanicals such as mushrooms and Kava. Browse our collection of blends to begin your journey.

Until then, happy exploring, and mind your mind.

FDA DisclaimerThe statements made regarding these products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The efficacy of these products has not been confirmed by FDA-approved research. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. All information presented here is not meant as a substitute for or alternative to information from health care practitioners. Please consult your healthcare professional about potential interactions or other possible complications before using any product. The Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act requires this notice.

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