Cannabis “Entourage Effect”

Marijuana leaves, cannabisThe experts at the Modern Canna Science marijuana testing laboratory in Florida are putting more emphasis on researching cannabis’s Entourage Effect. We recognize the importance of helping users – both patients and medical marijuana distributors alike – better understand the interactive synergy of cannabis compounds. In turn, we hope consumers will achieve a clearer understanding about which medical marijuana treatments will benefit certain medical conditions.

Cannabis’ Entourage Effect: Greater Than the Sum of its Parts

If you were to take a very close look at cannabis flowers, you’d see they are covered in a layer of sticky, crystal resin. These tiny crystals are home to thousands of compounds, including cannabinoids, such as THC and CBD, and a variety of terpenes. And while THC and CBD are the star players of cannabinoids, they are by no means the only ones.

The “entourage effect” refers to the combined effect of the cannabinoids, terpenes, and other chemical compounds found in marijuana. These compounds work together synergistically to produce an effect that is greater than the sum of their parts.

In fact, a 1981 study found that whole plant extracts produced 330% more activity than THC alone. The researchers theorized that cannabis contains “synergist” and “inhibitor” compounds. Since then, scientists have determined that cannabinoids and terpenes are responsible for these effects. For example, cannabinoids such as CBD can subdue the negative effects of THC, while boosting its benefits.

The Effect on the Human Body and Mind

The Entourage Effect also helps explain why different medical cannabis strains may have different effects, depending on the individual. Because strains can vary significantly in their chemical profiles, they can cause an equally varied number of experiences.

So how is it that we humans are naturally so well-adapted to recognize all the benefits of the cannabis plant? It is our biological system, known as our endocannabinoid system (ECS). One of the primary reasons that plant cannabinoids have medicinal effects is because they are able to interact with our ECS.

How Endocannabinoids Work

Our bodies actually make their own cannabinoids, called endogenous cannabinoids, or endocannabinoids in abbreviated form. These endocannabinoids interact with the receptors in our ECS, which in turn regulates our digestion, cardiovascular function, pain, wake/sleep cycles, emotional states, and more. When we consume plant cannabinoids like THC and CBD, they’re essentially “flipping the same switches” that our own endocannabinoids would normally interact with. That’s why cannabis has so many potential medical benefits: because our bodies are already programmed to receive its components.

The Role of Terpenes

As it turns out, terpenes are healthy for people as well as plant life. A September 2011 report by Dr. Ethan Russo in the British Journal of Pharmacology discussed the therapeutic characteristics of terpenoids, which are typically lacking in “CBD-only” products.

For example, Beta-caryophyllene is a sesquiterpene found in the essential oil of black pepper, oregano, and other edible herbs. It also shows up in several cannabis strains and in many leafy, green vegetables. It protects our gastrointestinal tract, is good for treating certain ulcers, and offers great potential as a therapeutic compound for inflammatory conditions and auto-immune disorders because it attaches directly to the peripheral cannabinoid receptor known as “CB2.”

Terpenoids and cannabinoids both increase blood flow, enhance cortical activity, and destroy respiratory pathogens, including MRSA, the antibiotic-resistant bacteria that in recent years has claimed the lives of tens of thousands of Americans. Dr. Russo’s article goes on to state that cannabinoid-terpenoid interactions “could produce synergy with respect to treatment of pain, inflammation, depression, anxiety, addiction, epilepsy, cancer, fungal and bacterial infections.”

More on the Cannabis Entourage Effect

To help you better understand the concept in a metaphorical sense, think of it in terms of human interactions. Everyone has gifts and abilities that can take us to a certain point in life, and sometimes, we’ll meet another person who has different gifts and abilities. When partnerships are formed between two people, and abilities are combined, achievements can occur that were otherwise unimaginable! Many people have said that perhaps it should be called the “ensemble effect” instead, as it is comparable to the collaboration of a symphony orchestra.

The different compounds can amplify each other’s chemistry, making the overall plant more effective in addressing unwanted symptoms.

Modern Canna Science is the pre-eminent medical marijuana testing laboratory in the State of Florida. Founded in 2014, we are regarded as Florida’s first medical cannabis laboratory. We work with licensed Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers (MMTCs) to ensure that medical cannabis and low-THC cannabis products are free from biological and chemical contaminants. Our experienced analysts can also determine potency and cannabinoid profiles for each harvest of raw cannabis flower or the derivative medications created from them. If you are a patient, physician, distributor or grower seeking more information regarding medical cannabis in Florida, please contact us today.

Additional “Marijuana Entourage Effect” Resources:

  1. Scientific American, “Some of the Parts: Is the Entourage Effect Valid?”
  2. CNN, Medical marijuana and ‘the entourage effect’,