The Entourage Effect, CBD and Everything In Between! [A Go-To Guide]
If you’ve done any research on CBD, you might have seen the highly scientific phrase “entourage effect CBD” pop up a few times. It sounds like something from your high school chemistry class, doesn’t it? For those of us that didn’t do well in science classes, the term may intimidate you a bit. But fear not! It’s less complicated than it sounds!
The entourage effect is a term that describes the benefits that come from the interaction between the near 100 different cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant and your body’s endocannabinoid system. The entourage effect makes your CBD experience more fulfilling and enjoyable. But what is it, specifically? We’ve got you covered! Keep reading to find out what the entourage effect is and how to make it work for you.
What is the Entourage Effect?
Growing research exploring the idea that the effects and benefits of CBD are greater when a collection of compounds from the cannabis plant are left intact. Cannabis plants contain both cannabinoids and terpenes, which interact to cause different effects in the body. The more that these two compounds are present, the stronger the entourage effect.
Cannabinoids and the Endocannabinoid System
The cannabis plant creates over 100 known cannabinoids, with cannabidiol (CBD) being the most common. CBD is known as a phytocannabinoid, meaning it is a cannabinoid found only in plants.
While there are many cannabinoids made only in plants, many are also made in the bodies of most mammals! (Yes, that means humans, too!) These cannabinoids are called endocannabinoids, meaning they are produced inside our bodies.
Endocannabinoids interact with special receptors found throughout the body within the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This system moderates a whole bunch of different body functions:
- Regulates appetite and promotes smooth digestion
- Eases joint soreness
- Supports memory and cognitive functions
- Promotes immunity
- Improves balance and coordination
- Mood regulation and stability
ECS receptors are located everywhere in the body but are primarily found in the central nervous system. Because cannabinoids are naturally occurring, external cannabinoids, like those from CBD, complement the ECS and help regulate and maintain equilibrium in both the body and mind.
Terpenes are another compound found in plants, including cannabis. These terpenes vary between plant types and have different pharmacological properties. Some terpenes even have pharmacological effects and are studied for their benefits and added to products that utilize their benefits. Lavender has a calming effect because of its terpenes and is included as a relaxation booster to lotions and candles.
Cannabis terpenes vary between strains and are crossbred to produce more desirable effects. Like cannabinoids, there are over 20,000 types of terpenes, with nearly 100 being found in cannabis plants. It’s difficult to narrow down the precise number, but certain types are often more present in cannabis:
- Pinene: Eases physical discomfort, nervousness, and swelling and supports memory retention.
- Eucalyptol: Improved breathing and digestion
- Limonene: Boosts the body’s natural defenses and uplifts mood.
- Linalool: Has sedating effects.
- Myrcene: Contributes to relaxation.
- Humulene: Has antifungal and antibacterial properties and can help suppress appetite.
- Terpinolene: Has a soothing effect.
- Bisabolol: Reduces skin irritation.
- Caryophyllene: Analgesic and calming properties.
The combination of terpenes in CBD products gives them their unique taste, smell, and therapeutic effects.
Cannabinoids and Terpenes Together
Terpenes work in harmony with cannabinoids to multiply the beneficial properties of CBD. This synergy is the entourage effect. The more cannabinoids and terpenes present in a strain, the stronger the entourage effect will be. This is why full-spectrum CBD products are preferred. Full-spectrum CBD has all of the available cannabinoids in cannabis plants, generating a stronger and more favorable bodily response.
Think about it this way: When baking a cake, you need to use all of the ingredients in a recipe. If you make a cake without adding baking soda to the mix, the cake will become dense, changing its texture completely. You can still eat the cake, but it won’t be as enjoyable if you had followed the recipe. Leaving all cannabinoids in a CBD product creates a more enjoyable experience!
What is the Entourage Effect in CBD?
CBD extracted from the hemp plant must be properly harvested, extracted, and processed for safe consumption. CBD hemp flowers harvested from organic farms don’t include pesticides or other harmful chemicals to grow hemp. The higher-quality the hemp, the more cannabis compounds present in the final crop, and therefore more beneficial effects.
Multiple cannabinoids will interact with multiple cannabinoid receptors and affect more of the body. Say a particular cannabinoid attaches to a receptor in the brain that controls your sleep cycle while another attaches to one in the circulatory system that controls blood pressure; you would have two different cannabinoids causing different effects on your body simultaneously. Imagine if more cannabinoids were working together with all at once?
Some CBD products get manufactured to eliminate some or most cannabinoids. Broad spectrum and isolate products get altered to contain fewer cannabinoids than full spectrum products.
Full spectrum products contain all cannabinoids found naturally in CBD, including their terpenes. Every cannabinoid has its own therapeutic effect. Besides cannabidiol, some cannabinoids found in full-spectrum CBD include:
- Cannabichromene (CBC): Helps with swelling, moodiness and can help protect against illness
- Cannabidivarin (CBDV): Anti-nausea, anti-swelling, and anti-physical and mental irritation
- Cannabigerol (CBG): Boosts your body’s defenses and also aids in discomfort and swelling
- Cannabinol (CBN): Causes sedation and reduces swelling
Full spectrum CBD products must still abide by the 2018 Farm Bill, which federally legalized the sale, consumption, and growth of all hemp-derived products that contain no more than 0.3% THC, the compound responsible for the full mind and body euphoria some consumers want to avoid. But no need to worry about getting intoxicated; full spectrum CBD products with 0.3% THC shouldn’t get you high.
Broad-spectrum CBD has cannabinoids, but not all. It contains CBD and other cannabinoids but little to no THC compared to full-spectrum products. Broad spectrum offers similar benefits as full spectrum CBD but will not have a strong entourage effect.
Concentrates contain high levels of cannabidiol, but no other cannabinoids, terpenes, or THC. Concentrate products like isolate, wax, or distillate are potent forms of CBD that have no smell or taste. These products are designed for those that want to feel the effects of a higher dose of CBD in a shorter amount of time. They offer similar effects to broad and full spectrum CBD but will not cause the entourage effect because they have been stripped of other cannabis extracts.
CBD and The Entourage Effect: How Does it Work?
CBD works with the receptors of the endocannabinoid system. There are two kinds of cannabinoid receptors referred to as CB1 and CB2.
CB1 receptors are all over the body but are primarily found in CB1 in the brain, central nervous system, lungs, liver, and kidneys. This receptor is the main target for Delta 9 THC molecules found in marijuana which causes you to feel “high.” With CBD, however, these receptors are responsible for controlling and inhibiting communication between cells. In the brain, this means regulating hormonal release for dopamine, serotonin, and glutamate, which have psychoactive effects on the nervous system. This inhibition prompts sedation, increased appetite, soreness and discomfort relief, and other therapeutic effects.
CB2 receptors are primarily found on immune cells like white blood cells and those in the tonsils and spleen. CB2 receptors help with swelling and prolific processes that contribute to holistic wellness.
Does CBD Bind to CB1 and CB2 Receptors?
Partially! CB1 and CB2 receptors aren’t specifically made to interact with compounds found in CBD, but cannabinoids will bind partially to these receptors to cause their effects. Cannabinoids act as either inhibitor for ECS receptors or as imposters that mimic the endocannabinoids produced by your body. Either way, they interfere with receptor activity in the body.
Do You Experience the Entourage Effect With All CBD Products?
Depending on the CBD’s spectrum, almost all CBD products allow you to experience the entourage effect. Products that allow for the full range of cannabinoids like CBD oil or flower may cause the entourage effect, but products with cannabinoids removed, like pure CBD concentrates, cannot.
Does Broad Spectrum CBD Have the Entourage Effect?
Broad spectrum CBD may cause elevated effects and benefits because of its CBD content, but broad spectrum products cannot cause as strong an entourage effect as full spectrum products do. However, they still have many benefits and can do a lot of good for your mental and physical well-being!
Benefits of Broad Spectrum CBD
If broad spectrum products are less effective at causing an entourage effect, why choose them? Because they still have all the beneficial compounds found in full-spectrum products, which still has a positive effect easing your discomfort.
It also has smaller, trace amounts of THC that are less detectible than higher amounts which means you can take more broad spectrum CBD without worrying that it may cause you to feel high.
What Are the Best CBD Products to Experience the Entourage Effect?
You can experience the entourage effect best with full spectrum products. Cheef Botanicals offers a range of CBD products made from full spectrum CBD that will cause you to experience the entourage effect.
Flower and Pre-rolls
It’s difficult to cultivate hemp plants with no THC, so most flowers sold in the CBD market will be full spectrum. Both CBD flower and pre-roll sold at Cheef Botanicals feature high-quality, full spectrum CBD that provides you with a substantial entourage effect.
Full spectrum CBD oil delivers fast results either orally or sublingually. This offers you flexibility on how you’d like to consume your CBD. Any snack or meal may easily transform into a full spectrum CBD product with just a few drops of this CBD oil. Bake into your cookies, drop into your coffee, or mix in with your salad dressing, and voila! Instant entourage effect at mealtime.
The same high-quality oil tincture sold on our site is the same oil incorporated into our CBD edibles. For a longer-lasting entourage effect, try our CBD gummies and gummy cubes made with all-natural vegan ingredients. They come in delicious fruit flavors and look like any ordinary candy for discrete convenience.
For an extra sweet treat, add a packet of our CBD honey sticks to your tea or oatmeal to add a well-rounded CBD experience to your morning routine!
While it’s difficult to feel full-body effects with CBD topicals, products like CBD salve, lotion, and hand sanitizer offer elevated effects with full spectrum CBD. Your skin and muscles will benefit from absorbing nourishing ingredients that both hydrate and relax with the added effects of CBD and great-smelling terpenes.
The entourage effect isn’t just for humans; your pet can enjoy the effects of full spectrum CBD as well with products including capsules, horse pellets, and catnip spray.
Most CBD pet products contain broad spectrum CBD, but those containing full spectrum are highly beneficial and safe for your pet to consume. Giving CBD to your pet can work much as it does in humans by doing the following:
- Relieve stress or nervousness
- Relieve itchy skin
- Calm an upset stomach
- Sooth swelling and discomfort
- Boost overall wellness
- Regulate sleep and appetite
- Improve mood
Final Thoughts – Entourage Effect CBD
The entourage effect is a phenomenon that can boost the effects of CBD in the body. The more cannabinoids present in a CBD product, the stronger that phenomenon will be. Caused by stimulation of CB1 and CB2 receptors located in the ECS system throughout the body, the range of benefits from CBD and the extend of the entourage effect increases the more those receptors are bonded with. Some receptors are more sensitive to certain cannabinoids than others and can either mimic the cannabinoids produced in our bodies or inhibit organ and system activities.
Terpenes and cannabinoids make up the overall profile of CBD and help make each strain unique. Broad and full spectrum CBD will contain both, which can trigger an entourage effect; however, concentrates like isolate and wax are pure CBD will not. Full spectrum is best when looking for products that can cause an entourage effect, followed by broad spectrum CBD. Look out for terms like “full spectrum” and “broad spectrum” to perfect your CBD experience.