You may have heard the term “Entourage Effect” while searching for information about CBD. Today we will explore what that means when it comes to CBD.
Dr. Raphael Mechoulam is widely considered the grandfather of modern cannabis science as it was his team that isolated the first cannabinoids in their laboratory all the way back in the 1960’s!
Since then Dr. Mechoulam and his team are credited with many more exciting discoveries including the Endocannabinoid System as well as the “Entourage Effect.”
What is the entourage effect?
The cannabis/hemp plant produces hundreds of compounds, many of which are only just being discovered and studied. Cannabinoids like CBD and THC are well known, but there are over 100 different cannabinoids found in cannabis. In addition, there are also a large variety of terpenes and polyphenols, many of which have shown therapeutic promise.
While all of these compounds might show some therapeutic benefits when used on their own, what Dr Mechoulam’s team found in 1998 is that the effect of using these compounds together offered better therapeutic benefit when compared to using isolated compounds like pure CBD isolate. This is what is known as the entourage effect. Simply put, the Entourage Effect is the idea that cannabis is more effective when used in its most natural form that includes a range of cannabinoids, terpenes and polyphenols.
Types of CBD extract
CBD is extracted from mature hemp flowers; a crude CBD extract is the first product that is produced when performing extraction and is rich in cannabinoids, terpenes and polyphenols. This type of extract is called “Full Spectrum.” In the CBD industry, legal full spectrum extracts must contain less than 0.3% THC, which is low enough that the THC will not cause a psychoactive (“high”) effect, but will still provide the benefit of the Entourage Effect.
Often this crude extract is further processed to remove THC completely. At this point, the extract still contains a range of cannabinoids but all THC has been removed. This is now called “Broad Spectrum.”
If a more refined CBD is desired, the extract is processed even further to separate the individual cannabinoids and produce a pure CBD powder that contains nothing but CBD. This is commonly called “CBD Isolate.”
Why does the entourage effect matter?
You might think that a pure CBD isolate would be a good thing. And using conventional pharmaceutical wisdom, an isolated compound would be ideal for use as a drug. But what we have learned is that a whole plant extract provides more benefit to the endocannabinoid system than isolated compounds. In fact, research shows that CBD isolate loses efficacy at higher doses whereas a full spectrum CBD product continues to work well even at higher doses.
People use CBD to manage a variety of conditions and of course we would all like to maximize the benefits. This is why Welliva offers only full spectrum CBD tinctures which include a full range of cannabinoids, terpenes and other natural hemp compounds. We have also found that full spectrum CBD and CBG are much more effective for topical pain relief than CBD isolates. The only time we would recommend using a CBD isolate tincture is if you have to pass regular drug screens for work. Learn more about CBD and drug testing here.
Lab Tests and Scientific Studies
Since the introduction of the entourage effect theory in 1998, there have been studies which appeared to confirm the entourage effect theory. There is however a long way to go in the world of cannabis science. Studying the hundreds of compounds in the cannabis plant, their therapeutic effects when used individually as well as their synergistic effects when used in varying combinations will require many more years of research. In the meantime, we can thank Dr. Mechoulam for his invaluable research, and enjoy the benefits of full spectrum CBD and the entourage effect.