In this article, we discuss the hype and science behind the elusive “Entourage Effect”. We will also discuss the attributes of the full spectrum oil that is responsible for inducing it.
The cannabis industry is ablaze with buzz words and unfamiliar, mysterious terms at the moment, many of which will be a foreign language to the uninitiated, or to the legions of patients returning to the herb for the first time since the 70s.
The marketplace is crowding up with new companies looking to differentiate their products from one another. This has lead to terms like “single source”, “terpenes”, and even “cold press” being thrown around. For some, there’s valid, scientific evidence to support these extolled virtues. For others, well….let’s just say that there’s a lot of snake oil out there.
A pair of terms that you might have come across recently is “Full Spectrum Oil” and the “Entourage Effect”.
At KushyCBD, we are firm believers in each of these terms and the science supporting them. In the next section, we’ll break them down and explain why we utilize full spectrum oil for the Entourage Effect.
Entourage Effect Defined
The “Entourage Effect” is the feeling when all of the cannabinoids, terpenes and flavinoids present in the plant work in harmony to magnify the therapeutic properties of the medicine. This most commonly occurs via full spectrum oil (more on that later). This means that the impact of the whole plant working in synergy is greater than distillates of its individual parts.
When these cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavinoids are working together in perfect harmony like orchestra, the Entourage Effect feels like a well-rounded, head and body high that engages fully with the body’s endocannabinoid system.
First defined by pioneering cannabis scientist Raphael Mechoulam in 1999, the Entourage Effect “may represent a novel route for molecular regulation of endogenous cannabinoid activity.”
CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta Explores the Entourage Effect
Mechoulam’s ideas have found devout fans within the cannabis and medical industries. One such advocate is CNN’s chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, who became a believer in the healing power of medicinal cannabis after learning about how CBD was used to effectively combat Dravet Syndrome—a very rare form of epilepsy.
Gupta wrote about Mechoulam’s work on CNN in 2014, and made the case that existing pharmaceuticals that isolated particular compounds of the cannabis plant were often not as effective methods of treatment as those that harnessed multiple compounds of the plant.
“Take the case of Marinol,” wrote Gupta in 2014, “which is pure, synthetic THC. When the drug became available in the mid-1980s, scientists thought it would have the same effect as the whole cannabis plant. But it soon became clear that most patients preferred using the whole plant to taking Marinol. Researchers began to realize that other components, such as CBD, might have a larger role than previously realized.”
He refers to his own research conducted into Sativex, drug used to treat multiple sclerosis. “More than a decade of experiments revealed that a whole plant extract, bred to contain roughly the same amounts of THC and CBD in addition to the other components in the plant, was more effective in reducing the pain and spasms of MS than a medication made of a single compound,” Gupta explains. “It could be that multiple individual compounds play a role, or it could be due to their interaction in the body; it could also be combination of both.”
To put it simply, isolating the cannabinoid THC from the rest of the compounds found in the plant reduces its wide and well-rounded therapeutic properties.
That is where our full spectrum oil comes into play. It should tell you why our patients often say that KushyPunch just “feels different” from other edibles.
The Role of Full Spectrum Oil in the Entourage Effect
Full Spectrum Oil utilizes as many of the natural properties of the cannabis plant as possible. This includes cannabinoids like THC, CBD, CBG, CBN, as well as the terpenes that occur naturally in the plant.
KushyPunch’s Chief Scientist Carolina Vasquez explains it best:
“Full Spectrum Oil is like raw, brown sugar. It’s more natural because it contains molasses, which gives it more depth of flavor. But once you start refining the sugar, it becomes whiter. This means that you are stripping away a lot of the natural properties.”
“There are many companies out there that use a distillate or a very high concentrate in their gummies or edible products,” she continues. “They are getting rid of cannabinoids, fibers, waxes, flavonoids, and other substances that occur naturally in the plant. Our oil is a dark green extract. It has flavonoids—which is an antioxidant naturally occurring in the plant—they have chlorophyll, natural essential oils from the plant. We are trying to give our patients a more natural, well-rounded product that harnesses the diverse aspects of this plant to its greatest effect.”
Other Cannabinoids in the Entourage Effect
Despite THC and CBD grabbing all the headlines, there are a number of other compounds we expect to hear more about in the coming years.
CBN has been identified as the sedative compound in the cannabis plant. Recently it has emerged as a potential alternative to widely used sleeping medications like ambien or diazepam.
CBN’s potential to treat insomnia is something which Carolina has a particular interest in:
“One of my plans is to try to synthesize CBN out of THC. I think a lot of people that are extracting THC from cannabinoids are missing this.
“CBN is a very powerful sleep-inducing cannabinoid, but it is very difficult to synthesize it. But I would like to focus on trying to extract this in a more organic way. If I can synthesize CBN naturally out of THC then that will be a very big breakthrough in cannabis science.”
Is the Entourage Effect Something I Want?
The evidence suggests that the sum of the plant is more effective than its individual parts.
If you are using cannabis recreationally, you will enjoy a more pleasurable high from consuming full-spectrum oil than you will from ingesting a THC distillate. Sure the taste might be a bit funkier, and a little more like weed, but the end result is something that your body and mind will enjoy.