What Is the Entourage Effect?

by Jay Hartenbach

August 1, 2021

If you’ve ever taken CBD oil before, then you already know how good the CBD molecule can be for your health. 

But did you know that there’s way more to CBD oil than just…CBD? 

It’s true! CBD may be great on its own, but it becomes even better when a compound-to-compound synergy known as the entourage effect begins to kick in. 

Keep reading to learn more about the entourage effect and why it’s so important. 

  • What’s in CBD oil?
  • Cannabinoids and the entourage effect
  • Terpenes and the entourage effect
  • Flavonoids and the entourage effect
  • Is full spectrum better?
  • The best products for engaging the entourage effect

What’s in CBD oil?

The most effective CBD products contain a blend of cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids that remains as true to nature’s full spectrum design as possible. 

After all, cannabinoids are just one class of hemp’s many ‘active ingredients’. The mature hemp plant contains:

  • Cannabinoids: CBD, CBDv, THC, CBC, CBG, and CBN 
  • Terpenes: Myrcene, pinene, limonene, linalool, and more
  • Flavones: Canflavin A, B, and C

As you can see, there’s a lot going on here. It’s estimated that hemp may contain up to a hundred cannabinoids — and as many as 400 plant compounds total! It’s a botanical novelty. Not many plants contain the ‘essences’ of so many other plants.

What are CBD Spectrums and Cannabinoids? - Medterra CBD

Cannabinoids and the entourage effect

CBD oils that feature a full spectrum of hemp’s cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavones fully engage the entourage effect. 

Some scientists think that THC is also needed; THC, like the terpenes we mentioned earlier, may also ‘open up’ endocannabinoid receptors so that CBD can bind to them more fully. 

One of the researchers who discovered anandamide, Lumír Hanuš, said this about the future of whole plant synergy in an interview with Leafly: [3]

“I can see two different directions. One will focus on production of derivatives of active compounds that could be patented and sold […]. The other direction puts patients before profit and focuses on the use of the whole plant and synergistic effects of its compounds.”  

Terpenes and the entourage effect

Terpenes also play a highly important role in the entourage effect. Research shows that they can actually change the shape of endocannabinoid receptors, allowing larger amounts of CBD to pour in. The science world calls this amazing phenomenon conformational change. [4]

Terpenes also function as“permeability enhancers” that could make topical CBD more effective. All this, in addition to their impressive anti-inflammatory benefits! 

Flavonoids and the entourage effect

Flavonoids may not be quite as well-known as terpenes, but they’re another class of hemp-specific molecules that contributes to the entourage effect. 

Two flavones, appropriately called cannflavin A and cannflavin B, are only found in the cannabis plant family. Research from as far back as 1985 has found that these flavones have muscle-soothing properties. [5] Cannflavins are so strong that some researchers are hoping they can be used to replace/reduce opioid use.

Is full spectrum better?

So…is full spectrum CBD better than other alternatives?

That depends on what you’re looking for. Pretty much every choice in life, after all, has pros and cons associated with it — and choosing the ideal CBD product is no exception. 

The research does make it clear that full spectrum CBD is stronger. In 2015 a pioneering team from the University of Israel proved this pretty clearly. Their study compared CBD isolate to more enriched cannabis extracts, and found the full spectrum extracts to be both more potent and easier to dose. [6]

It turns out that CBD synergizes with other cannabinoids, which synergize with terpenes, which synergize with everything else. The result is that hemp’s active ingredients are actually stronger than the sum of their parts would imply. 

It’s well known that CBD ‘activates’ the endocannabinoid system (ECS). It’s much less well known, however, that cannabinoids aren’t the only thing to have this effect. Terpenes like beta-caryophyllene can interact with endocannabinoid receptors, too. [7]

It’s also less well known that CBD communicates with other systems beyond the ECS.  It may relieve TRPV1-mediated inflammation, improve muscle function via modulation of adenosine A2A receptors, and more. 

While it’s not super important to know all the specifics, our hope in listing them is that you’ll come to see the endocannabinoid system as a physiological web that connects virtually everything in the body to everything else! It’s been accurately described as a metaphorical bridge between body and mind. [8]

The best products for engaging the entourage effect

In general, full spectrum products are best for fully activating the entourage effect. At Medterra we’ve gone the extra distance to develop a wide variety of such products. 

True Full Spectrum™

True Full Spectrum CBD contains a 5:1 ratio of CBD to other beneficial hemp compounds, plus the one compound that we’ve historically left out— the THC. Every serving of True Full Spectrum contains up to 2mg THC. Read more about it here

Ultra Broad Spectrum™

CBD evolved. Experience Medterra’s Ultra Broad Spectrum™ and upgrade your CBD experience with full-plant benefits.

Medterra Ultra Broad Spectrum™ has an industry-first 10:1 ratio of CBD to additional active cannabinoids (CBG, CBN, CBC, CBDV, plus terpenes and flavonoids). Our Ultra Broad Spectrum™ extract delivers a high-potency combination of active cannabinoids in convenient, long-lasting liquid capsules. Read more about it here

Summing things up

All in all, the entourage effect is pretty amazing — and definitely worth pursuing. 

True Full Spectrum™ and Ultra Broad Spectrum™ CBD products are more than up for the task. 

And be sure not to neglect CBD isolate, either! While it may not activate the entourage effect as fully as other alternatives, it’s still deeply nourishing to your body’s endocannabinoid system.

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