In the world of hemp and cannabis, there are a lot of strange terminologies that seem to pop up out of nowhere. Recently, you may have heard people discussing cannabis’s “entourage effect” and its impact on cannabis experiences. But, what does this term mean?
If you haven’t heard of the entourage effect just yet, that’s okay! This phenomenon is still somewhat new in the cannabis community, giving researchers the opportunity to find out more and more. However, what we do know now is quite promising and provides us an inside look into how the overall plant functions — and how it works within the human body. Ready to find out more? Let’s take a deep dive into the entourage effect, what it feels like, and how you can experience it for yourself.
So, what is the entourage effect, and what does it have to do with cannabis?
Within recent years, cannabis scientists have discovered a unique characteristic of the plants’ compounds: they work best synergistically. Essentially, when you keep all of the chemical compounds in cannabis together, they thrive off of each other. It appears as though when embraced as full-plant values, you get a much more productive marijuana experience than if you enjoyed the parts individually. This phenomenon is what’s dubbed “the entourage effect,” and it’s gaining more and more traction in the cannabis world today. Let us explain further.
Inside the cannabis plant, you have three main components: cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. Each one of these components plays a significant role in the functioning of the cannabis plant as a whole. However, some cannabis products choose to isolate just one cannabinoid — let’s say CBD in this instance — instead of extracting a complete cannabinoid profile. By doing this, the CBD no longer has other chemical compounds to work from, making the effects less well-rounded than they would have been if paired with other cannabinoids and terpenes.
When marijuana’s full-plant value is enjoyed together, on the other hand, the effects tend to be much more full-bodied, long-lasting, and overall more potent. Because of this, the idea of the entourage effect stays gaining popularity — especially when people find benefit in it themselves. Of course, there is absolutely nothing wrong with isolating cannabinoids and only enjoying the ones you want. However, science does appear to say that this won’t create as effective of a result. Instead, the cannabis plant prefers to showcase its synergistic characteristics, working as a team to give your body the support it deserves.
Though the entourage effect only gained popularity starting in 2011, the evidence demonstrating this kind of beneficial relationship simply couldn’t be denied. Now, it is something that cannabis scientists stay looking into day after day, attempting to understand further how — and why — these components function so beautifully when paired together.
Now that you’re familiar with the entourage effect, let’s talk about how the experience feels.
The way the entourage effect feels in the body will differ from person to person. But, people tend to notice that their cannabis experience is more widespread and fulfilling with the entourage effect than without. Typically, this means that the therapeutic effects you’re used to experiencing with marijuana may appear stronger, helping to alleviate discomfort in ways it hasn’t before.
You may also notice that the effects of your cannabis reach throughout — both in the head and body. Some isolated cannabis products may give you a heavy head high, but your muscles and joints may be left without any help. With the entourage effect, however, this doesn’t tend to be the case. Instead, many consumers report noticing full-bodied results that lasted a bit longer than usual. These results can be incredible for helping to combat certain medical conditions and their symptoms.
Keep in mind that if you’re someone who enjoys cannabis flower most of the time, then you’re consistently enjoying the effects of the entourage effect. This is because dried flower contains full plant values. Oils or edibles don’t always have that complete profile, making their potency seem lesser than other products.
Essentially, you can think of the entourage effect as a way of boosting the results of your cannabis product. By keeping the components together and allowing them to act synergistically, the impact you usually feel from marijuana will likely appear fuller, stronger, and just better overall.
But, other than cannabis flower, are there ways to enjoy the entourage effect? You bet.
Over the past few years, the cannabis industry has diversified quite a bit in terms of its product selection. No longer are you limited to just some joints and dried buds! Today, you can find cannabis products of practically any kind — including ones with different extracts.
Cannabis extracts are extracted marijuana oils that manufacturers take directly from the cannabis plant before destroying the actual plant matter. What’s left behind is a sticky, oily substance that’s purely cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids — if the brand chooses, that is. Some cannabis companies want to infuse their products with cannabis extracts that support the entourage effect. The best way to do this is through full-spectrum products.
Full-spectrum products have gained considerable popularity within recent years, primarily due to the entourage effect phenomenon. As their name suggests, full-spectrum products embrace full-plant values. This means that they include all the major components of the cannabis plant, just without the plant material itself. While you can find full-spectrum marijuana products, the ones that are truly rising to fame are full-spectrum CBD products.
Full-spectrum hemp-derived CBD products are 100% legal in the US and provide people with the entourage effect experience they’re looking for. Back in 2018, the US legalized the hemp plant for growing, processing, and selling. Along with this, and because of the plants’ CBD levels, the government also chose to legalize CBD and CBD products. However, the caveat to this is that these plants (and their products) cannot contain more than 0.3% THC. If they do, the US considers it as marijuana — a federally illegal substance.
Luckily for us, 0.3% THC is the perfect amount to provide other cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids the synergistic benefits they need. This means that full-spectrum CBD products will contain 0.3% THC. However, try to remember that this amount of THC is not high enough to get you feeling intoxicated; it’s just too minuscule of a dose. But, it’s large enough to enact the entourage effect, allowing the hemp components to flourish within the body and provide the support you need.
Again, you can find full-spectrum CBD products practically anywhere throughout the US. Or, you can purchase them online and send them straight to your door. (Just make sure you’re buying from a reputable seller, of course.) If you have a medical marijuana card in your state, you can also check out full-spectrum marijuana-derived products for an even more potent experience.
Okay, but what happens if you don’t want to consume THC at all? Then are you just not allowed to experience the entourage effect?
If you’re not a fan of THC — or simply don’t want to consume it — you don’t have to. Rather than turning to a full-spectrum product, you can try a broad-spectrum one. Broad-spectrum products embrace a broad amount of the cannabis plant, including cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. The only thing the extract is missing is THC! With broad-spectrum extracts, these products are 100% THC-free.
Even though they don’t include THC, that doesn’t mean the entourage effect won’t work. The rest of the compounds can still work together to promote better, fuller results, even if there isn’t any THC to back it up. Typically, the entourage effect will be slightly milder with broad-spectrum products than it is with full-spectrum, but it’s still efficacious. Broad-spectrum products are ideal for anyone who wants to experience this more all-encompassing experience but doesn’t want to have any THC involved.
If you’re still curious or apprehensive about products like these and their potential THC levels, always take the time to check out a brand’s third-party lab-test results and/or Certificate of Analysis. These test results demonstrate the exact cannabinoid levels within the products you’re purchasing. This way, you know what’s inside and whether or not you’re about to consume some THC.
There are so many products on the market that are wonderful for embracing cannabis’ entourage effect. As we mention, classic dried flower is the best, most straightforward way of getting full-plant effects. With this, you just have to smoke, inhale, and let the entourage effect do the rest.
However, we understand that smoking flower isn’t everybody’s cup of tea. So, other cannabis products exist that can illustrate this synergistic relationship beautifully. As you can probably tell, cannabis oils tend to be some of the most popular.
People love turning to CBD or THC oils to experience the entourage effect. With these types of products, there is no smoking involved! All you have to do is measure out a few drops of oil and place them directly under your tongue. Then, wait about 30 seconds or so before swallowing. Once you swallow, you’ll likely start to notice effects within just a few minutes. The ease and accessibility are primarily why this methodology is so popular — that and sublingual consumption is said to be one of the most efficacious consumption options.
Do keep in mind that products like CBD or THC oils do have a standard plant-like flavor. But, with oils coming straight from the hemp or marijuana plant, what can you expect? If that’s not something you’d like, you can always purchase flavored options to disguise these tastes a little bit better.
Another popular way of experiencing the entourage effect is through edibles. Now, cannabis companies craft their edibles with cannabis extracts, some of them using broad-spectrum and others utilizing full-spectrum. (It’s all up to personal preference!) With this, you’re able to get a delicious dose of the entourage effect without tasting practically any plant-like flavors.
Through this methodology, effects will take longer to kick in, but they will also last much longer, too. Make sure to keep in mind the delayed onset of effects before you decide to consume more. Be as patient as possible! Consuming too much of these products may upset the stomach or create an uncomfortable time.
With how exciting it sounds to experience such an all-encompassing result, it’s no wonder so many people are looking to try the entourage effect for themselves. Thankfully, this is so much easier than you can imagine! Full-spectrum and broad-spectrum cannabis products are available practically everywhere — from dispensaries to health and wellness shops and even your local grocery store. Now, taking the time to embrace cannabis’s synergistic characteristics is far easier than forcing yourself to smoke.
Still, we’re continuing to learn more and more about the entourage effect every day. Why cannabis works so well collaboratively is still a mystery, and we don’t know for sure how much more productive it makes the result. But, we do know that many canna-consumers find profound relief through products like these, products that embrace the entourage effect. So, while we may have to sit back and wait for more information on this brand-new phenomenon, we can also see just how it works within our own bodies. As long as you start with a slow, low dose, you should be just fine to experience the entourage effect for yourself.