The Entourage Effect – and Why it Matters to YOU

Common buzzwords in the CBD industry now, two Israeli scientists coined the “Entourage Effect” as a phrase as far back as 1998. But what made them coin such a phrase? What is the Entourage Effect? And more importantly, why does it matter to you? 

Today, we look to answer all these questions and more to set the record straight. Let’s jump into our guide on what the Entourage Effect is, why it matters, and how it’s important to have them to get an effective CBD product that genuinely works. 

What is the Entourage Effect?

The two scientists that came up with the term used the “Entourage Effect” to best describe the results from their findings. They observed that taking a single molecule compound, like a CBD isolate, was less beneficial than taking an entire spectrum of the natural cannabinoids and other compounds found in cannabis plants. 

This “spectrum” of cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and other natural chemicals can vary greatly from strain to strain. In fact, we’re now able to genetically engineer strains that have higher concentrations of CBD or THC depending on the need we have for it. 

For states where only CBD products are legal, this allows farmers to grow CBD-rich hemp strains that contain little to no THC, while still not stripping that plant of the other valuable natural compounds found within. 

Likewise, a hemp plant can be refined to have some of the natural compounds stripped away through a variety of extraction and refinement processes.  

For example, “broad-spectrum” CBD products are coined that because there’s generally been a refining process that removes unwanted THC, chlorophyll, and any other undesirable compounds out of the extract. 

They’re considered “broad-spectrum” because they do still contain other cannabinoids and terpenoids, unlike a CBD isolate, which is meant to contain the purest form of cannabidiol and nothing else. Many people choose broad-spectrum CBD products to lessen the risk of consuming too much THC while still potentially benefitting from an Entourage Effect.

A full-spectrum CBD product, on the other hand, has the highest chance of providing you with an Entourage Effect because it keeps all the natural chemicals from the hemp plant intact. They also happen to be the most popular type of CBD product on the market, advertised in CBD tinctures, vape juices, salves and other topical creams, and so much more. 

Likewise, full-spectrum CBD products are the biggest concern for the formula being potentially over the 0.3% THC legal limit. Testing every batch of product is vital to ensure the extract contains an accurate level under the legal maximum.

Full-spectrum CBD products offer an Entourage Effect because they are supposed to contain the “whole plant” hemp extract – all the terpenoids, all the cannabinoids, even the THC, working together in perfect synergy.

This is the main reason it’s so pressing to use a hemp strain that contains less than the 0.3% THC limit, to avoid any batches that demonstrate inconsistency in the cannabinoid content level for a CBD product’s formula.

Why Does the Entourage Effect Matter to You?

So, we’ve learned now that the Entourage Effect is the synergy of cannabinoids, flavonoids, terpenoids, and 400+ other trace compounds found in the spectrum of any given cannabis plant. We’ve also learned that full-spectrum CBD products appear to provide a greater chance of producing that synergy than broad-spectrum products, and CBD isolates can’t provide that synergy at all. 

Why does “synergy” matter for your CBD experience, though? Let’s dive in a little deeper.

Feel More Relief

First, the idea of “synergy” is that it can elicit additional and stronger reactions to a hemp-derived CBD-rich product, as well as make it last longer and take effect faster. 

This synergy is important because it magnifies the benefits you experience with a CBD product – because really, it’s not just a CBD product. If it’s not a CBD isolate, it’s a CBD-rich hemp extract that contains a flood of other cannabinoids, as well as terpenes and other compounds.

The Entourage Effect should matter to you when you’re shopping for CBD products. As full-spectrum and even broad-spectrum CBD products can provide an Entourage Effect that magnifies and intensifies the experience, you may not want to search for a CBD isolate. 

Save Money

The biggest reason people think a CBD isolate is better is to avoid the risk of consuming THC for fear of failing a drug test – but if a CBD brand tests every batch of their products to confirm the accuracy that their products contain less than 0.3% THC, there is no risk involved. 

In addition, CBD isolate brands run the same chance of not testing every batch of their products as full-spectrum or broad-spectrum CBD brands. Until we see better regulation for the CBD industry to best monitor every cannabidiol brand, you’ll need to base your buying decision on third-party lab results instead of a company stating that their product is a CBD isolate and 100% THC-free.

Terpenes and Their Role

You don’t want to miss out on the Entourage Effect by taking a product that strips you of other noteworthy benefits. CBD, after all, is not the only thing helping provide you with relief. On the contrary, CBD isolate users find less relief than full-spectrum CBD users because they’re lacking the other cannabinoids and compounds found in the hemp plant.

A product that lets you experience the Entourage Effect will contain terpenes, also known as terpenoids, that have a role of their very own. Aromatic molecules, terpenes are found in not just cannabis plants, but also other vegetation and herbs that we consume. 

Researchers often emphasize the importance of terpenoids, which are responsible for the fragrance and flavor profile of a plant. The predominate terpenes in a hemp strain will shape how it tastes and smells, even after extraction.

An Evolutionary Advantage

The natural but strong hemp-like flavor of some CBD products comes from terpenoids. In fact, it’s terpenes that’s given hemp and marijuana the evolutionary edge – the plant is pungent for most creatures, making some hemp crops resistant to animal grazers and insects, while making others resistant to fungus. 

In September 2011, the British Journal of Pharmacology published a report by Dr. Ethan Russo discussing the massive range of therapeutic attributes that terpenoids possess. He also observed those same attributes are lacking in CBD isolate products, for all the reasons we’ve already mentioned above.

Terpene’s Most Important Role

Terpenes carry one more important role that plays into the Entourage Effect – together, with CBD, terpenes help mitigate THC’s negative psychoactive effects. Whether taken in small amounts or just consuming a strain of marijuana, THC has been known to induce anxiety, panic, or paranoia.

The interactions between cannabinoids and terpenoids help to not only amplify the medicinal properties, but it also mitigates those THC-induced negative symptoms. The terpenoid profile for every full-spectrum CBD product is different, as it varies from strain to strain, but the ability for terpenes to intensify your CBD experience never falters.

 “Whole Plant” Extract – for CBD Products that Count

Now that you know a little more about the Entourage Effect and how it can impact you when using CBD products, we’re going to talk more about the “whole plant” aspect of a full-spectrum hemp formula. The hemp plant is made up of seeds, stems, and then the actual leafy green plant part. 

Using the whole plant for a CBD product’s formula helps utilize the full spectrum of therapeutic compounds that hemp strain can provide – because CBD is not the only compound with medicinal properties that comes from cannabis.

On the contrary, while CBD plays a massive role in relief from a variety of medical conditions or symptoms, it takes more than just CBD to get the most beneficial effect. This is where a CBD isolate may have its benefits, but its incomparable to a full-spectrum or even a broad-spectrum CBD product.

A combination of CBD with CBN, CBG, CBC, THCa, THCv, and other cannabinoids can provide a more powerful Entourage Effect for pain, sleep, gastro-intestinal distress, mood or behavior, neurological symptoms, and more.

Recap Summary

This guide was meant to be beneficial in helping you learn more about the Entourage Effect. Trying to only look at clinical trials and past finding from educational publications, we broke down what the Entourage Effect is, how it effects the human body, and why that matters to you. 

When you start shopping for the CBD product that’s right for you, go after the Entourage Effect by choosing a full-spectrum formula that makes every dollar worth it. Base your decision greatly off the third-party lab results listed on a CBD brand’s web platform; they should have lab results for every batch of product they’ve ever offered for sale. You’ll be able to trace the cannabinoid content level, if the product has been tested for heavy metals, pesticides, and other contaminants, and much more.

We hope that you not only gained some new knowledge on the subject but also became better prepared to select a full-spectrum or broad-spectrum, effective CBD product that can work the way you want it to. While you always have the choice to purchase CBD isolates, we merely wanted to provide advice on why full-spectrum and even broad-spectrum CBD products are superior.

Author Profile Picture

Rachel Sims | Author

Rachel Sims is a passionate CBD and cannabis writer. A huge proponent for marijuana legalization across the country, Rachel's proud to be on the ground floor of an industry making history. Her goal is simple -- help spread awareness and destigmatize cannabis. Rachel regularly writes for companies in the CBD and marijuana industries, as well as on her own website, Hashing It Out.

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