The entourage effect is the reaction that occurs between the interactions of “minor phytocannabinoids” and the more well-known cannabinoids such as THC and CBD. It is believed that cannabis synergy comes from all compounds, including terpenes and other cannabinoids working in concert. It is a synergistic bond between the body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) and all the compounds found in the hemp plant.
As mentioned, the most well-documented cannabinoids that have therapeutic value by researchers are THC and CBD. However, since 1988, Dr. Mechoulam and Prof. Shimon Ben-Shabat, the discoverers of THC, believed that the ECS demonstrated an entourage effect in which minor phytochemicals, such as cannabinoids and terpenes increase the activity of the body's primary naturally occurring cannabinoids, anandamide, and 2AG —making “minor-cannabinoids” not so minor after all.
science supports the entourage effect
Dr. Mechoulam calls cannabis a “pharmacological treasure trove” due to the synergistic nature of all compounds working together.
To support the validity of the entourage effect, Director of Research and Development for the International Cannabis and Cannabinoids Institute (ICCI), Dr. Ethan Russo published a case that cites several studies, shining light on how all compounds in the cannabis plant work together. Results from a meta-analysis of 11 studies with 670 patients with drug-resistant epilepsy showed that 71% of patients improved with full spectrum cannabis extracts vs. only 36% of patients who used the CBD molecule alone.
Giving credit to the entourage effect, the author of this paper states that, “considering the scientific literature describing the ‘entourage effect’ in plant compounds and the ECS, it’s reasonable to suggest that the higher potency of the CBD-rich Cannabis extracts over purified CBD is related to other plant compounds acting synergistically to CBD.”
While some are still questioning the viability of the entourage effect, there is plausible data that ensures cannabis synergy is present.
To reiterate, the ECS and cannabinoids promote restoration of balance in the mind and body when all working together. CBD and THC are being shown to only work at their highest level of performance when they run with a team. Therefore, the ECS also performs at its highest level when it is met with the elegance of the entourage effect.