If you are trying to figure out exactly how cannabis works to give you the high it does and also how it provides medicinal effects for those that are seeking them, you have to consider the two most important compounds in the plant.
The THC and CBD are the main components in cannabis, however, there are many other compounds that the plant produces in smaller amounts that have an impact on the effects of any individual strain.
When you look closely at the buds of your cannabis, they are covered in shiny, sticky spots of resin. In the resin are hundreds of compounds that are therapeutic and they are what adds to the benefits and effectiveness of cannabis.
This combination of these compounds working together to create make benefits and effects has been termed “the entourage effect.
What Does The Entourage Effect Mean?
When a person smokes or vaporizes cannabis, they take in botanical compounds by the hundreds. Each compound delivers its own unique benefits and effects, while their behavior can alter in the presence of other compounds.
This is what is referred to as the entourage effect. Some compounds may help with sleeplessness while another compound could help with pain or nausea.
If a person has an entourage made up of many different people that do many different things, it is a very similar analogy when it comes to understanding cannabis.
The Study Of The Entourage Effect
When a study was done in 2010 concerning the two main compounds of cannabis, THC and CBD, cancer patients that were experiencing pain were administered either a pure THC extract or an extract that had nearly equal amounts of THC and CBD.
It was reported that the patients that were given the THC and CBD combination had less pain. This is a great example of The Entourage Effect.
How Does Cannabis Relieve Different Kinds Of Pain?
As was said above, cannabis is far more than THC and CBD alone.
Other cannabinoids that are produced in the plant are CBN, CBC, CBG, and many, many more. Terpenes are produced also, which are aromatic compounds also found in plants like black pepper, lavender, eucalyptus, orange, and more.
Cannabis has one of the most varied numbers of useful compounds in the plant world.
Even though there are many cannabis enthusiasts all over the world experimenting with new varieties of the plant, there are not that many studies that explore synergies in people.
Synergy simply means that two or more separate parts are working together to create better benefits or effectiveness in some way. It is still considered only a theory that has been supported by a small minority of researchers.
Do Cannabinoids And Terpenes Really Work Together?
A neurologist and pharmacist who has studied cannabis for a very long time, Dr. Ethan Russo, describes cannabis compounds and how they work together and affect the body in a review named “Taming THC: Potential Cannabis Synergy And PhytoCannabinoid-Terpenoid Entourage Effects”.
In his review, Dr.Russo provides details about the studied benefits of common cannabis compounds. Based on their pharmacology, he describes the possible synergistic benefits and effectiveness.
As an example, CBG and CBD were found to inhibit the bacterial staph infection known as MRSA.
He notes that it could have been even more effective if it had been combined with the MRSA-fighting terpene pinene or if prepared with terpenes that increase skin permeability.
Explaining Cannabis Terpenes and What They Do
The entourage effect is still a mostly unproven theory. However, new research may reveal new discoveries on the subject soon. In the possible synergies that were suggested in the “Taming THC” article above, the findings thus far are very intriguing.
It is thought by some that the pine-scented terpene pinene could help to counteract a compromised memory caused by THC.
It is also suggested that a combination of CBD and a peppery terpene named caryophyllene could be helpful in those with addiction problems.
With anxiety being so common in so many people these days, it is also suggested that the citrus-scented terpene called limonene combined with CBD could aid in anxiety treatment.
The cannabinoid CBN combined with THC may have the ability to provide enhanced sedating effects for those that suffer from sleeplessness.