The ‘entourage effect’ is a term introduced in cannabinoid science in 1998 by S. Ben-Shabat, with Raphael Mechoulam, and was also written about in detail, in a paper by Ethan Russo, published in the British Journal of Pharmacology in 2011, describing the synergistic effect of the other compounds in cannabis.
Cannabis contains over five hundred different chemical compounds that work together. Two of the most studied are THC tetrahydrocannabinol, the chemical responsible for the psychoactive properties in cannabis and CBD Cannabidiol which is a cannabis compound that has significant medical benefits but is non psychoactive and can actually counteract the psychoactivity of THC. According to a study by Ethan Russo,“CBD greatly enhances the medical benefits of THC, while reducing its unwanted effects. CBD and THC act on different pathways in the body, complementing and synergizing their mutual analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor and other medically beneficial effects.”
Scientist have also identified other compounds in cannabis such as Terpenes, which are responsible for giving cannabis strains their own distinct fragrance and flavour and also block some of the cannabinoid receptor sites in the brain, while they bind to others. Over two hundred different types of terpenes have been discovered, but only a few have been studied for their medicinal benefits. In a paper by Ethan Russo he stated that… ” The plant’s terpenes display unique therapeutic effects that may contribute meaningfully to the entourage effects of cannabis-based medicinal extracts”. To read more about the benefits of Terpenes click here
While whole plant medicine research is limited, there is more and more evidence coming to light that these compounds work much better together. And with over 500 naturally occurring compounds, medicinal cannabis has tremendous untapped value in the treatment of disease.
Watch a short video (below) on The Entourage Effect.