The discovery of this term, ‘The Entourage Effect’ dates back to 1998 and credit goes to Prof. Shimon Ben-Shabat and Prof. Raphael Mechoulam who were the first men of science to explain the term with details. They theorised that all the compounds in cannabis work together. These compounds of phytocannabinoids and terpenes, were thought to produce a stronger effect than when taken alone. This theory also aided in explaining why medicines made from plants and herbs, that are full of flavonoids and terpenes, may have had a beneficial response to healing. The effect may have been given a name a few decades ago but the concept was always known to the ancient Chinese who were using herbs for restoring good health as a part of their tradition.
To simply define the entourage effect, consider it an after effect of using CBD. When CBD enters the body and interacts with the chemicals inside, the resulting impact is called the entourage effect. This entourage effect acts on the endocannabinoid system (ECS in short) and the ECS receptors CB1 and CB2.
What are phytocannabinoids?
A plant out of which CBD is extracted contains over a hundred different types of compounds or phyto-cannabinoids also referred to as cannabinoids; naming all of them down here would be irrelevant at this stage as they have not been studied as extensively CBD or the other known cannabinoid THC – known for its psychoactive causing effects. Although the names of the other cannabinoids are not mentioned, that doesn’t mean that CBD is all there is in the hemp plant.
The Cannabis plant that CBD comes from is separated
further into the marijuana plant and the hemp plant. The biggest difference to
note here is the CBD to THC ratio. The Hemp plant, and the only plant that can
be used to make CBD products in the UK, has a higher CBD to THC ratio. While
the opposite is true for the marijuana plant which has a higher THC to CBD
ratio. The ratio between the components plays a very important role in the
entourage effect as well.
What are flavonoids and terpenes?
Flavonoids and terpenes are what make up the unique smell and taste of plants. They are what essential oils are made from. This is what gives lemon, oranges, lavender, eucalyptus and so on; its distinctive smell and taste. And what is interesting is that the cannabis plant is made up of so many of these flavonoids and terpenes that it has a very distinct smell and taste. It’s almost like if you were to mix a bunch of perfumes together. So these compounds further add to the entourage effects of cannabis.