"The whole is greater than the sum of its parts" – Aristotle
What is the Entourage Effect?
The Roots of Cannabis Synergy
In 1998, chemist Raphael Mechoulam and his peers made an amazing discovery (1): two key compounds in the human body increase the ability of a third compound (known as 2-AG) to bind to the main receptors of the body's Endocannabinoid System.
Why is this so important?
The Endocannabinoid System is responsible for numerous wellness-balancing processes in the human body. It's also the main system through which cannabis compounds like CBD and THC work. What's more, just like with 2-AG and its helper compounds, the compounds found in the cannabis plant have been shown to work together to help boost each other's wellness-balancing effects.
This 'synergistic' (cooperative) relationship is so important that it even has its own name: the entourage effect.
Famed cannabis researcher and neuroscientist Ethan Russo was the first to document the entourage effect in the cannabis plant in his groundbreaking 2010 review, Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects.(2)
What are the benefits of the entourage effect?
"Cannabis is the single most versatile herbal remedy, and the most useful plant on Earth." – Ethan Russo, MD
1. Synergy Between THC and CBD
Scientists like Dr. Russo are continuing to reveal how the cooperative relationship that is the hallmark of the entourage effect helps maximize THC's and CBD's natural healing abilities.
Both CBD and THC (3) have been shown to have numerous therapeutic benefits for mind-body health, including analgesic (pain-relieving) and neuroprotectant (nerve-protecting) effects. Research has shown that these compounds may also hold many other promising properties, including anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, anti-fungal, and anti-tumor (anti-cancer) traits. That's why their ability to work together is so beneficial.
2. Synergy Between Terpenes, CBD, and THC
"What is the essence of creativity? A blend of limonene, citronellol, phellandrene, alpha-pinene, and linalool…to spur the imagination." – Dr. Ethan Russo (4)
In addition to the benefits of taking CBD and THC together, the entourage effect is also believed to extend to the cannabis plant's health-balancing 'terpenes' - like limonene and alpha-pinene.
Terpenes (5) are compounds that give plants their unique aromas and they also help keep them safe from disease. Like CBD and THC, they have been shown to have many health benefits for people as well. For example, the limonene found in both cannabis and many citrus plants has anti-inflammatory (6), anti-anxiety (7), and anti-tumor properties (8), while pinene (9) has pro-cognition and pro-memory properties to help boost creativity.
The Scientific Evidence of the Entourage Effect
"Marijuana (cannabis) has been used medicinally for centuries. It has been shown to be effective in treating a wide range of symptoms and conditions." – American Nurses Association (10)
Thanks to cannabis researchers like Raphael Mechoulam, Dr. Russo, and many others, evidence now points to several therapeutic ways in which the entourage effect works when CBD, THC, and whole plant terpenes are combined together.
Dr. Russo's initial research revealed that combining these ingredients together may have positive benefits for reducing inflammation, addressing anxiety, assisting in managing pain relief, fungal infections, epileptic seizures. In addition, research (11) has shown that when CBD is added to THC, it may help reduce that compound's intoxicating effects.
A 2009 study of patients (12) who were experiencing pain revealed that patients taking a mixture of CBD and THC (Sativex®) were almost twice as likely to experience a reduction in their pain symptoms than those taking just THC or a placebo.
Likewise, a 2018 meta analysis (13) of 670 people with treatment-resistant epilepsy who were given CBD-rich cannabis extracts had a 25% greater reduction in the frequency of their seizures than those who were given pure CBD with no additional cannabinoids in it.
In addition, new evidence from a 2021 University of Arizona study (14) found that combining four different cannabis terpenes with cannabinoids like CBD and THC elevated the entourage effect. The terpenes alpha-humulene, geraniol, linalool, and beta-pinene each exhibited greater pain-relieving effects when combined with a cannabinoid.
What's more, researchers may have finally figured out why combining cannabinoids like CBD and THC with terpenes helps produce the entourage effect. In a groundbreaking 2021 study (15) it was shown that when CBD and terpenes interacted together, they produced higher levels of the precursor to CBD, CBDA (16). Researchers say this showed for the first time that different cannabis compounds interact to positively alter cannabinoid blood plasma levels for more potent effects.
CBD+THC, Delta 9 THC to Maximize the Entourage Effect
Full spectrum CBD+THC products that are made from the hemp variety of the cannabis plant contain terpenes, whole plant cannabinoids, and less than 0.3% THC. They help you maximize the entourage effect. Look for products that contain delta-9 THC, which is considered to be more potent (17) in its effects.
For example, our full spectrum CBD oil with THC (18) contains less than 0.3% delta-9 THC - plus it's rich in terpenes, flavonoids, and other phytocannabinoids. This whole plant blend is aimed at helping you optimize the wellness benefits you receive so that you can "bring the entourage effect to life”!
Can I Buy CBD & Delta 9 THC Products Online?
Yes, full-spectrum CBD and Delta 9 THC products for sale are available online. This is because most states now allow for the medical or recreational use of hemp-based CBD products that contain less than 0.3% THC. Full-spectrum hemp blends containing less than 0.3% delta-9 THC are also legal at the federal level under the 2018 Farm Bill (19). You can find your state-specific guidelines here (20).
What to Look For in Full Spectrum CBD+THC Products
Top-quality CBD+THC products are always third-party tested by an independent lab to ensure that you're getting the correct blend of entourage-boosting ingredients, including an abundance of healthy terpenes and cannabinoids. When shopping, it's best to find products that are made using advanced hemp growing, extraction, and production techniques for the most natural, toxin-free CBD blends.
At Eli Ruby, all of our CBD and delta 9 THC products are crafted using state-of-the-art manufacturing methods at FDA-registered facilities. They are also third-party tested to ensure that you're getting the highest quality ingredients. Plus, they're made from whole-plant hemp that's grown in the USA. Check out our terpene and cannabinoid-rich Whole Plant Extra Strength CBD Full Spectrum Capsules (21) to experience the entourage effect for yourself today!
Nature “Cannabis’s Chemical Synergies” Published: August 28, 2019 Author: Tammy Worth
British Journal of Pharmacology “Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects” Published: January 12, 2011 Author: Ethan B. Russo
Eli Ruby Blog “CBD+THC: What is the Difference”
Cision PRWeb “True Terpenes and Pioneering Cannabis Researcher, Dr. Ethan Russo, Launch Three New Effect-Based Terpene Blends” Published: November 21, 2022 Authors: Derek Root
NIH | National Library of Medicine “Therapeutic and Medicinal Uses of Terpenes” Published: November 12, 2019 Author: Nirmal Joshee
Research Gate “Anti-inflammatory Effects of Limonene from Yuzu (Citrus junos Tanaka) Essential Oil on Eosinophils” Published: April 2010 Authors: Ryoji Hirota, Roger Nlandu Ngatu, Hiroyuki Nakamura
Terpenes and Testing “Limonene’s Effects on Anxiety and Depression” Published: June 28, 2019 Author: Jason S. Lupoi, Ph.D.
NIH | National Library of Medicine “Human breast tissue disposition and bioactivity of limonene in women with early stage breast cancer” Published: April 3, 2013 Authors: Jessica A. Miller,Julie E. Lang,Michele Ley, Ray Nagle, Chiu-Hsieh Hsu, Patricia A Thompson, Catherine Cordova, Amy Waer and H.-H. Sherry Chow
NIH | National Library of Medicine "A Review of the Potential Use of Pinene and Linalool as Terpene-Based Medicines for Brain Health: Discovering Novel Therapeutics in the Flavours and Fragrances of Cannabis” Published: August 21, 2021 Authors: Katrina Weston-Green, Helen Clunas, and Carlos Jimenez Naranjo