What is the Entourage effect?

Sunday, September 27, 2020 • 2 minute read

The entourage effect is a hypothesis first described in 1998 by Israeli scientists Shimon Ben-Shabat and Raphael Mechoulam. The entourage effect suggests that the many different compounds in the cannabis plant (e.g. flavonoids, cannabinoids, and terpenes) work together synergistically to amplify beneficial effects.

In short, the whole pant is greater than the sum of its parts!

What does scientific evidence say about the entourage effect?

Scientists are trying to fully understand how compounds can behave together, but they believe this effect is partly due to their ability to affect multiple targets within the body simultaneously. Combining all the compounds together may also improve the absorption of active ingredients and minimise side effects.1

There has been criticism of the entourage effect from some scientific quarters, including a report stating the effects have been exaggerated by the cannabis industry.

On the other hand, another study has shown CBD counteracts some of the negative psychosis-like effects of THC, demonstrating that CBD and THC do affect each other’s therapeutic action.2 Whilst one study in Brazil found that whole-plant CBD extracts were more effective against epilepsy than pure CBD extracts.3

We currently lack firm scientific evidence to quantify the significance of the entourage effect, however anecdotally, many CBD users insist they find full-spectrum and broad- spectrum CBD products more effective.

References

  1. Ethan B Russo. ‘Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects’. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3165946/#b281) (2011)
  2. Roger Hudson, et al. ‘Cannabidiol Counteracts the Psychotropic Side-Effects of Δ-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol in the Ventral Hippocampus through Bidirectional Control of ERK 1-2 Phosphorylation’. (https://www.jneurosci.org/content/39/44/8762) (2019)
  3. Fabrico A Pamplona, Lorenzo Rolim da Silva, and Ana Carolina Coan. ‘Potential Clinical Benefits of CBD-Rich Cannabis Extracts Over Purified CBD in Treatment-Resistant Epilepsy: Observational Data Meta-analysis’. (https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fneur.2018.00759/full) (2018)