Marijuana is made up of several hundred compounds and components. Some of these compounds may only be found in cannabis. About 60 of these molecules are called cannabinoids, including the most popular CBD and THC. The other compounds produced by the marijuana plant also have some regulatory effects within our bodies.
Due to marijuana having so many compounds within and having so many different effects on the body, experts have theorized that some specific cannabis components work synergistically together to bring about exceptional healing. Some of these compounds may do little by themselves, but when taken in conjunction with others, produce a greater beneficial effect. This is known as the Cannabis Entourage Effect.
One example is the molecule terpenes. Terpenes is primarily responsible for the distinctive smell of cannabis. But recent studies have shown that this compound does more than that. It was found that terpenes has the ability to change how our brains are able to accept cannabinoid bonding in some areas while blocking cannabinoid bonding in others. The compound can change the way our brains take in the CBD and THC, while providing benefits of their own.
The Many Strains of Marijuana
The marijuana plant comes in many varieties, types, and strains. Each of these marijuana plants have fundamental differences when it comes to their physical and chemical makeup. So it comes to light that different strains of cannabis may produce different effects and cause different experiences from one person to another. For example, one type of marijuana can produce a relaxing effect for some, while producing feelings of paranoia and anxiety in others.
Some of the most common components in any marijuana are the following, steroids, fatty acids, alcohols, lactones, esters, ketones and terpenes, among others. These components come together to produce a myriad of effects, often regulating for one compound and amplifying the effects of others. This type of entourage effect is so different as compared to one type of chemical compound working alone.
What this means is that the thousand of different compounds that make up cannabis can be brought together to produce the desired effect. Change some of the marijuana compounds and you will have the potential to change how it benefits the body.
Synergy Effect Versus Entourage Effect
Doctors have long studied the synergistic effects of medical supplements and herbal medicines. An essential component found in an herbal medicine must combine with one or several compounds found in a dietary supplement. Synergy in medicine required a few of these key components to work together to produce a magnified effect. A simple explanation of this may be illustrated in taking vitamins versus eating fruits and vegetables. Taking a vitamin is less beneficial than eating fruits and vegetables full of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
The Cannabis Entourage Effect has a different mechanism than the synergy effect. One cannabis compound may have no noticeable effect when working by itself, but when combined with other cannabis compounds that seemingly have no beneficial effects, bring about a palpable advantage.
For this reason many health experts believe that cannabis is so effective in treating certain chronic conditions when many of its compounds are put into play. Simply relying on CBD or THC medications can potentially bring limited success. Having the right mix of certain cannabinoids working together to produce an entourage-like effect produces a greater benefit for our health and well-being.
Entourage Effects and Medication
When AIDS patients started reporting how their weight was more controlled by using cannabis, or when the side effects of chemotherapy were significantly lessened, researchers had to find the truth. Their target was to determine which of the marijuana compound caused these benefits. While it was found out that the cannabinoid THC was the component mainly responsible for these beneficial effects, some other compounds were discovered along the way. However, pharmaceutical companies only isolated the THC cannabinoid and used it for creating drugs to suppress chemotherapy and AIDS symptoms. During the span of their THC usage, the patients reported having more psychotropic side effects. They were not getting the entourage effect that whole cannabis provided.
Moreover, the cannabinoid CBD was beneficial in reducing THC’s prominent hallucinatory side effects. The pharmaceutical-manufactured THC supplements prevented the rest of the compounds from reaching a synergistic effect. It was such a wonderful discovery that Raphael Mechoulam, a noted Israeli chemist named this effect “The Cannabis Entourage Effect”.
Pharmaceutical and medical companies followed suit and added in CBD doses to their previously THC-only supplements. The result was a more pronounced therapeutic effect that lessened the adverse reactions of THC-only supplements. The study was so successful that scientists wanted to move into an entourage-effect project to breed specific types of cannabis plants to aid in specific health and wellness problems. Cross-breeding may potentially result in harvesting certain cannabinoid compounds that could eliminate common ailments. Better marijuana plants could mean better cannabinoid compounds that reduce adverse effects in treatments. It could also eliminate some of the sleeping compounds that provided certain medical benefits.
The Known Entourage Effect of Marijuana
Perhaps the most famous illustration of the Cannabis Entourage Effect is the relationship between cannabis compounds THC and CBD. But that doesn’t mean there are other compounds that complement each other to provide an advantageous benefit for our health. For example, terpenes may be mixed with other present cannabinoid compounds to produce therapeutic advantages for the mind and body. Terpenes in particular are proven to improve the receptiveness in certain parts of the brain, which explains how marijuana is so effective when used as a whole.
The many hundreds of different cannabis compounds make the entourage effect a mystery, one that scientists have yet to fully understand. Further research is needed to see how essential components CBD, THC and the other elements could be brought together to cure certain ailments. This could prove to be invaluable in allowing scientists to recommend certain compounds for a specific type of disease. The potential for the entourage effect is staggering, as there are more than 500 unique marijuana compounds to explore. The whole cannabis medication and plant-supplement section could be a booming industry in the years to come.