The Entourage Effect: How Terpenes Interact With Cannabinoids
Are you familiar with the entourage effect?
No, it has nothing to do with the TV show from the aughts. It's a concept that explains how terpenes and cannabinoids interact to enhance the beneficial qualities you receive from cannabis products.
As we've learned before, cannabinoids are compounds like CBD and THC that affect consumers in different ways. We've also discussed that terpenes are what produce flavor and aroma in each strain, but their purpose is far more important than simply influencing those physical attributes. Let's take a look and see how the entourage effect helps cannabis products more effectively target our needs.
Working Together to Make You Feel Great
Every cannabis plant is composed of a unique blend of terpenes and cannabinoids. Both complement each other in ways that give each strain a unique set of properties. This helps us understand why different products offer different benefits, providing cultivators greater direction when growing cannabis plants.
There are a number of ways in which the two groupings complement each other. Some research suggests that terpenes help the brain more readily absorb cannabinoids. There's also the possibility that they influence how THC attaches to receptors within the body's endocannabinoid system. Not only that, but terpenes might target parts of the endocannabinoid system that cannabinoids do not, yielding broader coverage when treating a symptom or ailment.
Consuming cannabis products that are heavy in THC can bring about some undesirable side effects — notably an energizing head buzz. We've discussed before how CBD is known to counteract the more unpleasant experiences that may result from THC, but did you know that terpenes also help mitigate those side effects?
When cannabinoids and terpenes exist harmoniously, you receive a fuller, more balanced healing experience. Working collaboratively, they are able to improve your brain's cortical functions, optimize blood flow, and keep respiratory pathogens at bay.
Of course, the entourage effect is not exclusive to terpenes and cannabinoids, though they tend to get a lot of attention when it comes to cannabis research. The most important takeaway is that everything inside a cannabis plant plays a part in the healing process, which is why many products aim to preserve as much of the source as possible.
Why the Entourage Effect Matters
The reason it's important to understand the entourage effect is that the power of a cannabis plant cannot be fully appreciated if its compounds are viewed in isolation from each other. When scientists study CBD, for example, and the sample used is synthesized without any other chemicals that are part of a cannabis plant's genetic composition, they won't gain an accurate picture of what that cannabinoid can do. Only when all of these elements work together do we have a clear understanding of a plant's potential.
Be sure to keep the entourage effect in mind when shopping for products. Knowing that each chemical in cannabis plays an important role will give you a greater appreciation and understanding of what's listed on the label. As you learn more about what different compounds do, it'll be easier for you to find the exact product your body needs.
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