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The Entourage Effect

picture of cannabis leaf caduceus

The Entourage Effect was first suggested by Ben Shabat and Mechoulam in 1998 (Ben Shabat, S.; Fride, E.; Sheskin, T.; Tamiri, T.; Rhee, M.; Vogel, Z.; Bisogno, T.; De Petrocellis, L.; Di Marzo, V.; Mechoulam, R. Eur. J. Pharmacol. 1998, 353, 23-31).  It describes a concept in which whole plant/full-spectrum cannabis products, which contain a mixture of phytocannabinoids (e.g. CBD, THC), terpenes, flavanoids and other compounds, exert physiologic and psychoactive effects that may be stronger or different from those produced by the pure individual components (e.g. pure THC, pure CBD).  The concept has been used to explain the well-documented but largely anecdotal evidence surrounding the varied effects associated with different strains of cannabis (energizing, happy, relaxed, sleep-inducing, couch-lock, dreamy, body, cerebral etc.).  While it is well-known that strains of cannabis produce very different effects, there is currently not a lot of scientific evidence to back up the entourage effect concept (see Russo, E. B. Br. J. Pharmacol. 2011, 163, 1334-1364; and also Lewis, M. A.; Russo, E. B.; Smith, K. M. Planta Med. 2018, 84, 225-233).  

All of this begs the question: “How can a single molecule (e.g. THC or CBD) be responsible for exerting the very distinct and divergent effects known among different strains of cannabis?” Additionally, given the known biological effects of the many terpenes found in cannabis, with caryophyllene as a selective CB2 agonist, it stands to reason that synergistic effects between cannabinoids and terpenes could explain, at least in part, the very different effects of cannabis strains.  Future research will likely provide scientific evidence for the Entourage Effect.       






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**These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.**

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