The Entourage Effect
Understanding the Entourage Effect
The Entourage Effect is a term coined by Raphael Mechoulam and Shimon Ben-Shabat in 1998 to describe the synergistic relationship between compounds found in the cannabis plant that enhance their therapeutic effect when combined. Much of the pharmaceutical research on cannabinoids is conducted by synthesizing a single compound (i.e. THC or CBD) and administrating the compound to treat a specific condition. The practice of isolating cannabinoids is shown to produce minimal benefits when compared to full-plant extractions that are rich with the naturally occurring terpenes, cannabinoids, and flavonoids in cannabis and hemp.
The entourage effect is not limited to the cannabis and hemp plants. Beta-caryophyllene (BCP), a terpene and dietary cannabinoid, interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) and can be found in vegetables and plants, like:
- Black and white pepper
- And many more
BCP is known to have anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antioxidant, anti-microbial, and antianxiety properties. The entourage effect is enhanced when one consumes beta caryophyllene sourced from both food and cannabis.
The ECS still has many unknown functions due to a lack of funding and research resulting from cannabis prohibition. The same is true for the entourage effect. However, TRPV1, a cannabinoid receptor present in the skin, interacts with compounds like capsaicin, found in capsicum fruits, hot peppers, cannabidiol, and anandamide, suggesting that the entourage effect can be enhanced by combining cannabinoids with other natural plant essences and foods.
There is much promising potential for understanding the entourage effect and the therapeutic benefits of cannabis, dietary cannabinoids, and plants that remain undiscovered. As the medical and academic communities dive deeper into these areas of study, a greater understanding of the interaction between our bodies and nature will become more widely known.