Marijuana products come in many forms. THC can be taken orally as a pill or extract or smoked or vaporized. While some people say that plant’s effects are the same no matter the strain, they may not be accounting for something called the entourage effect.
Is the Entourage Effect Fact or Fiction?
Until fairly recently, the cannabis plant was under a worldwide ban, making studying the plant extremely difficult. As a result, there is still much to learn about the main cannabinoids known as THC, CBD, and the other various compounds found within cannabis. The entourage effect refers to THC’s peculiar reaction when mixed with the various botanical compounds present in the plant.
Cannabis can contain the following cannabinoid compounds:
- CBG (Cannabigerol)
- THC (Δ9–tetrahydrocannabinol)
- CBD (Cannabidiol)
- CBC (Cannabichromene)
- CBGV (Cannabigerivarin)
- THCV (Tetrahydrocannabivarin)
- CBDV (Cannabidivarin)
- CBC (Cannabichromevarin)
Most of the cannabinoids found in cannabis are not psychoactive, meaning they won’t get you high, but their presence can influence how the THC contained within a specific strain will affect you. For example, CBD will not get you high, but it does affect how THC interacts with the CB1 receptors in your endocannabinoid system. It can diminish the high and paranoia produced by THC by blocking some cannabinoid receptors.
THCV can also affect THC’s effects. In small doses, it can lessen THC’s ability to activate CB1 receptors, but it can activate CB1 receptors much like THC in high doses.
The entourage effect partially explains why different consumption methods can lead to different side effects from the same cannabis strain. For example, if you smoke cannabis, THC bypasses your liver and enters your bloodstream directly. If you eat a pot brownie, THC directly metabolizes in your liver into 11-hydroxy-THC, which affects your CB1 receptor at a rate five times that of regular THC (for this reason, the high produced by edibles is much more potent).
The mixture of compounds in cannabis is what gives each strain its unique characteristic effects, whether they be “uplifting” or “relaxing.” Using the entourage effect as a guide can help cultivators develop different flavors, smells, and potency in each new cannabis product.
The method of ingestion isn’t the only factor affecting how you might react to cannabis. Your endocannabinoid system is continuously changing, affecting how you react to cannabis ingestion. Factors like the time of day, mood, or diet can all play a role in how you feel after consuming cannabis.
Because it is a raw herbal plant, cannabis contains many different compounds, namely, cannabinoids and terpenes. A full-spectrum extract containing all of these chemical compounds (THC, CBD, CBG, myrcene, caryophyllene, limonene, or other terpenes) can come in many forms, such as oils, ingestible capsules, dabs, or vape cartridges.
A cannabis extract that has undergone a refinery process to remove THC becomes a broad-spectrum cannabis extract. If an extract contains only a single compound, usually CBD or THC, it is called an isolate. CBD oil can be full spectrum, broad-spectrum, or an isolate. Full-spectrum CBD oils contain a wide variety of therapeutic compounds, while broad-spectrum CBD oil has the THC removed and CBD isolate contains just CBD.
The Role of Terpenes
Terpenoids are aromatic compounds found in plants and contribute to cannabis’ entourage effect. In nature, terpenoids help plants repel insects, animals, and/or infectious germs.
The cannabis plant contains a high concentration of terpenes. These compounds provide each cannabis strain with a unique smell and are responsible for the characteristic pungent odor that cannabis is known for.
Terpenes also form the basis of aromatherapy. There are close to 200 known terpenes present in cannabis, but only a few in amounts that can be detected by smell.
With the entourage effect, terpenes are significant, enhancing or altering THC and CBD’s effects on the body. Some well-known terpenes (along with scent descriptions) include:
- Myrcene – earthy, with musky notes resembling cloves and fruity, red grape-like aromas
- Limonene – lends a citrusy smell akin to lemons
- Linalool – gives marijuana a spicy and floral smell. It also has powerful sedative and relaxing properties
- Humulene – another earthy terpene, with woody and spicy aromas. It also contains properties that function to suppress appetite, reduce inflammation, relieve pain, fight bacterial infections, and potentially prevent cancer cells from growing.
Specific Strains and the Entourage Effect
When a cultivator labels their cannabis product, they usually use a descriptive phrase to encapsulate its essence and the unique makeup of its aroma, flavor, and effects. To create their products, cannabis cultivators seek to maximize the synergistic relationship between terpene and cannabinoid compounds through selective breeding. Some popular and novel 2020 strains include:
- Chassis – Champelli, a legendary Bay Area cannabis cultivator and distributor, blended Gushers Pie, Gellati, and a third mystery strain to create the Chassis strain. Chassis is a high-THC strain with a fruity aroma and taste.
- Prickly Pear – Named after the flower-bearing cactus, this strain has a deep musky and fruity smell. San Francisco’s Turtle Pie Co created it.
- Magic Melon— A Sativa strain that thrives outdoors. It is melony in aroma and contains moderate to high levels of THC.
When purchasing these popular strains, you will want to do so from a reputable source. To avoid any crosstamination, make sure you are always getting a legitimate, high-quality product by purchasing from a trustworthy seller. Canadian residents can click here to buy weed online.
A Weed Strain Is the Sum of Its Parts
Many factors go into providing a desirable cannabis experience. Chemically, marijuana is a mixture of cannabinoids, terpenes, and various compounds that contribute to each strain’s unique chemical composition and its effects and aromas. Counterfeiters simply cannot replicate the passion which goes into growing and producing high-quality cannabis.
The only way to get the most out of your cannabis experience is to always purchase your bud from reputable sellers who take pride in understanding the entourage effect and how it can contribute to creating an amazing cannabis experience.
Interesting related article: “What is Cannabidiol?“