No matter the reason that you choose to use cannabis or consume CBD or THC, it is wise to understand the entourage effect. The entourage effect refers to how the various compounds in cannabis interact and enhance each other’s results. However, there is more to it than this.
A Quick Intro to Cannabinoids and Terpenes
To understand the entourage effect, you need first to understand that CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) are cannabinoids, also called phytocannabinoids. There are more than 120 different recognized phytocannabinoids in cannabis. The name of these compounds comes from the fact that they interact with the endocannabinoid system in the body, a system responsible for keeping your body in balance.
Terpenes are another critical component of cannabis involved in the entourage effect. These are also called terpenoids, and they are small organic compounds that are responsible for the aroma and flavour of the plant. There are various types of terpenes, each with its scent, flavour, and effects, from anti-inflammatory properties to relaxation. The 2018 research by Katrina Weston-Green showed that some of the terpenes and flavonoids in cannabis might have anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties.
Understanding the Entourage Effect
As mentioned, the entourage effect is that when you consume cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids, they seem to enhance each other’s effects. For example, if you were to consume CBD and THC, the overall results would be higher than just the effects of the CBD alone. The same is theoretically correct of other combinations of cannabinoids and terpenes.
Research on Taking Cannabinoids With Terpenes
There has already been some research into the interactions when you consume cannabinoids along with terpenes, including in the British Journal of Pharmacology, which published a review of studies in 2011. This review indicated that taking phytocannabinoids and terpenes can simultaneously help with a fungal infection, cancer, epilepsy, inflammation, anxiety, and pain.
However, research is still in its early stages when it comes to cannabis, and there have been studies that do not show promising results. For example, in 2019, a study by Santiago et al. tested six of the more common terpenes separately and combined. The researchers concluded that adding terpenes did not change the impact of THC on the CB1 and CB2 cannabinoid receptors.
Keep in mind that even this research, which does not support the entourage effect, does not rule out the possibility. The interactions between THC and terpenes may occur somewhere else that was not studied. Or other factors may have been at play.
CBD Can Reduce Side Effects of THC
While some people enjoy the psychoactive effects of THC, that is not true of everyone. Additionally, consuming THC can also include side effects that few people want to experience, such as anxiety, in addition to those that not everyone wants, like hunger or sedation.
Early research indicates that when you take CBD, it can reduce these side effects of THC. Some of this was shown in that previously-mentioned review from 2011.
How to Take Advantage of the Entourage Effect
Taking advantage of the entourage is simple. All you have to do is choose a cannabis product that combines CBD and THC, with or without other cannabinoids, terpenes, or flavonoids. If you want to avoid THC and its psychoactive effects, or if THC is illegal in your area, you could choose a product with CBD and other legal cannabinoids or with terpenes.
Keep in mind that if you do not want any THC in your CBD products, then you need to look for products that explicitly state they do not contain any, and that have lab testing to back them up. Otherwise, products can legally contain up to 0.3 percent THC.
Choosing a Dose and Ratio
Unfortunately, there is no quick answer as to how much CBD and THC you should consume, or even what ratio to take them in. This comes from multiple factors, including the lack of research and the fact that everyone reacts to CBD and THC differently. Your reaction depends on numerous factors, including your body chemistry, metabolism, and body weight. The amount to take will also depend on how strong you want the effects to be.
Because of this, the best suggestion is to start with a low dose. If you are new to using THC, you should start with 5 milligrams or less. Those new to CBD should start with a similar amount, although you can increase it to 15 milligrams for your first try.
Trial and Error
You will need to start with that low dose of CBD and THC and then go through some trial and error to figure out what dosage and ratio are best for you. If you need to increase the doses, do so slowly over time.
If you do not notice results, try taking THC and CBD at the same time as well as at separate times. Your body may even react differently based on which one you take first if you take them separately. You should also consider experimenting with various delivery methods.
Many products are available with varying ratios and doses of THC to CBD. If you cannot find a product with the ratio you want, then consider two separate tinctures or concentrates that you combine in the appropriate quantities to create the ratio and dose you prefer.
The entourage effect is the way that consuming CBD and THC will increase the impact of each of these cannabinoids. A similar result seems to occur for various combinations of cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. Additionally, CBD can help reduce some of the potentially unwanted effects of THC, including anxiety, hunger, sedation, and even the psychoactive effects. The easiest way to take advantage of the entourage effect is to choose a product that contains both CBD and THC, although you can also consume them separately.