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With the rise of the CBD industry, we are learning every day about all of the various cannabinoids and their uses. Cannabinoids are the chemical compounds found inside of the hemp plant. Research has pointed to many potential benefits to cannabinoids such as pain relief, anxiety reduction, sleep aid, and more. One particular concept gaining traction in the larger CBD community is the entourage effect. The entourage effect is what makes many of your favorite CBD products so beneficial and effective, but you may be wondering –– what is the entourage effect and what does the entourage effect feel like? 

What is the Entourage Effect?

A contemporary entourage effect definition will suggest the theory that different chemicals and compounds inside of the cannabis plant work together to create an overall effect. In a sense, this theory suggests that while individual cannabinoids such as CBD isolate certainly do have effects on the body and mind, they have the biggest impact when they work together. 

Let’s take a look at the research behind the entourage effect.

How Do You Explain The Entourage Effect?

You probably have heard of CBD and THC, but did you know that there are a variety of beneficial cannabis strains and compounds found in the hemp plant? The entourage effect explains that there are hundreds of chemical compounds in cannabis, like cannabinoids and terpenes, and that these chemicals can have more powerful and unique effects when combined than when isolated. 

On a biological level, the effects of the entourage effect will take place when specific terpenes and cannabinoids interact with each other after various chemicals within cannabis attach to different receptors in the brain. So you may be asking yourself, how exactly do cannabis compounds interact with the human body? The human body is equipped with a complex system called the Endocannabinoid System. This system is responsible for maintaining balance in the body. The Endocannabinoid System has receptors placed throughout our body, the CB1 and CB2 receptors. When we consume cannabis products, cannabinoids act and react with these receptors to supplement the Endocannabinoid System and help regulate our bodies to work at the most optimal function. These cannabinoid receptors have several ways of changing their physical response depending on the type of cannabis an individual consumes.

Have you ever wondered why certain strains of cannabis cause a euphoric high while other strains of cannabis help with rest and relaxation? It comes down to a mix of chemicals affecting the body and the brain in different ways. The entourage effect is a way of attempting to explain how a complex group of cannabinoids and terpenes interacts with an equally complex organism like the human brain. 

Now for the big question: What does the entourage effect feel like? 

What Are The Potential Benefits Of The Entourage Effect?

As the cannabis industry evolves, so does the research on the many cannabis strains and their benefits. Many cannabis brands in the industry are formulating products that embrace the entourage effect. So what does the entourage effect feel like? The answer is complex, and at the heart of every working entourage effect definition. 

Isolated cannabinoids such as CBD isolate, which is CBD in its purest form, are beneficial on their own. However, when cannabis compounds are combined, an overall effect is created. While there can be a lot of potential benefits to the entourage effect, research on the subject is still coming together. The cannabis industry is making new discoveries every day as research grows. It’s hard to say for certain what impacts the entourage effect can have on the human body or mind, however, new research does suggest that there are a variety of potential benefits.

A 2010 study on the entourage effect helped put evidence behind the theory. This study gave groups of people either pure THC, pure CBD, or a 50/50 mix of THC and CBD. Individuals who got the mix of THC and CBD reported better pain relief. This may suggest an entourage effect that shows THC and CBD work better together than they do apart. This is important for potential medical uses of cannabinoids. If it turns out that they do work together better, it could change how we look at helping people manage chronic illness and chronic pain. 

However, even with a definition and some potential benefits, researchers in the cannabis industry are still trying to figure out if the entourage effect is even real. 

What are Cannabinoids? 

The hemp plant consists of many chemical compounds, including major and minor cannabinoids. As cannabis research continues, the list of cannabinoids found in hemp is growing. Let’s start with minor cannabinoids. Minor cannabinoids are cannabis chemicals found in smaller concentrations. A few cannabinoids that fit in the “minor” category are CBG and CBN. On the other hand, major cannabinoids are chemicals found in larger concentrations in the hemp plant. Two major cannabinoids you’ve probably heard of are THC and CBD. 

What are terpenes?

Products that embrace the entourage effect have more than just the various cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. Terpenes also help contribute to the entourage effect theory. 

While you may already be familiar with cannabinoids, terpenes have also been found to have beneficial effects. Terpenes are essentially ‘aromatic compounds’ found in plants, flowers and fruit that give them their distinctive smell and flavor. There are about 100 different terpenes in the hemp plant, with each separate strain containing a unique blend of terpenes. These compounds are however not specific to cannabis and the same terpenes often exist in other plants. For example, Myrcene is commonly found in hemp but also plants such as lemongrass, thyme, hops and even mango. Cannabinoids and terpenes work together in synergy and may embrace the entourage effect.

Is The Entourage Effect “Real”?

We should set aside questions like “What does the entourage effect feel like?” and “What is the entourage effect in regards to CBD?” for the moment. As it turns out, even with the information gathered so far, researchers are still not convinced whether the entourage effect is even real or if it is just a theory after all. 

Our entourage effect definition is one way of looking at this issue, however, there have been studies that suggest that there is no such thing as an “entourage effect.” The entourage effect is specifically referring to an interaction between cannabinoids and terpenes that enhances how they work in the body. It could just be that each of these chemicals has their own unique effect and some effects tend to overlap. That might meet some definitions of the entourage effect, but not exactly our definition. 

Researchers have been trying to find out if the entourage effect is real for years. There is research that demonstrates combining different cannabinoids and terpenes can improve the benefits individuals get from these substances, but there are also studies that seem to indicate otherwise. 

What Does The Entourage Effect Mean For Full Vs. Broad Spectrum Products?

One of the major reasons people ask, “What is the entourage effect?” has to do with the rise of Full Spectrum and Broad Spectrum CBD products. There are hundreds of cannabinoids found in the hemp plant, and cannabinoids have made a large impact in the wellness industry. These cannabinoids interact with the human body’s Endocannabinoid System to help create balance in the body. While CBD isolate is CBD in its purest form, Full Spectrum and Broad Spectrum CBD products are products that utilize the many cannabinoids to create blends for optimal effects. First, let’s go over the differences in these two types of CBD.

Full spectrum CBD products, such as Full Spectrum CBD oil, use all of the chemical substances found within the hemp plant, including THC and other cannabinoids. Full Spectrum CBD products will contain a blend of cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpenes. These compounds all work together synergistically to enhance the benefits and embrace the entourage effect. However, in order to remain federally-compliant (and “legal” on a national basis), the THC content in these products will have to remain below 0.3%. 

CBD isolate can be beneficial on its own, but Full Spectrum CBD oil and Broad Spectrum CBD products embrace the entourage effect to formulate an optimal cannabis product. Conversely, while Full Spectrum CBD products contain THC, Broad spectrum CBD products remove the THC completely. These products can still contain other chemicals from the Cannabis plant but there will be 0% THC in their final mixture. Broad Spectrum CBD products are great for those who want to experience the plant benefits but without the psychoactive effects. 

In practice, this means that you can experience some aspects of the entourage effect in both Full and Broad Spectrum CBD products, but only Full Spectrum CBD products are going to have the complete entourage effect since Full Spectrum CBD products will have THC. If you are looking for a product that will not give you a “high” feeling, Broad Spectrum CBD may have no risk of psychoactive effect due to the lack of THC. Full Spectrum CBD extracts contain a higher amount of CBD and THC than Broad Spectrum CBD products to create more of a euphoric sensation. However, both Full Spectrum and Broad Spectrum whole plant extracts will embrace the full benefits of the hemp plant. 

How Do You Shop For Products That Produce The Entourage Effect?

If you really want to answer the question “What does the entourage effect feel like?” then you’re going to need to know how to shop for the right products. Take a look at our entourage effect definition and it will point you towards the products to shop for. Typically, you’ll want to look for CBD and CBN products that have a “Full Spectrum” of cannabinoids and terpenes. These can be oils, edibles, or even vape products. 

Of course, good old-fashioned cannabis flower will have the entourage effect, but THC edibles and vape pens might not. If you’re not sure what to look for, you can always ask your budtender or the manufacturer if they have any “full-spectrum” products. When shopping for products that produce the entourage effect, it’s always beneficial to ask yourself how you would prefer to take it. There are products in many forms such as vapes, oils, edibles, and more. At the end of the day, it depends on your preference and what type of cannabis product you believe will enhance your experience. 

You probably have noticed that some cannabis products can produce energizing effects while others can have more relaxing benefits. When shopping for products that produce the entourage effect you may want to ask yourself, what do I want to feel when taking my CBD or THC products? There are Full Spectrum products that contain specific cannabinoids that can help with various needs, such as CBG and CBN. For example, VIIA offers two types of Full Spectrum CBD Oil Drops – Day and Night Drops. VIIA Day Drops embrace the entourage effect because they contain Full Spectrum CBD Oil but with an elevated amount of CBG. CBG is a minor cannabinoid that is popular for its uplifting and energizing effects. On the other hand, If you are looking for a Full Spectrum CBD oil product that is good for sleep, VIIA Night Drops contain CBN. CBN is a minor cannabinoid similar to CBG, however CBN is known for its relaxing and sleep sedating properties. When shopping for products that produce the entourage effect, it is always helpful to keep in mind what benefits you would like out of your cannabis product. 

It is important to keep in mind that everybody’s body processes cannabis compounds differently. Finding the best product that produces the entourage effect can require some trial and error, like most things do. How your body reacts to the entourage effect theory depends on multiple factors, not just your body but also health issues, metabolism, and more. 

When buying CBD or THC products, it is vital to make sure that you are purchasing products that are clean, organic, and high quality. While some CBD companies may use fillers, cutting agents, or artificial flavors in their products, VIIA produces natural blends. At VIIA, every product is carefully crafted from seed to finish with the highest quality ingredients. In addition, each product goes through vigorous third party lab testing at each stage of production to ensure quality, potency, and free of contaminants.