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Breaking It Down: The Entourage Effect

If you’ve looked into broad spectrum CBD or full spectrum CBD, you’ve definitely heard the term ‘entourage effect’ floating around. While there are still a lot of questions around the efficacy and the validity of the entourage effect, researchers believe that there may be health benefits that come along with taking broad spectrum or full spectrum CBD. So what exactly is the entourage effect? Let’s break it down for you. 

What is the Endocannabinoid System?

The first thing to understand is what are the mechanisms in your body that cannabinoids interact with: there are two receptors in your body that bind with cannabinoids, CB1 and CB2.

These receptors are all over the body but CB1 receptors are primarily in the central nervous system and CB2 receptors are throughout the body in the peripheral nervous system. Naturally, our bodies create anandamide and 2-arachidonolyl (2-AG) endocannabinoids which bind to these receptors. Meanwhile, our bodies also create Fatty Acid Amine Hydrolase (FAAH) and Mono-Acyl-Glycerol Lipase (MAGL) which break down these endocannabinoids, naturally. 

We’ll go into the Endocannabinoid System more in-depth in another blog post.

What is the Entourage Effect?

1998 was the first mention of the entourage effect. Doctors Raphael Mechoulam and Shimon Ben-Shabat were the first to notice and mention an “entourage effect” theory of some sort. They noticed various inactive molecules in the human body - specifically the 2-AG and anandamide molecules - boosted in activity when cannabinoids were ingested or brought into the body. This is thanks to the cannabinoids’ impact on the endocannabinoid system and how some of them inhibit the breakdown of these endocannabinoid molecules.

Basically - CBD is not the only thing responsible for the beneficial effects on the body, although CBD does have an important part. The presence of endocannabinoids which already exist in your body also boost your mood following exercise. CBD, as well as the other compounds in cannabis plants, simply amplify the activity of the endocannabinoids that exist in your body. Different cannabinoids will do different things in your body, THC, for example, binds to the CB1 receptor to give a psychoactive effect while CBD inhibits the degradation of anandamide. When they work together, they may have additional effects. 

Many call this the “CBD entourage effect” which isn’t what it is. Yes, CBD is a big part of it, however if CBD was the sole contributor to this effect then there wouldn’t be much of a discussion about an “entourage” effect. Researchers do not believe there is one single hemp component that is the “most important” part of this phenomenon. Even if a single component is missing, the whole entourage effect may not be as strong. This is why many people suggest a full spectrum CBD hemp extract to take full advantage of this effect. 

Even still, full spectrum CBD might not be the go-to answer for experiencing the entourage effect.  Many people who believe in the entourage effect and it’s benefits cite custom cannabinoid formulations are more consistent than a full spectrum formula. Full spectrum formulas different cannabinoids act on too many different body receptors at once. Jon Cooper, CEO of ebbu calls this “chemical chaos” - you’re not only consuming helpful compounds, but you’re also consuming other compounds that might create the opposite effect that you’re trying to achieve.  Keep in mind that full spectrum CBD products still have trace amounts of THC which could impact those that are not interested in THC products. 

If you would still like to try and experience the entourage effect, but want to avoid THC, you might want to look into broad spectrum CBD products. Broad spectrum formulas potentially have the same terpenes and entourage effect possibilities, just without the THC. Our RESET Foundation Broad Spectrum water based formula would be a good start thanks to the teamwork of CBD, CBG, CBC, and terpenes! Plus, it's a water based broad spectrum, so you don’t have to worry about rancid oils or that you won’t even absorb all those good cannabinoids! You can learn more about why water based cannabinoids are best in another blog.

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What Ratio is Best?

As we’ve said before - cannabinoids affect everyone differently thanks to everybody being different and every endocannabinoid system is unique. Beyond just our bodies being different, everyone’s goals for the use of cannabinoids are different. All cannabinoids - including THC - may cause possible side effects, which is another thing to consider when attempting to create your body’s best ratio. THC when taken in larger quantities is psychoactive, and can cause fatigue, which obviously wouldn’t help if you’re looking to stay energized throughout the day with cannabidiol (CBD). CBD could cause nausea or weight changes, so it’s important to consult your doctor about trying CBD products or even THC for medicinal use. They will be able to recommend dosages or advise about any interactions between CBD and prescriptions you’re taking.

While taking a full spectrum CBD or a broad spectrum might be your choice, you could also customize your own entourage effect with isolates like the RESET Ritual. Thanks to the RESET Ritual you can mix and match for your best ratio and change it every time depending on the time of day or what you’re looking for. The RESET Ritual has CBD, CBG, and CBN to pump your day up or get yourself the RESET Ritual Plus for Broad Spectrum with the Ritual!  

More Research Is Needed

Some researchers remain skeptical of the entourage effect. Right now, like many things in the medical cannabis field, the entourage effect is just a theory. Most of the research into the entourage effect has focused on the THC and CBD interaction, and how they can both affect each other. In these studies, researchers credit the capacity of CBD to moderate or even intensify the binding activity of THC in the brain. These studies also suggest that there needs to be a 1:1 ratio of CBD to THC in order to see this effect have an impact. 

 A 2018 meta-analysis showed results that pure CBD extracts were less effective in reducing seizures in epilepsy patients than extracts that included other cannabinoids, including terpenes. In that study, 71% of those who took the broad spectrum or full spectrum CBD  had fewer seizures, while only 46% of those treated with  CBD isolate experienced the same effects. Since this is only one study, there is more work to be done in the future. 

Anecdotal evidence from cannabis consumers confirms the thesis that small differences in mixtures of cannabinoids and terpenes create different results. Anecdotal evidence has convinced researchers to begin their own scientifically valid research to see if the entourage effect holds up in a scientific environment. Until the day that laboratory studies prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the entourage effect exists, conversations regarding this phenomenon will end with question marks. 

If you’re still interested in seeing if the entourage effect is a reality for you, check out our RESET Foundation Broad Spectrum Extract or customize your entourage effect with cannabinoid isolates in the RESET Ritual.