The ‘entourage effect’ was discovered by Dr. Raphael Mecholulam, an Israeli researcher often referred to as “the Father of Marijuana Research.” It is known as a synergistic chemical effect that suggests whole cannabis plant extract is more effective than the isolation of a single compound.
This discovery was made in the 1960s, shortly after Mechoulam became the first to successfully isolate the well-known psychoactive compound of cannabis, THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). Since then, the endocannabinoid system (ECS) was also identified, presenting therapeutic potential in almost all diseases if regulated properly. This discovery noted that cannabinoids in the cannabis plant are also natural occurring compounds found in the body’s endocannabinoid system.
With access to this information, growers are now able to modify plant structure and produce cannabis strains specifically designed to produce certain cannabinoids and terpenes. Terpenes are a large and diverse class of organic compounds, produced by a variety of plants, particularly conifers, and by some insects. These are the essential oils that give cannabis its aromatic diversity.
Scientists have discovered over a hundred unique terpenes in addition to cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. Terpenes bind with the same receptors as cannabinoids throughout the body and effect the chemical output of neurotransmitters such as dopamine, and serotonin. This interaction allows for terpenes to have potential medical values such as alleviating pain and potential effects on enhancing mood.
Every strain of cannabis has a distinct set of terpenes but the most common terpenes include Myrcene, Caryophyllene, Pinene, Humulene, and Limonene. Each offers a variety of effects and potential medical benefits including but not limited to; antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-depression, appetite stimulate and insomnia relief.
Depending on which cannabinoids they interact with, terpenes can provide additional medical value when used in harmony with other therapeutic cannabinoids. For example, some combinations may provide a more relaxed or sedated mood while others may spark alertness and relieve stress.
Medicinal cannabis products like CBD Nectar by Cannaisseur Brands are formulated to contain certain levels of cannabinoids and terpenes to treat to certain diseases, symptoms or ailments. It is the combination of these compounds that magnify the therapeutic effects of the plant’s individual components, highlighting the importance of the entourage effect.