Published on December 19th, 2020
As CBD-based remedies have become extremely popular in recent years, a gigantic variety of CBD products has become available.
These include all sorts of oils, isolates, vapes, gummies, and more. However, we would say that the best of all these methods is still the Hemp flower itself. Why? Because the Hemp plant contains all sorts of other cannabinoids (besides the CBD that gets so much attention). In fact, Cannabis contains hundreds of different substances, and they are all meant to work together.
The Entourage Effect
We should begin by telling you that the existence of the entourage effect is not a universally accepted fact.
According to Mr Hemp Flower, Some people are of the opinion that the idea is bunk, saying that the research has not yet met their threshold for proof.
Of course, we are not here to tell you how to think. Instead, we prefer to explore the evidence and see where it leads. It seems to us that there is enough evidence to say that the entourage effect is real.
Evidence That Supports The Existence Of The Entourage Effect
Although there hasn’t been a single study that conclusively and directly proved the existence of the entourage effect, we do have a lot of indirect proof.
1. CBD Inhibits The Intoxicating Effects of THC
Let’s begin with this study from 2004. It was conducted on rats and was mainly concerned with the topic of memory.
Anyone who has spent time around a frequent Marijuana smoker knows that they are prone to forgetting things. Short-term memory loss has always been listed as a negative side effect of THC.
Anyway, the study was done to determine if CBD could counter the memory-reducing properties of THC alone.
According to the data, this was indeed the case. The rats were given mixtures of THC and CBD at different levels, and they were also given pure THC and CBD. This quote sums up the findings nicely:
“Despite considerable amounts of Δ9-THC present, CBD-rich extracts had no effect on spatial working/short-term memory, even at doses of up to 50 mg/kg.” So, it seems that a mixture of THC and CBD does not affect motor skills or short-term memory. We find this to be pretty solid evidence, but let’s look for some more.
2. Terpenes Also Inhibit Memory Loss From THC Use
Here is another study, this one from a private researcher named Ethan Russo. He also found that CBD inhibited the intoxicating effects of THC. He further posits that it does so by blocking some of the brain’s cannabinoid receptors.
This makes sense because it is true that these receptors can only interact with one substance at a time. However, this one mainly focused on the effects of terpenes.
Terpenes give Hemp strains their distinctive flavors and aromas, but they seem to do more than that. They also act as metabolites (in other words, fuel) for the plant. According to research cited by Russo, Alpha Pinene showed potential as a treatment for memory loss.
Age-related memory loss is most often caused by lower levels of a neurotransmitter substance called acetylcholine. Apparently, Pinene helps to preserve this neurotransmitter and maintain normal bodily levels into old age…but only when combined with CBD or other cannabinoids.
To be fair, we should mention that Mr. Russo works for a company that is focused on cannabinoid products, so he is naturally a little biased. However, the work cited in the report did not come from him or his company (called Phytecs). Since this is mostly a compilation of evidence from other sources, we don’t find the bias to be a huge problem.
3. Pure Extracts Of THC Are More Likely To Cause Psychosis
When someone has taken too much THC, they are going to experience a form of psychosis. Many people describe a feeling of paranoia and anxiety, and many do not find it to be pleasant. In fact, some research suggests that THC extracts cause psychosis for about 40% of people. Of course, that research involved pretty large doses, so that should also be kept in mind.
So, the important question is: Would those minor mental ills be present if the THC had been mixed with CBD and other cannabinoids? Surprisingly, there is a way in which we can find out. There is a drug called Sativex (not legal in the U.S., by the way) that contains equal amounts of THC and CBD.
Extensive research has been done to determine if behavioral psychosis is a real issue with this drug. According to everything that we could find (including this study here), strange behavioral effects from Sativex are extremely rare.
So, let’s think about this: A pure THC extract has a lot more tendency to make people “freak out” than a 50/50 mixture of THC and CBD.
Considering that Sativex still has pretty high levels of THC (enough to make it illegal in the U.S.), we find that to be pretty significant. We can clearly see that the CBD makes a big difference in the way that other cannabinoids affect the body.
4. A Truly Serious Test
When debating the entourage effect, we end up getting a lot of anecdotal evidence. This is the case largely because research with whole Cannabis requires certain licenses that aren’t easy to obtain. However, we aren’t looking for personal testimonials or endorsements here. We want hard, concrete evidence of the entourage effect, and that requires us to look at a much more serious condition.
According to this study from 2018, whole-Cannabis preparations were more effective in the treatment of cancer. Rather than using human subjects, these researchers used cell cultures and animal subjects to test the effects of cannabinoid preparations on cancer cells. They found that the botanical preparation produced a greater anti-cancer response than the pure extracts. We think you couldn’t ask for much better evidence than this.
Because this is an oft-debated topic, we believe it is important to figure out the honest and objective truth. There are far too many pseudo-scientific articles out there that dismiss the entourage effect, but we think we have shown that those people didn’t look very hard. It was not all that difficult to find the evidence that is presented above, so we have to ask the question: Were those other writers smoking something a lot stronger than Cannabis? We think the answer might be yes!