I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “two minds are better than one.” The same holds true with regard to cannabinoids, due to something called the Entourage Effect. The size of your entourage, when using cannabinoid medicine, can determine the therapeutic effect it will have for your condition. When selecting your hemp (CBD) & cannabis tinctures, it is safer and more therapeutic to use a full or broad spectrum tincture, which means it includes a wide variety of major and minor cannabinoids and terpenes, in lieu of an isolate, which has only one single cannabinoid. Cannabidiol (CBD) isolates are very common in the market and, though they do have some therapeutic effects, they can also include harmful side-effects, especially in large doses. This is because they don’t have their entourage of supporting minor cannabinoids to balance its effects on receptors. The broader the spectrum, the better, in most cases, to achieve the optimal entourage.
In addition to the therapeutic effects of a broad entourage, it also plays a role in the balance of your endocannabinoid system (ECS). Cannabinoids and terpenes work synergistically with each other, while antagonizing your cannabinoid (CB) receptors, to create homeostasis in your body. Homeostasis = perfect balance. When your body is in perfect balance, it’s in prime condition for healing.
Major and minor cannabinoids and terpenes need each other to balance, harmonize and help your body regulate how much of each compound (CBD, CBG, CBN, THC, CBC, etc) is available to ignite your receptors – this amount can vary from day to day, depending on the areas of the body that may be out of balance. Your body knows how to regulate cannabinoids because the body makes its own cannabinoids as well, known as endocannabinoids (endo = from within) that ignite our CB receptors in the same way as phyto-cannabinoids (from the cannabis plant).
What are terpenes and why do they matter to my entourage?
Terpenes are volatile aromatic molecules (fragrances) found in most plants in nature, including cannabis, and they are just as therapeutic as cannabinoids. Some believe terpenes are even more important than cannabinoids, with regard to medicinal properties. A report by Dr. Ethan Russo (September 2011, the British Journal of Pharmacology) discusses the wide-ranging therapeutic attributes of terpenes, which are typically not found in CBD isolate products.
Finding the right cannabis product can include a lot of trial and error, because cannabis is not a “one size fits all” medicine. That being said, there are specific compounds you can seek out, depending on your condition, to lead you in the right direction. Any given strain of cannabis, including hemp, has hundreds of cannabinoids and terpenes and no two strains have the same profile, so narrowing down a few compounds known to work with specific conditions can be very beneficial to your success. For instance, if someone suffers from severe anxiety, they will most likely find strains high in the terpenes linalool and myrcene to have a greater calming effect. Working with a cannabis wellness advisor, to help navigate the waters and find the best products for your condition, can help you achieve quicker success with your treatment.