Author: Luke Sholl

What Is the Entourage Effect?

The entourage effect

An intriguing phenomenon, the entourage effect improves the influence of compounds like CBD when they work alongside other cannabinoids or terpenes. To discover the benefits of the entourage effect, and how to take advantage of it, keep reading.

The entourage effect and CBD

The entourage effect focuses on the concept of chemical synergy. In the case of hemp, the individual compounds come together and augment each other's benefits to a degree they can't achieve on their own.

This is especially true of CBD. While cannabidiol shows a wealth of potential on its own, its therapeutic impact is believed to increase when working alongside other compounds. Researchers discovered[1] that a full-spectrum formula (one containing many cannabinoids and terpenes) overcame the bell-shaped dose-response of pure CBD (CBD isolate). After a specific dose, CBD isolate shows diminishing returns, but thanks to the entourage effect, the influence of a full-spectrum extract increases as you consume more.

In simple terms, the entourage effect is the hemp equivalent of "many hands make light work". The more compounds you include in a given extract, the more impactful the overall effect. That's not to say that cannabinoids aren't effective in their own right, but you have nothing to lose and everything to gain from consuming a full spectrum of compounds.

The entourage effect and terpenes

As with cannabinoids, terpenes exert a significant impact on the efficacy of CBD supplements. With over 200 occurring in hemp, these pungent, protective molecules are essential to the plant's defences, and to CBD consumers.

Secreted in the trichomes of hemp flowers, terpenes are not unique to the Cannabis genus. In fact, they appear widely in nature in the form of essential oils. Hops, citrus fruits, and evergreen trees all contain varying levels of these molecules. In total, there's thought to be over 20,000 terpenes in existence, with many accounting for familiar scents.

These aromatic compounds also exhibit various beneficial effects[2] on human physiology, with scientists linking terpenes to antiviral and antibacterial outcomes. Combine these small but mighty molecules with cannabinoids, and all elements could benefit. It's one of the primary reasons full-spectrum CBD formulas feature dozens of terpenes.

That said, recent studies[3] suggest there may be even more to these molecules than meets the eye. Researchers discovered a new mechanism of action for terpenes wherein they appear to interact with the endocannabinoid system in a similar way to cannabinoids. There’s much still to learn about this exciting development, but it only strengthens the case for full-spectrum extracts.

What is full-spectrum CBD extract?

We've mentioned it several times, and since it's the best way to benefit from the entourage effect, here's what you need to know about full-spectrum CBD extract.

As the name implies, full-spectrum CBD extract is a formula that contains a vast selection of cannabinoids and terpenes. The exact ratio of each varies depending on the formula, but in most cases, CBD works alongside cannabinoids such as CBN, CBC, CBG, CBDA, and the terpenes α-pinene, terpinolene, and β-caryophyllene.

There is, however, one compound featured in exceptionally small quantities—or removed entirely—and that's THC. The molecule is responsible for a host of psychotropic side effects, so many manufacturers exclude the compound from full-spectrum extracts, save for trace amounts. Don't worry, though, with dozens of other non-toxic cannabinoids and terpenes included alongside CBD, you'll still get enormous benefit from the entourage effect.

Full spectrum vs broad spectrum vs CBD isolate

While it's clear from research that full-spectrum CBD extracts have the greatest potential in terms of the entourage effect, it's worth highlighting the other types of CBD extract and how they differ.

• Full-spectrum CBD: Contains a complete selection of cannabinoids and terpenes. Full-spectrum formulas capitalise on the entourage effect and provide the most versatile influence on well-being.

• Broad-spectrum CBD: With a broad-spectrum formula, the selection of additional compounds is limited. There are still numerous cannabinoids and terpenes, but not in the same ratio or concentration as a full-spectrum alternative. Moreover, broad-spectrum formulas are 100% devoid of THC.

• CBD isolate: If the impact of cannabidiol is your sole focus, then CBD isolate is the extract of choice. Pure CBD extract includes no other cannabinoids or terpenes, but the downside is a total lack of the entourage effect.

The benefits of a full-spectrum CBD extract should be evident by now, as it's the only kind to truly maximise the potential of the entourage effect. However, broad-spectrum formulas do have their uses, especially if you find the influence of certain cannabinoids undesirable.

Finally, there's CBD isolate. From the study highlighted earlier, we know there are diminishing returns with pure CBD, but if you have concerns about the presence of other cannabinoids or unwanted elements, opting for CBD isolate is a great way to alleviate those worries.

It's up to you to balance the advantages of each extract against your needs. The most effective option will be the one that best synergises with your wellness routine.

The entourage effect in CBD oil

The entourage effect in CBD oil

Having talked extensively about the entourage effect and its influence on CBD, you're probably wondering how you can get hold of a full-spectrum extract to try for yourself. Well, that's where CBD oil enters the picture.

For a full-spectrum CBD oil to offer maximum benefit, it should be produced via CO₂ extraction. It's one of the few extraction methods that offers the control and precision required to retain all of the cannabinoids and terpenes needed to maximise the entourage effect.

Of course, at Cibdol, a full-spectrum CBD oil made using CO₂ extraction is precisely what we offer. CBD may have dozens of potential benefits, but why not enhance its effectiveness by including equally impactful compounds? The only real downside to full-spectrum CBD oil is the difficulty of production and finding a high-quality extract you can trust. Fortunately, Cibdol's dedicated laboratory is more than up to the task.

To experience the entourage effect for yourself, browse Cibdol's selection of full-spectrum CBD oils in concentrations from 5–40%. Or, to learn more about the effects of different cannabinoids and terpenes, head over to our CBD Encyclopedia.

Luke Sholl

Cibdol lead writer

Luke Sholl
With over a decade of experience writing about CBD and cannabinoids, Luke is an established journalist working as the lead writer for Cibdol and other cannabinoid publications. Committed to presenting factual, evidence-based content, his fascination with CBD also extends to fitness, nutrition, and disease prevention.
Luke Sholl

Cibdol lead writer

Luke Sholl
With over a decade of experience writing about CBD and cannabinoids, Luke is an established journalist working as the lead writer for Cibdol and other cannabinoid publications. Committed to presenting factual, evidence-based content, his fascination with CBD also extends to fitness, nutrition, and disease prevention.

[1] Gallily, R., Yekhtin, Z., & Hanuš, L. O. (2015). Overcoming the Bell-Shaped Dose-Response of Cannabidiol by Using Cannabis Extract Enriched in Cannabidiol. Pharmacology & Pharmacy, 06(02), 75–85. [Source]

[2] Cox-Georgian, D., Ramadoss, N., Dona, C., & Basu, C. (2019). Therapeutic and Medicinal Uses of Terpenes. Medicinal Plants, 333–359. [Source]

[3] LaVigne, J., Hecksel, R., & Streicher, J. M. (2020). In Defense of the “Entourage Effect”: Terpenes Found in Cannabis sativa Activate the Cannabinoid Receptor 1 In Vivo. The FASEB Journal, 34(S1), 1. [Source]

Which product do I need?
As Seen On: