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What is the Entourage Effect? - How CBD helps the body balance itself.

When it comes to Cannabis Education, we have many things to cover that play a vital role in the effectiveness of the cannabis plant and the benefits that it offers. The most common known molecules are the phytocannabinoids in Cannabis. CBD (Cannabidiol) the non-psychoactive brother to THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) the other more well known psychoactive phytocannabinoid of the cannabis plant. 

Different illnesses and chronic conditions have seen these phytocannabinoids isolated from each other for their prospective purposes, as CBD can offer relief for certain chronic illnesses and lifestyle improvements without “the high” of THC. The real powerhouse treatment in the field of medical cannabis is a product that consists of all the phytocannabinoids combined including the terpenes and flavonoids. 

Often referred to as FECO (Full Extract Cannabis Oil) the effectiveness of Cannabis and it’s wide array of benefits come from near equal parts of CBD and THC as well as its terpenes and flavonoids. 

What is the entourage effect? 

The entourage effect is the phytocannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids combined together that play a synergistic role in releasing the full spectrum of beneficial effects of cannabis When interacting with the Human Endocannabinoid System’s CB1 and CB2 receptors. 

The Entourage Effect

How do they all work Together? 

If you imagine a rugby team or soccer team, for the team to be most effective at playing their game, all the players have to be on the field at the same time to ensure they have the best chance of achieving their full potential. If a player is missing like a goalkeeper, the team has far less chance of effectively achieving their desired outcome with a player missing. 

With all the cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids present in cannabis at the time of consumption, the body has the ability to draw on its team of compounds to adapt, strategize, and benefit the body where and when it needs it, resulting in the entourage effect. 

When we think about balance, just like life itself it is ideal to have a balance in your input and output of energy and self care. Cannabis also needs this balance to be most effective. Our endocannabinoid system is an array of internal receptors that utilise phytocannabinoids to deliver both psychotropic and therapeutic effects. The Human Endocannabinoid System (ECS) helps to restore homeostasis. 

What is homeostasis? 

The Medical terminology for Homeostasis is a property of cells, tissues, and organisms that allows the maintenance and regulation of the stability and constancy needed to function properly. Homeostasis is a healthy state that is maintained by the constant adjustment of biochemical and physiological pathways. Put simply, homeostasis is the body's natural balance it tries to uphold without being disrupted by external stimuli. 

What disrupts homeostasis? 

Deficiency or Toxicity are two major factors that disrupt the balance that can lead to disease and illness. For example a vitamin and mineral deficiency from a poor diet can lead to an disrupting homeostasis, and toxicities like over consumption of sugars or unnatural additives in foods can contribute, as well as chemical exposure in our everyday life from the workplace,  and at home with cleaning products or an unhealthy living environment with toxic moulds. 

An example of disrupted homeostasis is diabetes, a diabetics endocrine system becomes out of balance and is unable to regulate the body's blood glucose levels. 

How does cannabis help Homeostasis? 

The entourage effect works in an opposite way to what you might think, rather than the cannabis being a direct therapy that balances the body, it instead fires up the CB receptors in the Human ECS when consumed which helps the body in restoring its own balance. Of course there are direct physiological benefits from consuming cannabis that happen immediately at the time of consumption, but the real therapeutic value that cannabis offers is the “behind the scenes” entourage effect that is happening on a cellular level. 

CBD/ Cannabis isolates vs Full spectrum. 

CBD isolates are another way to experience some of the benefits cannabis has to offer, isolated cannabinoids can target specific needs like pain relief and anxiety without other cannabinoids like THC. Unfortunately when cannabinoids are isolated from terpenes, flavonoids, and the other available cannabinoids in the plant, they do not create the desired entourage effect that a full spectrum or “full extract'' product would. 

How do I know if my product is full extract? 

Most reputable companies will have this information available for their product and whether it contains all the available compounds desired to make it a legitimate “full extract” product. If you are unsure, always request a certificate of analysis (COA) of the product you are wanting to use. If they are a reputable company and have a legitimate product they should be able to supply this information and the COA should show all the available compounds in that particular batch. 

Summary

The entourage effect in some ways is not yet fully understood just like the human ECS. One thing we do know is studies around the world have shown many great benefits of the cannabis plant, not directly but indirectly through assisting in restoring homeostasis which is crucial for disease prevention and control, as well as healing or recovering. Although THC can often be a scary prospect for those that have never tried a full extract cannabis product, even in trace amounts it has shown to be beneficial and effective in its role in the entourage effect and it’s interactions with the human ECS. If you are seeking cannabis products for general health, well being, disease prevention or management, I encourage you to learn more about the benefits of having all the available compounds in your CBD/ Medical Cannabis products. 


Helpful links

The Entourage Effecthttps://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-02528-1#:~:text=The%20entourage%20effect%20was%20first,the%20Hebrew%20University%20of%20Jerusalem.&text=When%20Mechoulam's%20paper%20was%20published,only%20pharmacological%20component%20of%20cannabis.


What is Homeostasis - https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/homeostasis


Full Extract Cannabis - https://www.leafly.com/news/cannabis-101/what-are-full-spectrum-cannabis-extracts-how-are-they-made

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