The Cannabis Entourage Effect, Terpenes, and their beautiful relationship.
Many people have written and know about terpenes, and the Cannabis Entourage Effect throughout the ages. It is said that a 10th century Persian Emperor knew a secret about how eating lemons could help you come down from smoking too much. We’re pretty sure he didn’t know it at the time but, the main terpene in lemons is Limonene, and since then, research has shown that the presence of Limonene along with THC can have a calming, antidote like effect on a person who is “greening out”. White this is still a relatively new concept, and more research needs to be done to support the idea of the Cannabis Entourage Effect, it remains a fascinating topic for both the medical, and cannabis communities. With Cannabis becoming legal in Canada, more research will be possible, so we can fully unlock the potential that this may hold.
What are Terpenes?
Terpenes are responsible for the varying aromas and flavours of the Cannabis flower. From the sweet berry of Beta-Caryophyllene, to the pungent diesel of Myrcene, and the lively lemon kick of Limonene, there have been over 200 different terpenes identified. All with different palliative qualities, and bodily effects.
Found in the “gland” of the Cannabis plant, terpenes developed as a sort of defence mechanism against the elements, and to ward off potential predators. Not unlike other plants found in the wild. And like other wild plants, the terpene development all depend on factors like climate, weather, soil type, etc. For example in colder climates where some famous indica strains have originated, terpenes like Beta-Pinene are more common. A good example of a strain high in this terpene is Northern Lights. Beta-Pinene is known to have relaxing qualities, which makes Northern lights a great choice for someone suffering from insomnia. In warmer climates, where some saliva strains originated, you will find terpenes such as Limonene more prevalent. A good example of a strain high in limonene is Super Lemon Haze. With a Limonene level of nearly 0.8% it can make this strain great for anyone looking to lift their spirits, up their motivation, or help them focus on the task at hand.
Each terpene has its own profile, taste, smell, etc. They also have different effects on the body. Myrcene, the most common terpene found in Cannabis can produce powerful sedative effects. It also has antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory properties. Making Myrcene an important component to the overall medicinal benefits of Cannabis. Other terpenes, such as Linalool, with a floral, lavender like aroma, can be a very effective anti-anxiety aid. New research also shows that Linalool is particularly important in the use of anti-convulsant cannabis medication. With huge benefits of this research going to the Epileptic community.
While all these therapeutic qualities exist in many plants other than cannabis, there is a reason they are heightened when consumed along with THC/CBD. This reason is called the Cannabis Entourage effect. Or simply the Entourage Effect.
What is the Entourage Effect?
A term first used in 1999, the Entourage effect is thought to be a novel method of Endocannabinoid regulation by which multiple chemical species display a cooperative effect in eliciting a cellular response. Or, in other, less complicated terms, the terpenes help the THC be more or less strong, depending on which terpene is present, and in turn, the THC helps boost the healing qualities of the terpenes. Think of the THC as a key that unlocks the doors of your cell receptors, allowing the chemical compounds in the terpenes to walk right in and do their thing. This is also true when using CBD and THC together, Also known as “full spectrum”. The combination the the two compounds is thought to work better synergistically, than on their own, Try Cannatek’s Full Spectrum to see for yourself.
Another good example of the power of the entourage effect is the combination of the terpene Pinene, with the cannabinoid CBG or Cannabigerol. Studies show that when they are used together, they can be a powerful tool in fighting MRSA. A strain of staph infection that is particularly dangerous, as it is resilient to most known antibiotics.
A simple, fun way to test the Cannabis Entourage Effect on yourself is, and just a warning to always use responsibly (duh). Eat a mango about 1 hour before smoking or ingesting. Mangoes have a high level of Myrcene, and Myrcene has been shown to increase the effects of THC. Imagine the terpene like a key holder, who unlocks the cannabinoid receptors in your brain (or belly!) allowing the THC to move more freely, and quickly. Studies also show that ingesting mango before consuming an edible can even cut the onset wait time in half.
What does this mean for me?
The presence of terpenes in Cannabis, and its interaction with THC might have way more of an effect on us than we originally thought. Aside from just the taste and smell. The Cannabis Entourage Effect might be THE reason the Cannabis plant allows each person to experience its healing qualities so differently. No two Endocannabinoid systems are alike, so each person can have different (positive and negative) experiences with the same Cannabis strain. So just because your best friend, favourite bud tender, or the internet says its good for you, doesn’t mean its going to be. The best thing you can do is experiment. Trail and error. And if all the experimenting is making you feel a little too “green”, follow the example of the 10th century Persian emperor, and eat some lemons!
The vast world of terpenes, the Cannabis Entourage Effect, and their role in the over healing qualities of Cannabis has just begun to be explored. Hopefully, with more government funding, and support, we can delve even deeper, and fully unlock the potential that this plant may have.