The Entourage Effect.
One of the most interesting and intelligent aspects of marijuana is known as the ‘Entourage Effect’. A combination and conglomeration of cannabinoids that create an overall effect that is greater than the sum of all its parts. The entourage effect was first described by neurologist Ethan Russo. It received its name because of the similarities that the marijuana plant creates when consumed in whole. A comparison can be made to an entourage of people, they exist and purpose is to surround and provide support to another person or group of people.
Over the last few decades, it has become known that marijuana comes in a myriad of different varieties and strains. These different marijuana strains have significantly different chemical compositions and profiles. The effect that these various compositions have on people can generate different experiences in the same person. Perhaps this helps to explains why sometimes marijuana can make a person feel calm, while on other occasions with a different stain, it can make that same person feel anxious or even paranoid.
Where the Whole is Greater than the Sum of its Parts.
The primary active, or most well-known cannabinoid is Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This particular compound has been the main research focus in cannabis academia since Dr Raphael Mechoulam isolated and synthesized THC in 1964. To better understand the entourage effect, we can look at alternative medicine which often focuses for medicinal purposes on using the entire plant. It’s known as whole plant medicine and mounting evidence suggests that medical substances may be more effective in plant form than in pill form.
A combination of Phyto-cannabinoid (plant based) and terpenes (another cannabinoid) working in synergy, significantly increases the new therapeutic products is possible from this remarkable plant. When these compounds work together, they create an “entourage effect” that exponentially increases the therapeutic benefits of the marijuana’s medical properties so that the therapeutic impact of the whole plant is greater than the sum of its parts. In fact, a research from 1981 revealed that whole plant extracts produced 330% more activity than THC alone. This exciting development and understanding gives reason for the future of organic marijuana as a comprehensive whole plant treatment as its effects on the human endocannabinoid system are just starting to be understood.