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Entourage effect - Cannabinoids and Terpenes work together

Patrick Widmer

The diverse chemical availability in whole plant medicines is remarkable in its own right, but research looking into how cannabinoids and terpenoids work together adds another level of intrigue.

Raphael Mechoulam, along with many others, said he believes all these components of the cannabis plant likely exert some therapeutic effect, more than any single compound alone.

Instrumental in this area of science is Ethan Russo, M.D., a neurologist who has long studied cannabis compounds and their role in the body. In his study “Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects,” he details how cannabis compounds influence each other’s mechanisms. 

While science has not yet shown the exact role or mechanism for all these various compounds, evidence is mounting that these compounds work better together than in isolation: That is the "entourage effect."

The terpene myrcene, for example, can reduce resistance in the blood-brain barrier, enabling easier passage of other beneficial chemicals. Pinene helps counteract compromised cognition and memory caused by THC. A combination of terpenes pinene, myrcene, and caryophyllene help unravel anxiety. Mixing terpenes linalool and limonene with the cannabinoid CBG shows promise in the treatment of MRSA. THC plus CBN yields enhanced sedating effects. Linalool and limonene combined with CBD is being examined as an anti-acne treatment.

These examples only scratch the surface of all possible synergies made available to us by way of whole plant therapies. 

For more information: British Journal of Pharmacology 


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