You’ve probably heard of the butterfly effect, the Doppler effect, the greenhouse effect, and the placebo effect. But have you ever heard of the entourage effect?
If you’ve been around cannabis culture for any length of time, chances are you have. You still might not know exactly what it is, though. And, more to the point, you might not know what it feels like.
In this article, we discuss the entourage effect in all its glory so you know how it works and how to experience it for yourself.
What Is The Entourage Effect?
Before we get to the heart of the matter, let’s take a step back and define the word entourage without the word effect tagging along. Doing so will help you understand what’s going on in the entourage effect itself.
The word entourage comes from the French word entourer, which means “to surround.”
More specifically, the English word entourage is defined as:
A group of people attending or surrounding an important person.
For example, a group of assistants escorting a CEO or an actor or a politician is considered an entourage. And, technically, it doesn’t even have to be an important person for it to be an entourage.
You could consider your group of friends as your entourage, and you could be part of their entourage. Not to say that you and they aren’t important, but you get our drift.
It all comes back to a group of things (people in the above case) surrounding and moving with another thing (or person in the above case).
Keep this concept in mind as we move to the heart of the matter: the entourage effect itself.
Entourage Effect Defined
The entourage effect is the combination and interaction of various cannabis compounds to produce certain results that aren’t possible with the individual compounds by themselves.
Before we get into the individual chemicals in the next section, we’ll look at a more general example to make this concept easier to understand.
Think of the various cannabis chemicals as the ingredients in a big batch of Grape Kool-Aid: sugar, water, and one of those little flavor packets.
We’re big fans of water and sugar on their own, but a spoonful of sugar (although it does make the medicine go down) isn’t super satisfying. And while a tall glass of water is essential for maintaining good health, sometimes you just need more than something that tastes like nothing.
The last ingredient — the Kool-Aid flavor packet — is just too potent to consume on its own.
So, the three components taken separately are OK, but they’re nothing spectacular. Mix them together, though, and the result is magic. The ingredients combine to form something greater than the individual parts.
That’s the entourage effect in action.
The term used to describe the entourage effect is “synergy.” It’s the interaction or cooperation of two or more substances to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects.
What, then, are these substances that make the entourage effect so great? Read on to find out.
The Entourage Effect Is All About Chemical Interaction
When it comes to the entourage effect, it’s all about chemical interaction.
Some chemicals are unique to the cannabis plant, while others are present in pretty much every other plant on the planet.
But remember, it’s not about what these chemicals do by themselves, it’s about how they all work together as a group that makes the entourage effect so special.
Cannabinoids are chemical compounds that act on the cannabinoid receptors in your brain. For the purposes of this article, we’re only going to concern ourselves with one class of these chemicals: the phytocannabinoids (found in plants).
But just so you’re ready for the next trivia throwdown, we’ll mention the other two classes: endocannabinoids (found naturally in your body) and synthetic cannabinoids (manufactured in a lab).
Dig deep into the phytocannabinoid class, and you’ll see some familiar names, such as:
Put simply, cannabinoids are the heart and soul of the marijuana experience — they’re the “important person or thing” mentioned in our definitions from earlier in this article. Without them, cannabis is just a pretty plant.
During the flowering stage, the pot plant glands produce another key chemical: terpenes. Terpenes are oils that provide the plant with its own unique flavor, smell, and medicinal properties.
All plants have their own mix of terpenes, but those on the marijuana plant surround, move with, and interact with the cannabinoids to produce some truly unique psychedelic and medicinal effects that can’t be found anywhere else.
Flavonoids are molecules within the plant matter itself (leaves, stems, etc.) that combine with the terpenes to produce even more distinctive tastes and aromas.
Like terpenes, flavonoids interact with the cannabinoids to create an entourage effect of health benefits and help fully expose and express the ganja’s unique aromatic and euphoric character.
Why Is The Entourage Effect So Powerful?
Cannabis culture places a lot of importance on the main chemical in the pot plant — cannabinoids such as CBD and THC. And for good reason.
These compounds are unique to the cannabis plant and are a big part of their medicinal value. But they’re not the only part.
1) Terpenes And Flavonoids Increase Potency
Think of the other chemicals in the cannabis plant — terpenes and flavonoids — as backup for the prime movers like CBD and THC.
CBD is very effective at influencing mood, pain, and inflammation. In some cases, terpenes and flavonoids are just as good as CBD. So, those secondary chemicals, in essence, increase the potency of the CBD.
2) More Receptors Activated
Cannabinoids such as THC and CBD act on more than 65 different groups of receptors within your body (e.g., neurotransmitters in your brain, glands in your endocrine system, and others), but the size of the effect is different at each site.
If you need relief in a certain part of your body but CBD tends to go to other parts, there’s no way to redirect it.
But the other chemical compounds — that can be just as good as CBD at reducing pain and relieving anxiety — may act more fully on the receptors that CBD tends to miss.
3) Reduced Negative Effects
If you’ve spent any time around THC, you’re familiar with the negative effects of this cannabinoid. Even the “good” cannabinoids, like CBD, can have negative effects at higher doses.
But, when you partake of cannabis from a blunt, bong, or joint, the other chemical compounds in the mix help reduce these negative effects.
They do this by essentially taking up space. They occupy neurotransmitters and prevent CBD or THC from docking there. This prevents too high a dose of either cannabinoid from causing negative effects.
To illustrate, think of the neurotransmitters in your brain as individual mailboxes at the post office, and the cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids as packages out for delivery.
Once the postmaster places a package in a mailbox, there’s no room in that box for another one. That means that the postmaster has to place the second package in another box. That process continues until all the packages are gone or all the boxes are full.
The same is true of the chemicals and receptors in your body. The chemicals are the packages and the receptors, or neurotransmitters, are the mailboxes.
One chemical docks with, and activates, one receptor. That means that another chemical has to dock with a different receptor.
As a result, not all the neurotransmitters will be firing in response to the CBD or THC. Some will be reacting to the terpenes. Some will be reacting to the flavonoids. That reduces the likelihood that you’ll experience a negative effect from too much cannabinoid.
The Entourage Effect And High-Quality Weed
If you want to feel the entourage effect for yourself, we recommend choosing the highest-quality weed possible.
You may be limited by the selection where you live or the amount of cash in your wallet, but anything less than fresh, high-quality, organically-grown cannabis may not give you what you’re looking for.
Sure, you could save some dough by buying regs or mids, but they’re going to deliver an unsatisfying experience overall.
Instead, whenever possible, always buy the best beasters — or better yet, headies if you can swing it — for your pot-smoking experience.
With a high-quality, organic strain like those grown at Honest Marijuana, you’ll need less weed to experience the entourage effect you’re after. A toke or two from high-quality bud goes a long way.
With Honest Marijuana, you’re guaranteed to get the freshest, tastiest, highest-quality, best-smelling strain possible and you’ll experience the entourage effect the way it was meant to be.
For more information on all things cannabis and to check out our 100% all-natural marijuana products, visit HonestMarijuana.com today.