The Entourage Effect – Why Natural, Whole-Plant Alternatives Really Work

The entourage effect of alternative medicine in cannabis

Which do you prefer:

A sweet, juicy orange, or a bitter vitamin C tablet?

The answer is probably unanimous.

An orange consists of 139% of the daily recommended  amount of vitamin C that an adult should consume, in addition to vitamin A, thiamine, folate, calcium, and potassium. When you eat an orange, you benefit from all of the natural products, flavonoids, terpenes, and other phytochemicals that contribute to the physiological effect of that orange juice has on your body’s ecosystem.

What happens when you pop a vitamin C pill?

Sure, you introduce that vitamin directly into your system, but what about all of the other benefits? You miss out on the array of antioxidants and other biological buffers that oranges possess. Oranges consumed as a whole dump a broad spectrum of organic compounds which have natural antioxidants and contribute to the overall health and functionality of nearly all of our body systems. Isolated vitamin C is good, but it lacks the hundreds of other compounds that are prepackaged in whole fruit like a supplement made in the factory of nature.

This phenomenon of synergy, where the natural plant product consumed as a whole produces better results than the individual isolated compounds, is known as the entourage effect, and it is the reason why the cannabis plant has the properties that it has.

The entourage effect in cannabis

CBD and THC both pack immense health benefits, but there are other cannabinoids and terpenes which have been overshadowed by the two most well-known features of the cannabis species. Just as CBD and THC have been found to exert the greatest therapeutic effect when combined with one another, the other less-known cannabinoids – cannabigerol (CBG), cannabichromene (CBC), cannabidivarin (CBDV) etc. – also contribute unique assets to the therapeutic arsenal of the cannabinoids.

If we allow the natural synergy of the cannabis plant to exert its full effect, the therapeutic benefits can be maximized for people with any number of conditions and disorders. Cannabinoids interact with the CB1 and CB2 receptors, both directly and indirectly, and they also act on other receptors in the endocannabinoid system (ECS) and in systems outside of the ECS, like the serotonin system which controls mood and appetite.

Lesser-known cannabinoids like CBG or CBC, and terpenes like linalool, when combined with CBD, can be a better treatment option for insomnia than pure isolates which don’t bring as full an effect as an ‘entourage’ of compounds. Furthermore, the combination of CBD, THC, CBG, and CBDV is a more effective multiple sclerosis treatment option than CBD or THC alone.

This synergy among the cannabinoids and terpenes, which in turn increases the efficacy of treatment, is called the entourage effect. There are so many combinations of the more than 113 different phytocannabinoids and 220 terpenes which we are eliminating by isolating individual cannabinoids and continuing the pharmaceutical trend of single-compound drugs. We are missing out on the plant’s value as a whole, which is already the perfect natural alternative.

A number of studies are being conducted testing this theory for its first clinical applications as it certainly opens up many new treatment options for people with so-called intractable conditions. If you want to stay up to date regarding the latest cannabis treatment options, cannabinoid science, and anything related to the science of cannabis, stay tuned to What Is CBD, offering unbiased information about the world of cannabinoid medicine.

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