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What is the Entourage Effect?

Dr. Ethan Russo is a board certified neurologist and a psychopharmacology researcher who coined the term the “Entourage Effect.” He stated his research found “complementary pharmacological activities that may strengthen and broaden clinical applications and improve the therapeutic index of cannabis extracts.” Dr. Russo discovered synergistic effects between different compounds that enhance and boost each other when combined.

Whole plant products have high efficiency and are more potent than using an isolated compound. Generally speaking, these products tend to be more expensive but the user will find quicker, more profound relief from diseases and conditions.


Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD) are two well-known cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. Marijuana has higher THC to CBD ratio, whereas hemp has a higher CBD to THC ratio. Certain plants have been bred to have a more proportionate balance of these two cannabinoids and was found to offer the most effective relief for conditions. CBD has also been shown to reduce some of the adverse effects some people experience from THC, like anxiety and paranoia.

Dr. Russo and Dr. Geoffrey Guy researched a product called “Sativex” in 2006. Their findings were that THC and CBD functioned better when used in a 1:1 ratio. This ratio showed substantial success in treating chronic pain, urinary tract issues related to multiple sclerosis and muscle spasms. Equal ratios of CBD and THC have also reduced sleep disturbances. Individuals with neuropathy, arthritic and cancer pains found more relief with the two cannabinoids.

Current governmental restrictions limit the amount of THC that a product can legally contain. This means that available products have a much higher CBD potency and the user may not experience the maximum results. Another synergistic relationship will be reviewed below and can help treat conditions with higher success than using an isolated compound.

CBD & Terpenes

Dr. Russo also examined the benefits of using products containing cannabinoids and terpenes. Terpenes are essential oils that naturally occur and give cannabis plants distinctive aromas and flavors. His research revealed that terpenes “could produce synergy with respect to treatment of pain, inflammation, depression, anxiety, addiction, epilepsy, cancer, fungal and bacterial infections.”

When the terpenes remain in the CBD product the benefits are twofold. Limonene is an energizing terpene that can alleviate depression symptoms. Beta- Caryophyllene is powerful in reducing inflammation throughout the body, including the gastrointestinal system. Myrcene has sedative effects which promote calmness and provide relief from anxiety. Linalool is also an anti-anxiety and capable of acting as an anti-microbial. Pinene combats cognitive and memory issues by increasing focus. Multiple terpenes can be used in conjunction with CBD to treat a variety of issues in a single dose.

CBD products containing terpenes are currently legal in all 50 states and are accessible to everyone. Multiple products like tinctures, rubs, salves, capsules and edibles are available so individuals have choices when purchasing. Users can still find strong benefits and relief through these products.

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