The Entourage Effect – Its Role in Cannabis Extracts

How All Cannabinoids Work Together for Heightened User Experiences

Dispensaries across the country are hosting quite the interesting trend: distillate. Cultivated out of a desire to experience a level of purity from CB-1 receptor site activation, distillates are just that, concentrated THC. On the surface, it seems distillates are the go-to source for those wishing to strip away unnecessary compounds and sink directly into a heavy-high. Unfortunately, what was created is a product packing a whopping percentage of THC, but seriously lacking in other cannabinoids and terpenes. Why does this matter? It all boils down to one concept: The Entourage Effect.

On the surface, this concept seems relatively straightforward. In essence, the full potential of cannabis is due to multiple cannabinoids and terpenes working together; they work as an entourage rather than a single entity. However, as scientists delve further into this theory its complexity reveals an entire trove of unknowns.

A Universe of Cannabinoids | The Synergy of Multiples

During the latter part of the 20th Century, researchers created a synthetic form of THC known as Marinol. Patients throughout the country balked at this “substitute” cannabinoid, which was promoted as a legal and just-as-effective alternative to the healing potential of THC. Even though the drug was molecularly similar to THC, why didn’t it offer the same effects as plant-based THC? The answer is straightforward: there was no Entourage Effect.

To date, nearly 500 compounds have been isolated from cannabis (1). While only a select few are classified as cannabinoids, the majority are defined as secondary metabolites and precursors to more popular cannabinoids. To make things even more complicated, different strains of marijuana offer different compound profiles. These differentiating chemical profiles are why the same person can have vastly different experiences based upon strain.

It’s important to note our collective experience with cannabis is also hyper-specific. Your endocannabinoid system structure, along with a plethora of other biological factors, determine how your mind and body react to certain cannabis strains. A streamlined understanding of this is visible when someone consumes a high-THC extract. Some may feel a rush of anxiety, panic or dread. However, when the same person consumes an extract with an appropriate THC-CBD profile, they may find their experience to be pleasurable and therapeutic. The modulating effects of CBD actually work with how THC interacts with CB-1 receptor sites, which are responsible for the psychotropic effects of THC.

Further studies outlined in the journal entry, Taming THC: Potential Cannabis Synergy and Phytocannabinoid-Terpenoid Entourage Effects, found when isolated cannabinoids were consumed, its effects were minimal, if at all. However, when combined with other cannabinoids, its effects were bountiful (2).

Enhancing Cannabis Experiences | Whole-Plant for Whole-System Activation

So what does this mean for cannabis extract processors? In a sense, everything. While it’s a common desire to isolate primary cannabinoids for maximum effects, this methodology counters the bioactivity of cannabis. As the cannabis industry continues its expansion of knowledge, product offerings must simultaneously align.

CAT Scientific specializes in laboratory equipment designed to achieve product goals without sacrificing whole-plant extracts. Whether you’re looking to create a potent extract for edibles or to enhance vapor juice potency, Contact Us to discuss how our equipment can revolutionize the potency and viability of your products!


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Bob Wilcox

Bob Wilcox has represented CAT Scientific’s family of homogenizers, magnetic stirrers, liquid handling and related laboratory equipment since 2002 when Staufen, Germany-based CAT Ingenieurbüro M. Zipperer GMbH established operations in North America. Bob oversees CAT Scientific laboratory apparatus sales and service organization from the company’s headquarters in Paso Robles, CA. He also is in charge of the parent company’s line of JetCat jet turbines, turboprop, and helicopter power plants for hobbyists’ radio controlled fixed wing and helicopter model aircraft. -- Earlier in Bob’s career he was involved in visual and special effects as well as camera and electronics supervisory responsibilities for the motion picture and television industry.

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