What is the Entourage Effect?

by Tim W. Shaw April 27, 2019

What is the Entourage Effect

The entourage effect is the synergistic impact of the cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids found in the cannabis plant when consumed together. It creates an effect that is greater than the combination of their individual benefits.

Recent studies have found that naturally-sourced active ingredients provide a stronger effect when they are applied in their whole plant forms. The benefits can include effects that are stronger, wider-ranging and cause greater amounts of the active ingredient to reach your bloodstream.

Entourage Effect teamsS. Ben Shabat and Raphael Mechoulam, celebrated cannabis researchers, introduced the term entourage effect in 1998. On this they noted that: “This type of synergism may play a role in the widely held view that in some cases plants are better drugs than the natural products isolated from them.”

To understand the concept of this effect, think of a football team. Each player has been selected for their individual skills and experience. They may have a high level of fitness or have perfect ball control.

However, the skills of an individual player are enhanced when added to a team of other players also selected on individual merits. As a result, you have a team whose success could be greater than the sum of all the individual skills. As a team, they are stronger.

This is very similar to the entourage effect. The benefits of CBD are greater when they are applied as a team with the many other substances found in hemp.

Isolate, full-spectrum and whole-plant extract

The different forms of CBD: isolate, full spectrum and whole-plant extract have different uses and effects on the body.

Isolated CBD – Vaporiser safe only

CBD isolateCBD isolate is a pure form of CBD that is no longer combined with any other hemp extracts. In the UK it is not licensed as a food supplement, but it has been found to be safe and effective for use in a vaporiser. It was discovered that when the amount of CBD isolate is increased there is not a corresponding increase in strength of the effect. (Cadena, 2017)

Full-spectrum CBD oil – Combined benefits from different components

Cannabigold Full-Spectrum CBD oil
Full-spectrum CBD products from brands like CannabiGold contain a wider range of the active ingredients found in the hemp plant. These include cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids.

Each one provides its own individual benefits as well as adding to the combined effect. Most CBD products available globally contain full-spectrum extract, however, the number of substances included may vary.

Whole-plant extract – Includes fatty acids and plant matter

Biopurus Whole-Plant CBD oil
Whole-plant extracts from brands like Biopurus and BioBloom are made from all the plant extracts including tiny amounts of over 60 different cannabinoids, 100 terpenes and a range of flavonoids. These are often viscous oils that may be darker in colour because they also contain the plant’s natural extracts, fatty acids and small amounts of plant matter.

Cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids and the endocannabinoid system

The entourage effect comes from both the individual benefits of each component part and the interactions between them.

CBD and THC are well-known, but they are only two of over 60 that are present in the cannabis plant. Each one is found in much smaller quantities, but their presence still has an effect.

Terpenes – Influences the benefits of other substances

Love Hemp terpenesTerpenes are found in many different plants and are what gives essential oils their distinctive aroma. Hundreds can be found in each strain of cannabis, but their different blends create the unique scents and flavours that some varieties are known for.

As well as the smells, terpenes also bring their own benefits. They affect how cannabinoids interact with the body which creates a key character of the entourage effect. Cannabis varieties that have a similar cannabinoid profile can still give very different effects because of the terpenes they contain. Find out more about terpenes and the entourage effect.

Flavonoids – Colours and pharmacological effects

Flavonoids colors
Flavonoids share many characteristics with terpenes and add to the flavour of cannabis and many fruits and vegetables. They are associated with the different colours that cannabis can exhibit and are pharmacologically active (Bennett, 2018). They add to the entourage’s synergistic effects although the nature of this interaction is not yet fully understood.

Cannabinoids – Interact with your body

Cannabinoids Marijuana LeafCannabinoids interact with your body via endocannabinoid receptors. These sites are found in your brain, central nervous system and peripheral nervous system.

Cannabinoids from external sources, such as the cannabis plant, can interact with these receptors as well as endocannabinoids. Endocannabinoids are cannabinoids that are naturally present in our bodies. Your body’s endocannabinoids and the endocannabinoid receptors are collectively referred to as the Endocannabinoid System (ECS).

The endocannabinoid system and how it interacts with your inner balance

Endocannabinoid system inner balanceThe nature of the ECS and the complex way in which cannabinoids interact with it allows the entourage effect to occur. These receptors could be viewed as a lock and the cannabinoids are the keys, however, it is more complicated. Other substances including cannabinoids and terpenes can interact with and alter the lock site. This means that effects are not just on or off, they can be altered and enhanced too.

It is thought that the ECS interacts with your body’s homeostatic mechanism. This is what keeps your body in internal balance. If temperature, pH, water level or many other items get out of control this mechanism corrects them and maintains order in the body.

Each different cannabinoid interacts with the receptors in a different way. Some bind directly with receptors found in specific parts of the body. Other only mildly interact or even just regulate the interaction of other cannabinoids. When you take a full spectrum CBD oil your ECS is introduced to hundreds of active substances all at once. They interact with each other and change the way in which the CBD affects the body (Stamberger, 2017).

Conclusion on the Entourage Effect

This effect is the whole of all the extracts of the cannabis plant creating a greater effect than the sum of each individual benefit.

The best CBD oils will contain a full range of cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids. Look out for full spectrum or whole plant extract products that contain many of these beneficial components. Natural products manufactured using organic processes will improve your health and well-being in the way that nature intended.

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Entourage Effect balance

References on the Entourage Effect

Balance Wild FlowersBennett, P. (February 8, 2018). What are marijuana flavonoids? Retrieved from
Cooper, J. (August 9, 2018). Entourage Effect 2.0: The Entourage Effect is Real, but Full-Spectrum Cannabis is Not the Answer. Retrieved from https://www.cannabisbusinesstimes.com/article/ebbu-entourage-effect-cannabis-guest-op-ed/
Cadena, A. (September 17, 2017). CBD Isolate vs. Full Spectrum CBD. Retrieved from https://medium.com/cbd-origin/cbd-isolate-vs-full-spectrum-cbd-b78a6eab319c
Levine Beckman, B. (November 16, 2018). Rise of the terpenes: The next wave of weed innovation focuses on a little-known compound. Retrieved from https://mashable.com/article/weed-cannabis-terpenes/?europe=true#PvXqe6qguaqt
Stamberger, J. (October 6, 2017). Can Hemp oil provide the entourage effect? Retrieved from https://www.medicalmarijuanainc.com/can-hemp-oil-provide-entourage-effect/
Exploring the Entourage Effect. (August 7, 2018). Retrieved from https://curepharmaceutical.com/blog/exploring-the-entourage-effect
Flavonoids, Terpenes, and the ‘Entourage Effect. (November 6, 2017). Retrieved from https://www.blueskyorganics.com/growing-science/flavonoids-terpenes-and-the-entourage-effect/
Take Advantage of the Entourage Effect with Full-Spectrum Hemp Oil Products. (N.D.). Retrieved from https://kannaway.com/take-advantage-of-the-entourage-effect-with-full-spectrum-hemp-oil-products/
Terpenes and the “Entourage Effect”. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.projectcbd.org/science/terpenes-and-entourage-effect
What is the CBD entourage effect? (2018). Retrieved from https://cbdoilreview.org/cbd-cannabidiol/cbd-entourage-effect/
What is the entourage effect? (February 19, 2017). Retrieved from https://www.cbdschool.com/what-is-the-entourage-effect/

Tim W. Shaw
Tim W. Shaw


Tim W. Shaw writes extensively about CBD oil, cannabis and other groundbreaking food supplements. He and his wife share their home with two daughters and a lifetime’s collection of books.

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