The Entourage Effect & The Magic of Terpenes

When visiting We’:) to choose your ideal cannabis product, the Entourage Effect is something to keep in mind, as the effects that one may get from cannabis use can be attributed to terpenes and the Entourage Effect, and not just THC.

The Entourage Effect, Explained

To explain The Entourage Effect, the team at We’:) is going to get a bit scientific.

The Entourage Effect refers to the beneficial effects brought about through the synergistic interaction of all the different cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, and fatty acids of the cannabis plant working together to produce stronger effects, compared to if they were just introduced to the body alone.

To put it differently, when ingesting multiple components of the cannabis plant simultaneously instead of just one or two components working in isolation, the Entourage Effect is occurring, contributing to the effects of cannabis. The cannabis plant itself contains over 500 different compounds, including possibly 200 distinct naturally-occurring phytocannabinoids, such as THC and CBD.

When you explore the products at We’:), look at the product labels and you’ll see that some brands include information on other cannabinoids (other than THC and CBD which is mandatory) as well as terpenes contained within a batch. These are important indicators for understanding how The Entourage Effect works within the cannabis you choose.

The Entourage Effect & The Endocannabinoid System

THC, CBD, and all other cannabinoids interact with the body through The Endocannabinoid System (ECS), which is known as a regulator for the body’s major systems. Cannabinoids that enter the body interact with the endocannabinoid system by binding to CB1 and CB2 receptors found throughout the body. CB1 receptors are found in the brain and nervous system, and CB2 receptors are found throughout the immune system and related organs.

Cannabis terpenes interact with the body’s cannabinoid receptors in a similar way as cannabinoids do. Studies are currently being done showing that terpenes have unique therapeutic benefits that contribute to the Entourage Effect, and terpenes are more commonly used in traditional and alternative medicine.

The History Behind the Entourage Effect

The Entourage Effect was first theorized in 1998 by Israeli scientists Shimon Ben-Shabat and Raphael Mechoulam. They proposed that fatty acids occurring in the cannabis plant enhanced cannabinoid activity in the body. Through their experiments, they showed that alone, certain cannabinoids would not bind to the body’s cannabinoid receptors, thus producing no effects; however, when cannabinoids were introduced together with fatty acids, binding to the body’s cannabinoid receptors increased.

Since then, scientists like Dr. Ethan Russo have developed terpenes inspired by cannabis to provide health and beauty and food and beverage companies terpene isolates for terpene-infused products. Even craft beer companies are using terpenes that are inspired by cannabis strains to bring terpene-infused beer to various markets!

What Exactly Are Terpenes?

Terpenes actually occur in all plants naturally, not just cannabis. They are aromatic compounds responsible for each plant’s unique smell and taste on the palate. Common terpenes found in nature that you’ve most certainly encountered include limonene, found in all citrus fruits, and linalool, found in lavender. If you’ve ever used essential oils for aromatherapy, it’s the terpenes that are creating the effects!

Cannabis terpenes are responsible for each cultivar’s (or strain’s) own distinct smell. Around 200 different terpenes have been found in cannabis, but only a few are in high enough concentrations to be detected by the nose. Beta-caryophyllene, for example, is a common terpene that’s found in black pepper, and oregano, as well as cannabis.

Other terpenes that you’ll find in cannabis products at We’:) include:

• Myrcene, which has earthy, musky, and herbal aroma with notes of tropical fruits, and is reported to have sedative effects;

• Pinene is found in pine needles and has a (naturally) piney, fresh scent. It’s one of the most abundant terpenes in nature. Think of how you feel when walking through a forest of trees – that’s pinene!

• Humulene commonly found in both cannabis and hops. Its aroma has earthy, woody, and spicy notes.

…and this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to exploring terpenes in cannabis!

How LPs Preserve Terpenes

As the average cannabis consumer in Canada becomes more educated on cannabis, including terpenes, it’s becoming increasingly important to Licenced Producers (LPs), the companies that are authorized under Health Canada to produce cannabis, to preserve terpenes.

Terpene preservation occurs in the growing, harvesting, and curing process, with how it’s dried and trimmed being most crucial to terpene preservation.

The average terpene level you will see on a cannabis label can be around 2-3%.

Isolates vs. Full Spectrum Products

Many people opt for products that contain just THC or CBD, and there is nothing wrong with that! These compounds on their own serve particular functions within the cannabis experience; however, on their own, The Entourage Effect is not enacted.

Full Spectrum Options in Store

When you’re shopping the selection of curated products at We’:), we encourage you to keep the Entourage Effect in mind, as cannabis is much more than just THC. Many products offered at We’:) are “full spectrum” or “whole plant extracts”, meaning that the terpenes, cannabinoids, fatty acids, and flavonoids in the cannabis plant have been preserved in the product. Consuming multiple components that exist within the cannabis plant will work together to enact the Entourage Effect, providing a more full-bodied cannabis experience.

The Entourage Effect and Cannabis Intents

At We’:), we have curated our cannabis products based on six intents that help guide the consumer towards their ideal cannabis experience. For instance, you may see cannabis products containing limonene in our RISE product selection, or products with myrcene in REST. We encourage consumers to get educated about cannabis terpenes and how they can greatly affect the cannabis experience, and understand that cannabis is much more than just THC!