In order to gain more knowledge about a topic or issue of interest, you need a level of curiosity. And this is certainly how many CBD users approach the topics of terpenes and entourage effect. The names might seem intimidating, but digging just a little bit underneath the surface will give you all the information you need.
What are Terpenes?
Terpenes are the aromatic organic compounds found in many plants and insects. Plants emit these terpene substances as a natural survival technique to deflect certain predators. Cannabis has high levels of terpenes.
Terpenes evaporate quickly, so they are easily picked up by the olfactory nerves – aka, smell. Many scientists rally behind the recent discoveries on the pharmacological benefits of terpenes, or terpenoids. It is what made way for the explosion of aromatherapy.
Biologically, terpenes are a combination of carbon and hydrogen. And since terpenes do have different molecular structures, boiling them at different temperatures and in varied environments will create various outcomes.
Terpenes and terpenoids are always being exchanged interchangeably. For proper distinction, the latter is a modification of the chemical compound of terpenes through drying and curing.
It’s important to know about terpenes because the terpenes within a strain of cannabis are what causes the varied effects during use.
These compounds have medical benefits and are active in a variety ways. Including pain treatments, treating inflammation, and even positively affecting anxious or depressive states among users. Some studies have shown a positive effect in alleviating epilepsy, addiction, and infections. In fact, the majority of the terpenes in cannabis are either analgesic or anti-inflammatory.
The most common terpenes are what we see in everyday items, or at least come in regular contact with. Limonene is present in citrus and causes high energy when ingested. Beta-Caryophyllene is found in the essential oil of black pepper, oregano, and other herbs and is said to be a beneficial anti-inflammatory substance.
For more information on terpenes, check out this website.
The Entourage Effect
To best describe this phenomenon, think of an orchestra. Each musician is skilled in playing a particular instrument. Not everyone can have the same skill because each person is gifted in different ways. Individually, they can play their instruments wonderfully and can even be considered virtuosos in their own fields. But if you put them all together and ask them to play a single piece, the result is a pure symphony.
The same goes for the entourage effect. It is the synergy of all the compounds in a plant. Many of these compounds link with each other synergistically. This is the entourage effect or the entire group of compounds coming and bringing a strong impact. The synergy being created from the interactions between multiple components is what makes the medicinal impact of the whole plant greater than any individual parts.
The discovery of the entourage effect highlights the basic scientific principle that combining multiple compounds in their natural state will result in a multiplying effect. With compounds enhancing each other’s chemistry, the plant species becomes more therapeutic or medicinal.
Nowadays, it is common to use the entire plant for medicinal purposes rather than just cherry-picking which parts of the plant will be taken to the lab for extraction. Holistic, plant-based treatments have long used this approach known as whole-plant medicine to treat many ailments.
In some ways, we shouldn’t at all be surprised that the living organisms around us provide natural healing benefits for our bodies. The world we live in is teeming with the wonders of nature, just waiting to be discovered and utilized properly.