- Hammond Lewis
Tennessee Marijuana Card Guide: The Entourage Effect
The cannabis plant is full of mysterious ingredients, with hundreds of known compounds, molecules, and millions of reported effects, flavors, and smells.
Found in the shared interest of the plant is an enormous collection of information from the community, reporting strain effects, tastes, smells, intoxication time, just about everything you could analyze about a particular plant, we do.
And while this information is incredibly valuable for patients with a legal cannabis card, it only counts as anecdotal for the scientific community.
And because of the nature of the data being compiled, it’s sometimes very difficult to apply scientific notation, theory, or even scientific conclusions from reported statements from groups of people.
This is where the entourage effect steps in, a proposed theory that multiple compounds in the cannabis plant work alongside each other to ultimately produce the type of effects you will receive from the plant.
In this Tennessee Marijuana Card Guide, we’ll cover the entourage effect, what it is, and whether there’s any truth to it!
Analyzing Cannabis – Parts & Components
The entourage effect was first coined in 1998 by a very famous and important scientist and chemist, Raphael Mechoulam.
Mechoulam became particularly interested in cannabis in the early 1960s when he noticed that although other plant-based compounds had been isolated, such as morphine and cocaine, cannabis had not undergone this same process.
In fact, at the time there wasn’t any scientific data on the active compound of cannabis, it was entirely unknown.
So, Mechoulam went to work, borrowing cannabis samples from local police departments in his home country of Israel and examining them with precision and determination to figure out what was going on with this plant.
At the time, what Mechoulam was doing was considered illegal as far as the Israeli Government was concerned, encouraging Mechoulam to work with considerable speed to isolate and investigate these compounds.
Fortunately, in 1963, he did exactly that, by determining the structure for cannabidiol, he knew he was on to something.
Only a year later in 1964, Raphael Mechoulam became the first person to isolate delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, leading to further research where he discovered the first known endogenous (self-made) cannabinoid in the brain, naming it anandamide.
Mechoulam’s work laid the foundation for our analysis and understanding of the components of the cannabis plant, and without his detailed isolation of cannabinoids and compounds we wouldn’t even know what THC is or anything about how it works in the brain.
What is the Entourage Effect?
The entourage effect is described as the process of multiple components working together synergistically to provide the overall experience of consuming cannabis.
Mechoulam’s 1998 paper on the entourage effect suggested that certain compounds may help the function of other compounds when they are taken together.
In the paper, two compounds were found to be working synergistically.
One compound was found to bind to a receptor, and another compound didn’t bind but instead helped potentiate the binding process for the other compound.
The idea that two cannabis compounds could work harmoniously together, with one helping the other work more efficiently was quite novel in a time when scientific knowledge of cannabis was limited.
Of course we now know that the entourage effect likely doesn’t apply to just two specific compounds, but that in fact there are a wide range of compounds that can work together to produce different or more efficient results.
Today, when people refer to the entourage effect, it is typically applied to the effects of the “high” from cannabis. Most people are usually referring to the entourage effect of terpenes, flavonoids, and cannabinoids working synergistically to produce certain experienced effects, such as sleepy, happy, hungry, etc.
How Does the Entourage Effect Work?
This is one of the big problems with the entourage effect, while it’s likely very obvious that certain mixtures of ingredients in cannabis will produce different effects, the notation for how this works is largely left up to the community.
Sites like Leafly and Weedmaps both maintain large strain libraries where users can vote or comment on the most prevalent effects, side effects, or experiences the strain gives them.
These are extremely helpful tools for patients who are looking to get very specific medicinal or therapeutic effects from cannabis, while avoiding ones that might interfere with their activities, such as being drowsy or sleepy.
Unfortunately, there is far too much incongruence with large pools of anecdotal data, in fact you can look up any strain and see many comments with different opinions on how that strain worked for them specifically.
Our individual biology also makes it very difficult to say, “this strain produces these effects” or “these terpenes make you feel this way”, everyone’s endocannabinoid system, brain, organs, and bodies can make one strain effective for one person and ineffective for another.
But there is an important science behind which terpenes, flavonoids, and cannabinoids have what particular scents, tastes, and medicinal properties.
Although on one hand gathering data from anecdotal resources can be a little inaccurate, there is also safety in numbers.
In truth, there is a lot of information available on what known medicinal properties have been identified in components of the cannabis plant, and much less information available on how effective these components will be in individual bodies.
How to Make Sense of the Entourage Effect
So, if you can’t know exactly how a compound will work in your body, what good does the knowledge of the entourage effect do you?
Well, we do know a few things about how some of these compounds work together.
CBD & THC are known to work together to produce the entourage effect, CBD helping to calm the more aggressive side of THC’s possible paranoia, and CBD helps the receptor to bind more efficiently to THC.
Terpenes are also known to produce their own effects, both medicinal and intoxicating, which can work synergistically to help kind of funnel THC’s psychoactive high into a translatable experience.
For example, myrcene is known to promote sleepiness and reduced pain relief, and alongside THC & CBD in strains like Grandaddy Purple and OG Kush, this makes for a very potent, sleep-inducing strain.
Other terpenes like limonene, have mood boosting and stress relief properties that, when combined with sativa dominant strains like Jet Fuel, help promote an energized and happy disposition.
How to Make the Entourage Effect Work for You
Knowing which terpenes have what particular medicinal properties is extremely important for chronically and terminally ill patients, and knowing how these compounds interact in the entourage effect can greatly help dial in the strains that are most beneficial in a treatment plan.
By ratioing dosages of THC with CBD, many patients find their experiences with cannabis are more effective, adding solid credibility to the entourage effect and how it belongs in the mind of patients and advocates.
There is also evidence that certain synthetic derivatives of THC without additional cannabinoids are less effective or less desirable for patients.
A 2011 survey on medication types for cannabis patients revealed that only 1.8% out of 953 patients preferred to use synthetic THC isolates, with most patients reporting that whole plant flower or extracts were their preferred choice, suggesting that possibly the additional compounds were helpful for those surveyed.
Currently, to understand a strain’s terpene profile and consequently its entourage effect, a bit of extra research is required on the end of the patient.
While many state medical marijuana programs require extensive testing and analysis for compounds in the cannabis they produce, often that information isn’t as widely available as it should be for patients.
It’s our hope that Tennessee will keep this in mind when producing their low-THC cannabis oil, so that when products finally arrive, we’ll be able to clearly identify the ingredients and parts of our medication.
Medical Cannabis in Tennessee
Tennessee cannabis patients will soon be able to legally purchase low-THC oil and see the relief they need organically.
Reserve your appointment today and get $25 off when we start processing applications!
Being a Tennessee cannabis patient allows you the freedom to take your medication the right way for you.
We’re dedicated to helping patients every step of the way, feel free to give us a call at (833) 781-5611 and we can answer your questions about getting a medical cannabis card in Tennessee.
Doctors Who Care. Relief You Can Trust.
At Tennessee Marijuana Card, our mission is helping everyone achieve wellness safely and conveniently through increased access to medical marijuana. Our focus on education, inclusion, and acceptance will reduce stigma for our patients by providing equal access to timely information and compassionate care.
Call us at (833) 781-5611, or simply book a medical marijuana evaluation to start getting relief you can trust today!
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