The Entourage Effect: How CBD And Terpenes Join Forces


Hemp is one of the most multi-functional plants on earth. At once vigorous, structurally sound and highly beneficial to commerce, hemp also contains a vast phytocomplex of cannabinoids that each maintain special significance for the consumer.


Although the most abundant cannabinoids have been studied extensively in isolation, researchers are quickly discovering that the benefits of CBD are bolstered by subsidiary cannabinoids and terpenes. This theory is known as the entourage effect, where cannabinoids unify to create even stronger outcomes together than they do individually. Concluded by a study in the British Journal of Pharmacology, Ethan B. Russo coined the phrase in the process of discovering how to tame psychoactive cannabinoids in 2011.


The entourage effect is based around the concept of plant synergy. In the case of hemp, the individually efficacious compounds come together and augment each other's benefits to a level they could not reach on their own. This is most evident when examining the mutualistic relationship between psychoactive cannabinoids and CBD.

How does CBD affect psychoactivity?

CBD shows particular promise in mediating the unwelcome side effects of psychoactive cannabinoids. In contrast to the feelings of anxiety and paranoia spurred by psychedelia, CBD emits a mildly sedative effect that helps to reduce adverse symptoms. Hemp is considered most substantial when used in the form of “whole plant medicines”. The idea argues that isolated cannabinoids in prescription drugs like Marinol are less effective than consuming supplements that feature a more fecund phytocomplex profile.

As of late, some CBD product manufacturers have chosen to employ 99% CBD crystals in order to advertise high cannabinoid concentrations in their merchandise. Others choose to take a more studied approach, harvesting cannabinoids and terpenes naturally from hemp matter via CO₂ extraction.

Terpenes: surprisingly beneficial

As with cannabinoids, terpenes also sustain a major impact on the efficacy of CBD supplements. With over 200 appearing naturally throughout Cannabis sativa strains, these pungent, protective molecules are important to the plant’s structural development and to consumers.

Secreted in the trichomes of its flowers, terpenes are not unique to hemp. In fact, they appear widely in nature in the form of essential oils. Hops, citrus fruits and evergreen trees all contain varying levels of these molecules. In total, there are said to be over 20,000 terpenes existing in lifeforms on earth, accounting for many of the most familiar scents in the world.

Terpenes are perhaps most recognised for their diverse, pungent aromas ranging in flavour from pine to clove. However, they also have direct implications on the success of the plant’s cultivation cycle. Terpenes act as a form of natural protection for hemp plants, keeping away pests and disease, while luring in choice pollinators. As such, terpenes are extracted and used as organic pesticides by environmentally conscious farmers.

Many terpenes, countless applications

When consumed in the presence of cannabinoids, a full spectrum of terpenes can strongly influence the extent to which plant therapy is effectual. Studies have confirmed that hemp’s most abundant terpene “myrcene” is also contained in the mango fruit. As such, eating mangos forty-five minutes before consuming psychoactive cannabinoids will result in the faster onset of psychotropic effects. This is due to myrcene’s role in streamlining cannabinoid absorption through the blood-brain barrier.

Each terpene originates with a unique set of characteristics and aromas, producing varying effects therein. As these tiny molecules receive more attention by scientists and the medical community, it will help to better explain the internal workings of Cannabis sativa plants and how cannabinoids can be used in viable treatments.

The endocannabinoid system

Humans and cannabinoids have a more natural relationship that you might expect. The mammalian endocannabinoid system is often referred to as the body’s own inherent cannabinoid system. Studies have shown that a group of cannabinoid receptors (mainly CB1 and CB2) bind to cannabinoids throughout the brain and immune system.


This relationship induces different effects depending on whether the compound is psychoactive and what other molecules are present. The endocannabinoid system takes part in regulating mood, memory and pain, which can be altered by the presence of cannabinoids, terpenes and other compounds.

CBD has undergone multiple preliminary examinations that have concluded its potential in reducing inflammation in non-human subjects. Additionally, high CBD strains have provided anecdotal evidence toward treating the symptoms of multiple forms of epilepsy, especially in children. Further research has indicated that CBD contains analgesic qualities that are even more strengthened by terpenes like Linalool. When binding with receptors, cannabinoids encourage therapeutic benefits of numerous varieties.

The entourage effect in CBD oil

CBD oils found on the market today truly run the gamut in terms of quality. Reputable CBD manufacturers fight an uphill battle to present high quality, CBD oils with a full spectrum of compounds in a sea of mediocre products made by inexperienced producers.

The difference between consuming CBD supplements with terpenes and other cannabinoids is far and away from the experience of ingesting products made with CBD isolates. While cheaply made oils will likely reflect a lower price tag, customers get what they pay for with supplements that administer fewer benefits on dietary health.


Manufacturers of hemp supplements have been making up for lost time after being written off for so many decades due to the illicit nature of highly psychoactive strains of Cannabis sativa. Now, more people understand the safety of CBD and how it can be implemented as a beneficial addition to the human diet. Looking ahead, the entourage effect sustains incredible importance in informing the future of hemp as therapeutically effective.

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