Understanding the Entourage Effect

By Devin Holihan

The entourage effect is the action by which all the components of the cannabis plant have a synergistic reaction. All the cannabinoids and terpenes enhance each other to give you the relief and the high that you experience. That means THC will have a stronger effect when other components are more prevalent. If we eliminate any of those components it will change the overall feelings you experience with a product. This is more than choosing the right terpenes for the time of the day we want to smoke, this means we could be unintentionally getting further away from the desired effects if we focus too much on one component, ie., only getting high THC products.

I am guilty for finding products I really like with high levels of certain components and trying to get other products with the same high levels. As I’m sure many people would agree, that method doesn’t always work. I like to feel uplifted, so I look for products with high limonene, but there have been several times when a product with high limonene has made me feel relaxed because of the other terpenes present. If a high level of linalool is present with limonene, it could end up more relaxing; if a high level of pinene is present then the effects will be more uplifting. That’s just taking two terpenes into consideration so it can get fairly complex when you take all of the components into consideration. 

We are lucky to live in a state that requires and gives access to all the test results on each product. This allows the patients to do their own research and determine what ratio of terpenes and cannabinoids works best for them. Even with our states strict testing there are at least a hundred cannabinoids and thousands of terpenes that can’t be measured because they are present in numbers significantly smaller than machines can test. In all truth, the entourage effect is something we might never be able to completely break down or fully understand, but it is there and taking its effect all the same.