April 01, 2022 |

What Is The Entourage Effect?

In cannabinoid science, the Entourage Effect is the synergistic interaction of phytonutrients found in the cannabis plants that augment and potentiate the therapeutic effects of cannabinoid drug molecules, such as THC and CBD.

The Entourage Effect is a term coined in 1998 by Raphael Mechoulam and his colleagues. They studied how various constituents of the cannabis plant modulate the effect of the primary cannabinoids, THC and CBD.

Mechoulam and his research team found that the use and effects of individual cannabinoids could be greatly increased by adding various compounds, such as terpenes, flavonoids, and other cannabinoids found in marijuana and hemp plants.

They found that these additional compounds would influence an entirely different receptor system in the body known as the endocannabinoid system (ECS) — a complex network of receptors and corresponding molecules in all vertebrate species whose primary function is homeostasis.

With over 100 cannabinoid compounds, 200 terpenes, and hundreds of other flavonoids and active molecules found in the cannabis plants, each strain holds a unique chemical profile and therapeutic potential that offers users better results when used together rather than as isolated compounds.

Active Compounds Found In Cannabis Plants

For the Entourage Effect to truly offer therapeutic benefits, it is important to consider the many cannabinoids and terpenes found in cannabis plants.


Cannabinoids are the primary medicinal components of the cannabis plant. They are chemical compounds that react with cannabinoid receptors within the body’s endocannabinoid system to create various effects throughout the body.

Over 100 naturally occurring cannabinoids are found in cannabis plants, but two primary cannabinoids are most abundant and researched: THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (Cannabidiol).

THC is the most psychoactive cannabinoid in cannabis plants — stimulating regions of the brain responsible for cognitive processes, perception, pleasure, and time perception. In addition, THC has proven to be a potent anti-inflammatory and analgesic compound that helps with pain management and sleep. It also stimulates the appetite.

CBD is non-psychoactive, does not attach to CB1 receptors in the brain like THC, and has proven to be an effective anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsant, antioxidant, anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) compound with powerful neuroprotective properties. CBD also influences serotonin receptor activity, which can help lessen pain and reduce anxiety.

These two cannabinoids combined are what offer cannabis users the most therapeutic relief. CBD can help mitigate the side effects of THC like drowsiness, paranoia, and anxiety while potentiating its medical benefits that may be used to assist with pain, inflammation, relaxation, appetite stimulation, immune system modulation, etc.

While THC and CBD are the most commonly known cannabinoid compounds that can be purchased in varying concentrations in a variety of marijuana and hemp products, they are not the only beneficial cannabinoids produced in cannabis plants – nor are they solely responsible for stimulating the Entourage Effect.

Recent cannabinoid research is driven by consumer demand for cannabis products that don’t have the potential for getting the user “high,” which has led to the discovery of cannabinoids such as CBG (Cannabigerol), CBC (Cannabichromene), and THCV (Tetrahydrocannabivarin).

These cannabinoids offer users a range of specific health and wellness benefits based on the interaction of the compound with the endocannabinoid system.


Terpenes are organic oils secreted alongside cannabinoids by cannabis plants to protect against predatory insects and repel herbivores. These essential oil components of the plant give each strain its own unique smell and taste, ranging from sweet and fruity to earthy and pungent. Cannabis plants with higher concentrations of terpenes tend to have a more distinct flavor that reflects their subtle differences in effects.

Terpenes are also powerful anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antimicrobial compounds with psychoactive properties that can alter the way cannabinoids are experienced when combined.

While not unique to cannabis plants, terpenes and other cannabinoids like CBG and CBC found in marijuana and hemp plants offer additional therapeutic benefits when combined with the primary cannabinoids THC and CBD.

Terpenes can be broken down into three groups: Monoterpenes, Sesquiterpenes, and Diterpenes. Each group has its own specific benefits and effects.

Monoterpenes found in cannabis include Myrcene, Limonene, Alpha-Pinene, Linalool, Borneol, Terpineol, and Nerolidol. These terpenes offer anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects.

Sesquiterpenes found in cannabis include Caryophyllene, Humulene, Bisabolol, Phytol, Valencene, and Guaiol. These terpenes offer anti-inflammatory properties as well as antimicrobial abilities.

Diterpenes include Phytol, Beta-Caryophyllene, Valencene, and Bisabolene and may be beneficial in treating gastrointestinal issues in addition to pain management.

By combining cannabinoid products with rich terpene profiles, users can receive a broader range of therapeutic benefits that work together to produce the Entourage Effect.


No Entourage Effect would be complete without mentioning flavonoids. Researchers have known for some time that cannabis plants contain a wide variety of naturally occurring flavonoid compounds, which contribute to the unique color of each strain. The purpose of flavonoids in cannabis plants is to protect the leaves from oxidative stress from ultraviolet rays.

This antioxidant property has led to insights into flavonoids’ ability to help cells in the body fight off free radicals and help prevent cellular decay. Therefore, when creating cannabinoid products, many manufacturers are exploring advanced technologies that preserve the naturally occurring flavonoids within cannabis plants for their essential function in assisting with the benefits of the Entourage Effect.

What is the Endocannabinoid System?

An endocannabinoid system is a group of cell receptors that cannabinoids bind to inside the human body. This system is responsible for regulating many biological processes, including appetite, pain-sensation, mood, and memory.

The endocannabinoid system is what benefits most from the Entourage Effect as it is the vital pathway that cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids work together to promote.

So, instead of using one cannabinoid compound to stimulate CB1, CB2, and other related serotonin receptors, the endocannabinoid system uses the combination of compounds found in cannabis plants to regulate the natural processes within the body more effectively and with more excellent health and wellness results for users.

What Cannabinoid Products are the Best for Experiencing the Entourage Effect?

To experience the full benefits of the Entourage Effect when using cannabinoid products sourced from hemp or marijuana plants, it is recommended to choose full-spectrum or broad-spectrum whole plant formulas.

These whole plant formulas contain several naturally occurring terpenes, cannabinoids, flavonoids, and other beneficial phytonutrients from the complete cannabis plant.

Full-spectrum whole plant cannabinoid products contain all beneficial plant compounds needed to induce the Entourage Effect and are the most effective for therapeutic purposes. Be aware that full-spectrum cannabinoid products may have trace amounts of Delta 9 THC cannabinoids and should be avoided by users looking for a non-psychoactive cannabinoid experience.

Broad-spectrum whole plant cannabinoid products are the best choice for users seeking therapeutic benefits while maintaining a clear head and an alert state of mind. Broad-spectrum products contain most beneficial cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids but are free of any Delta 9 THC compounds, making them an excellent choice for those looking to avoid the risk of psychoactive effects.

Full-spectrum and broad-spectrum cannabinoid formulas are infused and extracted into a variety of supplemental health and wellness products such as oil tinctures, edibles, vape liquids, topical skin care products, and concentrated distillates for dabbing.

By using whole-plant extracts, users can ensure that they receive the maximum benefits of the Entourage Effect that assist with a variety of health issues, including chronic pain management, mood imbalances, restorative sleep, digestive problems, and many more.

How Are the Best Products for Entourage Effect Made?

Ideally, cannabinoids should be extracted through supercritical CO2 or ethically distilled to preserve what is considered the “Entourage Effect” of the essential compounds found in cannabis plants.

In modern times, many of the best whole-plant extracts that promote the Entourage effect come from Cannabis Sativa L plants, commonly referred to as hemp. The purpose of using hemp plants is beneficial for multiple reasons.

First, the growing of industrial hemp plants containing less than .3% THC was made legal with the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill. As such, cannabinoid products derived from these hemp plants are federally legal for sale and possession throughout all 50 US states.

Second, hemp plants contain an abundance of beneficial cannabinoid compounds compared to traditional marijuana plants, including cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids.

Finally, using hemp-derived cannabinoids and active compounds within the hemp cannabis plant means that there is an incredibly low amount of Delta 9 THC – the psychoactive component that contributes to the high users feel when consuming marijuana products. Since becoming more mainstream, many are looking for a way to reach their health and wellness goals with natural alternatives to pharmaceutical medications that won’t affect cognitive abilities or cause unwanted side effects.

In addition to the production process that preserves beneficial cannabinoid compounds that promote the Entourage Effect, cannabinoid users seeking the best overall health and wellness benefits should look for products made with oils that enhance the product’s bioavailability.

MCTs, or medium-chain triglycerides, are beneficial lipids that enhance our ability to absorb and use cannabinoids and other nutrients efficiently. The best MCT carrier oils are derived from coconuts or palm kernels. Additionally, other oils that enhance the bioavailability and absorption of a cannabinoid product include hemp seed oil, avocado oil, and grapeseed oil.

The Bottom Line

The Entourage Effect is a concept that describes the synergistic relationship between all of the various components present within the cannabis plant. The Entourage Effect is beneficial for promoting overall wellness and can support users with chronic pain, mood imbalances, restorative sleep, digestive issues, etc.

To ensure that the Entourage Effect is present in a strength and efficacy that promotes wellness, look for cannabinoid products made with a high-quality, whole plant full or broad-spectrum extract including all beneficial cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. Additionally, look for MCT carrier oils such as coconuts or palm kernel oil to enhance the bioavailability of these products.