Another Look At CBD Oil and The Entourage Effect
Hemp is a highly complex plant. According to scores of studies, a product made from its extracts called full-spectrum CBD oil offers a wide array of health benefits. What is it about hemp that makes it such an amazing plant? The answer lies in a phenomenon we call the entourage effect.
The word entourage is used as a metaphor. It refers to a group of people that live and work and travel together for an overall purpose. Together they can achieve more than each of them could achieve separately.
The entourage being referred to in hemp is its powerful concoction of more than 80 active compounds, each of which has its own set of effects on the human body. By working together the overall effect of these compounds is greater than the sum of the parts.
The majority of the active ingredients found in hemp fall into two categories — cannabinoids (such as CBD, CBG, etc.) and terpenes (such as limonene, pinene, linalool, myrcene, etc.).
Let’s take a closer look at each category.
Cannabinoids provide much of the medicinal effects of hemp. They are produced in relatively high concentrations with some strains of hemp producing more than 20 percent of a cannabinoid known as cannabidiol — aka CBD. Dozens of minor cannabinoids are also produced in much smaller quantities.
Cannabinoids found in hemp are technically known as phytocannabinoids, while those produced naturally by the human body are called endocannabinoids. Cannabinoids of both types interact with the body’s endocannabinoid system, or ECS, which is a system of signaling molecules and receptors by which the brain communicates with individual cells. You can find more information on the workings of the endocannabinoid system here.
Cannabinoids also provide health benefits outside of the realm of the ECS such as antioxidant, antibiotic, and anti-inflammatory effects. Cannabinoids have been shown to be more powerful than vitamin C as an antioxidant. Cannabinoids also have strong anti-inflammatory effects. Inflammation causes pain, swelling, and a host of other symptoms. Salicylic acid — aka aspirin — is an example of an anti-inflammatory agent.
The most famous of all phytocannabinoids is THC, the compound found in marijuana that causes intoxication. Hemp is essentially devoid of THC. Therefore CBD oil produced made from hemp are THC-free and do not cause a high.
Terpenes are a class of volatile hydrocarbon compounds which readily evaporate at room temperature, giving cannabis its pungent odor. Terpenes evolved to act as repellants for pests, and as attractants for pollinators.
To affect the behavior of pests and pollinators, terpenes must have physiological effects. Their effects on humans are not yet well documented. However, terpenes have been used for millennia in healing modality known as aromatherapy.
Terpenes are mostly found in unfertilized female flowers of the hemp plant. Each has its own unique scent/flavor. While cannabinoids are found in relatively high concentrations in hemp, terpene levels are measured in parts per billion. Although not as powerful as cannabinoids, terpenes are extremely valuable medicinal components of hemp and full-spectrum CBD oil.
Like cannabinoids, terpenes can act as neurotransmitters. They can also combine with cannabinoids to modify their effects and also act on cannabinoid receptors.
Two good examples of how terpenes can affect humans are limonene and pinene. Limonene gives citrus fruits their unique scent, and pinene gives pine trees their distinct aroma. Both of these terpenes are commonly used in cleaning fluids such as Pinesol and Simple Green. When you walk into a room that has just been cleaned with one of these formulas you may notice that you become more alert and energized.
There are two types of CBD oil. The first is simply a vegetable oil which is infused with pure CBD. These products do not contain additional cannabinoids and terpenes and do not produce the entourage effect. The second type, which includes the vast array of cannabinoids and terpenes is known as full-spectrum CBD oil
Much more research is needed to determine how cannabinoids and terpenes found in hemp and full-spectrum CBD oil work together to create the entourage effect.
If you’re interested in full-spectrum CBD oil products, have a look at these fine Diamond CBD products: