Whole marijuana plant extractions usually include the cannabinoids THC, CBD, and over 400 other trace compounds. Around 200 of those compounds are “Terpenes”, and when these components interact synergistically, you get what scientists call “The Entourage Effect”.
This isn’t an article about Vincent Chase or Johnny Drama. No pun intended. This article is about the science behind the marijuana plant.
Marijuana is inherently polypharmaceutical, meaning that it contains many medicinal properties that react differently from each other. So natural synergy arises due to the interactions between its multiple components.
What Are Terpenes?
Terpenes are largely found within essential oils and can be described as volatile and aromatic molecules that evaporate quite easily. They almost always readily announce themselves to the nose. Of the 200 terpenes that are found within marijuana, only a few of these odorous oily substances appear in amounts that are substantial enough to be considered nose-worthy noteworthy.
The aromatic qualities of the terpenes that are found within marijuana actually act as an evolutionary advantage for the plant. The pungent oils can prevent fungus, where others act as a repellent to grazing animals or pesky insects. Terpenes have also been scientifically proven to be quite healthy for humans, not just plants.
The structural hallmark for the terpenoid compounds is a 5-carbon molecule called isoprene, but there’s also monoterpenes, diterpenes, and sesquiterpenes. For example, there’s a certain sesquiterpene called “Beta-caryophyllene” found in the essential oil of black pepper, oregano, and other various herbs. As well, it is found within different cannabis strains and in many leafy green vegetables.
It has been proven to be incredibly beneficial to the human body, as it is gastro-protective and good for treating certain ulcers. It also offers great promise as a therapeutic compound for treating inflammatory conditions and it also benefits autoimmune disorders. That’s because of its ability to bind directly to the peripheral cannabinoid receptor known as “CB2.”
It has been called a dietary cannabinoid and is one of the many reasons why leafy green vegetables are so healthy to eat. At the moment, it is the only known terpene to activate a cannabinoid receptor in a human brain.
Hopefully, this provides you with a better understanding of terpenes, their purposes, and also some of their benefits. With so many different terpenes out there, scientists are just starting to unlock their association with marijuana and all of their different and possible health benefits.
Terpenes Provide Many Benefits
Cannabinoids and terpenoids both enhance cortical activity, increase a person’s blood flow, and have also been known to kill respiratory pathogens (including the antibiotic-resistant bacteria MRSA). So cannabinoid and terpenoid interactions could possibly produce synergy with respect to the treatment of pain, inflammation, depression, anxiety, addiction, epilepsy, cancer, and also within fungal and bacterial infections.
The Entourage Effect Of Terpenes
What is the Entourage Effect of terpenes, and what does the term even mean? The entourage effect is the term used to describe how all of the different compounds found within marijuana piggyback off of each other.
It is used to describe how the different cannabinoids and terpenes mix together and cause different effects on a person’s brain.
Terpenes Working Together In Harmony
A UK based company called GW Pharmaceuticals created a product called Sativex, which utilizes all of the cannabis plants’ terpenes and cannabinoids. It’s a perfect example of how the entourage effect works, as it links it all together like one big chemistry chain.
GW Pharmaceuticals has spent years testing the therapeutic compounds of cannabinoids and terpenes working in harmony, and have developed this product to imitate the natural entourage effect.
After more than a decade of conducting experiments, their studies have revealed that a whole plant extract, one that is bred to contain roughly the same amounts of THC and CBD (in addition to the other components in the plant). Was far more effective in reducing the pain and spasms of MS (Multiple Sclerosis) than a medication that is only made up of a single compound (only THC or only CBD). It could be that multiple individual compounds play a role, or it could simply be due to their interaction in the body.
It could also be a combination of both.
What You Eat Can Affect Your Marijuana Experience
This is true, there are many different types of foods that will enhance your experience with marijuana and will work in conjunction with the compounds found in the food itself, as well as the compounds found within marijuana.
For example, mangoes are high in a compound called Mycene Tarpenes which binds with the cannabinoid THC and enhances your experience — this can be achieved by eating a mango before or after using marijuana. This is just one example, but supposedly it is the best-known example of enhancing your marijuana experience.
You can also enhance your marijuana experience by drinking green or black tea. Basically, anything that contains the antioxidant catechin, or food that is high in saturated fats like coconut oil, or anything else that contains other compounds or terpenes that bind with cannabinoids.
These are all great examples of how someone can enhance their experience with marijuana, and trigger what is known as The Entourage Effect.
Terpenes are incredible and mysteriously aromatic molecules, and we now know that they work synergistically with the other compounds found within marijuana. This opens up a beautiful sequence of chain reactions between the terpenes, the THC and CBD compounds, and over 200 other trace compounds found in cannabis.
The chemistry chain then creates a healthy and enhanced experience with marijuana, which we call The Entourage Effect.