You’ve probably already heard that full spectrum or broad spectrum cannabidiol (CBD) products are better than products made from isolates... and there is a real, scientific reason for that. It’s called the entourage effect - the discovery that the effect of the compounds are amplified when the whole plant is used rather than just the individual compounds - it is one of the leading theories influencing cannabis research worldwide.
The concept of the entourage effect isn't a new one. It's something that many herbologists, homoeopaths, even shamans know about and it’s also the reason many health care practitioners and cannabinoid researchers opt for, and recommend, whole plant CBD oils and extracts.
"The Whole is Greater than the Sum of its Parts" First coined by the philosopher Aristotle, this phrase aptly defines the modern concept of synergy.
The Entourage Effect: A Symphony of Cannabinoids & Terpenes
As mentioned, the entourage effect encompasses the idea that plant compounds that occur together in the same plant also work better when used together. In the case of the cannabis and hemp plant, this means using the full range of cannabinoids, terpenes, natural oils, waxes and flavonoids in a CBD oil to maximise their benefits in the body.
Think of the entourage effect as being like a symphony orchestra. Although the violins sound great on their own, and the French horns or trumpets or flutes are kinda cool on their own, too. The real magic happens when you put them all together and then also add in the harps, the drums and the cellos. It is then when each of these instruments works together to produce a rich, beautiful and harmonious sound. This is the same with CBD extracts.
Researching the Entourage Effect: The Findings
In fact, lab and patient-based studies show that, while cannabinoids such as CBD, THC, CBC, CBG and CBN work alone for certain symptoms, they often create better outcomes when used in combination. Scientist also discovered that, especially when it comes to naturally occurring terpenes, there is the potential to cause even more profound effects.
So, for instance, researchers have found that a combination of CBD and THC is more effective for treating symptoms like spasticity and neuropathic pain in patients suffering from Multiple Sclerosis. Likewise, in preclinical cancer studies, scientists also found that by combining CBD and THC, anti-cancer and anti-proliferative effects that each of these cannabinoids are amplified, improving their overall effectiveness.
In addition to the above, in yet another study, this time reviewing the literature on the entourage effect, the researchers found that full-spectrum or broad-spectrum CBD oil extracts are more effective in:
- Reducing the intoxicating, psychotropic and habit-forming effects of THC;
- Relieving sleep disturbances;
- Reducing peripheral neuropathic pain;
- Reducing brachial plexus avulsion symptoms;
- Relieving rheumatoid arthritis, and;
- Reducing intractable cancer pain in cancer patients.
Although many cannabis scientists, health care practitioners and CBD aficionados agree that using full or broad-spectrum CBD oil can be more effective then using an oil containing CBD isolate (only the cannabinoid CBD), it is also important to remember that it might not be right for everyone.
For example, some people are sensitive to certain compounds or other cannabinoids and don’t react well to a full or broad spectrum CBD products. Others might be subject to drug testing, where even the smallest amount of THC present in their bodies can land them in trouble. But, if these concerns do not apply to you, it is probably better to grab a full or broad-spectrum CBD oil.