A significant portion of alternative medicine relates to using the entire plant for a specific medical purpose rather than isolating a chemical or producing an active ingredient in a sterile laboratory. Whole-Plant Medicine, a practice that has been commonly used by herbalists for thousands of years, is a holistic, plant-based treatment aimed toward healing a variety of ailments. This idea of healing with whole plants and natural ingredients includes the entourage effect and CBD usage.
What is the Entourage Effect?
Research studies continue to produce evidence that medical substances may be more effective in their whole, natural state. This phenomenon is called the entourage effect. One significant example of the entourage effect is the results when the nutrients in the entire cannabis plant interact with the human body to create a stronger impact than any one of the individual components themselves.
When we combine multiple compounds in their natural state, different compounds can amplify each other’s chemistry, keeping the benefits as useful as possible.
How Does the Entourage Effect Relate to Cannabis?
The entourage effect has a significant impact when it comes to comparing the effects of THC alone (the psychoactive component of the cannabis plant) with the effects of using the whole plant.
In the 1980s, scientists discovered that people using THC ended up preferring to us the whole cannabis plant for pain management, relaxation, and more.
In the end, cannabis contains more active compounds than just THC. Researchers found over 85 cannabinoids working together with THC to produce relief for users.
Possibly the most impactful compound is known as Cannabidiol (CBD) As it turns out, CBD amplifies the effects of THC on the human body.
“Cannabis is inherently polypharmaceutical, and synergy arises from interactions between its multiple components.”Dr. John McPartland
Further Entourage Effect Research
We find that cannabis containing equal amounts of THC and CBD are the most effective. Based on these findings, we know that the ratio of THC to CBD plays a vital role in the efficacy of the use of the cannabis plant.
If using the entourage effect is more useful than lab-produced drugs, why don’t we use it more often?
Well, there are several obstacles to overcome before the holistic approach can become feasible on a widespread scale in the U.S. One of the most significant barriers is that quality control needs improvement across the board. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not strictly monitor herbal medicine products yet.
We hope in the next several years that ongoing research will give us more information on the entourage effect, giving us the best solutions from plants like cannabis.