The Entourage Effect – The Chemical Economy of Cannabis
Historically, terpenes have been a topic of deep fascination among the major markers of human civilisation, prior to our understanding of what they are, or their etymology.
Camphor, as its terpenoid form of the camphor essential oil, has its place in ancient Egypt traditionally as an ingredient with indispensable ceremonial value, being a key actor in the mummification process and aesthetic choice for its characteristic aroma.
For all their variety and ubiquity in the world as constituent lipids within oils and aromatics, though, recorded insight into cannabis terpenoid use in the medicinal context wouldn’t populate mainstream academic discourse until the late 19th century, bordering on the 20th.
While associated products like lavender and eucalyptus oils, citrus plants and other naturally occurring loci all present in the world of alternative treatment with widespread endorsement, its significance in the form of cannabinoids is comparatively newborn in terms of discovery.
Modern Interest in Cannabis and Terpenes
Owing to its stigmatisation alongside a history of abuse and misuse, the progression of its place in commercial distribution and further research have stagnated as a result. Only recently re-emerging in the intersections of legality, social adoption and renewed clinical interest, cannabis-based terpenoids have since seen their potential application across product development explode into the modern zeitgeist – in consideration of their ever-expanding list of constituent discoveries, scientific inquiry into its place in product has only prompted us to ask more questions.
The buzzing ‘entourage effect’ has been the sweetheart of contemporary cannabis literature within the last 2 decades, in context of this rapidly expanding mode of cultural interest. Being in the hotbed of speculation in the discourse, naturally the concept has populated the vernacular as an easily parroted term – what does the effect actually mean, though, and how has it affected our interest in terpene research? We take you through the use of the term and its meaning at AltMed.
The Entourage Effect – Definition, State and Effect
Retrospectively, the deployment of cannabis-based product development has been one with its hands on cannabinoid isolates. Namely THC and CBD for their predominantly psychoactive responsibilities, other composites within cannabis, like the prominent terpenes, have largely remained neglected as a result.
The entourage effect posits on the net collaboration between cannabinoids and their terpene counterparts, as a fascination on maximising known cannabis benefits by conglomerating their interactions with one another, in place of separating them.
While still in need of field research and scientific trialling, the evidence exists for holistically botanical drug development, rather than single molecule-based development, to enter priority. Backed by existing data on the inclusion of CBD in THC-focused drugs in diminishing adverse psychoactivity, the influence of terpenes in products with a broader mix similarly can’t be ignored.
Where cannabinoid isolated pharmaceuticals – whether CBD or THC dominant – continue to elicit side effects like dosage dependancy, or lack of effect distinguishable from placebo, full spectrum products contrast by having an effect at all doses, provided no threshold is reached where too high a dosage poses health risks.
What Does its Future Look Like?
These effects are cumulative – a description that might accommodate for why exactly the Entourage Effect conversation has a notable grasp on buzzword proliferation, not quite reaching a level of clinical research that eliminates the questioning of its efficacy.
The data exists, and is compelling – just not in conclusive amount. Regardless, the potential for its future investment is well in-vogue, and only needs time before establishment in the mainstream.
Keen for more on terpenes, and how they work in cannabis? Take a look at AltMed’s products for deeper insight!