What does Entourage Effect mean?
In 1998, S. Ben-Shabat and Raphael Mechoulam first assigned the term Entourage Effect to explain the complex interactive synergy that occurs between marijuana compounds.
Marijuana contains more than 60 distinct molecules known as cannabinoids. The plant also produces many non-cannabinoid compounds that also work with the cannabinoids. All of the compounds in cannabis work together in a unique partnership that is coined as the Entourage Effect by researchers, scientists, and medical professionals.
Researchers are still learning how all of the compounds of the cannabis plant work together, and, more importantly, how they work with the human body when ingested to alleviate and treat a wide array of medical conditions.
The Entourage Effect studies the whole plant and how it can therapeutically react to the body on numerous levels. One example of the Entourage Effect can be found when the FDA approved the use of synthetic THC to alleviate the side effects of chemotherapy. The synthetic THC, known as Marinol, was found to be a very poor substitute for the whole plant therapy. Many patients reported no benefit to using Marinol, but when given whole plant therapy their symptoms were alleviated.
It is believed that the reason for the failure of Marinol was the Entourage Effect of cannabis. Other compounds of the marijuana plant must be ingested in order for it to work because the parts all work in unison. For example, the terpene known as myrcene reduces the resistance of the blood-brain barrier and lets the beneficial chemicals of cannabis pass through and do their job.