You may be familiar with the natural benefits of the two primary compounds found in cannabis – CBD and THC – but there are, in fact, hundreds of other medicinal compounds within the plant.
When used in conjunction, they deliver a synergistic phenomenon known as the Entourage Effect.
What is the Entourage Effect?
The Entourage Effect is the synergistic phenomenon that occurs when multiple cannabis compounds work together to deliver a powerful, compounding effect.
Dr. Ethan Russo, a neurologist with an extensive background on the effects of cannabis compounds on the human body, explains that each cannabis compound can enhance the natural properties of other cannabis compounds. Because of this, cannabis compounds will deliver stronger and more diverse effects together than any single compound could alone.
With literally hundreds of compounds naturally produced within Cannabis, the variety of different synergies offered within this plant is astounding.
To understand just how powerful the Entourage Effect can be, and more importantly, how it can be used to improve your experience, let’s take a look at the two primary groups of cannabis compounds: cannabinoids and terpenes.
Cannabinoids, Terpenes, and the Entourage Effect
Cannabinoids and the Entourage Effect
Cannabinoids are a group of active cannabis compounds that can interact with receptors in our Endocannabinoid System (ECS) to deliver a variety of effects.
In addition to CBD and THC, scientists have identified more than 100 different cannabinoids within the cannabis plant, and many still remain unidentified.
When used in conjunction, the unique properties of each cannabinoid are enhanced through the entourage effect, naturally delivering greater relief than they would have individually.
Refer to the chart below to learn about some of the primary cannabinoids in cannabis and their unique properties.
Terpenes and the Entourage Effect
Terpenes are the aromatic molecules found in most fruits, plants, and herbs, including cannabis. They are the source responsible for the zesty odor of lemon, the pungent aroma of pine, and the relaxing flavor of lavender.
By stimulating the receptors in our olfactory system, terpenes can stimulate a variety of psychological and physiological effects that can be highly beneficial to the body.
Refer to the chart below to learn about several of the primary terpenes produced in cannabis and how they can be used to enhance the entourage effect.
Comparing The Entourage Effect in Different CBD Products
When shopping for CBD, there are several types of CBD to choose from CBD isolate, Broad Spectrum CBD, Full Spectrum CBD, and whole plant extracts.
Depending on which type of CBD is used, the impact of the entourage effect can vary significantly.
To understand which CBD products can maximize the entourage effect, let’s explore the diverse chemical profiles of each type.
CBD Isolate is produced by isolating CBD and stripping all other compounds and substances from the extract. This results in a pure CBD extract.
CBD isolate products do not contain any other cannabinoids or terpenes, and therefore, will not deliver the Entourage Effect. CBD isolate can deliver the therapeutic effects of CBD; however, unless the user is constrained to pure CBD due to legal reasons, CBD isolates greatly limit the potential effects of Cannabis.
Full Spectrum CBD
Because Full Spectrum CBD contains a full range of cannabinoids and terpenes, it can deliver a powerful entourage effect with benefits that will far exceed those delivered by CBD isolate.
Due to the legal status of THC in most states, Full Spectrum CBD should unfortunately only be used by those residing in states with broad cannabis laws.
For those who live in a state where Cannabis is illegal, there is, fortunately, a solution.
Broad Spectrum CBD is a bit of a mix between both CBD isolate and Full Spectrum CBD.
Similar to Full Spectrum CBD, Broad Spectrum CBD is produced by extracting all cannabinoids and terpenes from the plant; however, it then undergoes an additional process to completely remove all THC from the extract.
By removing CBD from the extract, Broad Spectrum CBD can deliver most of the benefits of Full Spectrum CBD, without the strict legal regulations.
Whole Plant Extracts
Whole plant, or full plant, extracts are often confused with Full Spectrum CBD; however, they are not the same.
While both extracts contain a full range of cannabinoids and terpenes, whole plant extracts undergo less processing than full spectrum extracts and can contain other compounds naturally produced in the plant, including fats, fibers, vitamins, and other nutrients.
Ultimately whole plant extracts will deliver the most powerful entourage effect, however, they are generally regulated under the same laws as THC.
If you live in a state with broad cannabis laws, whole plant extracts will be the best choice for enjoying the maximum entourage effect.
MDMA – The New Way to Treat PTSD
For sufferers of PTSD, the world can be a scary place. Modern medicine has attempted many ways to treat the disorder ranging from medications to therapy tactics, but they don’t always work. Building evidence shows that alternative remedies like the psychedelic drug MDMA might be a better long-term answer to treat PTSD. Are you a […]
For sufferers of PTSD, the world can be a scary place. Modern medicine has attempted many ways to treat the disorder ranging from medications to therapy tactics, but they don’t always work. Building evidence shows that alternative remedies like the psychedelic drug MDMA might be a better long-term answer to treat PTSD.
Are you a THC lover? The best thing about being on team THC is that the variety is opening up. Not only is there the standard delta-9 THC, but now there’s delta-8 THC as well, which has the same general medical benefits, but with less anxiety and less psychoactive effect. We’ve got great Delta-8 THC deals here, so go on and give it a shot.
What is PTSD?
Post traumatic stress disorder is a psychiatric disorder, which means it is diagnosed subjectively. It effects people who have gone through a traumatic experience, whether they were actually a part of it, or just witness to it. This can include things like being physically attacked, witnessing atrocities of war, living through natural disasters, or being the target of bullying or psychological abuse. PTSD is diagnosed separately from other anxiety-based mental illnesses based on the experiencing of a traumatic event.
PTSD was known as ‘shell shock’ during World War I, and was referred to as ‘Battle Fatigue’ after world war II. It is associated with disturbing, and often very intense thoughts concerning past traumas. This can include reliving the event in flashbacks or nightmares, fear, sadness, anger, and feelings of detachment and estrangement from other people. Sufferers of PTSD often display strong negative reactions to situations that others would find non-triggering, and may avoid situations or people entirely that remind them of their past trauma.
Subjective diagnoses make for a difficult time adding up statistics, however, according to psychiatry.org, approximately 3.5% of adults in the US suffer from PTSD per year, and its estimated that about one out of every eleven people will experience PTSD in their lifetime. Women are the predominant sufferers, outnumbering men 2:1, and the three ethnic groups where PTSD symptoms show up the most in the US, are Latinos, African Americans, and Native Americans – all minorities that have experienced a lot of overall violence, intolerance, and general contempt aimed at them throughout history.
Real-World CBD Product Research Will Benefit Consumers and Industry
While dispensary and retail shelves and online marketplaces across the country are brimming with CBD products, extraordinarily little scientific research has explored the safety or efficacy of cannabinoids for wellness. This is simply unacceptable. Tens of millions of Americans use cannabis and CBD to cope with ailments ranging from anxiety to depression to insomnia—conditions only […]
While dispensary and retail shelves and online marketplaces across the country are brimming with CBD products, extraordinarily little scientific research has explored the safety or efficacy of cannabinoids for wellness. This is simply unacceptable. Tens of millions of Americans use cannabis and CBD to cope with ailments ranging from anxiety to depression to insomnia—conditions only heightened in severity by the COVID-19 pandemic—yet we haven’t taken advantage of this vast user population to collect real-world data at scale across diverse demographics to learn directly from actual experiences. Without this evidence-based approach, the industry, regulators, and the general public lack a thorough understanding of the therapeutic benefits of CBD and cannabis.
There is no time like the present to conduct such studies and pave the way for even more rigorous research. This is exactly why the Wholistic Research and Education Foundation, a federally approved public nonprofit dedicated to cannabis research, education, and advocacy, is sponsoring a first-of-its-kind exploratory survey about the efficacy of CBD and cannabis in reducing anxiety, conducted by University of California, Irvine, in partnership with UC Institute for Prediction Technology. The Institutional Review Board-approved Cannabinoid Anxiety Relief Education Study (C.A.R.E.S.) was distributed to millions of CBD and cannabis users via email lists and the online forums belonging to Wholistic partners including Vertosa. The researchers conducting the study aim to use the insights they gain to help consumers, companies, and government officials make evidence-based decisions and increase transparency.
While C.A.R.E.S was designed to establish foundational groundwork about cannabinoid efficacy for anxiety, insomnia, and other co-morbid conditions, the study also is necessary in that it inspires and guides others—including government agencies and private organizations—to follow suit with additional research designed to determine how cannabis and CBD may benefit different people in distinct ways.
In short, we have everything to learn and gain from more large-scale research studies about potential therapeutic benefits, including:
- Efficacy for treating anxiety, depression, and/or insomnia.
- Individual factors (gender, age, size, location, severity of ailment, etc.) that determine one’s ideal dosage, delivery method, and frequency.
- Ways in which a combination of cannabinoids and other active ingredients can interact and affect the user experience.
- Whether adverse effects outweigh benefits.
When collecting real-world data from large and diverse populations, it is essential researchers are able to study products people actually buy in stores instead of the very short list of Food and Drug Administration-approved formulations everyday users simply can’t access. Studying real products in use by real people results in more meaningful findings for the population at large.
The biggest hurdle for continued research on the therapeutic effects of cannabinoids is lack of institutional support, especially at the federal level. Due to long-standing stigma, studies conducted by major institutions haven’t been adequately funded and supported. National Institutes of Health (NIH) cannabis studies historically focused more on abuse potential and adverse effects rather than objectively focusing on potential risks and benefits.
Given at least 14 percent of Americans already use CBD, according to a 2019 Gallup poll, we have a real public health and safety issue at hand. Such widespread usage makes investing in research even more crucial. Assessing both risks and benefits with real-world data ensures applicability across the country’s diverse population. It’s imperative we collect and analyze data pertaining to types of cannabinoid products currently used; details about dosage, frequency, and timing of use; and delivery methods in order to gain much-needed insight.
Thankfully, some promising trends have begun to take shape. NIH spending on cannabis research is up 70 percent since 2016. In 2019, for the first time, the NIH doled out more grant money in its four cannabinoid research categories (therapeutic cannabinoid, endocannabinoid system, cannabidiol, and cannabinoid) than for tobacco research. The same occurred in 2020.
Outside of simply supporting righteous initiatives aimed at improving public health and education, private companies have much to gain by backing, advocating for, and participating in cannabis research studies. Findings may help companies improve their formulations and weed out what doesn’t work, thereby driving product innovation. Research also may enable more strategic marketing decisions by helping home in on specific demographic segments with unique desires and needs. The more we all understand hemp and cannabis, the better the bottom line for manufacturers, consumer packaged goods brands, and consumers.
On the policy front, lack of scientific data often is used as a talking point against nationwide cannabis legalization and broader access to hemp-derived CBD. Widespread research could render that excuse moot and pave the way for federal legalization of cannabis and more progressive hemp-derived CBD regulations, legitimizing and thus boosting the licensed cannabis and hemp industries.
Natural medicines have stood the test of time, but it is time for the wellness and pharmaceutical communities to push for advanced technologies and multidisciplinary approaches to demystify cannabis and hemp. Further study of these ancient plants will enable evidence-based validation of their benefits, leading to a higher level of public trust and more personalized treatment options for practitioners.
Austin Stevenson is chief innovation officer at Vertosa, where he plays an integral role in business development for the hemp and cannabis infusion technology company. He facilitates partnerships with leading brands to produce cannabinoid-infused beverages and topicals. Previously, he leveraged bio-tech experience building the regulatory hemp/CBD testing program for Eurofins. Stevenson also is a former management associate for Citi, where he worked to fund minority- and women-owned businesses.
Pelin Thorogood, co-founder and president at Wholistic Research and Educational Foundation, is a tech executive and entrepreneur. Her previous venture, artisanal CBD infusions company Mana Artisan Botanics, was acquired by CBD Capital Group in 2019. Before that, she served as chief executive officer at Anametrix and chief marketing officer at WebSideStory. Currently, Thorogood acts as a trustee for UC San Diego Foundation and executive board member for incubator UC San Diego Basement.
Can LSD Treat Your Mental Illness?
For several decades, psychedelics have been uniformly outlawed, with massive campaigns from the late 1900’s used to raise fear and controversy over their effects. Now, as the world acclimates to the medical and recreational use of cannabis, psychedelics are being looked at once again for their medical benefits. In fact, one of the leading points […]
For several decades, psychedelics have been uniformly outlawed, with massive campaigns from the late 1900’s used to raise fear and controversy over their effects. Now, as the world acclimates to the medical and recreational use of cannabis, psychedelics are being looked at once again for their medical benefits. In fact, one of the leading points of research is the use of LSD to treat mental illness.
When it comes to psychedelics, cannabis is one of the most popular, and its not hard to see why. THC has medical benefits and makes people feel good. However, for some people, regular THC is just too much. If you’re one of those people, check out our Delta-8 THC deals, and experience THC with slightly less psychoactive effect, and less anxiety.
What is LSD?
LSD, known more scientifically as Lysergic acid diethylamide, is a hallucinogenic psychedelic drug, which was first synthesized in 1938 by Swiss chemist Albert Hoffman. He was also the first person to experience its effects when he accidentally ingested a small amount in 1943. As a psychedelic, it is known for altering perception, feelings, and thoughts, as well as causing visions and sensations that are not actually there (hallucinations). LSD is in a class of drugs called ergolines which are often used to treat disorders like Parkinson’s. Unlike some compounds like DMT, LSD is manmade, though derived from the ergot fungus.
How exactly LSD works to cause the effects its associated with, is still not completely defined. However, certain aspects have been found in research. In one study put out in 2017 from the University of North Carolina, it was found that LSD interacts with serotonin receptors. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that plays a big role in mood and brain communication. The particular receptor it effects is called 5-HT2AR. One of the interesting things that happens when LSD attaches to this receptor, is that the receptor closes over the molecule, preventing it from leaving quickly. This could very well explain why the drug can last for many hours, even after it has left the bloodstream.
The serotonin receptor it attaches to can activate two signaling pathways through G-proteins and β-arrestins within cells. With LSD, it primarily works through the β-arrestins. The researchers on this study found that different drugs in the ergoline group effect serotonin receptors differently, and found evidence that the compounds themselves can modify the structure of the receptor in order to activate different effects.
There has actually been plenty of research into how LSD can aide in the treatment of mental illness. Back in 2014, a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study was done to investigate how safe and effective LSD is in treating the anxiety experienced by patients with life-threatening illnesses.
12 patients were used in the study, and they were given drug-free psychotherapy sessions, along with two psychotherapy sessions with LSD. A two-month follow-up showed a positive trend according to the (STAI) State-Trait Anxiety Inventory in terms of reductions in trait and state anxiety. The reductions in anxiety related to the LSD were sustained for 12 months. No serious adverse effects were noticed, and minimal adverse effects subsided within one day. The overall outcome of the study was LSD safely decreased anxiety.
In a systematic review of LSD in psychiatry, 11 studies were identified concerning LSD and mental health that consisted of randomized and controlled clinical trials. These were done between the years of 1950-1970 when it was not illegal to use LSD in medical testing, and when LSD was regularly studied for use with addiction, anxiety, depression, and psychosomatic diseases. As part of the 11 studies that made the cut, 567 subjects were administered LSD in doses of 20 to 800 micrograms. The overall finding was that LSD has positive results in psychiatric symptoms, particularly for alcoholism. A grand majority of the study authors from the review cited positive, if short-term, improvements. This was not always seen in long-term follow-ups.
LSD in the treatment of mental illness today
Yet another systematic review was done on studies into LSD from after 1970. This review, called the Modern Clinical Research on LSD was published in 2017. The review looked at five recent studies in London, Zurich and Basel. All studies were placebo controlled. The London studies were single-blind, non-randomized, the Switzerland studies were randomized, double-blind. In all studies, low-moderate doses of LSD were used between 40-80 micrograms. (It takes about 100-200 micrograms for a full LSD effect).
In terms of subjective effects according to validated psychometric scales, the response in controlled settings was mainly positive. Average group ratings for liking the drug and having positive effects reached 90% of the maximum possible on the VAS scale after 200 micrograms had been administered. At 200 micrograms, only a small percentage increase was made for the average of those who had a negative drug effect (<25%), however negative ratings did go up with the increase.
No high levels of anxiety or panic occurred, necessitating no sedation of patients to stave off negative effects. The main feelings experienced during testing were: bliss, altered perceptions, audiovisual synesthesia (think crossed wires and mixed-up responses), and derealization and depersonalization in positive ways. Higher doses included more insightfulness.
Why is it illegal?
When looking at all the positive scientific research, and the lack of detrimental side effects, it starts to look very strange that LSD has been illegalized, while pharmaceutical medications to treat the same things often have lower success rates and harsher side effects. While the US government might stick with a tagline of psychedelics being dangerous and having no medical value, there is another underlying story which makes a bit more sense.
LSD and psilocybin were first illegalized in the late 60’s after a years long smear campaign which coincided with the Vietnam war. America was off fighting a battle that didn’t technically involve it, and causing a massive death toll, and unspeakable and unnecessary violence and destruction to residents of Vietnam.
There was already a pretty heavy anti-war movement during that time. Want to speculate on how much bigger and harder to control that would’ve been if the country was focusing on the war as it should have been? The question of why America wanted to be in that war so badly is a whole debate in and of itself, but regardless of the ‘why’s, there are still some heavy truths. In 1994, a guy named John Ehrlichman, who had been the Assistant to the President for Domestic Affairs in Nixon’s administration, made this statement:
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