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If you've ever looked at a CBD product, you've probably heard of the entourage effect. It's the idea that several different cannabis compounds combine to achieve an impact that they can not achieve on their own.
The most common claim you'll hear is that full-spectrum dog CBD oil is more effective due to the synergistic effect of combined cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids. But is this true, or are they just blowing smoke?
EVIDENCE FOR THE ENTOURAGE EFFECT
One of the most common claims you'll hear is that a little THC makes CBD more effective. We searched everywhere and couldn't find any studies to back this up. There's even a review of multiple studies on the entourage effect, but that doesn't appear to back up the idea either conclusively.
So, why is the entourage effect one of the most popular terms passed around in the CBD industry?
There are a few studies to back up the entourage effect, and we believe it is real, but not in the way that it is generally publicized.
Dr. Jordan Tishler says the entourage effect is real but also states that the entourage effect is being used in ways current science does not support. The doctor continues that the idea that CBD needs additional chemicals (THC) to be effective is completely unsupported.
Some studies are backing up the idea that CBD reduces the toxicity of THC.
The Department of Psychiatry's Marta DI Forti, Senior Clinical Lecturer, did a study and found that CBD exerts a dampening effect on THC-induced psychotic symptoms.
We know that THC binds with receptors found in the brain and immune system, causing the euphoric high. CBD might impact this by sitting in the receptors and blocking the THC from binding, reducing its effects.
Evidence against the entourage effect
One study on terpenoids by the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology at the University of Otago reads, overall, the evidence does not support the hypothesis that any of the terpenes studied directly contribute to a potential entourage effect via cannabinoid receptors.
Another study by Macquarie University found that none of the six of the most common terpenes in cannabis impacted how THC binds to receptors. This study was conducted in 2019 and contained some of the most up-to-date information about the entourage effect. While it's still possible that terpenes work in another way, it appears they don't impact the way THC binds to receptors.
Studies contradicting these findings were done previously (2015, 2017), and the methodologies have improved for better understanding.
Where did it all start?
The "cannabis entourage effect" was coined as a hypothetical afterthought, according to Dr. Pete S. Cogan of Regis University. In various scientific research, lay publications, and marketing initiatives, the effect has been advertised as a good manifestation of polypharmacy (treatment with multiple drugs) that is predicted to regulate the healing benefits of cannabis and its byproducts. There is reason to be skeptical of such assertions.
Another researcher, Margaret Haney, a neurobiologist at Columbia University, said most statements about the entourage effect are driven by unreliable marketing and money.
Is the "Entourage Effect" real
Based on the available research, the entourage effect appears to be real in that CBD may reduce the intoxicating effects of THC, but there isn't much evidence beyond that.
The proposition that all cannabis components work better when used together is unproven scientifically at the moment.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO PETS?
The idea of the entourage effect has overflown into the pet CBD market. When we started Relievet, we noticed that most products for pets are just the same full-spectrum products for humans with a new label on them.
As leaders in pets CBD, we didn't buy into this, but we think that the entourage effect holds some weight and that research may eventually show more. We also know that Dogs and THC don't mix, as they are much more sensitive to it than humans.
For this reason, we decided to use an organically grown broad-spectrum CBD extract in our dog CBD oil, which is rich in terpenes, minor cannabinoids, and flavonoids but doesn't have any intoxicating THC. We want animals to benefit from cannabis, but we also don't think we should be getting them high, as they can't communicate what they want.