Among the molecules of interest found in cannabis are cannabinoids (like THC and CBD) and terpenes. Research into each of these components is revealing that they possess unique characteristics, including healing properties, psychoactive effects, and aromas. They also appear in different concentrations, depending on the strain of cannabis. Some strains may be high-THC, while others may contain a larger proportion of CBD. Some strains may have a concentrated mix of citrus-based terpenes, while others may have a more flowery mix.
As these components get isolated and studied, a phenomenon becomes apparent: these molecular ingredients of cannabis work together synergistically to create effects greater than those of the combined components. This synergy is what is known as the entourage effect.
The term “entourage effect” was coined in 1998 by Israeli scientists Shimon Ben-Shabat and Raphael Mechoulam. They noted that cannabinoids and terpenes within the cannabis plant work better when combined, affecting the body in a mechanism similar to the body’s own endocannabinoid system. In short, 2 + 2 = 5.
The entourage effect theory has been expanded more recently to include four basic mechanisms:
1. Affect multiple targets within the body – In treating the effects of multiple sclerosis, THC has been used therapeutically to reduce the severity muscle spasms. It has been discovered, however, that the use of whole-plant extracts is more effective than THC alone. This has been attributed to the CBD present in the extracts.
2. Improve the absorption of active ingredients – Cannabinoids are chemically polar compounds, which can make them difficult for the body to absorb. In many cases, the addition of certain terpenes to the cannabinoids can make them more readily absorbable.
3. Overcome bacterial defense mechanisms – Cannabinoids are often used to treat bacterial infections. Over time, however, bacteria develop defense mechanisms and become more resistant to treatments that were once effective. Whole-plant extracts, containing terpenes and flavonoids in addition to the cannabinoids, can attack bacteria through different pathways than cannabinoids alone. Attacking bacteria on multiple fronts has significantly reduced its ability to develop new defenses.
4. Minimize adverse side effects – As discussed previously, CBD can modulate the negative effects of THC without reducing its potency. For instance, CBD has been shown to reduce the anxiety and paranoia effects sometimes associated with THC use.
It should be apparent that the various components of cannabis do not work in competition, but rather in cooperation. The wide variety of strains available in dispensaries each possess unique qualities and characteristics. These variations are results of the endless combinations in the number and concentrations of the cannabinoids and terpenes found in those strains.
Veedverks and the Entourage Effect
“We reverse-engineered cannabis.” What this means is that we have taken the isolated components of cannabis and have re-mixed them to achieve the benefits of the entourage effect. While Veedverks products do not (yet) contain THC, they do contain CBD and terpenes. The three “experiences” we sell (sativa, indica, and hybrid) are made up of the same ingredients, varying only in the terpene mixtures used. Each mixture emulates those most commonly found in sativa, indica, and hybrid classifications of cannabis strains.
Veedverks products, although they don’t contain THC, can be used to alter the effects of THC-rich strains. Due to the huge variation among the strains available and individual differences among users, these effects would require a little experimentation. Veedverks products have been known, however, to amplify, modify, temper, and/or enhance the highs experienced with regular cannabis.