The Entourage Effect

The Entourage Effect Explained

When sifting through advice on which CBD oil to buy, you will often read that ‘full spectrum is better than isolate’.

While this advice is dependent on the user case and the reason for taking CBD, the argument is based on what is known as the ‘entourage effect’.

As we understand more about cannabis through various studies, we’re learning more about how cannabinoids are working together in combination to enhance results.


What Is The Entourage Effect?

The entourage effect is a theory that the cannabis compounds work better when combined than on their own.
This includes the cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids that you find in cannabis, all with their own unique benefits and effects on the body. 

Most people who are consumers of cannabis in any form are aware of CBD and THC, the most heavily discussed cannabinoids, but there are a huge number of cannabinoids including the likes of cannabinol, cannabigerol, cannabichromene and cannabicyclol.

This fascinating study ran a parallel group study, giving some a placebo, some the THC extract and some the THC and CBD combined. The results were amazing, where the THC and CBD combined yielded the greatest results, far better than the placebo or THC on its own.

The method of using the entire cannabis flowers and leaves over just isolating a certain segment is known as ‘whole plant medicine’. This concept has been adopted by herbalists and in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years.

The best way to describe the entourage effect would be that the combination of cannabis compounds in their natural ratio creates a synergistic effect.

Full Spectrum, Broad Spectrum & Isolate

Full spectrum means the products contains all of the extracts found naturally in the cannabis plant.

Broad spectrum will also contain a number of cannabinoids found in the plant, however it won’t contain any THC, which is important for people who are drug tested, or to be sold in countries where THC isn’t allowed.

The final option is CBD isolate, which as the name suggests, purely contains cannabidiol. CBD Isolate will commonly be found in a crystalline powder form.

This means that by taking an isolate, you will miss out on the benefits or effects of those previously discussed cannabinoids, such as CBG and CBC.

You will also miss out on those terpenes that you will commonly find in cannabis, such as myrcene, limonene, linalool and pinene, all with their own individual advantages and aromas.

There are however reasons why people choose to opt for CBD isolate, such as for medical purposes, due to the fact that production is cheaper, there is no scent and that it contains no THC. 

The fact that it contains no smell or flavour is also useful for cooking and baking with CBD.

How Many Cannabinoids Are There In Cannabis?

More phytocannabinoids are being found over time through scientific studies, with 113 being identified by researchers to date.

THC tends to be high in marijuana, while in hemp it is relatively low and CBD is much higher.

CBG is growing in popularity, with various studies on cannabigerol showing its potential benefits, however you rarely find more than 1.5% in cannabis, hence why CBG oil is incredibly expensive to produce currently.

Depending on which strain is chosen and how it’s grown, you may find differing levels of different cannabinoids and terpenes present.


The entourage effect is the theory that the whole plant extract provides a greater effect than isolating the individual compounds in cannabis.