What Are Terpenoids and How Do They Create the Entourage Effect?
If you’re new to the industry or the cannabis experience, you may have heard the word terpenoid or terpene make its way into conversation and clam up with no idea what it is referring to. Truthfully, a lot of people do.
Though, these days it’s hard to speak to anyone in the industry without hearing one of the two, especially in relation to the commonly discussed “entourage effect”.
And no, we’re not talking about groupies or cannabis enthusiasts. In this case, entourage is much more of a metaphor than the literal definition of the word.
If that makes things even more confusing to you then don’t worry – we’re going to break it down for you and cover everything you need to know about what terpenoids are and how they can help create that infamous “entourage effect”.
So, what are terpenoids and how do they differ from cannabinoids?
Let’s start with the one we’re all familiar with – cannabinoids.
Everyone who’s delved into the world of cannabis has heard of either THC or CBD – often both. But, these are actually only a portion of the cannabinoids that occur within the cannabis plant. In fact, there are well over 120 variants of these!
Cannabinoids are chemical compounds that interact with the Endocannabinoid System (ECS), a network of chemical messengers and receptors found throughout the human body – and a number of other mammals, too!
These messengers work to regulate many of our day-to-day functions, including sleep, appetite and pain.
This diverse system of messengers occurs naturally in the human body, but they can be influenced by external factors. In this case, we’re referring to the cannabinoids produced by the cannabis plant.
As mentioned, THC and CBD are the most well-known of these cannabinoids and are very different in themselves. THC is an intoxicating cannabinoid that causes that “high” feeling that you associate with cannabis use. Meanwhile, CBD is non-intoxicating.
Terpenes and terpenoids are aromatic compounds found in many plants, though they are most commonly associated with cannabis due to the high concentrations of terpenes found in cannabis plants.
These compounds are the parts of the plant that give them their smells and flavors.
In the most simple terms, terpenes or terpenoids are found in the essential oils that the cannabis flower secrets from its resin glands.
These glands are also the parts of the plant that would produce things like CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). So, this is one reason you may hear a lot of reference to terpenes and terpenoids when discussing either of these.
Now, terpenes and terpenoids are not exactly the same either. The main difference between the two is that terpenoids contain more oxidized atoms than terpenes. As well as that, the way you would tell them apart is that terpenes are wet and terpenoids are dry.
However, the terms are often used interchangeably, so don’t be too confused if you hear either being thrown around in conversation.
Why are terpenoids important?
Most people just getting into cannabis consumption probably won’t be aware of terpenoids or their importance in the cannabis experience.
However, a connoisseur may benefit hugely from a knowledge of terpenoids. It can help when selecting flowers as it will enable you to achieve a much better understanding of the most pungent and aromatic flowers.
For example, cannabinoids and terpenoids will produce different effects on the brain’s receptors. So, having the slightest idea about the differences between the two and what they do can certainly help you out.
Basically, It will help you tailor your experience to your needs and desires.
What is the Entourage Effect?
Now that we’ve covered the basics, we can dive into how this will change your experience with cannabis. Namely, the highly sought after “entourage effect”.
But what is an entourage effect?
The term was first coined in 1998 when two Israeli researchers theorized that the cannabis compounds within a plant (terpenoids and cannabinoids) can work together to enhance their natural balancing properties.
What the entourage effect suggests is that when cannabinoids like the commonly-known CBD or THC are isolated, they’re not as effective.
So, it’s proposed that when using cannabis, you should encourage the cannabinoids and terpenoids to work as a team to receive the best experience. This can include lessening side effects and enhancing overall experience.
By adding other components of the cannabis plant to your experience, such as CBD, you can help balance the overall experience and relieve some of the side effects of the original dose of THC.
But, it’s more complex than this again. THC and CBD aren’t just working with one another when you’re using them together, they’re also drawing on the benefits of the terpenoids present in the plant to produce this synergistic effect.
Experience the Entourage Effect yourself…
Now that you know a little more about how cannabinoids and terpenoids produce an entourage effect, you may be inclined to try it yourself – this is definitely encouraged.
Due to the stigma surrounding cannabis use, there is still much more research to be done regarding the entourage effect and how to best utilize it. We simply don’t have the research at the moment to know what combination of cannabinoids and terpenoids produce specific results for specific conditions.
So, next time you’re reaching for your THC, maybe you’ll remember how the entourage effect may help enhance your experience.