WHAT IS THE ENTOURAGE EFFECT AND WHY IS IT CRUCIAL TO USING CANNABINOIDS SUCCESSFULLY?
*Disclaimer: This article is not meant to serve as a substitute for veterinary advice. Dr.Hempdog believes firmly in the contents of this article because of the thorough research that backs it up and our own experiences with the thousands of dogs that we have helped through the years (including our own). You should always defer to your veterinarian when adding anything to your dog's unique wellness routine.
Did you know that CBD is most potent when used alongside certain other cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids that occur in hemp (which are often lost in extraction)? This synergy between various hemp compounds is known as “the entourage effect,” which studies show to be one of the primary reasons why full-spectrum CBD is so effective for dogs, as opposed to the more widely found broad-spectrum and isolate CBD products. Below, we’ll break down the science behind the entourage effect, why you’d want to use full-spectrum CBD products for your animals over broad-spectrum or isolates, and how to identify a superior full-spectrum CBD product.
The Entourage Effect, Explained
In the simplest terms, the entourage effect refers to how cannabinoids are typically more effective when taken together rather than on their own. Other helpful compounds found in hemp (such as terpenes and flavonoids) are known to further enhance the entourage effect, especially when used alongside a full spectrum of cannabinoids.
Numerous studies have demonstrated how cannabinoids and terpenes can enhance one another; flavonoids, on the other hand, aren’t very well understood in this context, though studies have shown that many of the flavonoids in hemp can enhance the general health of animals.
Studies Conducted on Cannabinoids and the Entourage Effect
The earliest recorded instances of the entourage effect detail CBD and other cannabinoids (especially THC, CBC, and CBG) enhancing one another. In particular, a small amount of THC has been shown to be both entirely safe* for animals and important for unlocking the full potential of CBD. Here are just a few of the many studies that support the entourage effect:
A study from 2020 found that, of all the CBD tinctures tested, the ones with the highest concentrations of secondary cannabinoids and terpenes were most potent by far.
- From Nutrients journal: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7071207/
A recent 2019 review concluded that a diverse profile of cannabinoids was consistently linked to better therapeutic results and increased potency in various cannabinoid studies, clearly outlining an entourage effect.
- From Frontiers in Plant Science: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpls.2018.01969/full
One 2018 study found that a full-spectrum mixture of CBD, CBDA, CBC, CBG, and a small amount of THC was able to significantly alleviate pain and inflammation for arthritic dogs, without causing any notable side effects.
- From Frontiers in Veterinary Science: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30083539/
*Studies show that THC contents below 0.3% (which fall into the legal definition of hemp) are generally safe for dogs, especially when used alongside CBD, which is known to nullify some of the undesirable effects that isolated THC can have. Always consult your veterinarian before starting any cannabinoid regimen.
Studies Conducted on Terpenes and the Entourage Effect
Though less commonly studied, certain terpenes are known to contribute to a potential entourage effect, whether by providing various medical benefits of their own or by directly enhancing the effectiveness of other cannabinoids:
A recent review from 2019 concluded that many terpenes in hemp not only interacted with many of the same systems that cannabinoids do, but that they could actually enhance the effectiveness of other cannabinoids in a variety of unique ways.
- From the Journal of Alternative Complementary & Integrative Medicine: http://www.heraldopenaccess.us/openaccess/cannabidiol-and-contributions-of-major-hemp-phytocompounds-to-the-entourage-effect-possible-mechanisms
One 2017 study found that three of the terpenes in Dr.Hempdog (beta-caryophyllene, caryophyllene oxide, and alpha-humulene) could inhibit liver enzymes that were responsible for breaking down drugs such as cannabinoids and terpenes, therefore making them more bioavailable.
- From Chemico-Biological Interactions: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29074051/
How High-Quality Full-Spectrum CBD Maximizes the Entourage Effect
Full-spectrum CBD is known to maximize the entourage effect, but before we get to why that is, let’s first run through the three different types of CBD products:
- “Full-spectrum” CBD refers to CBD products that include some quantity of THC (below 0.3% for industrial hemp).
- “Broad-spectrum” CBD refers to CBD products that completely lack THC.
- “Isolated” CBD (or CBD Isolate) refers to pure CBD without any other cannabinoids, terpenes, or flavonoids.
As discussed above, a small, safe amount of THC has been shown to help CBD function properly, hence full-spectrum CBD has the potential to be especially effective for certain ailments. Superior full-spectrum CBD products will also feature a diverse profile of other helpful cannabinoids and terpenes to create a stronger entourage effect.
You can identify the cannabinoids and terpenes in a CBD product by using its lab work, which will come in the form of a Certificate of Analysis (COA). Dr.Hempdog’s latest lab work, for example, clearly showcases the many helpful cannabinoids and terpenes in our product, and is always easily available at the bottom of our website. Note that you should be wary of any company that can’t or won’t provide an easily accessible, up-to-date COA for their products.
If you have any additional questions about how full-spectrum CBD and the entourage effect could help your dog with some of the ailments they suffer from, we encourage you to reach out to us and schedule a free, 15-minute consultation with our team. You can easily do so by visiting our website, emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by giving us a call at (720) 773-9595.