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What is the “Entourage Effect”?

The “entourage effect” is a term that first entered the lexicon in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s which was intended to describe the mechanism by which non-psychoactive components of C. Sativa can have a modulating effect on tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

What does the “Entourage Effect” supposedly do?

As stated above, the “entourage effect” is the means by which the pharmacological potential of cannabis is increased when the plant (C. Sativa) is ingested as a whole rather than in distillate or concentrate forms.

It is important to recognize that the “entourage effect” is not settled science.

That being said, the proposition that the “entourage effect” modulates THC in the human body revolves around the neurotransmitter and fatty acid known as Anandamide.

What is Anandamide?

The etymology of “Anandamide” traces all the way back to the Sanskrit, “Ananda”, and loosely translates to “joy”, “bliss”, and “delight”.

This neurotransmitter’s effects are felt either in the central or periphery nervous system, and are predominantly mediated through our endocannabinoid receptors – CB1 and CB2 receptors.

What is the connection between Anandamide and the “Entourage Effect”?

It is suggested that when C. Sativa is ingested as a whole rather than distillate or concentrate forms, our endocannabinoid receptors (CB1 and CB2) affinity to enhance endogenous anandamide activity increases while the enzymatic degradation of anandamide is decreased.

In other words, the physiological and pharmacological impact of the neurotransmitter, responsible for eliciting “joy”, “bliss”, or “delight” in our central and peripheral nervous systems, is enhanced when we ingest cannabis as a whole. At the same time, our bodies ability to breakdown anandamide is inhibited thereby eliciting the “entourage effect”.

What is the significance of enhancing anandamide?

If it is ever definitely established that C. Sativa can act as an enzyme inhibitor and control the endogenous levels of anandamide in our body, then it may have a profound impact on the therapeutic uses of cannabis for pain, inflammation, sleep disorders, and possibly cancer.

Anandamide and Cannabis; a part to play in Drug Abuse?

Anandamide has been considered a potential target for treating drug-abuse and addiction. It is suggested that anandamide plays a role in modulating the reward centre in our brain insofar as its levels have an impact on behavioural reinforcement.

It is further postulated that the effect of anandamide in this area, much like in the “entourage effect”, is potentiated by the inhibition of its metabolic breakdown.

Much research needs to be done in this area, but it is thought-provoking nonetheless.

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