What is the Entourage Effect and Why Does it Matter?

The Entourage Effect one plus one is greater than 2

What is the Entourage Effect and Why Does it Matter?

Table of Contents

The entourage effect - the basics

Searching for Quality CBD Oils and Edibles often brings consumers to the  term, “entourage effect”. This article explains what it means. It also touches on why it may matter to you.  Full Spectrum CBD products produce this effect. We explain why.  Therefore, you may be able to make more informed decisions about which CBD product is right for you. 

The entourage effect is a result of the synergy between all the chemical compounds found in the cannabis plant.  For example, cannabinoids, fatty acids, flavonoids, and terpenes are the major plant based compounds of cannabis.  These chemicals work together as they interact with the human body. The  compounds work with each other to produce a stronger effect than any one of them alone can provide. Thus, this effect confirms the adage, “the whole is better than the sum of its parts.” “Whole plant” products boost the effects of each compound.

History of the entourage effect (1998-2011)

Key people involved in the research of the entourage effect

Finding and explaining the Entourage effect involved many people.  However, research about the effect most often notes the contributions of Dr. Raphael Mechoulam and Dr. Shimon Ben-Shabat.  Actually, 10 people conducted much of this ground-breaking science.

  • Raphael Mechoulam (Known as The Father of Cannabis Research)
  • Shimon Ben-Shabat
  • Ester Fride
  • Tzviel Sheskin
  • Tsippy Tamiri
  • Luciano De Petrocellis
  • Vincenzo Di Marzo
  • Man-Hee Rhee
  • Tiziana Bisogno
  • Zvi Vogel

Notably, The European Journal of Pharmacology published the first study about this effect in 1998.  Read the complete study here. This research introduced the prospect of the “Entourage Effect.” 

The Entourage Effect - Endocannabinoid System Illustration

Groundbreaking research

fatty acids help CBD Absorb

As mentioned above, The European Journal of Pharmacology accepted the first research paper about the Entourage Effect May 15, 1998.  Soon after, the public gained access on July 30 of the same year. This study theorized that cannabinoids bind better to the human Endocannabinoid System (ECS) receptors under certain conditions.  Most notably, when they are consumed with the fatty acids from the plant.  This is logical because these compounds do not dissolve in water. However, they combine easily with fats. 

For this reason, Blue Lotus Wellness and CBD Boutique infuses our USDA Certified organic CBD oil with MCT oil.  MCT stands for medium-chain triglycerides.  This oil is derived from coconuts.  3 fatty acids and glycerol are the parts of triglycerides. MCTs offer the best possible CBD absorption by the body in a CBD Oil. Therefore, the body absorbs more CBD from an oil made with MCTs than other carrier oils.  

Best Carrier for Bioavailability - MCT Oil
wider acceptance - 2009-11

In 2009, Dr. Gudrun Ulrich-Merzenich and Professor Hildebert Wagner, published new details about entourage effect.

4 key points arise from the study:

  • The Entourage effect works in many areas all over the body
  • The chemical compounds in plant based supplements work in tandem with each other. This, in turn,  improves the body’s ability to bind with and absorb these helpful compounds. 
  • The extra power of the full spectrum of plant based chemicals helped overcome various bacterial defenses.
  • Using cannabinoids together often reduced or did away with unwanted side-effects from single cannabinoids.

Simply put, using a wider range of plant based chemical compounds creates a combined effect.  Therefore, full spectrum products give the consumer much better results.

The entourage effect gained more esteem in the scientific and medical community in 2011. Dr. Ethan Russo is mainly responsible for this increase in acceptance. Russo published his research in the British Journal of Pharmacology that year.  As a result, he is now widely known throughout the industry. 

His research reviewed the way various chemical compounds found within the plants interact with each other. This research focused on the links between THC and the other cannabinoids, fatty acids, and the many terpenes.

Key Facts about the entourage effect

  • A consumer only feels the entourage effect if two or more compounds from the plants are present.
    • For Example:
      • cannabinoids + terpenes OR
      • cannabinoids + terpenes + fatty acids
  • The final product is more effective when more cannabis derived  compounds are present.
  • Isolate CBD products do not offer a user the benefits of the entourage effect
  • The most common cannabinoids found in cannabis products are THC, CBD, CBG, CBC, CBN.  Their acidic forms are usually present as well.  
  •  Alpha-Pinene, Beta-Caryophyllene, Camphene, Guaiol, Limonene, Linalool, Myrcene are the most common terpenes found in cannabis plants.
  • Much of the cannabis industry uses CO2 extraction methods.  Therefore, it is often touted as the cleanest and “best” method for getting compounds out of hemp.  However, this method cannot create true Full Spectrum products.  We look at hundreds of lab reports as we research brands. For this reason, we conclude that this popular (and less expensive) method yields fewer plant compounds than other methods.  Actually, vapor distillation and alcohol extraction are the best methods. Certainly with regard to the keeping all the plant compounds

More about the multiplier effect

Think about taking manmade vitamin C tablets vs eating an orange.  The orange contains flavonoids, fiber, calories for energy, and other antioxidants.  The vitamin C  absorbs better in the body because of these other compounds. In turn, the body uses more of the vitamin.  Whole foods offer better overall nutrition than pills, as any doctor will tell you.  There is also a vast difference between a quality supplement and a poor, manmade version of a vitamin.  In fact, the same is true for cannabis.  That is, the closer we can stay to the whole version (the way nature made it) – the more helpful the product. 

Full Spectrum of Cannabis Coumpounds

Many industry experts and researchers claim that when all the various part of cannabis are consumed together, the results are better.  This is because the compounds act together to produce a much more helpful product.  Indeed, each one strengthens the impact of the others.  This is known as the entourage multiplying effect.

Research about the entourage effect

Individual Studies and their findings

Cannabis research is always growing.  Therefore, many studies now support the existence and power of the entourage effect.  Several key studies are listed below:

  • Pharmacology and Pharmacy reviewed an animal study, which showed a peak limit of effect for CBD alone.  In other words, larger doses offer no more benefit above this peak. However, a full spectrum Cannabis extract with the same doses of CBD removed this result. Instead, there was a straight line dose / response curve.  The complete plant based extract relieved pain at any dose. Also, there was with no observed ceiling effect.
  • Semantic Scholar features a paper documenting the use of high CBD extracts to treat severe epilepsy.  Clinicians wrote this paper to discuss how their patients had notable declines in the rate of seizures. This occurred when they were treated with full spectrum extracts.  Formal clinical trials of Epidiolex reported much higher required doses for similar results.  Epidiolex is an FDA approved epilepsy medicine, which uses a 97% pure CBD formula.
A notable compilation of multiple studies


All the naturally occurring compounds found within the hemp plant work together to create the entourage effect. In essence, helpful effects increase when all the cannabis compounds work with each other.  This produces the full effects nature intended.  The natural parts of the hemp plant interact with each other and work together in the body.  This, in turn, yields a much stronger effect than when only a single cannabinoid is consumed.

Full Spectrum (all compounds present) is Most effective
Broad Spectrum
 (some compounds filtered out) is still Effective
Pure CBD
 (isolated CBD) is the Least Effective

Additional References

There are many great sources for more information. For example, Medical professionals, scientific data, pre-clinical trial results, peer-reviewed studies, and formal research are the sources for this article.

Products that provide the entourage effect

Full spectrum products are the best option to experience the entourage effect.  We have many options in our Orlando CBD Boutique and Online. Click below for some of our favorites.