Terpenes & the Entourage Effect
Stop and smell the roses. Slightly high, mind wandering, that phrase begins to fester in my brain. Why smell the roses? Why not “stop and relax”, which is much more to the point? Or perhaps, “stop and take in the scenery” or “stop and take some meditative breaths.”
Perhaps it has to do with certain smells causing specific effects? Our Googling wasn’t thorough enough to find who or when the phrase was first coined. However, today we see science catching up with what nature, and this proverb, has been teaching us all this time. Today we call them terpenes.
Terpenes are secreted from botanicals, including cannabis species. It’s what you smell when you take a big whiff of florals and fauna. Think of them as getting a big whiff of plant sweat. Roses, for example, are rich in Geraniol and Myrcene, terpenes (and monoterpenoids) common in clove, earthy green plants, and citrus. They’ve been shown to have an antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic and relaxing effects; or as this scholarly article phrases it, “effects of therapeutic interest”. It’s nature’s own aroma-therapy gift to the world. The way terpenes interact with your body is why you feel clear-headed when you walk into a pine forest, or why you feel relaxed when you breathe in a deep breath of lavender, and why stopping to smell the roses can actually help you de-stress and induce feelings of happiness.
But WTF does terpenes and cannabinoids have to do with mindful dosing?
Well just about everything my friend. The high you feel when consuming cannabis is largely impacted by what cannabinoids and terpenes you consume (aka, what strain you choose). What science has shown is that when you isolate cannabinoids (only CBD or THC for example), the therapeutic effect is reduced when compared to the results looking at whole-plant cannabis extract (an extraction of multiple cannabinoids and terpenes found within a cannabis plant). This is because of “The Entourage Effect”, a botanic synergy of terpenes bonding with cannabinoids that creates some therapeutic magic in your body. I’ll use a simple Spice Girls analogy to break it down for us a bit more. Although each Spice Girl is very talented on their own, their solo careers never achieved the same global recognition as they did when they were performing as a group. Their entourage effect spiced up our lives more than an isolated spice girl ever could. So when looking for new cannabis products to try, be on the lookout for buzzwords like WHOLE PLANT MEDICINE or FULL SPECTRUM. Because you know how it goes: “if you wanna be my lover, you got to get with my friends”.
“ It’s nature’s own aroma-therapy gift to the world”
We’re in support of the informed consumer
Some brands (including this one) are moving the conversation away from Indica and Sativa language to signal the type of high you feel. This is because of “The Entourage Effect”, a botanic synergy of terpenes bonding with cannabinoids that creates some therapeutic magic in your body.
Now that we know it’s the combination of terpenes and cannabinoids, which creates the therapeutic effect, we encourage you to explore all the elements then track your feelings and your experience. This will help you to navigate what type of cannabis to shop for when looking for a specific feeling for vibe. Below is a list of sources that can help you become familiar with the different types of terpenes, cannabinoids, and their effect.
We hope you enjoy nerding out on peer-reviewed cannabis research as much as we do! And if not, don’t worry. We’ll be here to break it down for you the best we can 🙂
Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects
The Case for the Entourage Effect and Conventional Breeding of Clinical Cannabis: No “Strain,” No Gain
The Anti-Inflammatory Properties of Terpenoids from Cannabis