The entourage effect is a proposed mechanism by which cannabis compounds other than tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) act synergistically with it to modulate the overall psychoactive effects of the plant.
Cannabis strains with relatively high CBD:THC ratios have been proposed to be less likely to induce anxiety than vice versa, though this assertion has been challenged on account of contradictory findings in the literature. This may be due to CBD's antagonistic effects at the cannabinoid receptors, compared to THC's partial agonist effect. CBD is also a 5-HT1A receptor (serotonin) agonist, which may also contribute to an anxiolytic-content effect. The effects of sativa are well known for its cerebral high, while indica is well known for its sedative effects which some prefer for night time use. Both types are used as medical cannabis.
The phrase entourage effect was introduced in 1999. While originally identified as a novel method of endocannabinoid regulation by which multiple endogenous chemical species display a cooperative effect in eliciting a cellular response, the term has evolved to describe the polypharmacy effects of combined cannabis phytochemicals or whole plant extracts. The phrase now commonly refers to the compounds present in cannabis supposedly working in concert to create “the sum of all the parts that leads to the magic or power of cannabis”. Other cannabinoids, terpenoids, and flavonoids may be part of an entourage effect.
A 2020 review of research found no entourage effect in most studies, while other reports claimed mixed results, including the possibility of increased adverse effects. The review concluded that the term, "entourage effect", is unfounded and used mainly for marketing.
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