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Mike TagenDecember four, 2019

(WinsomeMan, TShum/iStock)

The entourage impact describes how various elements of the cannabis plant interact to generate the one of a kind effects of numerous strains and merchandise. This “entourage” of diverse plant chemical substances really should theoretically supply effects that differ from a single isolated compound like CBD or THC.

Believe of it this way: A patient finds discomfort relief from a particular dose of THC, but can’t tolerate the side effects of this dose, such as anxiousness or memory impairment. According to anecdotes, and in some instances scientific research, other elements of the cannabis plant—like CBD—can minimize these side effects and enable this dose to be tolerated.

The interaction in between the two principal cannabinoids, THC and CBD, is somewhat effectively understood via years of animal and human research. On the other hand, CBD is unlikely to be accountable for the wide array of effects reported for cannabis. So what else could be accountable for the properties that men and women have attributed to various strains (e.g., uplifting, sedating, inventive, or relaxing)?

The key suspect for a strain’s reported effects is terpenes.

The entourage impact of terpenes

Terpenes are the molecules that give cannabis and other plants their one of a kind aromas. They usually have an impact on the brain, at least in animal research. Their levels in cannabis also differ broadly, creating them very good candidates for explaining why 1 strain may possibly really feel extremely various from an additional.

You really should take into consideration most of what you study about the terpene entourage effects to be untested hypotheses rather than established scientific details. The reality is that their interactions with THC are virtually unstudied in humans. Some research of terpenes have been performed in animals, but usually at extremely higher doses which do not translate to the quantity commonly consumed from cannabis.

There are thousands of anecdotes about various strains, but we can’t very easily use these to figure out the impact of a certain terpene. The complicated mixtures of terpenes in cannabis make it challenging to pin down a certain impact on a certain element. Hardly anyone knew the terpene profile of the cannabis they have been consuming till not too long ago.

Cannabis legalization has enhanced the reputation of terpene testing, and now a lot of men and women are in a position to access the terpene profiles of their cannabis. On the other hand, devoid of strong information on the effects of various terpenes in humans, these profiles are challenging to interpret.

Limonene’s function in the entourage impact

A single terpene of specific interest is referred to as limonene. This terpene, popularly linked with citrus aromas, has some one of a kind properties. Anecdotally, it is reported to influence mood a 2019 study in humans showed that inhalation of limonene odor lowered heart price.

Tahoe OG Kush is an instance of a strain with higher levels of limonene (yellow).

In truth, limonene can function via a quantity of mechanisms in our brain. It is capable of interacting with numerous neurotransmitter systems, such as the adenosine program, GABA program and serotonin program. These systems handle a lot of points, such as alertness, mood, and considering.

So while there is some strong preliminary proof that limonene could interact with THC, we can in no way seriously know till a clinical study is performed. Clinical research take revenue and the principal way to get this revenue is via government grants. Till not too long ago, it seemed extremely unlikely that the government would fund study into cannabinoid-terpene interactions.

Clinical research on limonene & the entourage impact

Instances are altering. Terpene entourage effects are lastly about to be place to the test.

Ryan Vandrey, Ph.D., an Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Johns Hopkins University, has obtained a grant from the National Institutes of Well being (NIH) for 3 clinical trials of cannabinoid-terpene interactions. This appears to show that the NIH is now much more disposed to funding research associated to cannabinoids.

The very first clinical trial will assess how limonene modulates the effects of THC.

This study will make use of the solutions of 20 wholesome adult participants, who will stop by a study unit on numerous various occasions. On each and every stop by, they will consume (by means of a vaporizer) either an inactive placebo, limonene alone, THC alone, or the mixture of THC and limonene.

Due to the fact two various dose levels of THC (15 and 30 mg) and limonene (1 and five mg) will be tested in addition to placebos, participants will truly do nine various treks to the laboratory, creating this 1 of the most extensive research of its variety to date.

How do this study’s limonene ratios evaluate to strains?

This study is extremely effectively developed, but 1 point I had to query was whether or not the levels of THC and limonene correspond to actual terpene profiles of readily available strains. For instance, is there an current strain that truly has five mg limonene for every single 15 mg THC? To answer this, I turned to Leafly’s strain database.

This chart shows the typical levels of limonene in various cannabis strains on Leafly. Most flower consists of trace amounts of limonene (beneath .two% by weight). Extremely handful of flower merchandise express a larger limonene content material (more than .eight% by weight). (Leafly)

This plot shows the distribution of limonene content material in various cannabis flower merchandise. We can see that a lot of merchandise have extremely small limonene (much less than .two% by weight). Only a handful of merchandise have a higher level of limonene (above .eight%). These merchandise provide about eight to 10 mg of limonene per gram of cannabis.

We subsequent looked at the ratios of THC to limonene in various strains. The highest ratio of THC to limonene in the clinical study is 30:1 (30 mg THC to 1 mg limonene). A handful of came close, with Banana OG providing a match:

The other ratios getting tested are basically not readily available in THC-dominant strains. To obtain these ratios, the lowest of which is three:1 (15 mg THC to five mg limonene), you would want to supplement with added limonene. (This truly wouldn’t be also tough provided that limonene is present in so a lot of typical foods!)

Irrespective of whether or not you are in a position to replicate these precise ratios in your personal cannabis routine, this study will undoubtedly add crucial findings about how terpenes and cannabinoids interact in our bodies, bringing us that a great deal closer to understanding which strains are very best for our person desires.

Mike Tagen's Bio Image

Mike Tagen

Mike Tagen obtained his B.A. in neuroscience and Ph.D. in pharmacology. He has worked in clinical study and drug improvement for the previous 12 years, and is at the moment a consultant at Verdient Science.


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