The Entourage Effect to Enjoying Your Weed
In this article, we ask ourselves how the entourage effect works, and how we can use the entourage effect and enjoying our weed. The entourage effect is a postulated (and in my opinion proven – to me) effect where different cannabinoids and terpenes and other things in weed work together. The result – a unique experience if you get it right. We show you how to get it right – for you.
To get our heads around this topic – so that we can successfully rearrange our heads with the knowledge, let’s quickly delve into the basics of what is in our weed buds.
Getting Stoned 101 – How the Good Stuff Gets into Your Head
Years ago, while walking in the Himalayas, I was excited to see our favorite weed growing everywhere. I grabbed a nice fat bud, dried it on the back window of our vehicle, and tried to smoke it. It made me sleepy and gave me a headache. The reason – this was a wild plant that had not been bred to have the right ratios of cannabinoids in it.
Cannabinoids are the main active ingredients in Cannabis. These are a large family of chemicals with quite similar structures. Depending on their structure, they target different parts of the body and bind to certain endocannabinoid receptors triggering effects.
The Usual Suspects – THC and CBD
The main two cannabinoids we hear about all the time are THC and CBD. CBD due to its chemistry is largely unable to have any effect on the brain so it gives you a nice mellow body feeling. THC can get through the blood-brain barrier and alter the way your brain works for a while. THC can cause all sorts of unpleasant effects – if you are in a bad state of mind it can make you paranoid.
We have all had that moment where we decide to smoke a blunt of some high THC strain like Jack the Ripper to try and get a good night’s sleep. Suddenly at 2 am you are wide awake, covered in sweat, and convinced you left the stove on and some demon is about to emerge and burn the house down. That’s what happens when weed fights with you and for most of us, it’s not a pleasant experience. I am in no way saying JTR is a bad strain by the way – it is just not a good going to bed strain. It is an excellent being awake and having fun strain.
There is a current wang measuring competition in the market to see who can sell the bud with the highest THC content. Believe me, our R&D facility has produced weed with over 40% THC, and I am in no way enamored with this trend. It is a bit like the alcohol industry – you get light beer, beer, heavy beer, Whiskey, and Everclear. All are from barley – but Whiskey can really mess up your day if you are not careful with it and then you end up drinking Everclear and sleeping under a park bench. With good bud, we want a nice balance of cannabinoids.
The less fashionable but way cooler Cannabinoids
There are a lot of cannabinoids. And this number keeps growing. Depending on who you listen to there are at least 113 officially named cannabinoids and a lot more that will be named in the next few years. We have one new one we have discovered recently. Some of this crowd of cannabinoids are present in crazily small quantities, and they are so difficult to purify in large quantities. This means that we actually don’t even know what they do yet.
A few of the known minor cannabinoids deserve mention.
CBG and CBGV
CBG and CBGV relieve pain and show promise in managing certain cancers and the effects of treatments for these. It also just makes you feel nice and relaxed.
This cannabinoid is a breakdown product of THC. It reduces anxiety and causes relaxation. It seems to reduce convulsions and may help relieve period pains.
This is an anti-inflammatory. I used a high CBC strain to treat some weird neck pain I got in 2020 after my first bout of COVID-19.
The list goes on and on. However, let’s just say we have now convinced you that your bud is a toolbox of things that you can use to manage different parts of your body.
Now – the Terpenes
We all know terpenes – the things that make some flowers smell beautiful, spices pungent and herbs smell well….herby. You will often see people talking about the “terp” profile of a type of bud.
Terpenes often work on the nervous system and body in their own way. We have all seen kitty roll around on Catnip. The terpene in catnip, nepetalactone has a powerful psychoactive effect on cats. In the next bit of this article, we will have a look at how terpenes combine with the cannabinoids, and your own neurochemistry to give you the effects you may, or may not wish for.
A Few Interesting Terpenes
I list this one first because it is a terpene, but it can actually act on the endocannabinoid system, so it acts a bit like a cannabinoid at the same time. I have always found it funny that long before cannabis was legal, this terpene has been making people chilled and relaxed while they judged cannabis harshly.
This terpene gives a lot of the character to pepper, is also present in cloves, in varying levels in different hops, and gives cinnamon some of its character.
Caryophyllene is believed to help with pain relief and stress. In the old times, this was why cloves were so sought after – they helped relieve the pain of toothache.
Strains rich in this terpene can assist in dealing with anxiety and stress – we cover how to manage anxiety and stress with cannabis here.
Somewhat interestingly, as a child, my Dad, an ichthyologist, used to use benzocaine to anesthetize fish to photograph them for research. As the war on drugs reduced the availability of all cocaine derivatives, he shifted to using clove oil, which zonked the fish out just fine. This shows how strong this terpene actually is.
This is one of my favorites. I always wondered why I felt alert walking in a pine forest. The smell of pine needles as you walk in a dark forest brings out alertness that takes us back to the days when a saber tooth tiger was probably following us waiting to eat us. I guess we evolved to be alert in pine forests – this terpene binds to parts of the brain that increase alertness and memory. It seems to have some effect in terms of ameliorating the extreme effects of THC (paranoia etc).
This is one of my personal favorites. As a kind, going and playing in the lemon tree always had that smell. Limonene in my bud brings back those memories. I always enjoy limonene-rich strains as they lift your mood and make your mind sharp and focussed. Apparently, these help with anxiety relief although that has not been my personal experience.
These are my three favorite terpenes. There are a lot of terpenes in nature. Different fruits contain different terpene profiles. We have all heard the legend of what happens if you eat a lot of mangos and smoke weed. I am in two minds as to how effective this is – either I did not eat enough mango, or did not smoke enough weed, or both.
Music in your mind
I like to think of the entourage effect a bit like music in your mind. When we look at harnessing the entourage effect and enjoying our weed it is a bit like making music. To make music we can, if we are skilled use just one instrument. Somebody who vapes pure THC is making this sort of music.
We can however aim for a lot more complexity, and this is where the entourage effect comes in. Combining both active ingredients in our food, with our actives in weed can create a magical experience. I personally find that if you are going to sit back, enjoy some good music, and chill, then the following recipe is for you. This is my way of employing the entourage effect and enjoying weed.
Make yourself some strong ginger tea this way. Take a piece of ginger about the size of two fingers and blend it with a cup of water. Boil it for twenty minutes at a low rolling boil adding water as needed. Strain. Add honey and chug it. This will burn a bit. For an interesting review of the many biological wonders in ginger check this out.
This is a magical plant. Two decent tablespoons of cocoa (raw not the premixed beverage) and a bit of milk and sugar and hot water. Two cups of this will move your brain into a good energized space.
Cannabis of your choice. I would suggest a strain with a citrus note. Try and find a strain that is not too high on the THC and had a bit of CBD in it. Balanced strains with THC and CBD, and other cannabinoids tend to have a better overall effect on the things you can learn in your head when you have a pleasant session.
We hope that this helped you find out more ways to employ the entourage effect and enjoying our weed, and the excellent music that goes with it.