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Understanding CBD's 'Entourage Effect'

by Kelsy Chauvin

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Tuesday February 23, 2021

Understanding CBD's 'Entourage Effect'

With the budding cannabis industry comes a whole lot of new terminology. Cannabinoids, terpenes, full-spectrum, CBD isolate — they're not just words for insiders. They're vital to understanding how CBD works and how it may help your body and mind.

One of the more intriguing is the entourage effect. Like many of the other terms, it requires some explaining.

EDGE spoke with CBD Unlimited founder and CEO Todd Davis to better grasp the entourage effect and its context around CBD (cannabidiol). Founded in 2014, CBD Unlimited was one of the first companies to make and sell CBD oils, balms, capsules, and other products.

Davis calls CBD Unlimited a "science and compliance company," underscoring its consistency across its 100-percent hemp-derived CBD products. Consumers can rely on its tinctures, edibles and topicals to deliver the ideal dosage shown on each label and product description.

On each label and description, you'll find the ingredients, including CBD (the CBD isolate), along with a few other active ingredients. Here's where the entourage effect comes in.

"The entourage effect was the language [the cannabis industry] originally used to define how all of the different molecules — the cannabinoids and the terpenes — work together to benefit the cannabis consumer in potential health benefits," says Davis. "It was kind of a fancy way of saying: If you take one of them out, the other ones won't work as well."

Molecular Cannabis

Molecular Cannabis
(Source: CBD Unlimited)

Each molecule in a hemp plant, explains Davis, can work independently. There are well over 100 known cannabinoids (like CBD, CBG, CBN, THC), plus scores of terpenes, the organic compounds that give each plant its flavor and aroma.

Research keeps revealing even more natural molecules that develop and change in a hemp plant-based on environmental factors like water, oxygen, sunlight and temperature.

The result is a hemp crop with a variety of molecules. But CBD Unlimited is primarily after just one: CBD.

"We don't use all the cannabis molecules in our product development. For example, we can't use THC. So, we have to eliminate it from the formulation," says Davis. He notes that the psychoactive nature of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is not part of CBD Unlimited's products. However, it occurs naturally and is legal in trace amounts (less than .3 percent) in full-spectrum goods. (Broad-spectrum CBD products contain zero THC.)

"During the process when we're separating individual molecules from inside a plant, we're also sacrificing other molecules and their benefits," says Davis. "The heat or oxidation used in the separation process can eliminate them."

But CBD Unlimited's manufacturing process can restore or support the CBD in each product.

"We marry CBD [isolate] with other plant-based materials that all work together," he says. "That is our entourage effect."

Break It Down, Build It Up

Break It Down, Build It Up
(Source: CBD Unlimited)

One of CBD's greatest potential benefits is as an active anti-inflammatory agent. CBD also can help improve mobility, anxiety, skin issues, and sleep — because those problems may be associated with inflammation.

In products like CBD Unlimited's CapsulesX, turmeric and ginger are added for a positive inflammation-fighting entourage effect.

"Turmeric and ginger are plant-based materials known for having anti-inflammatory properties, so we'll formulate them to work with CBD to create a better experience," says Davis.

In several CBD Unlimited products, you'll also find ashwagandha and rhodiola, two herbal ingredients that have been found to promote stress relief, help alleviate fatigue and anxiety and improve mental focus and muscle strength. They're part of the company's reliance on science and testing to build effective formulations.

"We learn from science and literature and study up on every ingredient," says Davis. "If the ingredient is turmeric, we ask, 'What's the optimal amount you need to take daily to benefit from that molecule?' We don't just put in a little bit in and say, 'OK, there's turmeric.' We say there is a daily dose of turmeric in that product.

"Each active ingredient in each of our products is the amount you need for either a dose or daily use. It doesn't matter if it's topical or an ingestible product."

For Davis and his team, the end result is a variety of CBD products that are true to the science of cannabis. And for customers, enjoying the natural entourage effect is even better.

Kelsy Chauvin is a writer, photographer and marketing consultant based in Brooklyn, New York. She specializes in travel, feature journalism, art, theater, architecture, construction and LGBTQ interests. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter at @kelsycc.

CBD Unlimited

This story is part of our special report titled CBD Unlimited. Want to read more? Here's the full list.

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