What is the Entourage Effect?

At Stash, we go above and beyond the average dispensary. 

We foster immersive cannabis journeys, adding fun and excitement to our customers’ experience while providing a premium selection of top-shelf products at our Orland Hills and Peru Locations.

Education is essential to enhancing our clientele’s interactions with cannabis products.

The more you know about our products, the more elevated your experience. You’ll learn what type of products best suit your preferences and needs.

On the above note, we’ll examine the entourage effect in this article–the idea that high-quality compounds (e.g., terpenes and cannabinoids) intermingle to offer the best cannabis experience.

The Basics

Cannabis has many elements. Users often focus on THC percentage since it’s the plant’s psychoactive component. 

However, the entourage effect indicates that high THC levels independently don’t necessarily offer the most pleasing cannabis experience.

Instead, the entourage effect suggests that the cannabis plants’ full spectrum of components must work synergistically. All plant compounds, from cannabinoids (e.g., THC and CBD) to terpenes, blend harmoniously to trigger the most enhanced effects [1].

The Role Of Cannabinoids

THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol)  are the primary cannabinoids in cannabis products [2].

CBD is the non-psychoactive component of the cannabis plant, harnessed for its therapeutic qualities. Anecdotal evidence suggests cannabidiol helps with anxiety, chronic pain, epilepsy, etc. 

Conversely, THC is the psychoactive component of cannabis. While used for therapeutic purposes, the “high” feelings it conjures are ideal for recreational use.

The entourage effect theorizes that THC and CBD work synergistically when both compounds are prominent in a strain. 

Rat and human studies from 2011 indicate that CBD counteracts adverse THC effects (e.g., anxiety and paranoia). Also, research implies that THC heightens CBD’s therapeutic properties, benefiting conditions like pain, anxiety, epilepsy, etc. [3]. 

Terpenes: Aromatic Allies

Terpenes are found in plants and some animals. They’re naturally occurring chemical compounds responsible for flavors, aromas, and colors in vegetation [4].

Cannabis terpenes help distinguish tastes and smells between strains. Examples of terpenes you’ll find in cannabis strains include pinene, humulene, limonene, and myrcene.

Some terpenes are believed to have a psychoactive effect (although they won’t get you high like THC) because they interact with the brain. Experts imply they synergistically mesh with cannabinoids, contributing to the entourage effect. In fact, research postulates terpenes can help with mental health issues.

The Entourage Effect In Practice

As mentioned earlier, one can be easily misled by THC percentages in cannabis. However, the full spectrum of the experience can be far more beneficial and pleasant.

More doesn’t necessarily mean better regarding THC. Incredibly high potency doesn’t necessarily yield superior experiences.

On the other hand, the entourage effect revolves around making the cannabis experience enjoyable and beneficial for those partaking.

Some tips to optimize the entourage effect include:

  • Check labels for terpene profiles–many brands have these on their products. You’ll usually see the three most prominent terpenes. 
  • Ensure the product is fresh since terpene concentrations can lessen over time. Seek products with newer package dates.
  • Note that cannabis oil utilizes synthetic terpenes found in house chemicals and solvents. They might be as effective as standard terpenes, but nothing is conclusive. 
  • Synthetic terpenes might get degraded due to dabbing with high heat, potentially resulting in adverse byproducts. 
  • Maintaining a journal of your experiences with the full spectrum of various strains can help you pinpoint the best mix of cannabis compounds for you.

Research And Science

The National Library Of Medicine published a report examining the entourage effect’s impacts on mood disorders [5]

Nothing conclusive is presented in the research. However, the notion is brought forth that cannabis harnessing the entourage effect can help patients avoid the adverse side effects of mood stabilizers and antidepressants. 

Furthermore, the University of Arizona Health Sciences research team discovered evidence supporting the legitimacy of the entourage effect. The research points to terpenes’ potential effectiveness for pain therapies with fewer side effects produced by lower doses [6].

Potential Benefits

There’s a growing belief that the right combination of terpenes, CBD, and THC offers mood-stabilizing effects. 

A more specific benefit is how a mix of CBD and pinene can offset the short-term memory loss associated with THC [7].

The synergistic machinations of the entourage effect might also help treat cancer due to their antitumor properties. Also, mixing terpenes and cannabinoids together appears to increase their pain-killing and anti-inflammatory properties. 

Moreover, Senior Clinical Psychiatry Lecturer Marta DI Forti did an anecdotal study on the matter, discovering that CBD dampens THC-induced psychotic symptoms [8]

Safety And Regulations

Recreational adult-use cannabis is legal in the state of Illinois. However, it’s yet to be legal federally and is considered a Schedule I substance along the lines of heroin.

The mixed messaging here can be confusing. 

Yes–it’s 2023. Cannabis should be legal on a federal level (and President Biden is trying to lessen such illegality).

Still, we’d be irresponsible to claim cannabis is without risks. Much like alcohol (another legal inebriant), responsible usage is necessary. That means taking controlled doses and not operating vehicles are heavy machinery after consumption. Cannabis is not a cure-all, and indulging too much can lead to adverse effects like paranoia and anxiety.

Lastly, given legality is state-to-state, don’t transport your recreational cannabis across state lines, or else you may face stiff legal penalties.

Conclusion: Harness The Entourage Effect To Maximize Your Cannabis Experience

THC percentage matters–but it’s not the be-all, end-all of cannabis products. The entourage effect–a synergistic interaction of terpenes and cannabinoids–will most impact your experience.

The entourage effect appears to provide the most mood-stabilizing effects while harnessing other medicinal benefits. It seems to give a more well-rounded “high” that doesn’t overwhelm or underwhelm, enabling you to enjoy yourself without things getting out of control.

Explore Stash’s online menu to explore our selection of products to reap the full benefits of the entourage effect.

Want to learn more about Stash Dispensaries and our top-tier product selection? Come to one of our locations for expert guidance, or visit our website or Instagram page. See first-hand how we’re elevating the cannabis experience for recreational adult enthusiasts across Illinois!


  1. https://www.openaccessgovernment.org/entourage-effect-cannabis-relieve-pain-cannaboids-terpenes/154305/#:~:text=The%20entourage%20effect%20is%20the,together%20to%20enhance%20their%20effects
  2. https://www.webmd.com/pain-management/cbd-thc-difference 
  3. https://www.healthline.com/health/the-entourage-effect#what-the-research-says 
  4. https://www.healthline.com/health/cannabis-terpenes#what-they-are 
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7324885/#:~:text=The%20%E2%80%9Centourage%20effect%E2%80%9D%2C%20is,effects%20of%20its%20contributing%20parts
  6. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/07/210714110455.htm
  7. https://leafwell.com/blog/entourage-effect/  
  8. https://www.relievet.com/blogs/tips/the-entourage-effect 

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