Updated: May 20, 2021
"This is the theory that all the compounds in cannabis work together, and when taken together, they produce a better effect than when taken alone."
Cannabis plants contain more than 120 different phytocannabinoids. These phytocannabinoids act on your endocannabinoid system, which works to keep your body in homeostasis, or balance.
Cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) are two of the more well-researched and popular phytocannabinoids. People take CBD and THC in a variety of ways, and they can be consumed separately or together.
However, some research suggests that taking them together — along with smaller organic compounds in the cannabis plant, known as terpenes or terpenoids — is more effective than taking CBD or THC alone.
This is due to an interaction between phytocannabinoids and terpenes called “the entourage effect."
Taking phytocannabinoids and terpenes together may provide additional therapeutic benefits
A number of conditions have been studied in conjunction with the entourage effect. A 2011 review of studies in the British Journal of Pharmacology found that taking terpenes and phytocannabinoids together may be beneficial for:
CBD may help reduce unwanted effects of THC
Some people experience side effects like anxiety, hunger, and sedation after taking THC. Rat and human studies covered in the same 2011 review suggest that CBD may help reduce these side effects.
Phytochemicals like terpenes and flavonoids could be beneficial to brain health
Research from 2018 found that certain flavonoids and terpenes may provide neuroprotective and anti-inflammatory effects. Researchers proposed that these compounds could improve CBD’s therapeutic potential. (source: Healthline)