As the saying goes, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. That seems to be the case with cannabis. It’s known as the entourage effect.

But What’s the Entourage Effect exactly?

Think about the entourage of your five best friends. You and your crew go to a raging house party–a night full of laughing, dancing, smoking. A blast that best friends usually have when they’re together!

In contrast, think about going to that same party by yourself. Would you have the same amount of fun? Would your sparkling personality shine as it does when you’re around your best buds? Probably not. That’s because you and each of your besties mesh well. You bring out the best in each other.

That’s essentially the theory behind the entourage effect.

The different cannabis compounds work together on your endocannabinoid receptors to enhance the effects on your body. 

As a result, when you ingest the full spectrum of the cannabis plant, you may get better relief from your condition whether it’s anxiety, depression, inflammation, insomnia, or chronic pain. 

In fact, there’s a theory that cannabis isolates, such as CBD oil, can’t produce the entourage effect because many of its natural chemicals were removed during the extraction process. 

An entourage of girlfriends partying in a bathtubs

Which Cannabis Compounds Work Together?

Cannabis is full of hundreds of compounds. But, there is little research on the entourage effect in particular. However, what scientists and marijuana enthusiasts know is that some compounds work together to produce a greater impact. The compounds include:

  • Cannabinoids–the most famous are CBC and THC. Cannabinoids affect the body through your endocannabinoid system
  • Terpenes–give cannabis strains their different aromas.
  • Flavinoids–play a role in smell and taste. But they also give cannabis its pigment. Flavonoids also protect the plant from the elements.

What’s the Benefit of the Entourage Effect?

When you ingest full-spectrum cannabis, you’re taking advantage of the natural healing benefits of the entire plant. However, keep in mind that science is young in this area. So there isn’t a straight path to finding the right strain for you. For that reason, you may need to try different strains before you find one that gives you the effect you want.

A cannabis plant growing outside

What’s a Drawback of the Entourage Effect?

Full-spectrum cannabis may not be right for you. Certain compounds may boost the THC effects, which include the feeling of euphoria, sleepiness, or decreased memory. Therefore, if feeling “high” is not the effect you’re after, then a CBD isolate may be better.

The Bottom Line

When you ingest different compounds of the cannabis plant, they work synergistically to produce a much greater effect than if you took these substances alone.

For that reason, the whole cannabis plant, not just its parts, has many health benefits that science is still exploring. But many individual cannabis users swear by it.


Green Flower. (25 June, 2020). What are the key compounds in cannabis? https://news.green-flower.com/what-are-the-key-compounds-in-cannabis?

Natural Earth Cures. Oct 5, 2019. What is the entourage effect? Learn the benefits and drawbacks. YouTube. https://youtu.be/ckspcGC6hXI

Rahn, B. (8 January, 2020). The entourage effect: How cannabis compounds may be working together. Leafly. https://www.leafly.com/news/cannabis-101/cannabis-entourage-effect-why-thc-and-cbd-only-medicines-arent-g