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The "Entourage Effect"

Alternative and natural medicine have both become big topics in the world today as people fear all of the chemicals that are being put inside medications that are currently on the market. Part of natural medicine is using the entire plant for medical purposes, at all costs. One should avoid synthesizing any ingredients in the laboratory. In some cultures people have been doing this for years, herbalists, medicine men, chieftains, shamans, and other natural healers have been producing medications from plants and other natural resources.

Natural medicine practitioners have been practicing for a long time and are very good at pairing parts of plants with other plants in order to make cures for a variety of ailments and to help promote positive health, this practice is known as whole-plant medicine. When it comes to CBD oils, you may also hear this called broad-spectrum or full-spectrum where most, or all, of the plant is used instead of just an isolated extract. 

Whole-plant medicine is something that has been around since the beginning of time. People are concerned about wasting natural resources and getting the most out of what they have, we haven’t always had synthetic or artificially created materials readily available, and that means using what we have naturally available to us.

Despite the growing interest in returning to natural medications and natural medical practice, there are still plenty of people who believe in the world of pills and fancy medical equipment. Because of that they have negative views of holistic medicine without ever practicing it. What’s finally helping some people to realize the negative effects of artificial medication and other modern medical practices, revolves around the negative experiences people have been having, the opioid epidemic, and the lack of access to affordable modern medical care.

We’ve had such a focus on creating the newest cutting edge medication and medical processes that we tend to ignore what’s right in front of us, the plant itself, and its whole nature. A good example of this is known as the entourage effect, this is very easily seen with the cannabis plant.

To see the entourage effect all we need to do is take a look at the cannabis plant. We use many parts of the cannabis plant themselves such as the THC, CBD, or other components like terpenes and flavonoids. Instead of using each of these ingredients by themselves, scientists have found that using the whole cannabis plant is more effective. When the whole plant is used, all the ingredients that would normally be separated are allowed to work together creating a more effective option.

If you want a better illustration of the effect of using something with its whole, we can look at a workplace team. A workplace team is composed of a number of people who all have their own individual skills and abilities, this is what allows them to work well together. Each person contributes to the team what they are good at, making up for what others are not. If it weren’t for the whole team, you wouldn’t be able to achieve the same unimaginable achievements. A good hiring manager looks for people who contribute to the team in their own way, not by looking for someone that contributes in the exact same method as an existing team member.

You can think of the cannabis example the same way, you wouldn’t want to take out one block that would affect the maximum possible healing effect of the plant. Every part of the plant works to multiply itself when used as a team, this makes it even more effective when working to combat symptoms. Even if you mixed one part with parts from other plants, you wouldn’t be able to get the same maximum effect.

The entourage effect can be viewed in real life in reference to the drug named Marinol, it was created in the 1980s by scientists and is synthetic THC. According to scientists, it should replicate the exact nature of THC. After it was administered to patients, scientists quickly found that patients would rather use the actual plant instead of a synthesized version of THC. This is what led to scientists discovering that there were more cannabinoids in the cannabis plant and they did find over 85 different cannabinoids at the time that work with THC, in order to produce all of the benefits that you experience when you use cannabis.

Something interesting to note is that years later we have found that synthesized CBD and THC can bring with them unknown medical problems that were not present with natural cannabis,in addition to that, many companies that produce artificial CBD and THC add extra chemicals to it that could bring with them potential side effects.

One thing, in particular, found while researching Marinol was that CBD, one of the compounds in cannabis, actually works in conjunction with the effects of THC on the body, without it, THC is not as effective. While it may be possible to synthesize the majority of cannabinoids after a lot of research, there’s no guarantee that we would be able to completely synthesize the plant in a way that replicates the effectiveness. Instead of trying to create new synthetic compounds, this is a good example of why we need to focus on researching what is already available in the natural world, it can provide us with all the benefits we need without having to worry about potential side effects from synthesized materials.

After all that research, one of the other things found is that hemp has the potential to be a great medical tool as it contains far more CBD than it does THC. This causes it to have many of the same beneficial effects as cannabis, without having the powerful psychoactive effects of marijuana. At the same time, it was found that you could breed cannabis that contains approximately equal amounts of THC and CBD, when this happens it has been found to be a very effective tool for both the relief of symptoms and pain. This had a greater meaning than just finding a helpful tool to use as a medication, it means that the levels of THC to CBD could play a big role in maximizing the benefits received.

The results of the research show that the entire plant is more important than just one aspect of it, you get more when you use full-spectrum or broad-spectrum CBD oils that are derived from the whole plant. On the other hand pure CBD products offer a 99% or so pure CBD but do not give you the whole effects of the hemp plant.  It also shows that synthetic cannabinoids are likely to not be an option for treatment as they do not combine the whole plant.

If the whole plant is such an important part of treating, why haven’t we started looking at using herbal medicine derived from a whole plant much sooner? It turns out it’s a more complicated question than most people would think, with a variety of different factors playing a role.

  • Pharmaceutical companies make more money from producing cheap chemicals than they do from growing large amounts of plants.
  • There are not as many research and production requirements for botanical products that are used for medication.
  • There is a wide variety of inconsistency with medications derived from whole plants, environmental conditions play a huge role in the effectiveness of the plant, as do they in the ability for the plant to grow.
  • There is also a lack of control and quality control when it comes to herbal products, the FDA does not control herbal products as much as they do other products.

Broad-spectrum CBD tincture from Botanima Organics is a good example of the entourage effect at work. What is CBD oil? It is an extract of the hemp plant and when it comes to broad-spectrum CBD oil (oil that contains many of the original properties from hemp but not THC), it takes the whole plant into account, not just one part of it. This means it is an effective tool to help with a variety of conditions, including anxiety, pain, skin conditions, and more.

With all the increasing interest in alternative medicine and herbal medicine, it shouldn’t be much of a surprise that more research is going to shed light on whole plant medications and herbal medicine in general. Further research could spell major medical progress and shed light on potential cures that we didn’t know existed previously.

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