The entourage effect might still be largely shrouded in mystery by the scientific standards for concrete evidence, but as far as anecdotal evidence and plausible theories go, it’s the X factor of green magic.
Taking an educated approach to combining CBD and terpenes in order to trigger a synergy and double down on certain effects could likely go a long way.
Anti-inflammation is one of CBD’s most pronounced properties, and as it so happens, most of the studied terpenes, including pinene, humulene, caryophyllene, myrcene, terpinolene, ocimene, borneol, and bisabolol, display an anti-inflammatory activity as well. It’s only natural to assume that any combination between them and CBD would catalyze this effect.
Both CBD and terpenes have shown great promise in various studies on their activity against oxidative stress. After all, one of the main causes of oxidative stress is rampant inflammation, so this in itself makes all the aforementioned terpenes antioxidants to an extent as well.
In antioxidant-specific studies, the terpenes that have stood out are limonene, humulene, myrcene, and terpinolene.
Moreover, being that neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s stem from inflammation and oxidative stress in the brain, some terpenes, such as linalool for instance, have revealed neuroprotective potential in particular – another area that scientists have pinned their hopes on CBD.
CBD’s anxiolytic properties are another major item on its calling card, but again, this effect is manifested among terpenes as well, namely limonene and linalool.
Dr. Russo on CBD and Terpenes Combos
A lot of our knowledge and/or speculations regarding the idiosyncrasies of the entourage effect come from Dr. Ethan Russo, one of the founding fathers of cannabis research, and his iconic overview paper, Taming THC.
Russo suggests that the “psychopharmacological effects of limonene, pinene and linalool could putatively extend [CBD’s] benefits in mood in such [Alzherimer’s] patients.”
Moreover, with regards to quality sleep, he believes “terpenoids with pain-relieving, anti-anxiety, or sedative effects may supplement such (anti-insomnia) activity, notably, caryophyllene, linalool and myrcene.”
Furthermore, stepping on promising studies on CBD’s ability to help break away from the vicious circle of addiction, Russo cites a clinical trial, in which an essential oil from black pepper was found to reduce nicotine craving significantly.
While the researchers behind the study attributed these results to the “irritation of the bronchial tree, simulating the act of cigarette smoking,” Russo suggests a pharmacological cause of effect – black pepper’s terpenoid profile, namely “myrcene via sedation, pinene via increased alertness, or especially caryophyllene via CB2 agonism and a newly discovered putative mechanism of action in addiction treatment.”
More specifically, he cites caryophyllene as a particularly strong factor, being it’s a high-pteoncy selective CB2 agonist that can simulate the synthetic agonist JWH144’s activity, which proved effective in the battle against cocaine in a study on rats.
Clearly, a lot of these hypothetical manifestations of the entourage effect fall in the speculative realm, but there’s a major difference between founded, thoughtful speculation and wishful thinking and/or shots in the dark.