There is a lot of talk about the “entourage effect” of CBD products. First, let me say that this has nothing to do with the hit HBO show Entourage. 😉 Second, it is a simple theory that is not only found in Cannabis plants, but in all plants. The basic tenant of this process is that by using the whole plant (or whole parts of plants such as whole roots, leaves, flowers, bark, etc.) in a supplement or medicine, all the components of the plant work together to provide a benefit.
Just like the human body, each individual cell of a plant has a function that helps keep the plant healthy and alive. These functions are essential in keeping pests from eating the plant, allowing water to absorb, fruit to grow, etc.
The cells and other components of the plant perform their jobs and work together with the end goal of protecting the plant and keeping it alive as long as possible. If only one or two of the constituents in the plant are functioning, then the plant will not be able to stay healthy because some roles (such as allowing water to absorb or creating a good stable skeleton for the plant) would not be fulfilled.
To find out what the individual components of the plants job are, we strip the plant down to its very small parts and study their functions. This research allows for a greater understanding of the role of a molecule inside a plant — and how that translates to how it would work in a human body.
These parts of the plant, when used in the human body, translate to varying effects within our own cells. For example, antioxidants in plants are typically created to protect bugs from eating the leaves, fruits or stems of the plant. In humans, antioxidants have a big role in the immune system, keeping our cells healthy.
So, when formulating a supplement or medicine that uses plants to provide a benefit in the body, we must decide whether we want a single, very pointed effect, or if we want a more complex effect. If choosing to provide a solitary effect, like antioxidants that support the immune system, we would use one constituent of a plant. If we want a broader benefit, we would use all the components of a part of a plant and allow these cells to work together to create a more synergistic approach to the benefit.
In Dr. Harter’s Botanicals CBD products, we use both the isolated CBD as well as the whole plant extract. This combination allows for a greater amount of CBD without the extra THC in cannabis that can cause a “high,” but also has the benefit of the entire plants cells that have great medicinal value.