Although there is a lot of talk these days about the therapeutic benefits of marijuana, the truth is that the best medicine is produced when all bioactive components are included. But what does that even mean? Basically, there are so many combinations of cannabinoids, terpenes and other less popularized compounds like flavonoids that make whole-plant therapy the only way to really get the most from your medicine.
“the [marijuana] plant consists of over 500 medicinal compounds … that all work together to bring the plant’s unique therapeutic potential to life”
What Does Full Spectrum Mean?
When it comes to marijuana extraction, the term “full spectrum” should stay top-of-mind. The spectrum concept is the name of the game when it comes to giving extracts their full potential. To truly understand the importance of this concept, it’s first necessary to understand what the medical marijuana industry refers to as the “entourage effect”. The marijuana plant consists of over 500 medicinal compounds which include cannabinoids, terpenes, flavonoids, etc, that all work together bringing the plant’s unique therapeutic potential to life. This is the essential basis behind the entourage effect.
How to Produce a True Full-Spectrum Product
In order to produce a true full-spectrum product, the full profile of extracted bioactive compounds must be reintroduced back into the oil without compromising any aspect of the profile. This includes the total range of marijuana plant compounds while also removing unwanted components like chlorophyll, fats, lipids, etc. There are certain types of extracts where fats and lipids remain, which still produces a very potent product. However full-spectrum extracts specifically remove these elements, keeping only what is desired. These extracts are designed for preserving the natural ratios of cannabinoids and terpenes while removing less favored components.
“Think of the entourage effect in terms of synergy… It’s the concept of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.”
Importance of The Entourage Effect
This is why certain types of extracts might be jam-packed with THC, but with a low percentage of these essential compounds, the experience is often considered flat or with side effects. Plus, it’s the right combination of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), CBD (cannabidiol), and various other compounds that are shown to be more effective in the treatment of certain health conditions, specifically pain and inflammation, than just THC or CBD alone. It’s not that THC and CBD themselves don’t have healing potential, but these cannabinoids alone are somewhat limited without the presence of these other components. Think of the entourage effect in terms of synergy that results when two or more components work together to achieve something one couldn’t have done on its own. It’s the concept of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.
– Written by FLUENT Medical Research team, in conjunction with Dr. Nikolas Fokialakis from the University of Athens.