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The Entourage Effect Unveiled: Diverse Cannabinoids and Terpenes Outshine Pure THC in Cannabis Potency, Confirms Brainwave Study

The Entourage Effect Unveiled: Diverse Cannabinoids and Terpenes Outshine Pure THC in Cannabis Potency, Confirms Brainwave Study

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A recent study by Zentrela and PAX has unveiled a fascinating discovery regarding the psychoactive effects of cannabis. Contrary to popular belief that THC content is the primary indicator of potency, the research emphasizes the importance of the “entourage effect” created by a combination of cannabinoids and terpenes.

Published on October 3, the study, led by researchers including Upmanyu Sharma, Israel Gasperin Haaz, Dr. Dan Bosnyak, Ricardo Zelidon, Dr. David Faulkner, and Dr. Echo Rufer, aimed to redefine the cannabis experience. The team utilized electroencephalogram (EEG) data to measure psychoactive effects, introducing a novel method outlined in a peer-reviewed analysis in the March 2022 issue of Neurology and Therapy.

According to the findings, cannabis products containing a diverse array of cannabinoids and terpenes, creating the entourage effect, resulted in a psychoactive experience that was twice as potent and longer-lasting than that produced by-products high only in delta-9 THC. The study compared two products: a full-spectrum live rosin with 85 percent THC and other natural compounds versus a high-purity THC oil with 82-85 percent potency.

The term “entourage effect” was coined by cannabis pioneers Raphael Mechoulam and Shimon Ben-Shabat in 1998, highlighting the need for multiple compounds in the cannabis plant for optimal effects. The study, utilizing EEG technology and AI, measured brainwave activity to quantify the highs experienced by individuals vaping the different products.

In the study, participants vaped either the full-spectrum live rosin or the pure THC oil using a PAX Era Pro device. Brainwave analysis was conducted by Zentrela, and the results showed a statistically significant faster onset and more than double the psychoactive experience in the full-spectrum product compared to the distillate product despite similar delta-9 THC potencies.

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Brian Witlin, VP of Product Development at PAX, emphasized the misconception of solely relying on THC percentage when selecting cannabis products. The study aimed to showcase the profound impact of full-spectrum products with a diverse range of terpenes and cannabinoids on the cannabis experience.

Zentrela’s non-invasive portable EEG device recorded brainwave data from eight regions before and after vaping, utilizing AI-based EEG analysis to convert the data into psychoactive effect levels (PEL). The study demonstrated a notable difference in PEL between the two study groups, further validating the impact of the entourage effect on the cannabis experience.

This groundbreaking study challenges the conventional understanding of cannabis potency, shedding light on the significance of the entourage effect in creating a more profound and lasting psychoactive experience. The collaboration between Zentrela and PAX, combining innovative technology and scientific research, contributes to a deeper understanding of the effects of cannabis products.

Continuing on the journey of unraveling the complexities of cannabis, the study not only redefines the landscape of product selection but also addresses the enduring legacy of Raphael Mechoulam, often hailed as the “Father of Cannabis Science.” His pioneering work, along with Shimon Ben-Shabat, laid the foundation for the entourage effect theory back in 1998. The recent study serves as a testament to Mechoulam’s visionary insights, reaffirming the importance of exploring the intricate interplay of various compounds within the cannabis plant.

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Moreover, the implications of these findings extend beyond individual preferences and consumption habits. The industry’s landscape is poised for a transformation as consumers, researchers, and producers alike grapple with a paradigm shift in understanding the key determinants of a satisfying cannabis experience. Dispensaries and product manufacturers may find themselves reevaluating their offerings, steering away from a singular focus on THC percentages toward a more holistic approach that embraces the diverse symphony of cannabinoids and terpenes.

This study not only enriches the understanding of cannabis enthusiasts but also propels the conversation around cannabis science, paving the way for a future where informed choices are rooted in a comprehensive appreciation of the entourage effect.


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Feature photo credit: J. Ward

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